Florida Ocean Adventure

The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a hidden gem on the Treasure Coast. Perfect for families and a great learning experience. Read more

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

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

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

Giveaways

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

A Letter From The Slowest Generation

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Ready to Run!

It’s times like these that make me very happy to have this little blog of mine… I would have posted this in the comment section of Mr. Hellikers’s article in the Wall Street Journal, but you aren’t able to leave comments, because apparently I have to subscribe to WSJ ($26.99 for first three months) to be able to have an opinion. This is a great way to ensure editorial only receives comments from the most dedicated (paying) readers. Good job WSJ.

If you haven’t had a chance to click through the article... Mr. Helliker attempts to make the point that the current generation of runners is the “slowest generation” because they partake in fun runs that do not keep track of race times. While I’m on the cusp of being a Gen Y member, born in 1980,which I believe is the generation to which, based on his article, he is referring to (20 – 33 years of age on average), I disagree. I decided to publish my response below.

Dear Mr. Helliker,

As I ran the Color Run with my 7-year-old daughter last Sunday I realized that, yes, there were a lot of walkers in this “run”, but I also realized there were a lot of people out walking who might otherwise still be in bed because they aren’t a trained marathon runner like yourself. There were lots of families running together. I’m sure they felt like this was a fun way to get the entire family out for a fun run that wasn’t super intimidating. I’m sure you are aware of the recent reports on childhood obesity? Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Crazy, right, that this happened under the watchful eye of your very “fast” generation? Do you  disagree that we as Americans should be doing everything in our power to make fitness fun for our youth? Even if that means not tracking race times?

I was in the company of a few friends Sunday who aren’t typical 5K runners, but after partaking in the Color Run, felt like maybe a 5K wasn’t so bad. Wow, what a concept, introducing folks to the world of running who wouldn’t typically see themselves as runners. It took making something fun and not-intimidating to give them the confidence to want to do another 5K. Maybe even one that tracks their race time, maybe over a few years, giving them the confidence to run a marathon.

So please Mr. Helliker, you continue to run your marathons and finish in the top 11%… Make sure we all know about it. It’s because of people like you that many people feel intimidated to get out and run. It’s people like you who would make it uncomfortable for me to introduce a 5K to my 7-year-old daughter.

Would be great to see an article about what we can do to stop the removal of physical education programs from our schools or maybe what advice you have for first time runners. Instead of bashing an entire generation, you might want to use your extensive running knowledge and expertise to help better it.

Sincerely,

A member of the “slowest” generation

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Fitness & Health, Parenting 4 Comments

Must Have Preschooler App

Endless ABC is available for iPhone and iPad.

Endless ABC is available for iPhone and iPad

A mom at my daughter’s school alerted me to Endless ABC, aka the best preschooler app ever.

I simply could not resist sharing with all my other parent friends out there! In just a month, my two-year-old is able to identify all of her letters. She has also caught onto the phonetics that go along with each letter.

Word like HILARIOUS are introduced to toddler's vocab.

Word like HILARIOUS are introduced to preschooler’s vocab.

 

With this app, kids select a word and then the playful monsters throw the letters about. It’s up to your preschooler to put the word back together. As they drag each letter to its spot, the sound the letter makes blares out in a funny and catchy way. Once your child completes the word, the crowd cheers and the lovable monsters demonstrate the definition of the word.

Whether you’re commuting or waiting for your meal at the restaurant, this is the perfect way to keep your preschooler occupied and learning at the same time. You are welcome.

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 1 Comment

Zoe’s Room (No Sisters Allowed)

The girls love sharing a room... now.

The girls love sharing a room… now.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, it is obvious that my girls have recently moved into the same bedroom. When I heard my friends at Scholastic had a new book, Zoe’s Room (No Sisters Allowed) by Bethanie Deeney Murguia, I knew they had to be spying in on my life.

Win a copy below!

Win a copy below!

We recently moved Charli over to Mia’s room to free up a little space in the house for a guest room. It wasn’t the easiest transition as both girls were accustomed to their very own space. As time passed, it has turned out be one of the best decisions I’ve made.

In this super cute book, Zoe goes through the same thing I imagine Mia going through. She has to figure out how to make her “system” work along with her little sister instead of against her.

In the book, Zoe is the Queen of the whole Universe… but her favorite part in the Universe is her own room, where she hosts tea parties, builds empires out of blocks and gazes out upon the stars.

Then her parents announce that her little sister is moving in to Zoe’s room. Little sisters aren’t good at tea parties (too rude), block building (too clumsy) and starwatching (just plain too young!). Turns out the new little roommate is a pain until Zoe discovers that even her smallest subjects can be useful in a storm.

Take a peak inside the book at the clip below.

Want to win your very own copy of Zoe’s Room (No Sisters Allowed)? I have two copies to giveaway!

How to Enter:

  • Leave a tip in the comments for parents moving siblings into the same bedroom. Or, leave a funny anecdote about your own experience.

For extra entries:

  • Follow @mammamiafl on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did so.
  • Follow @scholastic on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did so.
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a link to your tweet.

I’ll choose a winner Friday, June 21 at 3 pm. The giveaway is limited to U.S. entrants. Good luck!

Scholastic provided me with a copy of Zoe’s Room (No Sisters Allowed) for review. All prizing is courtesy of Scholastic. Opinions delivered on The Mamma Mia Blog are my very own. 

 

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Parenting 8 Comments

Oh Joy! It’s Mosquito Season.

If there is a mosquito within one mile of me, I am sure to have ten huge welts on my  legs. You’d think after living in Florida for ten years, I would have developed some type of immunity…  No such luck. I now have two little girls who have unfortunately acquired my mosquito magnet gene.

With the Florida weather heating up, hearing from Cutter last month was more than timely. As you know, Mamma Mia is not a review focused blog, and I only work with about 10% of the companies who contact me. However, when it’s a company,like Cutter, that is aligned with my family, I jump at the chance to talk about it.

Cutter generously sent my mosquito magnet magnet family a handful of their amazing products. We had an outdoor movie night with a few friends last weekend and had fun testing them out. We challenged  those pesky Florida mosquitos to come and get us. Cutter Natural, was great for the entire family. My fave was the Cutter Dry, with no oil or grease and of course the Citroguard candles!

Mia loving the Cutter Natural spray

Mia loving the Cutter Natural spray

Cutter SSSS

Cutter Dry – No oil or grease!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutter Citrogaurd Candle

Cutter Citroguard Candle

More Cutter products to keep off the Florida bugs!

More Cutter products to keep off the Florida bug life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, a mosquito free movie night!

And now, a mosquito free movie night!

Cutter offers great tips, giveaways and more on their Facebook page. You can find Cutter on Facebook here and on Pinterest here.  

I received complimentary products and compensation from Cutter. However, all opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my very own. 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment

Mother’s Day Pinterest Public Service Announcement

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all my moms out there! Second, I have been pondering over a certain topic for a few weeks now and decided Mother’s Day would be a great time to clear the air.

While I love, love Pinterest and all it offers me, I am 100 percent sure Pinterest has created a new breed of craft Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 10.56.52 AMobsessed moms. As if we don’t already have enough pressure, we are now sort of expected to produce that over the top valentine with a quirky message tag or the ultimate handmade whimsical teacher’s gift.

In all honesty, I am being a bit sarcastic in this post as I do love Pinterest. I’m an organizational freak so Pinterest is my paradise. It also allows me to be crafty, which by default I am not. But, I really do think Pinterest has created a new kind of standard for us moms. Who knows if the fad will pass or we will continue to keep doing things bigger and better until we drop.

I have seen the transformation in myself over the past year from Mia’s Movie Night (see exhibit A in previous post) to the valentines the girls sent out this year to classmates. ie. Rock candy with cute message “You Rock Valentine!”

No real answer here… Just a Mamma Mia Public Service Announcement for your Mother’s Day brain.

Happy Mother’s Day! And, take the day off from pinning. Oh, and when you get back on Pinterest tomorrow, follow me

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment

Mia’s Birthday Night At The Movies

Thinking of doing a movie night birthday? I have a few simple ideas to help you along the way. I Googled “movie night” up and down and around when planning for Mia’s party. Shave some time off your planning and check out the tips below! We have an outdoor movie screen and projector which is great for movie nights. If you are in the market for the big screen, check out Amazon.com for the most competitive prices. And now… lights, camera, action!

 

Snagged popcorn bags and glow bracelets at the Dollar Store. Table cloth from Party City.

 

Cake courtesy of fabulous Aunt Christy. Find popcorn cake ideas for all skill levels on Pinterest. Click image to link!

 

Popcorn bins from Dollar Store. Table cloth from Party City. Candy and confetti from Target.

 

Shoebox wrapped with red wrapping paper and printed Lights, Camera Action tags and Rice Krispie stars for a takeaway favor.

 

Lots of fun was had a Mia's Movie Night!

Lots of fun was had at Mia’s Movie Night!

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Home, Parenting Leave a comment

Ear Infections & Dairy: My Story

Babies and toddlers today seem to be plagued by ear infections. What gives? Well, I’m no doctor, that’s for sure, but I do know that I have some info to share based on my own experience.

My littlest bean had eight ear infections in eight months. Not wanting to pump her with another round of antibiotics, our pediatrician sent us off to the ENT. Before our visit I started researching. (ie. Googling any reference to ear infections in toddlers.) I found sites saying all kinds of things, but the one that stood out indicated that consumption of dairy could be a factor in reoccurring ear infections. I even had tips from friends on Facebook that said dairy could be the culprit.

The Ever Interesting Ear

So here’s what I found…. According to the Center for Food Allergies, A milk allergy is by far the most common cause of ear infections. Removing dairy from the diet will often times result in complete resolution of this problem. For some reason, many pediatricians overlook the possibility of food allergies, especially milk allergies to chronic ear infections.

We did still pay a visit to the ENT, who immediately recommended tubes. I asked we hold off for three months while I try removing the daily two sippy cups of milk and yogurt from her diet.

Last April, we switched over to Almond milk, did yogurt once a week and limited cheese to the special occasion pizza. It’s been nine months and not a single ear infection. Why was I never privy to this info and why did I have to search for it?

I love dairy and I love a big glass of milk every now and then. I am in no way the Dairy Debbie Downer. However, it is amazing to realize the power of the foods we put into our body and how we react individually. As busy parents, we look to our pediatricians to offer us this information, but that doesn’t always happen.

I am happy to have helped even just one parent with my post. Feel free to leave me a comment. Again, I am not medically certified in any way, but I am a mom with a very credible story to share.

Here’s another reference article:  HealthyChild.com 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 1 Comment

The Kiddie Journal

It’s extremely therapeutic to get your thoughts down on paper or in a journal. It helps to look at things from a different perspective and often times helps identify the root of what seems like a big issue. My big girl has been super emotional lately. I’m not sure if it’s the pressures of first grade or what it could be, but I decided to try some kiddie journal therapy.

Kiddie Journal

My plan started with talking about things that make her happy and things that make her sad/anxious and the best ways to react to these situations. I purchased a large drawing sketch pad and encouraged her to draw pictures of things that make her feel a certain way. While the journal started out as a platform to deal with emotions, it morphed into a daily journal of what she did each day.

Her emotions seem to be back in check (as much as they can be for a six-year-old) and she loves her new daily journal. We sit together and look at all the fun things we do, no matter how simple they might be.

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 1 Comment

Back to School

There are pros and cons to this infamous time of year. The biggest pro for me is being back on a schedule. There’s a certain sense of calm knowing exactly where your kids will be each day and for exactly how long. No camp coordination till next year! Woo hoo!

Off to conquer 1st Grade and 2-Yr-Old Class

Now the cons – being back on a schedule. Yes, it’s a con too. This means the snooze button is not an option. This means there are lunches to be packed and bed times to be had. This also means a new year of math homework for my 1st grader. This means another year closer to the year when I can’t help anymore because my math skills are on a third grade level. (Hell to me is the equivalent of life as an accountant) But, shhhhh… I’m good at pretending math is sheer awesomeness.

Regardless of pros and cons, back to school can be fun. Mia doesn’t wear a uniform and I’ve always been pretty stringent on what she wears. When I told her she could pick her own outfits this year as long as they met school dress code she nearly passed out.

Twinkle Toes

She has spent the past three nights selecting outfits for the following day. I even gave into the three year request for Twinkle Toes. (See photo on right for reference) Oh, and the toes light up!! I’m more of a Sperry girl myself so these are kind of out of my element. Mia’s whimsical self needs creative outlets. I’m stepping out of the way.

A friend of mine has an awesome blog over at Parenting.com. She too has seen the light and is letting her little one lead the fashion way this year. Her post How Cynthia Rowley Changed My Daughter’s Life  is a must read for any fashion focused parents.

May the force be with you parents!

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Fashion, Parenting Leave a comment
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