10 Reasons Everything Is Awesome at the LEGOLAND Hotel

Our five-year-old's birthday wish was to spend the night at the new Florida LEGOLAND® Hotel. And quite honestly, I was pretty pumped to check it out myself. We took advantage of the Florida resident rate (35% off) and were set. There are always extra deals and promos here. I Read more

Park City, Utah Skiing With The Family

It's been awhile since the entire family went west, but it was time! I had a few snickers when I announced our plans to embark on a ski adventure with the entire family to Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. But, then again places that people don't Read more

The Newest Vacation Rental in Orlando

I'm so excited to share my most recent article in PLAYGROUND magazine. Friends from my hometown in Pennsylvania have created the most amazing vacation rental space here in Orlando. Click through to read about the inspiration behind this awesome home and how you can book your stay.   Follow our family 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

Giveaways

Soar With Reading This Summer

Reading has been a huge focus in my house this summer. After a school year of hard work, I couldn’t risk back tracking on my kindergartners fast track to reading stardom.

Soar With Reading!

Luckily there are several great summer reading programs out there. One in particular is  the national initiative from JetBlue and PBS KIDStaking place again this summer, designed to help place books in the hands of kids in need and keep kids reading all summer long.

Hurry now and go to the Soar With Reading site (or click straight through on the image to the right) and share your favorite childhood book. With every share, JetBlue will donate a book to a child in need in grant cities. (Orlando is included in this group!) On the site parents can also find tips and downloadable activities to keep kids inspired to read all summer long.

Click here to learn more about the program

We missed out on the fun event held at our local library in Orlando because we were on vacation last week. But there are two more summer events taking place in L.A. and New York. Find out more details!  

Win! Win!Leave a comment below letting me know what you are doing to keep reading alive this summer for a chance to win a JetBlue travel backpack filled with summer reading materials.

I’ll select a winner on Friday, August 3 so get commenting. You can get an extra entry by tweeting about the giveaway and letting me know in a separate comment below.

Happy Reading!

 Disclaimer: JetBlue provided  me with reading materials for my daughter and a reading inspired backpack  to giveaway to a lucky reader.  Mamma Mia fully supports the Soar With Reading  initiative. 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Parenting 36 Comments

The Dying Thank You Note

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for awhile. I don’t claim to be a perfect parent, but there are a few things that remain priority on my list of lessons to pass along to my kids. I remember my mom sitting us down after a holiday or birthday to write thank you notes.

We didn’t necessarily have to write notes to people we were able to thank in person, but we did write notes to those who weren’t there to thank.

Teaching Gratitude to Kids

Nowadays, it’s rare to even get a thank you note from an adult let alone a child. It takes time to sit down with a child to write out thank you notes…. Time we don’t all have, but time we should make.

Gratitude is a trait that’s so important for our society and it’s slowly fading away. Here are a few tips to help your kids to be thankful.

  • Let them pick out their own thank you notes at the store. It will give them more ownership of the project. Check out this website that let’s you easily design and print your own thank you cards.
  • After an event, have your kids make a list of the gifts they received and match it with the gift giver. This makes a fun matching game and it will stick in their brains.
  • If they aren’t sending a note, remind them to verbally thank their gift givers and remind them of the gift they received.
  • Identify gifts (if you can remember) when they use them throughout the year ie. “That Leapfrog map Nana bought for you is really cool.”

Just a little bit of time is worth the result – a member of society who is appreciative of other’s efforts. A dying breed for sure!

 

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment

Birthday Beads & Bows

Bracelet Making

For the past five years, I’ve subjected myself to huge hooplas to celebrate Mia’s birthday. I pretty much created a party monster from the beginning. Oh, the invitations, the themes, the decorations, the goodie bags… Why would this child expect anything less?

This year, I took a different approach to the birthday celebration and I’m so glad I did.

Rae-Berry Beads & More

Mia and four of her friends met at Rae-Berry beads & more  in Dr. Philips to celebrate on a Saturday afternoon. This place is heaven for  little girls! Two tables along each wall at Rae-Berry are filled with thousands of different beads.

First, Ramee, the owner of Rae-Berry, showed the girls how to create their very own beautiful bracelet out of the beads of their choice.

Next came the creation of the “hair pretties.”The girls were able to create funky hair clips layering bright colored flowers with a gem in the center.

Showing Off Their Hair Pretties

Mia and her friends made a bracelet and hair pretty, but there are different choices for parties including bottle cap necklaces and a jewelry board . You can customize your activities based on age and size of your group.

There’s a pizza shop nearby so I ordered a large pie and then we enjoyed cupcakes brought from home. It was the perfect afternoon and the girls had a great time. Plus, they took home a cool bracelet and hair pretty that they created. (The perfect alternative to the goodie bag filled with things that are going to be thrown away!)

I left Rae-Berry wondering when I could come back with my own adult friends for an afternoon of jewelry making. This place is definitely not just for kids!

Supporting local business is a passion of mine, but supporting a local mom-owned business is even better!  For more information on Rae-Berry Beads visit their website.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Orlando, Parenting Leave a comment

What I Did Wrong…

With that title this post could go in so many different directions! This one is parenting related. We’ll save the others for another post.

I know it’s hard for perfect parents like myself to admit that perhaps not so great parenting choice were made. Believe it or not, it’s okay to not be perfect. Hard concept to accept (I know), but embrace it and living life will be much, much easier. I gathered a few funny quotes from local parents for the spring issue of PLAYGROUND magazine. These brave parents were willing to clear the air and fess up to “what they did wrong.” Now, your turn!

 

What I Did Wrong

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Parenting, PLAYGROUND Leave a comment

The Family Yard Sale

Growing up, we had a huge community yard sale every summer. I counted down the days to the big sale every year.

Raising money for her Disney Cruise

My family and I would set aside items months ahead of time deeming them yard sale material. We’d all be up early the day of to get our business running. We were serious about making money. Taking turns, we’d watch the sale while the others would go out and search for treasures (or a slushie of some sort.) We ran the operation at my grandma’s house (she was pretty central in the neighborhood) so she kept us in check along with some supervision from our mom. Otherwise, our parents pretty much let us run the show. Each year, we’d end the sale buying pizza for the family and splitting the remaining funds three ways between my brother, sister and I.

This past weekend our neighborhood had a community yard sale. When I originally saw the flier I thought I was going to pass, but Mia reminded me that we do need some extra money for our Disney cruise. (about $2,000, but who is counting) The opportunity also made me think about my childhood yard sales and the fun I had with my family.

Mia's best customer – Charli

Mia and I began digging through clothes, shoes and toys. She and I priced the items – discussing in depth if Big Bird was worth 25 or 50 cents. When Saturday morning rolled around, we were up early setting up. Daddy and I took turns supervising the sale, Mia ran her lemonade/cookie stand and Charli amused customers and played with the toys we were trying to sell.

What a great way to spend our Saturday morning… outside for five hours on a beautiful Saturday, talking with neighbors and bonding over sales strategies. Mia took charge a few times, informing me that “You scared off those customers because you were yelling at me” and “I already know before someone walks over if they are buyers or just looking around.” Please note, by yelling she of course meant me telling her that no one wanted to buy cookies if she was touching them.

Daddy & Mia Bonding

I’m going to have my mom search for some old school yard sale photos for me to post, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these from our family sale. At the end of the day, we only made about $55. The memory of it, come to find out, is worth way more… I can vouch for it.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment

Acupuncture During Pregnancy. Is It Safe?

Wondering how to cure morning sickness, fatigue, back pain during pregnancy? I have a safe natural remedy for you. A lot of women don’t even know this option exists. Read more in my latest article for PLAYGROUND Magazine. (page 22)

Acupuncture While Pregnant

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Orlando, Parenting, PLAYGROUND Leave a comment

Rules of the Playground

Finally, someone took the liberty to put all of the things I’ve been thinking together and publish it! Parents please read this and take it to heart.

Rules of the Playground Courtesy of Babble.com

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Featured, Parenting 1 Comment

Mia on Daily Buzz Healthy Eating Segment!

Mia made her TV debut on The Daily Buzz and BodyCheckList.com talking about one of the fabulous Produce for Kids Ideal Meals. Healthy eating shouldn’t have to be hard and getting kids involved in cooking is key. Watch our segment below.

Cooking Healthy With Kids Featuring Mia!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Featured, Food, Parenting 1 Comment

Life Lessons & Magnetic Marbles

My baby, Charli, puts everything in her mouth. My big girl, Mia, has never been one to put things in her mouth. This is why I was extremely surprised when I had the call last Tuesday that Mia had swallowed a magnetic marble at school. So here we are, week number three of Kindergarten and ingesting magnetic marbles. I raced to the school clinic to discover a crying Mia insisting that she had been wiping her mouth and had inhaled the marble accidentally. Part of me wants to believe this tale as I’ve never seen the child put a single thing in her mouth. The other part of me wonders the odds of inhaling a marble.

A quick phone call to our pediatrician to find out next steps, and I was on my way to Arnold Palmer ER. Apparently if more than one magnetic object is swallowed there is a chance they can connect and cause some havoc on the intestines. Mia couldn’t confirm it was only one marble.

After about an hour in the waiting room and another hour watching Disney Channel from the comfort of our ER bed, we had the following news…

Looks Like One Marble To Me!

Whew! They found only one marble in there and we were good to go. Never could I have ever imagined my life would consist of six straight hours focused on a magnetic marble. So happy they let me steal a pic of this.

Mia is doing well. We kept an “eye out” for the return of the marble, but haven’t seen it. lol Stay tuned.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 2 Comments

What To Love Now

Pencils, backpacks and lunch bags for Mia. Bottles, strollers and diapers for Charil. Talk about being in two worlds at once! Here are just a few of my new finds for you to love now. Don’t forget to enter the On The Fly giveaway!

Pee Wee PC

The Pee Wee PC is the computer created just for kids. It is extremely durable (think water resistant keyboard), has a pivoting screen, a built in camera and stylus to use with specific learning programs. Right now Pee Wee PC is offering a 10% discount on purchases of $20 or more. This is perfect for your little scholar.

Company Kids Lunch & Backpacks

In my quest to find a cool backpack for Mia, I came across Company Kids. They offer the perfect size backpack, lunch bag or messenger bag for any little one off to school. Personalization is an option. The Back to School promo runs through September 15 with prices as low as $19.

Samba Sushi Chopsitcks

I highlighted the Combi Sushi Trainer in my last product round-up, but I’ve found another chopstick trainer for little hands that I love – Sushi Samba Kids Chopsticks. Mia loves the bright colors and ease of using these cool sticks. “Big kids” ie. your friend who continues to sacrifice spicy tuna rolls can use them too. A pack of 4 can be snagged for only $10!

We travel a lot and it’s not always easy to heat a baby’s bottle on the go. A big thank you to On The Fly Bottle Warmer for basically taking the anxiety out of bottle feeding while out and about. You simply place your bottle in the BottleSOC and wrap the air activated layer around. In 30 seconds, baby will be sucking down a warm bottle.

On The Fly

The products in this round-up are cool and functional! Not many products (or people for that matter) can claim this.  If you try any of these products out, let us know what you think. Oh, and enter below to win an On The Fly Bottle Warmer. I have a starter kit to giveaway!

On The Fly Giveaway!!! 

Leave a comment below letting me know your current strategy for heating a bottle while on the go and you could be the proud owner of an On The Fly starter kit. Giveaway closes on Thursday, September 8.

 Earn Extra Entries:

I’m again on the prowl so stay tuned for my next round-up.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr

Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Parenting 8 Comments
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed