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!

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Happy Birthday Naila

Today is such a holiday in my world. My oldest is 10! 10 years of love. 10 years of peace! 10 years of pure joy!

I love that I was chosen to be her mother! She has been amazing since I first laid eyes on her. I had her 6 weeks early due to me suffering from preeclampsia. This is a condition that caused me to have elevated high blood pressure and other complications. It caused me to be on borderline seizure activity. From the time of them attempting to stop my contractions they told me they didn’t think her lungs were developed enough. I met with the NICU nurses who reassured me that no matter what happened she would be in great care.

After they realized my contractions wouldn’t stop they assumed it would produce enough to make her come down the birth canal but she didn’t. They then started to speed up the process and the pain was terrible. All of that and still no baby and I was in active labor for at least 2 days. Finally I was told I would have to have a C-section. At this point, I didn’t care what they did the only thing on my mind was her safety. Although I was in pain and having a lot of headaches due to my blood pressure, she was my main concern.

I got bumped several times to have the surgery, but at 11pm on May 26 we had a 4 pounds and 3 oz baby girl. She did everything the opposite of what I feared. She was hollering which meant her lungs were strong. She was still taken to the NICU. I barely saw her but I remember being sort of out of it but I was crying just hearing her. I kept asking if she was ok and everyone was all smiles. Thank you to all of the nurses in the NICU who hands down were everything we needed and more!

I went into recovery and a week and a half she was home. It was the longest time but having her home meant the world to me. She would go on to have several complications that required me to lose time at work, many hospital stays, etc. but I wouldn’t change a thing. Through it all, she has smiled and had the best disposition that you can’t help but want to smile back at her. Everyone who knows her or been around her, knows that she has a heart of gold.

To the best 10 year old who made me a mom, brought out to best in me, gives me constant joy, the best big sister, awesome friend, and an amazing mini-me daughter-Happy Birthday Gummi Bear!

Mother’s Day: Miscarriage, Loss of a child, and Infertility

Again I say that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring these cookie cutter images that television and marketing companies want you to believe. It’s a place of grief for so many women and men all around the world.

When a woman conceives or attempts to conceive, there’s very little ways to do it without your heart becoming attached. With that in mind there are large amounts of women who mourn the day because it’s a reminder of what they desire (d) and can’t have. It’s a place of pain that can’t be measured. With all of the cards, flowers, and joy that should be given to women I want to recognize the women who aren’t in the celebratory spirit.

Are you pregnant?

It’s down right rude to ask a woman of whom you do not share an intimate space if or when she is ready to conceive. That conversation needs to be when and if she is ready to ever have it. Our culture has no boundaries on other women and their uteruses. It needs to be reminded that some women endure a heartache that they haven’t or may never be able to share. Asking her when and if, may inflict a level of pain that she may want to keep private.

Infertility

She may also have suffered a miscarriage and those wounds no matter how long ago it may have been are always fresh and sometimes gets reopen on days like Mother’s Day. You mourn all over again what your child would be and it’s hard. It’s debilitating to have to keep reliving the pain. We need to do a better job of acknowledging this and being sensitive. Your comments matter. Saying things like “just try again” or “it will happen in its time” may not always be received well. There are women that no matter what just can’t hold life and it’s the one thing that we all feel is reserved for women to “naturally” do yet it doesn’t always come so easily!

Miscarriage

Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is the most scared part of pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you’re high risk or not; anytime you’re able to hear it, you hold that sound dear to your heart. There are many women who may or may not initially wanted to be a mother but once life has entered inside of you, a real mom will want to protect that life. Not hearing your child’s heartbeat is one of the most devastating events a woman can experience. It signals that even through no fault of your own, life has stopped. The process following that silence is grueling. We don’t speak about what a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically but it’s life changing. It’s real and it can cut a woman to her core.

Loss of a Child

There are women who unfortunately either through miscarriage, still birth, death of a child or late pregnancy miscarriage experience the greatest loss known. Not knowing how to deal with those feelings have sent many women into a tailspin. It takes love, patience, sometimes medication, therapy and some of the most amazing support systems to get through. Outsiders are the first to put a time stamp on this level of grief when it’s no one’s time frame to control. You will forever remember and never forget.

Regardless of where you as a woman or the woman in your life fits, please understand that these are delicate topics that deserve reference during this time. Please be patient with yourself if you fit the above categories. Know that even if you feel you should be passed a point in your healing that healing is up and down and constant. Some days are better than others. If you need help it’s okay to receive it. If you’re struggling it’s okay as well. You don’t have to have it altogether. Just know that I for one understand! I sent you love! I send you peace!

Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!

On the Move: Crunchik’n Style

Shout out to #travelwithchefcherryl and the brunch buddies as we take you behind the scenes to local eateries. Again as a lifestyle blogger you are going to want to know the places to either get out, have new places to grab food with bae, your girls or even the fam bam. I enjoy getting around Philadelphia and yesterday’s spot was brought to us to by Crunchik’n.

Tuna bowl served with rice, lettuce, salsa, Japchae noodles and a dumpling

Crunchik’n is a Korean flare restaurant. It’s amazing food at great prices that is made fresh to order and it tastes amazing. From their homemade dumplings to their marinated sauces each bite is special. We caught up with Jen who is part owner with her father, John Choi. She stressed that the goal was to make quality food that was made on the premises and that the sauces made was fermented and marinated to give the meat their fresh, unique taste. I think they hit a slam dunk. The selections are so good that even if you didn’t want to sit and eat you could order their half or whole chicken cut up and make dinner at home special too. Oh and if you’re wondering they are on Caviar for delivery as well.

Kimchi cheese fries

Since I’m vegan let me tell you that they had amazing vegetarian dishes that I was able to veganize. I didn’t leave hungry in the least bit. My suggestion is that this is a causal dining experience, good for all types since although they don’t have a specific kids menu, kids of all ages would love the chicken and other offerings. We even had some kids along and I heard a few to all ask for seconds. This is a great spot to gather friends as well or makes a causal date night or date day location.

Beef and vegetarian taco I personally had the vegetarian and it was amazing to keep it vegan I had mine without the sour cream and it was still full of flavor

Crunchik’n has been open for a little over a month. This means you need to get in and show them a little love. For new guests who go you will also receive a gift! Who doesn’t love gifts?

Beef dumplings on the right and the veggie dumplings on the left was made with kale and spinach. The veggie dumplings were super good!

So if you love Korean style food that is fresh, high quality, and served by awesome accommodating staff, make sure you add Crunchik’n to the top of your lists of go tos. You will not be disappointed!!!

Korean fried chicken can come in 8 house-made marinated sauces

They serve tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches, dumplings, Korean fried chicken and even small bites! What’s not to love?!

Spicy pork melt sandwich

The drinks are good too!! They have arrangements from Bubble Teas to fresh Sparkling Ade…

Strawberry lemonade and grapefruit

Mango and Matcha Green Bubble Tea

One last thing:

Crunch Balls which comes with either rice or potato and either beef or vegetarian

The hours are as follows:

When Great Hospitality Meets Great Food: Bronze Table and Scoop Deville

I’m still full from the amazing food I had yesterday. I took a little food tour at the Bronze Table and Scoop Deville. There are a few factors when going out to eat that I look for and those are quality, quantity, customer service and practicality. Both restaurants exceeded both.

Bronze Table

Bronze Table is located inside the Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall here in Philly. They are a fresh pasta based restaurant that make their food from scratch. So this means they are like a fresher appeal to fast food. That’s a great plus as we all need to eat quickly but healthy. All of their sauces and pasta are made to order. There is nothing flash frozen for quick consumption. And taste? I love pasta but even with cutting down on it, I can’t deny it’s goodness. From first bite to my last, it was amazing.

The portion sizes are more than enough. Did I mention most pasta is around $10. For a mom of 3 who is trying to save her coins, you can’t beat that price and quality. You taste the difference from other pasta chains to Bronze Table. They have daily specials as well as standing staples. This is your must try stop. For those who don’t want pasta they also serve salads and sandwiches.

Pictured here: Sunday Rigatoni aka Sunday gravy, gnocchi vodka, cheese steak rigatoni, gemelli with pesto burrata, wild mushroom butter Parmesan ravioli and cheesy garlic bread

All of the food was good but my favorites were the cheese steak rigatoni and the gemelli with pesto burrata. Let’s talk about customer service: A1. They explained everything and everyone was gracious to us. Also if you like their pasta or sauces they are available to purchase so you can go home and make the options yourself.

As if the pasta wasn’t enough I headed over to Scoop Deville. Scoop Deville is located inside of the Bourse as well as they have a location in Midtown Village on Walnut Street. You can call ahead, order online and pick up or have it delivered via Caviar. So there’s never an excuse for not having ice-cream.

Scoop Deville definitely puts the fun into eating ice-cream. They have so many flavors to be honest. However a highlight is they allow you to make your own soft serve. As I was rambling on with our server about flavors everyone I said they had. From decadent not chocolates, to cakes, to frozen bananas and for my fellow vegan and gluten-free family-they got us too! If that ain’t a major win!! Oh and by the way the servers at Scoop Deville must have gone to ice-cream school to watch how they know every item on the menu and if you’re like me who loves to be different, they got me together. I started shouting out flavors and they had answers. You’re not going to be able to beat their selections of cereal or other unique toppings. The only hard choice is going to be which one to start with. I think that’s how they got me because now I’m challenged to come back and make up more weird delicious pairings. The big kid in me was able to unite with my adult self and enjoy. I honestly can’t wait to take the kids too! Soon as I got home I allowed them to finish the rest of what I had and they can’t wait to make their own!

This was my flavor choice that I not only ate while there, I took a pint home:

Vegan vanilla with strawberry, peaches and Golden Grahams

So these need to be on the top of your list. You can come into the city make it a day or if you want to drive in there is convenient parking deck that you pay as long as you stay that’s right next to the Bourse. I had no issues getting in and out.

So don’t delay get into the Bronze Table and Scoop Deville!

Thanks so both restaurants as well as my blogging friends for an amazing night out:

Philly Food Gal

Philly Dine Out

Little teacher big appetite

To see more amazing photos, follow me on Instagram

Take a Break

I love my family. I really do. Today I had to take a break. I have them spoiled and they know that I will make them a huge breakfast every weekend without hesitation. However today when they came in and wanted more emotional support than I had filled in my own tank, I said no!

No means I need a break. That means go grab some cereal until I can gather myself. That means no I can’t manage your emotions until I manage mine. No I can’t figure out all of your needs right off the bat. No means I still love you. No means I will be back in working order after a small break. No I won’t just jump up and act like nothing is wrong. No I won’t just accommodate you until I have some time for prayer and calm.

I will be back after I gather my thoughts, get a shower, plan my day, or simply sit in quiet. I’m simply taking a much needed break!

Communication is great. A few years ago I might have went off to get a break but today, nope! I know what I need and finally realized how important it is to take it. Self-care is not just a Sunday thing but a daily thing. It’s a moment by moment release so I can live my best life. The pancakes can wait. The kids are old enough to manage. My husband is fine. This break is everything!