Weekly Recap: Friday February 22, 2019

Blog Life

I hope you are keeping up. A new blog has hit everyday this month so far.  We talked about a lot of mental health topics one way or another. It was necessary. One I got a lot of emails from followers requesting it. Also life hit me this week in various forms. I am one who tries to practice what she preaches. So I made my mental health my number one issue to maintain this week. Nothing in particular set me off it’s just that I am aware from therapy how to recognize when I am becoming elevated. I hope you have the same mindset for your life. It’s important to check in with yourself and slow things down. Life is already crazy enough.

Fit Life

I got into another Broad Street Run! I am more than excited. This is year 2 and although I now know what to expect I want to fix a few things that I didn’t know about the run this year. I want to train a little better.  So I am hitting the pavement sort of talk by running outside earlier. This will work with my stamina. It was pure adrenaline and training that helped me last year. But I want to get stronger and do this right!  Also I have the Hot Chocolate 15K in April. Its run season.  So I am training which means I will cut down on alcohol and focus on more water intake etc. Its hard lets not kid ourselves. The run is on Cinco de Mayo I will reward myself with a margarita and some banging tacos. Until then I go hard and show up for myself. So my training have gotten a little more intense. I am making sure I have what I need ahead of time. Send some running vibes my way!

Shout out to Cake Bams for sending me the best artisan rice cakes that I’ve ever had. These health-ish cakes were covered in goodness. The four flavors, love you matcha, chocolate chip crookie, salt in the dark and birthday erryday! You’ve had flavored rice cakes but never none like this. So such a sweet and amazing treat to end my 4 day workout week!!

Kid Life

We celebrated my youngest 5th birthday. That means we do not have any more babies in our house. She is officially a big girl! This is also the anniversary of the blood clot that almost took my life having her. I am grateful for her. She is like a fresh breath of life. She is an amazing child. She had the day to go to the movies to see Lego Movie 2: The second part. She honestly fell asleep but it wasn’t because of the movie it was because she woke up super early and excited to see what we had planned for her day. The movie itself was good having a lot of parts for the adults too.  She also went out for lunch, took in a lot of phone calls and Facetime from family and got the gifts she wanted. We also had a party for her with her classmates at school and that was what she wanted. I was glad that as parents instead of pushing our agenda. I am learning to take cues from the kids on how they want to be celebrated.  In our house birthdays are always a big deal because it’s the one day that should be yours. We enjoyed cake at home so this week my workouts had to match them slices!  My other kids have enjoyed their 3 day week and a snow day.  Pray for my grocery bill. They can eat. I enjoy watching them enjoy what kids should be enjoying.  As long as my kids are happy and healthy that is a big win!  I am extremely blessed to have the children that I have!

noey

Personal Life

This week I took out time to get me together. It takes a lot to juggle the many hats that I wear at any given time. I am amazed at each passing day just to get to the next. I do not think I am some wonder but its a lot in our house and lives to maintain it all.  However so much joy I have found in reconstructing what I want and what I need and finding alternatives to getting the things I want in a different way.

I was able to celebrate Galentine’s Day with one of my favorite humans, K at True Food in King of Prussia. This is a great spot if you want to eat healthy and without regret meal but still have an amazing food experience.  I had the Dashi Ramen bowl that had the right amount of kick to it. I also for dessert had the flourless chocolate cake. I know what your thinking-how can this be good?  Well it was amazing. It was served warm with vanilla ice-cream on top drizzled in caramel sauce and it was super delicious. Can’t forget about cocktails. I had War of the Roses (keep in mind it was Valentine’s Day weekend) which had pomegranate infused vodka, rose petal, pineapple and orange. From first sip to last it was definitely memorable. True Food also serves an amazing brunch on the weekends and has a kids menu in case you have to travel with the kiddies. Thanks True Food for an amazing dinner date with my boo. Also the restaurant is super beautiful. If you love taking pictures for the gram, this is your place. The green is beautiful and its so open and clean including the see through kitchen area.

date

I don’t always get to see all of my girlfriends as often as I would like. Many of my closest friends live out-of-state. However K and I are able to have monthly dates. Monthly dates help to keep us close and being around each other is pure joy. If you have good friends nurture those relationships. I try to keep in contact with my out-of-state girlfriends with messages and videos as often as possible!

Events

spread love

This Saturday join me and the rest of TCP as we “Spread Love” event. You can either donate goods, help spread love, or attend and bring ideas as to what can be done in the community.  One winner will receive $500 to make that idea happen. Let’s come together and support one another!

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Diana Anello from Bredenbeck’s 2018 best in taste and show

I will be attending this Sunday Variety, The Children’s Charity of Delaware County “Let them eat cake under the stars” event. You can get tickets to this amazing fundraiser as with your cost of ticket allows you unlimited drinks as well as samples of some amazing cakes from the area. Who doesn’t like cake?  I will be doing my morning run and workout just so be sure I can eat cake and help deserving kids and juveniles in my area live a quality life.

I have a special project that I am working with on Monday with some of my fellow bloggers that I will do a special blog for on Tuesday.  All I can say is my workout game got to be strong it’s going to be one yummy treat!

Also March is coming! It’s Women’s History month and we are going to be giving you some amazing interviews this year! Be on the lookout!

Today is also national margarita so if you’re able and like them grab one!!

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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

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: We got some questions

Is it okay to air out a grievance about a company or individual who didn’t offer a good service or a faulty product? 

If they have a social media page for their work than yes.  Business is business.  In this social media age, how you deal with folks will air itself on social media.  So if you got to Toys R Us (I say them because last Christmas I aired them out) and they failed, reach out to their customer service.  If that gets you now where its fair game.  I find often times you can get them to respond better if you drop a dime on them on social media.  Make sure when you do that you are okay with others seeing it.  Most times these are not private comments.  To business owners, it would be in your best interest to make even mistakes right, social media has been known to end a business as customers have been known to drag someone for filth.

Is it okay that a grandparent doesn’t babysit a child? 

Yes grandparents are not expected to baby sit.  They are not the golden ticket to your social life now that you are a parent.  Many grandparents are out here living their best lives now that they are no longer tied down to kids of their own.  However grandparents should be involved in their grandchildren lives in other forms.  This means supporting them in school functions, attending birthday parties, holidays, etc A grandparent who doesn’t do these things should be held to a higher standard than them not simply wanting to babysit at will.  If you are experiencing other issues where the grandparents have checked out, it may be some deeper issues. I know some grandparents who do not and miss out on a lot of experiences and it comes out in how the kids interact with them.  Again they will lose precious time, try not to forget that.

How do you deal with a mate who has checked out emotionally?

One you have to communicate and find out why.  Find out if that mate even knows it.  Sometimes they may have things on their hearts and minds and makes it hard to even know that they are missing in action. You are not a mind reader, simply ask. If there is resistance.  Give it some time and space.  However you will have to revisit and if the resistance is still there, try counseling.  Do NOT nag them.  Trust me no one wants that. You are both grown so talking and communicating although not easy still has to take place.

Do you have to exchange gifts for the holidays with your mate?

I think I may have talked about this before but no.  This is something that is between couples.  Some couples do so much all year-long that they don’t see the value in giving gifts to one another. They not only give gifts but they invest in their mate, i.e taking them to the things their mate likes, getting them gifts for no reason, bringing flowers just because its Friday, getting tickets to their mate’s favorite team-overall thoughtfulness. I would opt in some other tradition.  I think that couples should build together.  Maybe instead of gifts you make a new pot of savings.  Maybe make the pot a vacation together, purchase a house, etc. You can decorate it, and place money from both partners.  This way you have something visible to show that you are moving towards goals. However as many complain about these commercial holidays many don’t find out their partners love language and definitely do NOT show them they love them all year. Love is not gifts.  Love should be how you speak, how you protect, how you engage.  Do not give your mate the excuse of not giving gifts on top of an already raggedy relationship.  What is the point in losing all the way around?  No a gift will not mask things but everyone likes to receive.  Its better to have a solid relationship than a bunch of stuff but its horrible to have nothing both in gifts and treatment as well and then try to hide under the no holiday guide as well.  Do better in how you love and show love.  All the ones complaining about getting all year, don’t mean they AND their mate feels that they are being loved on all year-long. Only you know that, also if your mate still wants to give don’t make them feel bad or pressure them to have the same mindset as you do.  Give them a gift because they want to for the holidays.  Relationships isn’t about being one-sided or going along with the dominating mate either.  It should be mutually respected and enjoyed by all.