Monday Motivation: Thanksgiving Edition

It’s that time of the year! It’s time to carve literal time to be with family and friends. Depending on what your plans look like will determine if you are in a high level of stress or not.

Pace Yourself

If you’re planning a big dinner make sure you plan out your meal ahead of time even if that means you are doing it today. It’s not when you start it’s about being clear about what you need and when you need it. Do not allow stress to take over. Take each stride as slow as possible. This means simply making a list and dividing and conquering. You could grab what you need first which would be your must haves and then slowly decide if your optional items are really necessary. Sometimes what we feel we have to have isn’t something as necessary.

Delegate

It’s okay to delegate. It’s okay to outsource your help. Sometimes we don’t have to do it all! We don’t have to make it hard. Sometimes simply giving someone the reins will aid your self-care. You don’t have to be everywhere and at every second. If you have someone willing to bring a dish or two allow them. If someone is able to do the dishes, let them! If you want to scratch the whole cooking idea; let someone else cook. Go to a friends or even a restaurant.

Remember what Matters Most

Even in all of the busyness of the day and the week you have to take the time to know what matters. What matters isn’t prefect dishes but it’s about making memories. So look beyond a few issues as they pop up. I think about all of the people who would love to be in your shoes. Not just those who have transitioned but the living who don’t have someone in their lives in any capacity or those who feel broken. They don’t care about whether or not the rolls were forgotten or not. They just want to be around people who genuinely make them feel special and loved.

Realignment

It’s no better time to realign with matters to you most. It’s a matter of resifting your desires and how to make it all come together!!

My desire is that you go into this week with a sense of calm as you truck along your to do list. I hope you enjoy your meals should you choose to have one. I hope that things are well within your life. It’s one thing to have a smile on your face that you force but to have genuine joy is what I pray for each and everyone of you!

This Monday let’s take charge of the real!! Let’s take charge of our self care during this week of being thankful in the form of a formal dinner. I say that because we can be grateful in many forms it’s just the time to do so over a meal. A meal is always something that brings people closer.

2019 Baltimore Christmas Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to get out and enjoy some holiday cheer. One of the ways you can do that is by attending the Christmas Village in Baltimore, Maryland. We have a mix of shopping, food, drinks, crafts, community, and above all culture. I had the honor of participating for a full day and I loved the experience! This was a preview weekend which means that some of the highlights will only get that much better!

What is Christmas Village

Whether you attend the Baltimore or Philadelphia Christmas Village it’s grounded in culture. The Christmas village is a model that is reminiscent of the outdoor markets that take place in Germany. It’s a place to shop, eat, and engage in German culture. You will see a lot of German delicatessen as well as the spirit of Germans stemming all the way back to 16th century.

So what can you expect in Christmas Village in Baltimore?

Food

You will find German traditions such as Bratwurst, beer, potato pancakes, and sauerkraut.

There are a few loved favorites returning with a few spins:

Raclette Cheese

This yearly favorite is a beautiful mixed of freshly melted in front of you cheese on the freshest bread you have ever eaten!

Some new changes is you can get more toppings! Check out the salami and prosciutto you can add to your sandwich. Oh and everyone for the most part loves the pickles.

Drinks

We for the most part love holiday drinks especially adult holiday drinks. They have the traditional hot chocolates, apple cider, etc. they also have spiked hot cider, spiked hot chocolate where you choose the alcohol you want in it, and a variety of mulled wine. My favorites were the spiked hot chocolate with Kahlua and the cherry mulled wine!

This is this year’s souvenir cup choice:

Don’t forget you can continue to refill your cup with your drink of choice!

Let’s Shop

So what’s Christmas Village without shopping? I went around to many of the market vendors to see what they had in store and I found some extremely interesting ones!

Piggyback Treats

This is a one stop shop for all dog lovers! You can get hand knitted scarves that are made from second hand yarn. All of the products are made from rescued material from going to waste. I love that. Taking recycled materials to make even better products is the way it should be. We do entirely too much wasting and anything to help offset that gets a A+ in my book. I tried them last year well not me but my furry brother aka my mom’s dog and he loved his treats. I definitely will get them when I go to the Philadelphia Christmas Market. If you’re living in Baltimore you can get you some too!

Cynful Bliss

Now again there’s nothing like a great dessert. Having an adult only dessert in a jar that is absolutely amazing is just the best! These “sin” in a jar are definitely worth repenting for later!

Mixed with your favorite alcohol these decadent desserts are just what you need to give as gifts or to keep for yourself. They also make great additions to any party or gathering this season! Trust me you are gonna want to have these in your possession. My favorite is the peach cobbler. It’s strong and right.

Pressed Up

You know I love a good holiday shirt! I am the queen of having a shirt for any occasions and I found my new favorite shop. Pressed Up had the holiday looks already ready for me. They also take orders online which is key for me because they will be seeing me shop more often. I bought a shirt but I’ll reveal and tag as the holidays unfold just know it includes one or my great past times! I love to shop local as the same shirt I would have gotten from a large chain and now I have it and it’s supporting women entrepreneurs.

I’ll definitely tag the shirt I selected which was hard since they have the cutest options in sizes from baby to adult!

Bacon Dreams

This is where bacon merges into the dream of all dreams! What’s better than bacon? Bacon on a stick. Thick cut beautiful bacon dipped in sauces and flavorings of a lifetime. Have you ever had vanilla bourbon bbq bacon? No well listen JDs House of Bacon takes bacon loving to another level!

I didn’t even have to eat it to see the quality. This ain’t your run in the mill bacon. This is extremely quality bacon!!

The bacon is worthy of a drive. Now if you’re too far and driving isn’t an option hit the link or go to their Instagram and order some to be delivered!!

Indoor shopping

One of the distinctions that Christmas Village Baltimore is that there is plenty of indoor tent shopping too. This is a heated tent that has plenty of food and drinks and a place to sit and take a break!

Even little kids love being at Christmas Village! There will be Santa this upcoming weekend and a kids corner to help parents find a space just for them. There is also Gingy! He was one of the highlights from the visit as well. I was able to walk with Gingy and see him bring smiles to children and adults of all ages!!

Anyone who knows me knows I love mascots and I’m always going to get a pic. Gingy and I are friends now!! Also on December 4th is mascot weekend where you can come and see all of your favorite mascots! Honestly I’m getting excited just typing it!

It’s one thing to fo from day:

To night:

Walter Sondheim Fountain on the promenade

I love the decorations and trinkets you can get from German vendor Käthe Wohlfahrt. These hand made ornaments and decorations are a beauty to behold. You can get items from as low as $1 to a few hundred dollars!

While there I also attended the tree lighting ceremony!

And there is ice skating nearby to enjoy as well!

Ferris Wheel

Who doesn’t love a great Ferris Wheel ride? Bundle up and enjoy seeing the city from up top! It’s a beautiful view seeing Inner Harbor especially at night!

Baltimore holds a special place in my heart. Not only do I have friends and family here it’s also where I spent my 2nd and 5th wedding anniversary. There’s a lot to do in the city as well as Inner Harbor has a little something for everyone.

The market is also dog friendly!

This is just a snippet as it was preview weekend! There will be more planned. You can find more information here!

I hope you get out and enjoy Christmas Village Baltimore! I’ll give you a behinds look at the Philadelphia Christmas Village in about a week! Let’s get out and explore both cities and spread holiday cheer!!

Help in Our Own Community

What do you have a mix of community service, 31 consultant, and hygiene kits? You have Crystal Capetillo. Taking on a mission of her own she’s making hygiene kits for those who are displaced.

I personally remember when I was younger and we went into a shelter. It’s one of those moments that keep me grounded. Not knowing what each day would bring was a bit unnerving. However I have to shout out my mom who made sure to keep us clean and put together. Apart of doing that had to come from having hygiene products. Being displaced you have to have a short list of items and not much in bulk to prevent others from taking from you.

Crystal is helping in those regards. What started as a project with World Vision through being a 31 Consultant has turned into a mission to help those in her own community right here in Philadelphia. Crystal along with Erica of whom I’ve interviewed and a team from Bethel Church will lead this charge!

Now here’s how we can help. These kits take time and money. The World Vision kite cost $16. After acquiring the kits they need to be put together. Crystal is in need of both. You can donate for the kits as well as help put together your kit. But there’s one last portion, each kit comes with a hand written letter or note. That made me smile because of someone being displaced that doesn’t mean that they are below humanity.

I watched my mom cry when she thought I was sleep. I know as a mom I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling as she watched over us at night! Having a hand written note letting her know she’s loved and never give up could mean the world of difference!

I personally stand behind this mission of Crystal and will be helping to assemble these kits. I’m asking if you’re able to consider donating by gifting towards her PayPal crystal.capetillo331@gmail.com!!

I can’t wait to see the kits go to fruition and be given to those who need it!!

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!

Week 5: Storr Summer Adventures

Well this week was a bit slow. I got what I thought was a sinus infection and my oldest had a Summer cold! So laid a bit not this week! We still had fun! So heres is how we ended up with a messy situation but ate well and spent time recovering for our Hershey Park trip! A total of 56.28 was spent!

Monday

Mondays are always uneasy! It was also national gummi bear day so we decided to do an ice-cream gummi bear dessert to celebrate. I love gummi bears and being Vegan didn’t have to miss out! With non dairy ice-cream and vegan gummies I was still winning! I had the Chunky Monkey ice-cream in house! I bought the kids Sour Patch ice-cream and gummi bear materials for $10.78!

Tuesday

We definitely kept it indoors as the heat was picking up and went to GPCC indoor swimming! Who didn’t need to cool off last week in Philadelphia?! We had a great time as usual! We grabbed snacks on the way for $12.00!

Wednesday

I find that these are low days and I secretly love them! I had an event so the kids hung out with family! I was able to get work done and attend the Philly Influencer Mixer which has brands come and meet Influencers and bloggers to work with! It’s an amazing way to network! Thank you to Davida for being our fearless leader! Follow especially Philadelphia bloggers or influencers as a Fall Mixer is up next and you want to be in the building!

Thursday

We got our and about! I had my physical with my doctor! I’m happy to announce that I’m in great health! My doctor is over the moon with my numbers. I encourage everyone to see about their health physically and emotionally!! I feel my best when I take for me! It’s not just about working out or just food it’s about the total mental health too. Doing what I love makes me complete! While there I was able to visit my old co-workers! We went to lunch and the kids got McDonald’s! Total was $12.71! I had the new plant based bowl at Qdobo for $10.79! We were going to go bowling but traffic was at an all time high so we made slime! To all of my parents you already know my plight!! But…..they had a blast! Materials were $10!!

Friday

It was entirely toooo hot but we also needed to get ready for the weekend Hershey Park trip since we were doing an overnight trip! So that meant cleaning, packing, and laundry! We also elected to do shaving cream art and keep things a bit messy! Armed with shaving cream and food coloring we had an amazing time!

I know if we hadn’t had a few sicknesses this week we would have been out and about more but with the way the heat was set up and the way our air conditioning bill has been we should never leave so we can feel like we are getting your money worth!

This week is already adventurous! We added a new activity for the week! I’ll highlight it next week!

Art Splash

What is Art Splash?

Art Splash is a kids creative outlet space, and museum. Located in the Perelman Building adjacent to the Philadelphia Art Museum. It’s where kids can come in and create and make their own art. I took my kids this past weekend and they had a blast.

There’s something for everyone. Art Splash has themed art projects that they roll out here is the schedule:

So now that you know the art schedule now what? You come and let the kids use their creativity. Tuesday-Sunday Art Splash is available and open for your child’s imagination to begin. Starting with the theme there are stations and space for your child to sit either assisted or unassisted and create!

My kids had fun at tables using as many supplies as they saw fit. My husband and I loved watching them put together their masterpieces! Art Splash is going on now until September 2nd and with their rotation of projects and programs, you could come in and enjoy something new every-time.

Oh and one of the best parts is during the rotation of projects you can meet the actual artist that the projects are about ok Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 1-4pm! We were able to meet Brian “Bcasso” Bazemore. He uses materials in his environment to make his art work. Thus the kids during the recycle and remake project did the same.

This is what my kids came up with:

This was my first time in Art Splash and I was blown away with how open, spacious, and creative it was! Here are a few more deets you may need to know in order to plan an amazing time with your kids:

Hours:

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm and every Wednesday until 7pm!

Price:

Free for kids 12-under with the admission of the Arts Museum.

Cafe:

They do have a cafeteria within the building so you can enjoy snacks and food and make it a day!

Art explorer tours:

Daily at 11am and 3pm recommended for ages 3-5 and 6-10! It’s a great way to learn about the artist!

Community Communication:

Wednesday July 24th from 530-7pm! Using the Souls Grown Deep; Shesheena Bray talks to kids about ways we can live in the world and get along!

Pay what you wish days:

First Sundays from 10-5pm!

August 4th-artist Lauren West with illustrations. Dance with Lela Aisha Jones, Alex Shaw, Kwasi Burgee, Anssumane Silla, and Papa Ed Stokes through a rhythmic African Diaspora!

September 1st: last chance to Splash

Wednesday evenings! July will also have food demos by chef in residence Nia Minard!

August 14 and 21st will feature dolls of the American South from the Philadelphia Doll Museum!

Now what if you have little babies and they want in on the action too?!

Museum Babies

Stroller tours take place in the main building August 14th at 11am!

Baby Bird play dates Tuesdays and Fridays in July and August 10:15-11am!!

Sensory Friendly Mornings

July 24th

July 27th

August 21st

August 24th

All from 9-10am! The lights, crowds and volumes are low but not low on the fun! This is great for children who are on the autism spectrum and their parents!!

Thank you to the Art Splash for having us! Also for families in the Philadelphia area who also attend the Free Libraries you can earn a free pass like my family did which gave us free access to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for free. Each pass whether free or paid will give you 2 days to explore. We enjoyed our time at both!

Never forget the Rocky steps!!

Mr. Softie is always a treat especially for the amount of heat!

2nd week Summer Breakdown

So as promised I will be breaking down my week with the kids during the summer vacation months. It’s important for me to showcase that yes you can have a great summer and spend less money. This doesn’t include weekend events or things to do, but now even on the weekend I’m not overspending either. Last week I spent around 183 dollars. Check out last week’s blog for the breakdown!

This week I definitely and happily spent 77.74! Now I did get sick about end of the week but the activities I would have done wouldn’t have been over that amount it would have been under that amount.

Monday

We did a swim day! Which is why I may have gotten sick. It was like an allergy attack or some sort of shenanigans. Either way breakfast at home and lunch at McDonald’s, swimming and park! I spent 18.51 total! It was a great treat to start the week since normally we do most meals at home! Oh a little pro tip any day I can add the park I do. I usually work out while they play. If I check the weather and the weather is an issue I do a home workout but I have been working out 4 days a week not including the weekend!!

Tuesday

We went to the $5 AMC Tuesday movie and saw Toy Story 4! I knew I wanted to see it but the crowds of the weekend and the price told me to wait until Tuesday hit! That 5 dollars hit different on a Tuesday. I am also an AMC Stub member so I had points I used those points towards the $5 snack deal of a small popcorn and an Icee!

$5 movies for 4=20

4 snacks minus my $5 reward= $15.87

After the movie it was back to the park for my workout and kids play! We then headed home for dinner and my husband and I went to Chima for some blog work and date night for the win!

Wednesday

I began to not feel well so we elected to stay in to take meds. I also wanted to make sure my car would be done. If you remember I was hit right before my Paris trip. We still went to Greater Plymouth Meeting for the movies under the stars and viewed Lion King. This was great as we prepare for the new blockbuster coming out this Summer! It was great. They have an amazing DJ! They did a hoola hoop contest and have Chick Fil A truck, Koona Shaved Ice truck, fresh popcorn and candy for sale.

I still always pack my own food and snacks. One cause I’m vegan and two because it’s cost effective for us 4! It’s always a great time no matter what!!

Movie starts at 8 or when the sun goes down and we usually get home at around 11pm and as you can see, from the above picture it was immediate sleep and quiet for the parents!!!!

Thursday

I needed a chill day plus I needed to redo the girls hair and start laundry! I knew what my weekend plans were and that meant there was no way I could have had time to get them altogether! They did a lot of indoor activities and the girls hair was rebraided! Also I got my car back better than ever! This momma was super happy! Shout out to Wolk Enterprises for doing an amazing job!

Friday

It was a mess! I was so sick by this point that I woke up at 130! Do not fret! My husband stayed home with the kids and ordered them pizza! Our oldest was supposed to have Girl Scouts. My son did some errands with my husband and my youngest had a play date!! I had no idea that my Husband was going to stay home to be honest I was going to be a trooper and take them to Legoland and the park! It felt good when I woke up to even realize that he was home! I was able to rest and it helped me for the weekend!!

This upcoming week will be a short week with the 4th! I will not be including the 4th or the 5th so my totals will be smaller than this week!!!! Listen between work and kids it’s important to save money and make sure the kids have an amazing Summer! Also this week with it being Fourth of July there are so many activities to do in Philly and many are free!