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

Orlando

You Are Where You Eat

I like to eat. Actually, I like to eat a lot. Pending budget, our little clan can usually be found eating at Orlando’s new restaurants within one week of their opening, or frequenting Orlando’s most unique and often overlooked establishments.

Right along with breastfeeding and a colic laden baby, one of my biggest fears while pregnant was that my future culinary experiences would consist of Chick-fil-A and Chuck E Cheese.

In an attempt to save my relationship with food, I decided I would not succumb.

Mia was about three weeks old when we made our way to Numero Uno, my favorite Cuban restaurant. (I know, I didn’t hibernate behind closed doors till the eight week shots. Numero Uno was calling for us, and I was quite sure one little trip couldn’t hurt.) The first year flew by and before I knew it Mia was sucking on edamame with the girls and I at our favorite sushi restaurant.

There were certainly times that our dining experience with a small child was strained, but we suffered through and Mia learned…. Even if that meant me taking her outside, looking her sternly in the eyes and telling her to shape up or ship out. You might question if a two-year-old would “get it.” They do.

So to those future mommy’s who think their dining out life is down the tubes. Fret not. Suck it up. You’ll have some hard times, but in the end your kid will know how to act in a restaurant… what is acceptable and what is not. Stay strong, and you to can create a napkin in the lap, waiter savvy toddler.

And, it turns out Chuck E Cheese isn’t all that bad… Every once in awhile. Compromise, and give your child the best. But, don’t give up who you are and what you love, especially when it comes to
your taste buds!

Mia’s Orlando Hot Spots:

Bento Sushi
Located in the Plaza downtown. Sushi at a reasonable price, wine and beer. Mia enjoys a bowl of steamed green beans, rice and Japanese ice cream for desert. The eclectic atmosphere and rocks that lie below the table tops will keep little ones enthralled.

Numero Uno
If you blink, you’ll miss this hidden gem on Orange Avenue near Michigan. The food is authentic Cuban and delicious! Mia’s favorites include anything mommy or daddy order and share with her including (but not limited to) Ropavieja, chicken, tostones, maduros, black beans and rice.

Metro Espresso
Pizzeria with an edge. Metro Espresso serves up pizza, along with salads and other Italian dishes. Mia dines on thin crust pizza, lemonade and half of mom’s side salad. Outside seating lets you soak in the personality of Thornton Park.

On a final note, don’t forget to vote on Nickelodeon’s Parents Picks website for Orlando’s best local blog. Spirit fingers!!!

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Life Unrehearsed

My brain is foggy this week. The brain fog is partially from falling down a very steep and slippery set of tile stairs, but mostly because it’s clogged up with a lot of memories that had been suppressed for some time.

This weekend, I watched my long time friend marry her childhood sweetheart in Siesta Key, FL. Good stuff. It was the most amazing and non-stressful wedding I’ve ever attended or even heard of.

At some point over the weekend, the bride to be said to me, “Why am I rehearsing this moment? I don’t want to rehearse it, I want it to be real.” With that, the rehearsal was cancelled. We even had a non-rehearsal dinner.

All in all, it was a beautiful weekend spent with family and friends. My daughter once again amazes me at her ability to adapt to any situation. Sometimes I wish she “needed” me a little more. Mia was born with no fear and no inhibitions. (That topic will be a blog in itself.)

Over an intimate three days in beautiful Siesta Key, I learned a few things…

1. The best things in life are unrehearsed
2. I have the greatest friends in the world
3. Mia is… the next American Idol
4. Tile stairs = bad news after a fresh rain

Thank you for an amazing weekend of love and fun!

Remember to continue to vote Mamma Mia as the best local blog on Nickelodeon’s Parents Picks website. Vote daily!

News Alert: If you are in town this weekend, check out the new Mr. Potato Head exhibit at the Orlando Science Center! Exhibit starts on Saturday.

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Three-Year-Old Fashion Police

“I WANNA WEAR THE BEAUUUUUUUUTIFUL DRESS!!!!”

These are the words that chime out as I pull comfy shorts and matching t-shirt out of Mia’s drawer. It’s Mom vs. Mia every morning, and it usually does not end well. As a child, I despised wearing puffy frilly dresses and bonnets. I would cry every Sunday before church dreading the frill that awaited me. It itched, it tugged and it made me claustrophobic.

I’m coming to find out Mia has a very different opinion from mine as a child…

Most days, Mia arrives home covered in dirt from head to toe. I learned the hard way that preschool, my friends, is not the place for top fashion. In her first week I saw the massacre of some pretty cute and pricey outfits.

When I arrive early to pick Mia up at school, I sit and watch inconspicuously to see just how she interacts with her preschool peeps.What I notice when I’m in mommy spy mode is that while the little girls are typically sitting at the picnic table coloring or huddled in one of the play houses, Mia is swinging nearly upside down from one of the jungle gyms taunting the kids to “come catch me.”

I’ve invested in cotton “play” dresses that are super cute and totally ruinable. There’s no interest in the “play” dresses, but only in the white, white, white organza dress she received as a bday gift. It hangs like a shrine in the closet.

This all leads me up to the dilemma…. Why do you want to wear the beautiful dress?

Doesn’t fashion war begin in the tween years? I want Mia to express her “creative” spirit and hate to hinder her exploration of fashion. We can play dress up and I’m not opposed to the big fluffy dresses… just not to school! The war must end.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where Mia critiques my wardrobe and advises I participate in a makeover reality show. Oh, and very happy to have finally used that tween word.

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A Mommy’s Letter to Her Childhood Self

I’m keeping a cool journal of “thoughts” for my daughter, which I plan to give her when she’s older… maybe teenage years. However, I saw something interesting the other day and began to think… Yes, I was using my brain for good not evil.

What kind of letter would I write to me as a child?

You have many amazing wonderful moments in your future, and quite a few unpleasant obstacles to overcome. Savor those moments, and don’t worry what’s next. Remember, you determine who you are and what your future holds.

Don’t worry about disappointing anyone. Do worry about disappointing yourself because you, as you will come to find out, are your toughest critic. Set your standards high and the respect you deserve will come naturally.

At every bend, there will be people who want to bring you up, recognize those people because they deserve it. Sad to say, but there will be double the number of people who want to bring you down, don’t let them win.

Your emotions are going to get the best of you. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be heard and recognized. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Think about what you are saying, especially to your parents who love you.

It’s okay to be alone.

You will have a lot of questions and you are going to be confused, well… really confused. Ask questions, and get answers. Don’t be afraid. What seems like the end of the world is not. Clear your mind and look at the big picture. It’s hard to see, but if you move the junk aside… it’s there.

You might not be the best, but it’s not a reason to quit or give in. When you fail, use it as a way to lift yourself up instead of put yourself down.

You are worth it, and have what it takes to be the best person you can be and to make a difference in this world. When you feel lost, think about what you truly believe. Tomorrow is another day, and it’s never too late to make a change.

PS~ The rap music you are listening to is really not that cool.

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The Big Butt Bombshell

“Mommy, why does that guy have a big butt?”

Yep, I said it… or I should say, my daughter said it. Last week I rushed home from work to take Mia to see the Easter Bunny. Like most days with a budding three-year-old, I had no idea what was in store for me. After spending a little one-on-one time with bunny, we grabbed a quick bite and decided to get some ice cream.

While eating our vanilla cone and discussing who Mia liked better, Miley Cyrus or Hannah Montana, she blurted out this question as a fairly large a man passed by, “Mommy, why does that guy have a big butt?”

What!!!!!! I nearly fell off the bench. Luckily the man was out of ear shot. (Well, I think he was.) Mia was by no means quiet about her question. I was mortified, and Mia could tell. She was upset and embarrassed.

I made an attempt to explain that people come in all shapes and sizes and everyone is different. I told her she could ask as many questions as she wants, but sometimes it’s better to wait until we are in private. Whether any of this reasoning sunk into a three-year-old brain, I’m not sure. On our drive home, my mind raced with images of myself in different situations with my child making inappropriate comments.
“Why are your teeth yellow?”
“Why does your belly hang over your pants?”
“Why does your hair stick up?”
Thinking about it in bed that night, I realized Mia was not trying to be mean or nasty. My little girl is simply beginning to notice the differences between people, and that’s okay… I think. I just need to come up with a method where she can ask these questions and not have us exiled from friends and family or banned from public spaces… especially those that are home to my favorite clothing stores.

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The Gully Fairy Comes To Orlando

I notice I might just be failing as a blogger in the blogosphere…. that is if your blog is gauged on comments. I am always provided with verbal comments. That’s better than electronic, right? Hmmm…

Anyway, Mia celebrated her third bday this weekend. We rocked out with a toddler dance party at a fabulous Orlando venue Vibe Performing Arts. Along with this milestone bday, came the departure of the pacifier aka the gully.

The Gully Fairy came like a thief in the night Saturday night to take the gully from Mia and deliver it to a new baby in need of a gully. When my “big girl” awoke on Sunday morning, she found a beautiful gift left by the Gully Fairy in exchange for our “life support.”

The novelty of the Gully Fairy’s gift, a Disney princess bracelet, wore off quickly and the amazing fairy we had been chatting about for the past month turned into a figure of evil instead of a Tinkerbell like being.

Sunday was a hard day of withdraws for gully. Mia insisted she was still a baby and needed to have the gully. Sunday night was a late night. And then, the most amazing thing happened. Monday rolled around and the gully was mentioned no more. Mia napped at school with no problem and climbed right into bed Monday night with ease.

I had been dreading the Gully fairy for months and after one day, it was over? How could it be that easy? Regardless, I am happy and my daughter won’t be in kindergarten sucking on a gully.

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My Little Germ


Never could I have imagined in my wildest dreams that a child could be sick as often as my child is sick. I’ve insisted to my doctor that her immune system must have some kind of deficiency, but his simple answer was that she is in preschool and kids are germ magnets.

My child eats healthy, washes her hands constantly, takes vitamins, sleeps well and still she is infected with every germ that comes within a yard of her. (I don’t know for sure about the yard thing, but I’m quite sure I’m right.) I have to admit her sick day count skyrocketed when she started preschool in August, but it wasn’t like she was in a bubble for the first two years of life. I couldn’t sit in the house, so we were on constant playdates and involved in every baby group under the sun. Germs galore! But, apparently not enough of them.

Once again, I’m confused and bewildered… story of my life. Luckily my job is flexible and I can work remotely when need be, but the point is really not missing work, it’s the fact that I need my daughter to be healthy. In my medical quests for knowledge, I typically go to my man Dr. Gupta, but I can’t find a dang post on children’s immune systems. I will defer now to another site with a cut and dry article on toddler’s immune systems at Kids and Nutrition. However, I am writing Dr. Gupta to see if he can provide some guidance, and also adding his blog to Mamma Reads.

Can you, my avid reader, provide some insight? Comment… comment… comment…

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Do I Make You Sad, Really?

My daughter has adopted some very creative language as of late. I guess she has always had creative language… speaking in full sentences soon after turning a year old. But, this is different. I must first preface this entry by saying, my daughter has a lot of very nice things to say most of the time, but has somehow picked up some nifty new phrases from somewhere.. ahem… preschool.

These new phrases have caught me off guard and have quite frankly, scared me just a bit.

These phrases come in the form of “You are not my friend!”, “I want you to leave”, “You make me sad” and the best yet “I’m gonna get rid of you.”

Rid of me? Has my child been watching mafia movies on the sly? Sad, I don’t want to make her sad. I know, I know, you can’t be “friends” with your child or you will be in trouble… and most likely appear on a reality show with each other somewhere down the road. These phrases send me into a nostalgic mode missing my little infant who couldn’t express anger in words.

Bottom line, it hurts to hear these things. I guess it especially hurts a first time mom, being caught off guard by the barrage of defensive phrases coming from my sweet little girl’s mouth . If only she could understand I am only trying to help her…

Wait a second, this is sounding familiar… could it be that my mother once tried to explain this to me as I was teasing my hair, chewing bubble yum and wondering why she hated me.

Argh… I have no answers. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a journey to find balance in yet another aspect of my life.

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Give Birth: Conquer The World

When I was pregnant, a lot of parents told me the same thing, “Wait till you become a mom, you’ll never have time to do anything again.” Well, isn’t that a great thing to tell someone entering into a new chapter of their life. Yippee! I can’t wait! Where do I sign up?

After my daughter was born, things did change. I truly didn’t have as much time for myself, but I began to make time for myself that I actually didn’t have a reason to make before. (If that makes any sense at all.) I began to realize what my true priorities were and what was truly important in my life. I had a new burst of energy that made me feel like I could conquer the world. (In between naps of course.) For me, I never in my life imagined myself as a mother. Perhaps I had accomplished the one thing I never thought I could do by becoming a mom… so obviously I could do anything, right?

I enjoy reading success stories about mompreneurs. It makes me proud to see other women and mothers taking the world by storm. It might be a child or it might be another life changing event that pops your priorities into place and injects some kind of “I can do anything” germ into your system. Either way, you must check out these fabulous moms in womenenterpreneur.com’s series, A Day in the Life, all about mompreneurs. If they can do it, you can do it!

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What Is Mommy Guilt?


A friend of mine recently moved away to Miami for three months after being accepted into an advertising career advancement program. You go girl! What does this have to do with my mommy blog? Well, she was working on a special project about “mommy guilt,” and wanted my take on the following video clip:

http://tinyurl.com/mommyguilt

It got me to thinking… first and foremost, what is wrong with the woman in the video, but more about if women really do feel the extreme way this woman feels. In the beginning she makes some sense by talking about why she feels guilty, but then suddenly transitions into what seems like an angry rant about what annoys her about being a mom. Border line schizophrenic? Being a mom is hard stuff. I can’t lie about that. It’s A LOT harder if you think you are going to be perfect. Pick your battles, let some stuff go and have fun. As cliche as it sounds, someday you really are going to miss this. And, if you are not happy, your kiddos won’t be happy. So, take some time to have brunch with the girls, take that weekend trip you’ve been meaning to take, or simply go to that yoga class that has been on your to do list. Everyone will be much happier all around.

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