Monday, July 15, 2013

  Our First Vegan Road Trip and Stay in Philly!

We recently decided, for a variety of reasons, to become fully vegan.  Although I have been a vegetarian for almost a decade, the switch has made me realize how much we depended on eggs and cheese to eat when out or traveling! Since we were staying with family, but did not want to burden them with any of our specific needs, we brought a lot from home!  

This is what we found most helpful ::

  • milk in an aseptic box 
  • cereal *the good stuff*
  • variety of fruit 
  • variety of veggies 
  • canned beans for salads 
  • a few granola type bars 
  • dried fruit 
Basically anything simple, easy and what did not exactly need to be refrigerated, because we did not want to take up too much of their space.  

My most amazing tofu scramble from The Local 44
 - home fries were to die for!
What we loved the most, you ask?  The Local 44 Bar - in West Philly - that had some AMAZING vegan food but also food for the rest of America so everyone could eat there.  I think in 2 days, we ate there 3 times!  

Photos from Daddykins and I exploring the city after a run by the river!  That is the Art Museum ("Rocky Steps") in the background.  And there is me, on a random pretty staircase, suffering from the thick Philly air!

Presents for everyone!

Again, I have neglected this idea for a while, but find myself back here, with a ton of fresh ideas.  June was the month of gift giving and traveling, so we had quite a bit of fun!  My college friends came for the day, so I whipped up a low cost gift basket for them.  I finally got to meet my soon-to-be niece and Daddykins got some baby practice in, which means we brought presents for momma and baby on our visit.  And of course, it was Father's day, so I needed to think of something nice for my step dad!

My first gift basket of the month - the lime green theme!  It was for my best girlfriends who came up for a visit.  It happened to be close to one of their birthdays, so I made a basket for them both, since I didn't send a present for the January birthday gal!

  • green basket - $1 
  • basket filler and paper - $2 
  • stickers (my friend loves them) - $2
  • photo book - $1
  • picture frame - $3
  • photos, 25 printed - $6.75
  • Glee game - $8
  • Jellies - free (leftovers from xmas presents)
  • CD of our favorite songs - free (already had them!)
  • wrapping paper and ribbon - free 
So for a gift that covers 2 birthdays, less than $25.  They loved it, it looked amazing and it did not break my bank!

My second gift basket of the month - "play ball" theme!  I was fortunate to be running through my hometown on father's day and was able to give my step-dad his present!  His gift is a little more 'over the top' than I would usually like to spend or do... However, I feel like I must make up for my 20 years of just giving peanut "m&ms" for Christmas, birthday and father's day.  So I step up my game a bit with him.  

  •  My step dad LOVES Golden Corral (me, not so much), but our little city just built one, so I hopped on board and tried to get him a gift certificate... after trying FIVE TIMES to get in the door, I finally got one, for $40
  • Tickets to a baseball game - I figured since he would be traveling to eat, he could stay for a bit and take in america's past time... tickets for four were only $50 and our seats were awesome!
  • Gas card - he didn't really need it, but I thought it tied the gift together and made it more of a carefree day - $20 
  • Basket - $1
  • Bow - $1 
  • 'flair' aka the ball - $1
  • basket filler - $1
So our total was a little out there, at $144, but that is including all 4 tickets, not just his.  And like I said, it is money and time well spent because I feel like I need to make up for lost time, and we got to spend a whole day together, which was amazing.  

And now we are on to the new momma and baby!  I had a lot of fun with this one, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law was very thankful and LOVED the chocolate!  It was simple, but had some heartfelt touches.  

  • First and foremost - the chocolate.  I went with organic because momma was not using formula yet for the baby, and I didn't want to cause harm.  $12 
  • Tea - took some time to research what was ok for new mother's to have, and I think I got it right!  $6 
  • Cute little sign "a daughter is a gift sent from above to treasure and forever love" $4 
  • a very cute press on/press off owl night light $10 
All in all, she loved it and really appreciated the chocolate!  I think she was very touched that someone thought of her and not just the baby.  

The price was a little high, at $32, but it was much cheaper than sending flowers, fruit or pre-made gift basket that I was thinking about doing just after the baby was born.  And I know she would do the same for me, or even more, so it felt nice to do something sweet for her!!