Family Getaway Postcard Inn St. Pete Beach

A few weeks ago, our family, along with two other Orlando families,ventured to St. Pete beach on the Gulf Coast to celebrate a little friend's 8th birthday at the Postcard Inn. I was attracted to the aesthetics of this trendy spot since it was transformed from a Travelodge in Read more

Best Play Spots in Paris

It's almost three weeks since we returned from Europe, and I've finally sifted through my photos. I felt like my first post should talk about the fun playgrounds/parks in Paris. What an awesome experience to see the girls jumping right into the mix at playgrounds many miles from their Read more

Fun Travel Prep for Kids - Paris & London

It's not everyday you travel over the pond to such amazing places like Paris and London. I decided to start the journey for me and Mia long before we packed our bags for the airport. Here are a few fun things we did to get ready and excited! My brother sent Read more

Hidden Gem: Sand Key Florida

My other half planned a short getaway for our nine year anniversary. I wasn't exactly sure where we were headed, but knew it was somewhere around Clearwater Beach. As we drove over the bridge to Clearwater, I kept expecting a turn off at one of the many beach hotels. To my surprise Read more

Westin Cape Coral Weekend Getaway

Most of you who follow my Instagram or Twitter know that we had a fabulously fun weekend at the Westin in Cape Coral, FL a few weeks ago. The property became a Westin in December of 2013 and underwent a plethora of renovations, which I believe puts it in the best Read more

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

We finally had the chance to visit Disney's Art of Animation Resort this week for a little staycation. It is located where construction on the unfinished half of Disney's Pop Century Resort was started, but later abandoned after 9/11. The resort is the first to be built in the complex Read more

Meeting Winter - Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Most of the world has seen (or at least heard of) the movie Dolphin Tale. The story highlights the rescue of a wounded dolphin who ends up losing one very important important thing... a tale! The Clearwater Marine Aquarium works hard in the movie to create a prosthetic tail just Read more

Spooktacular Fun!

We love to visit SeaWorld during Halloween for their annual Spooktacular event. The girls are obsessed with the many creatures of the sea and SeaWorld does a great job tying in trick or treating fun with learning about our world’s oceans.

Spooktacular takes place weekends in October! Get all the details here. 

SeaWorld Spooktacular

Bubbles are a must at Spooktacular.

SeaWorld Spooktacular

Meeting new friends who wanted to dance.

IMG_1242

And another friend who wanted to dance.

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando, Travel Leave a comment

Florida Ocean Adventure

Mia is doing really well in school, and some parents may disagree, but I believe hands on experiences are a great way to reward a child that meets their goals. Plus, I needed a day to reconnect with the girls and a Florida ocean adventure was calling our name. We had plans to head south from Orlando to visit friends in Jupiter, FL Friday afternoon. I felt like there had to be a fun stop off on the way.

A quick Google search “Marine Centers on Treasure Coast” provided me with a link to the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center in Hutchinson Island, FL… About 2 hours south of Orlando. Perfect!

The website said stingray feeding was at 1 pm, followed by a turtle talk at 2 pm and so we were on our way.

Touch Tank Florida Oceanographic

First stop, the Touch Tank!

 

Florida Oceanographic Center

Next stop, the lagoon to say hi to friends.

The volunteer staff on hand were great with the kids and extremely informative. We went on a Friday afternoon so we were three of about 12 folks there around 1 pm for stingray feeding. The volunteers even urged me to get more involved holding a sea urchin or two instead of just taking pics.

Florida Oceanographic Center

Then lots more learning disguised as fun.

Hutchinson Island

Perfect end to a perfect day!

Lucky for us the Oceanographic Coastal Center is right on the beach at Hutchinson Island! The beach was deserted (but had lifeguards). We opened our picnic lunch and played tag with the waves.

So, the details – this is a 57-acre marine life nature center located on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, FL situated between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean. As a leading state and nationally recognized environmental organization, Florida Oceanographic offers Educational Programs to people of all ages and conducts Research and Restoration programs that lead to healthy coastal ecosystems.

The cost to enter is minimal and I encourage anyone traveling or living close by to visit this amazing place and make a donation to preserve our Florida oceans.

Just about 40 minutes south is the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach. You can read about it here.

Follow our family travel & food adventures live on Instagram and Twitter! Happy travels!

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Introducing Ricky Ricotta

We’ve been talking a lot about travel here at Mamma Mia, but I’d never give up the chance to share a new children’s book!

You might be familiar with a character named Captain Underpants? Of course! If you are a parent today, I’m sure you’ve heard of this guy. Dav Pilkey, author of Captain Underpants has a new series and I’m thrilled to be able to giveaway a four-pack  – Ricky Ricotta.

Ricky Ricotta Giveaway

New Series from Dav Pilkey

Little known fact, author Dav Pilkey suffered from ADHD as a child and through his struggles developed characters like Captain Underpants! What an amazing story of overcoming a challenge. This series is illustrated by Dan Santat.

Ricky Ricotta is a little mouse with BIG problems. Every day he is picked on by the neighborhood bullies. He lives in Squeakyville with his mother and father, and being an only mouse, he is often lonely. That is until something big happens. A giant flying robot enters Ricky’s life and an unlikely friendship is born! Together, Ricky and his Robot must save the planet from a galaxy bursting with bad guys.

How To Win:

  • Enter a comment below with the name of your child’s favorite (or your childhood fave) book
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment with the tweet link
  • Like Scholastic Parents on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did

I’ll contact a winner on September 30. This giveaway is open to residents of US only. Prizes and samples courtesy of Scholastic.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 9.52.08 PM

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways 26 Comments

Disney on Ice presents Frozen

Diney on Ice presents Frozen

Disney on Ice presents Frozen

Rumor has it that this show is sold out in Orlando. Don’t believe everything you hear! There are tickets left and those procrastinators out there (like myself) can purchase them for this weekend’s performances.

Unfortunately I don’t have tickets to give away this time around, but ticket prices are really reasonable. There is new availability this week for seats in the upper level starting at $20.

Disney on Ice presents Frozen show schedule for Amway Center:

Thursday, September 4 at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, September 5 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 6 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 7 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Produced by our friends at Feld Entertainment, Disney on Ice presents Frozen Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt will kick off its world tour in Orlando this week. That makes this show extra special!

We are attending the preview show tomorrow so if you are still on the fence, follow our experience on Instagram or Twitter to get the real time scoop.

You can also follow the show’s producer on Twitter @nicolefeld or @disneyonice or on Facebook for more info.

We were invited to attend the Disney on Ice presents Frozen show as guests of Feld Entertainment. All thoughts and opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my own.

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Little Passports – A Ticket To A Global Adventure

Little Passports Review

Exciting package from Little Passports

I love to read about far off places. When I have the chance, I love to travel to far off places. My kids seem to have acquired this same passion for exploring the globe, which is why I am pretty obsessed with Little Passports.

Last year, we traveled to Paris and London. While it’s not in the budget to travel internationally often, that doesn’t mean we have to stop exploring.

Sign up for a Little Passports subscription and your kiddo can follow Sam and Sofia on their exciting adventures around the US and the world. This is a super fun way to inspire love and understanding of the world while learning about geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way.

Here’s how it works – Each month kids follow characters Sam and Sofia as they embark on a new country adventure. The first month’s Explorer Kit arrives in a suitcase and contains everything your child needs to get started: a letter from Sam and Sofia, a map, a passport, stickers, access to online games and more. Country specific packages filled with fun souvenirs, letters, stickers, photos, activity sheets and more arrive every month thereafter.

Our first destination was Brazil. Mia spent hours looking through the contents of her Brazil package. There was even an amethyst from mine in Maraba. Now she is asking where Sam and Sofia will go next.

Most of us don’t have the budget, or time, to go trotting across the globe, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop exploring! This is my new “go to” gift for kid’s birthdays and holidays for sure.

Happy Exploring!

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DK Travel Guide Giveaway – London, Paris, New York & Italy

Win 4-Pack of Travel Guide Books!

Win 4-Pack of Travel Guide Books!

The DK travel guide covers are recognizable to just about everyone. Hard to believe that DK’s Eyewitness Travel guides have been around for 20 years. This summer, guides to iconic destinations like Italy, Ireland, London, Paris, and New York City received a makeover.

As many of you know we embarked on a journey to Paris and London a few months back. We pulled from multiple resources for our trip, but this new revamped London guide is definitely a perfect one stop shop for your London travel. Mia had a great time perusing the book reminiscing about our London trip.

I love to give away books on Mamma Mia, but especially travel related books! I’m excited to give away a 4-pack from DK including the new London,Paris, Italy and New York City guide books. Perfect for planning a trip or just dreaming about one! The pack is valued at $100.

Travel Guide Book Giveaway

4 Travel Guides Worth $100

How to Win:

  • Leave a comment letting me know which location you’d most like to visit out of the four books.
  • Follow DK Travel (@dk_travel) on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • Like DK Travel on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did.

I’ll select a winner on Monday, August 4 at 3 pm.

Happy Travels!

This contest is open to residents of US/Canada only. I was provide with a copy of the DK London guide for review. All opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my own. Photographs and text reproduced by permission of DK, a division of Penguin Random House ©2014 by DK.

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Travel 16 Comments

#Snacks2Go for Summer Travel & Day Trips

Click for 10 Tasty Travel Snacks

Click for 10 Tasty Travel Snacks #Snacks2Go

As many of you know, when I’m not exploring new places and food with my family, I’m spending my days with Produce for Kids. We work everyday to spread the healthy eating message to families with tips and easy produce packed recipes.

This week we are hosting a Twitter party with Bolthouse Farms and my fabulous friend Estela Schnelle from Weekly Bite to chat about #Snacks2Go for those summer road trips and long pool days. Travel and on the go snacking is always a hurdle in our family so I’m really excited to hear and share tips with others. Click the image to get our recent round-up of snacks!

Join us! You can RSVP here or simply hop on the hashtag #Snacks2Go on Twitter Wednesday evening at 9 pm ET. There will be fun giveaways from Bolthouse and Produce for Kids!

#Snacks2Go Twitter Party June 25 9 pm ET

#Snacks2Go Twitter Party June 25 9 pm ET

Follow our family travel & food adventures live on Instagram and Twitter! 

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Enchanted Evenings At Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf Astoria Enchanted Evenings

Waldorf Astoria Pool Entrance

The Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, near Disney, has an unimaginable amount family fun going on this summer during Enchanted Evenings. Enchanted Evenings schedule of events happen every weekend through Labor Day.

We had the chance to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, in a two bedroom suite perfect for families, during the kick-off of Enchanted Evenings. The girls finished school on Wednesday so it was the perfect way to celebrate summer.

Enchanted Evenings at Waldorf had fun poolside activities for the kids including Water Walkers. (Take a look at this video of Mia taking advantage.) She never stopped laughing. Other family friendly activities taking place around the hotel were a Weird Science Ice Cream Social, Regatta Sailboat Decorating, Kids Club Astoria After Dark and Family S’mores Night. The full schedule of events is here.

We spent a lot of time at the zero entry pool, perfect for the girls. I heard several guests raving about the Lime In he Coconut poolside cocktail and had to try it out. This drink was heavenly! Just a five minute walk from the Waldorf pool is the Hilton Bonnet Creek (where there’s another schedule of family activities for Summer Blast) pool and lazy river. I’ll have a post coming ASAP on Hilton Bonnet Creek’s festivities, which you are welcome to enjoy as a guest at Waldorf.

Ice Cream Social Waldorf Astoria

Ice Cream Social Waldorf Astoria

Oscar’s for breakfast was the highlight of our mornings. The breakfast buffet left us full through lunch. I couldn’t get enough of the fresh squeezed juices like – carrot and watermelon. The girls had to be carried away from the pastry display.

Service, in true Waldorf style, was impeccable and even Mia commented on the friendliness of the staff. As a testament to the family fun we had, our 3-yr-old cried in the lobby saying she never wanted to leave.

Summer rates during Enchanted Evenings start at $249. This location is perfect for your Orlando staycation (like us) or families visiting Orlando on summer break.

Follow our family travel & food adventures live on Instagram and Twitter! 

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Waldorf Astoria

The girls in the Waldorf lobby looking out to pool

Enchanted Evenings Waldorf Astoria

Relaxing after a fun filled day! 

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando, Travel Leave a comment

The Baby Tree Book Giveaway

The Baby Tree is a new super cute book that plays off of a child’s confusion of exactly where babies come from. While I do think there’s a time when this answer should be explained in detail, for now, I’m happy to share this playful book with my girls.

The Baby Tree Book Giveaway

The Baby Tree Book Giveaway

Answering this question has never been this easy or entertaining! In the book, a curious little boy asks everyone from his babysitter to the mailman where babies come from… getting all sorts of funny answers along the way before his parents gently set him straight.

The Baby Tree is a new book from Sophie Blackall. She is the illustrator of several award-winning books, including Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges, Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff, Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, and the Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows.

I’m excited to be able to give a copy of the book away along with a soft kids blanket!

How to Enter:

  • Leave a comment below with the funniest story you were told about where babies come from
  • Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #thebabytree and tag (The Mamma Mia Blog) @amandamkeefer
  • Follow Penguin Kids on Twitter or Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did so

This giveaway is open to US residents. I’ll notify a winner on June 20 at 3 pm.

Sample and prizing courtesy of Penguin Books USA

Be sure to follow our family adventures live on Instagram and Twitter!

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Parenting, Prego 25 Comments

Family Getaway Postcard Inn St. Pete Beach

Postcard Inn

A few weeks ago, our family, along with two other Orlando families,ventured to St. Pete beach on the Gulf Coast to celebrate a little friend’s 8th birthday at the Postcard Inn. I was attracted to the aesthetics of this trendy spot since it was transformed from a Travelodge in 2009 and was super excited to finally check it out in person.

Postcard is extremely unique with a 70s style hipster Florida ambiance… think faded photographs of surfers and other beach scenes on the walls of the rooms and  couches and chairs that look like they’ve been handpicked from a thrift store. This is not your run of the mill beach property.

The kids loved the outdoor movie on Friday evening in the garden. The birthday girls’ mom had the necessities to make S’mores so our the crew was able to enjoy sweet snacks while watching a kiddie flick. A local surf instructor, recommended by the front desk, gave the girls an hour long surf lesson Saturday morning. This was the highlight of their weekend for sure.

The hotel pool is huge. Nothing fancy, but reminisce of your 70s beach side pool with the perfect view. Wait staff circle the lounge chairs to take Postcard Inn St. Pete Beachfood and drink orders, but during busy times, I recommend popping over to the snack window or stopping off at the bar to order.

The clientele was a mix of locals hanging out at the beach side bar, families and couples. The beach on the spring Saturday we were there was definitely more calm and family friendly during the morning hours from 9 am – 12 pm. After that, it was bustling with locals and early 20 somethings who wanted to be stationed near the beach bar on a Saturday afternoon.

Rates are reasonable and Florida resident rates are almost always available. The garden rooms were we stayed went through a complete overhaul last year and the poolside cabana rooms will be updated next fall.

If you are looking for the swank surroundings and service you’d receive at the Ritz, this isn’t the spot for you. However if you are looking for an eclectic laid back beach weekend, I say this is the place to be.

Postcard Inn

Follow our family travel & food adventures live on Instagram and Twitter!

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PS – The giant swan float traveled with our group from Orlando. Not property of Postcard Inn.

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 1 Comment
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