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!

Welcome To Miami

Well as promised here is my recap of an amazing girls trip.  I have been to Miami several times and not once have I ever had a bad time.  Let ms say that fun was had by all.  We went to celebrate my friend Cheryl’s 37th birthday. I think she had a good birthday.  Shout out to the friends who weren’t able to make it this time, I am sure there will be other opportunities.  You were missed!

So I wont detail every moment but I will hit you with the highlights.  One this was my first time traveling on Jet Blue Airways.  They have the best snacks.  Southwest used to be my go to for flights with their snack boxes but as you know they switched out the snacks for free luggage.  Now yes I paid the 25 for the luggage on Jet Blue but the flight attendants were awesome and the snacks were even better.  So it was a win-win for me. The airlines are rolling a new program that for the folks that want to fly budget, it will cost you.  For one you have to pay for your luggage to be checked and you are ONLY allowed one carry on that must fit under the seat.  Which means like a handbag or one small bag not a suitcase of any sort.  Do not be fooled when I tell you they mean business.  If you show up trying to go through with a bag larger than a handbag or more than one they will immediately check it at a price to you.  So either get that above budget seat because the use of overhead compartments for budget seating is not happening.

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Once off our flight, the humidity hit us so super hard.  It was a bit overwhelming.  It’s been years since I have had to use an asthma pump but I thought I might need it.  No stopping team no sleep was in full effect. We were all over the South beach strip eating, drinking and laughing.  Later that night we ventured off to Liv Miami.  The guest of the night was none other than Dj Khaled.  We were in the front of the action.  Let me say, he really is his own hype man.  It’s not just something he does on television.  He believes in his brand and makes others believe in it too.  I also had the pleasure of meeting @Lalasizahands89.  She was super nice.  If you don’t know her follow her on Instragam at that handle and you won’t be disappointed.  Word to the wise she ain’t for the stuffy so head over at your own risk.

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The next day after we got in at 6am, yes 6am we got some rest and started up for another adventure. It’s been years definitely prekid days of coming in before the sun came up.  I had a blast.  We decided to do one of those double-decker bus tours of Miami Beach area. It was great.  We zoomed past Usher and Diddy’s house. I did my little “take that” dance as we rolled past.  It was good to see the city so high up off the ground. It definitely gave a better perspective than just walking.  The tour guide was super awesome.  We had to rush home because after stopping at Bubba Gumps restaurant, shopped and did some more walking and drinking we had to hurry to get to our reservation for Drinkhouse Fire and Ice Lounge.  This was probably the highlight of my trip.  It was hella cold in there.  Of course we had the fur coats, socks, and fur boots because let’s face it, frost bite is not of the Lord but the dancing, drinks and fun was super amazing.  However the entire room is full of ice.  It was magical with the lights changing colors and the drinks out of you guessed it, ice cups.

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Overall the trip was fun. It was good to get away.  It’s always good to celebrate daily and why not take a trip to celebrate a birthday if you can.  I definitely would recommend going to Miami. The culture is amazing.  I learned a lot more on this trip than in previous years.  You could see minimal damage from the Hurricane but they are making it better. We had nothing but great hospitality, great food, even better drinks, and a renewed sense of friendship.  To the next girl’s trip!!!!

Ask Toi: Your blogs are overwhelming with too much positivity, are you like this daily?!

Yes and no. I am human. I have bad days and good days. I can be up emotionally up and ready to take on the world one minute and having to be put on the prayer list to get out of the bed the next. 

Positivity is overwhelming when you only focus on the low moment. I have so many goals that I’m working on that even in the busy days I get extremely overwhelmed myself. My husband is probably the only one who sees my lowest moments. They can be small to severe. He’s a trooper. We’ve been together and as a team he knows what to say to snap me back. I also push to be positive. The world has enough negativity that I try not to add more to it. 

I also have expressed that I’ve suffered from depression. I have been in my past on medication during post partum and I’ve gone to professional counseling. I was taught the tools to come out of a negative jam. Also honesty is the best policy. See the way my life is set up I don’t have time to wallow.  But I get how you would be overwhelmed. You are looking through the lens of your own life and try to measure. Don’t do that. We have different paths. You have no idea what things I’ve been through to get to where I am. Never compare what you think you see. I’ve learned this the hard way. You will be super disappointed if you do. 

This is why I blog. So you can change the lens and direct it from the inside out and not the other way around. Try writing what it is about your life that you don’t like. Put it on paper than write what your grateful for. Then make a plan for each thing that you are struggling with and then work your plan. In doing this alone you won’t have time to focus on others. People including me will be in your rearview mirrow instead of in front of your windshield. Change your perspective!!! 

It’s a good thing to be overwhelming positive if I could describe what my life was like years ago, it might scare you!! 

Weekly Recap: October 5, 2017

So let’s recap what has been going on in the last week.  I want to send a special love and prayers to all of the victims and their families of the Las Vegas shooting.  I can’t begin to imagine what families are doing to wrap their minds and hearts around all of this.  This is being called the worst shooting massacre of all time.  That is crazy that in 2017 we have people having the ability to get ahold of that much high artillery and murder.  I am not anti guns I am for some type of reforms to change.

Personal Goals

I want to think every single reader who read my two blogs from the past weekend.  I raised good money for the Light the Night Foundation as well as had good time in my 5k race.  That in of itself is a blessing.  This time last year I was overweight and miserable in my own skin.  This year through hard work I am keeping my weight under control and running more races.  Thank you for all of the support. It’s important for me to be transparent throughout this whole transformation.  Losing the weight on the outside isn’t anything compared to losing the weight on the inside.

Shout out to my kids’ school for celebrating 100 years opened.  They go to a Catholic school and in Philadelphia where schools are closing left and right, that is a huge ordeal.  My kids enjoyed being on live television and the celebration will continue into this month.

Blog Goals

We are still pushing content even with a busy life.  Won’t he do it.  I am gearing up for next month’s blogiversary.  Trying to continue securing prizes, etc and deals for my followers.  If you haven’t already it would be in your best interest to be following me on my ToiTime Facebook Page

This is where a lot of my updates will be.  I will not be making each update via a blog.  Announcements and things to watch will be on the page and you don’t want to miss a thing.  We gave away a lot of prizes last year as well as had discounts on great products to help set your new year up.  I try to focus on every area, single, married, parent support, weight, and job searches so that we can be a better version of ourselves.  So click the link, and follow along.

If you missed any of this week’s blogs than you missed about the Light the Night walk, the Sweat with your Sole 5/10K, how to ace your job review, adult but not grown, emotional health, an Ask Toi about being too positive and lastly about being grateful.  So as always you need to catch up at ToiTime

Upcoming Events

I will be traveling this weekend and am making myself limited.  I have set up on my Facebook page some alerts and things to be mindful of ahead of time.  I will be away on a girls trip that as always I will blog about.  In the meantime make sure you enjoy your weekend and if you are off for the Columbus Day holiday, remember to set your goals for the week.  The hustle doesn’t stop on vacation.  It gets stronger so there are more vacations to be had.

I am also still very much working out and getting my life.  I have a race in November to prepare for again and remember my small goals one being Halloween costume fitting.  Halloween is at the end of the month so I will be ready to slay this year.  No more crazy looks from last year.

As the holidays began to roll in I will give my suggestions on how to stay sane.  Another issue with the holidays is being booed up or if you’re being cuffed during cuffing season.  It’s a thing. Let me remind my married folks on a side note, please stop acting as if you don’t remember the days when you were missing the embrace of a fine woman or man.  Married folks kill me at times with their amnesia.  People want to be in a relationship but haven’t found one they want to invest in.  Let’s not look down on them because of that.

 

With that in mind I am leaving this blog here for your memory on this #TBT:

Oldie but goodie
Have a great weekend and more blogs to follow next week and we will start out with a Sunday message.  I missed last week because the pain in my legs was messing with me to the point where recovery was my only option!

What are you Grateful for?

The only time we talk about gratefulness is around Thanksgiving.  You hear everyone repeat what they are grateful for.  If you come from a big family as I do, by the time Aunt Sally speaks her gratefulness you’re almost tapped out.  Do you know the power of speaking what you are grateful for out loud?  It refocuses what you have and less on what you don’t.  It will renew your mind to go after what you don’t have without negativity.  It will allow others around you to get good vibes as well.  When you see grateful people they seem to smile more. There lives may be in shambles but they know that trouble don’t last always.  They seem perkier.  They seem almost too unreal.  The reason they seem unreal is because the world is full of life suckers and negative vibes.  Choose to be the light in a dark world. Sometimes a simple smile can do it for someone. I watched my kids energy in a simple Snapchat video and it reminded me to slow down and relax.  Or when I see my daughter accomplish a goal she thought she couldn’t its gratefulness that makes me stop and reflect.  I look and see the Vegas devastation and some of the stories of heroism or the stories of how a man lost his wife but he was grateful for her smile everyday.  Can you say the same?  Will someone look back at the time you were here and say, they were genuine and loved life?  If not you can change it.  Life sucks no doubt, but if you change the lens you will be able to conquer anything thrown.

So I’ll start it out for you, what are you grateful for?

I am grateful:

  1. My life
  2. My health
  3. My husband
  4. My kids
  5. My job
  6. Good credit
  7. No debt
  8. Ability to love
  9. Ability to receive love
  10. This day
  11. My friends
  12. For my grandparents still being alive
  13. For my nieces
  14. My siblings and siblings in love
  15. My parents
  16. For working my marriage
  17. For good food in my home
  18. For the ability to have gas in my car
  19. For healing
  20. For a sound mind
  21. Loving love
  22. Being quirky
  23. For loving to celebrate daily days
  24. Being an organized person
  25. For being creative

The list can go on for pages and pages, what are you grateful for?  Speak it and sit back and enjoy the blessings that God gave you as you speak it and list it.  It changes you when you learn to live from a grateful heart.  Be grateful!

I Need My Legs Back; Black Girls Run

So today was the day. I completed a 5k with the Black Girls Run organization. So what is Black Girls Run anyway?

Well it’s an organization that was founded in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks-Rocha. The premise is to encourage African-American woman to live a healthy lifestyle. They wanted to be able to combat obesity that plagues the African-American community most.  It is open for all but it definitely encourages African-American women to make health and fitness a priority. There are many chapters all over and membership is free. To find out more about Black Girls Run click on the link and get active. 


This weekend was their Sweat with your Sole conference and 5/10k race and brunch. This also included New York best seller author, Luvvie Ajayi as the keynote speaker. Women from all over came together in the pursuit of fellowship, fitness and fun. 


So Black Girls Run is an organization that made sense to me. I have to admit before finding them by chance on Twitter, I had no idea that they existed. I of course am on a challenge to get healthy and I am finding I gravitate towards those who share in that same interest. Let’s be real for a second, outside of when I was in track and field since junior high school, I haven’t found a group of runners to connect with. It’s not shade it’s fact. Running is and has always been my heart. It was how I stayed slim and trim in college. My freshman dormitory was behind the gym and I found myself there often. When I graduated college I would run here and there but then dropped off the running map as I had my oldest daughter. Like I’ve said before my youngest is 3 what I had on my body was beyond baby weight. It was laziness, lack of commitment, and over eating.


One day a few months ago I was talking to my husband about how I needed to branch out and socialize more. However with that I didn’t just want to have any old friendships. I found a way to fuse both. Keeping me accountable in my everyday life and stepping out of my comfort zone. If you have been following me you know that I’ve been pushing myself out of the I can’t mentality. It hasn’t been easy but its definitely worth it.

For the last two months on my own I have been training for this 5k. This means pushing myself to the gym to do cardio and weights. This mean denying over indulgence of any one thing. Working hard and seeing what my body can do. I am happy to admit that it showed me that I can finish in 39 minutes and 17 seconds!! Won’t he do it?! Now let me just say I had no time goal. To be honest I only had a finish mentality and don’t embarrass myself or my family.


Last night I did a cancer walk that was in Lancaster Pennsylvania. I then got up at 4am and traveled back to Philly to complete this race. Shout out to my parents who made sure I was up and ready to hit the road. Some asked me why? One it’s about making a commitment. It was about not making an excuse once I saw that the two events were close together. It was also about not letting any form of anxiety have me back out. So I did both events back to back. 

Was I scared to race? No. Nervous yes but not scared. When I ran out and cleared the first half of the race I was feeling good. However to finish it seemed as if the finish line was so far away that I wouldn’t make it. I kept going. My legs felt like spaghetti noodles.  However as I finished I wanted to shout. I wanted to Tootsie Roll if my legs would have cooperated. But I was proud as hell.  They played Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow at the beginning of the race and by chance my own playlist played it again as I ended.  No better feeling in the world.  



It didn’t matter that my legs feel like mush. It mattered to me that I set a goal and achieved it. It mattered that my kids were able to know that when I say I’m going to do something that I follow through.  As a mom I am able to keep myself up and show them how to keep health as a priority.  I definitely plan to be active with the Philadelphia chapter. I plan to keep this going. I do have another 5k in November. So I will continue to train and in the end I’ll keep myself lifetime fine in the process. Sounds like a win to me!!

Shake Shack Virgin

So for quite some time I’ve been seeing Shake Shack and never went. I would say everytime how I was going to stop but didn’t. So on a random Friday as this past Friday was, I decided why not?

Soooo. I get there and the menu is big but yet small enough so my anxiety doesn’t kick in. Oh and I went by myself. I’m on this whole push to do the things I want even if I go by myself. Soooooooo I ventured out. I grabbed my keys and went. Now I’m glad I decided to go to the one near Drexel University especially since I work on a campus already the atmosphere was more laid back. It was extremely busy.  I enjoyed watching the students playing games, talking, and enjoying the 80 degree weather.

So happiness  sunk in and I was ready.  I ordered the vegetarian burger or the Shroom burger which is a fried portobello mushroom, melted muenster cheese, with lettuce, tomato and shake sauce. I added their to die for fries and a salted caramel milkshake with pretzel and I was in heaven.  Like eating it made me feel like I was in a whole other place! 

Now let me say what I liked about the experience:

1. Fast service-they give you one of those light up wait your turn line lights 


2. Friendly staff-funny story so the cashier was super nice and trying to hit on me. No offense taken but he couldn’t get my name right so I said Toi. When I went to pay he looked at my debit card and saw my name but more importantly he saw my husband and kids picture on it and have a look of damn. It was hilarious!!


3. College atmosphere-with working on a campus it gives me constant nostalgia. Makes me miss my Penny Packer crew! 

4. Fries-I almost went back and took that 20 minute drive. They are that good. 

5. That shake-they ain’t the Shake Shack for nothing; complete bliss!! 


For my parents this is not a spot I would regularly take my little ones. In the words of my Cousin Mark this is much too premium for children unless it’s a special event. My meal alone was 17 dollars which ain’t breaking the bank but this is an indulgence that is strictly a Mom thing only! Well at least for me it will be. 


I can’t wait to go back again. I really want another shake. It was worth the drive! Thanks to the staff at the Drexel University Shake Shack who were over the top pleasant and made my first experience one to remember.