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


Thought I’d do a quick Friday post reviewing the most recent flick we viewed at home as a family, The Spy Next Door. I loved Jackie Chan in Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon so was interested to see his work in this family fun movie. Add George Lopez into the mix and I knew it would be a winner.

In the movie Jackie Chan plays Bob Ho, a Chinese Intelligence agent on his last mission. In the midst of the mission, Ho befriends his single mother neighbor. The kids aren’t really fond of Ho so to win them over Bob volunteers to babysit. The operation hits a snag when one of the kids mistakenly download a top-secret formula, and a Russian terrorist takes aim at Bob’s prospective family.

The movie made a true effort to entertain kids and adults, which I thoroughly appreciate. This flick is worth the rental and makes for a good family movie night option. My 10-year-old step daughter, Marcus and I enjoyed the flick, but 4-year-old Mia wandered off after a few minutes in search of Barbie and Ken.


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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways Leave a comment

An Awakening It Was

I gave away two tickets to Spring Awakening last week and was lucky enough to make it to opening night of the show myself. I had to see what all the hype was truly about. Let me tell you, the hype was well deserved.

Cast of Spring Awakening

The music, all written by Duncan Sheik, was the highlight for me. The cast was so full of passion and the coming of age message was delivered in ways that hit home.

As a parent, the show reminded me that what’s best for you and your life isn’t always the path for your children. The “rules” that we are all expected to follow in this life often hold us back from our true passions and self. Parents are many times consumed with how others are viewing them instead of focusing on what’s truly best for their child. We need to foster the passions of our children instead of looking down upon them and shaming them because they don’t fit the mold of society.

Taylor Trensch as Moritz

Spring Awakening is in Orlando through Sunday, May 23 so grab tickets and get to the Bob Carr. Click here for a list of tour dates in other cities across the U.S.

I wouldn’t recommend this show for kids under the age of 14 or 15 due to brief nudity and adult content.

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Posted on by Amanda in On Stage 2 Comments

Summer Time Is Water Park Time!

We love pools, we love water and we loooove water parks! This weekend we took part in a little “staycation” of our own at Orlando’s newest water park attraction, CoCo Key Water Park Resort. I’ve noticed the new attraction several times from I-4 and was possibly more excited than Mia to check it out.

CoCo Key Water Park

The water park is perfect for kids and the water park caps off admittance at around 650. (I’m not a crowd person so this was paradise) We had Mia and Madi with us so I was able to see the fun factor from a four-year-old and ten-year-old point of view. The girls raced from slide to slide. I could keep a constant eye on both girls from the comfort of my lounge chair. I even had some fun on the slides myself.

The Minnow Lagoon is covered and shielded from the FL sun. Lots of interactive water fun in the shade!

Minnow Lagoon

Parrots Perch

The rooms at the resort are very modern and cozy. If you are hungry there are multiple choices for snacks or a meal. Besides the water park, there’s a large arcade, fun kids lounge in the lobby, resort pool for more water fun after the park closes and a small sand area for building castles.

Opening rates start at $89/night for a limited time. I know where I’m taking my mom on her next visit to Orlando! Water park access is $19 per room, per day for resort guests and $19.95 per person for day guests. The FL resident day pass is $14.95. If you are headed to the other local theme parks, the resort offers a free shuttle service!

Tip: If you are purchasing a day pass, book online. The park is popular and has been selling out quickly!

Let me know when you are planning your trip. We’ll meet you there!

And, in case you need directions… Just follow the tropical red bird in the inner tube.

Disclosure: Our family visited CoCo Key as guests of the new resort. The previous post contains my honest opinion on my family’s experience.

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 3 Comments

Celebrate Reading! Max Spaniel Giveaway!

As you know, we love reading and playing chef in the Mamma Mia house. Mia has already learned to read and spell basic words. The cooking… well, we’ll work on that.  For these reasons, I jumped on the chance to partner with Scholastic to support the launch of David Catrow’s new book, Max Spaniel: Funny Lunch.

You might be familiar with some of David Catrow’s other books such as Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Lunch or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share. In Funny Lunch, Max, the loveable spaniel is back and serving up one hysterical meal after another at his very own diner.

To celebrate the launch of the book, we are giving away one prize pack including Max Spaniel: Funny Lunch and a Playful Chef Kids Cooking Kit. The kit includes all types of kid size cooking utensils including a whisk, pastry brush, mixing bowl, timer, apron measuring spoons and cups, baking pan, recipe cards and more! (info on how to enter below)

Playful Chef Cooking Kit

The giveaway fun doesn’t stop there. Even if you don’t win the “grand prize” with the cooking kit, we have two other Max Spaniel: Funny Lunch books to give away.

Three chances to win!

How to win: Leave a comment on the importance of reading with your child.

For bonus entry: Tweet this comment and leave a comment letting us know you did so.

This contest will run through May 24, 2010 and  is  open to U.S. citizens. Winners will be contacted directly.

More on the author: David Catrow is a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist and the award-wining illustrator of numerous books for children, including Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Songs by Alan Katz. He lives in Springfield, Ohio, with his wife, and their three dogs, Bubbs, Beetle, and Blue. Max Spaniel is based upon Bubbs!

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Posted on by Amanda in Food, Giveaways 45 Comments

Need an Awakening? Win it!

The Mamma Mia passion for theater continues!

Spring Awakening, Broadway’s most talked about new musical and the biggest Tony winner in years, is coming to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center May 18-23!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could experience the Awakening? Well… You can! I’m giving away two tickets for prime seating on opening night, Tuesday, May 18 at 8 pm. (See how to enter below)

Spring Awakening is a story of first love, lasting regrets, and a celebration of the unforgettable journey from youth to adulthood. Click on the image to the right to view the promo reel.

The show received eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, raves from critics and audiences in over 20 countries around the world, and was named “the most important musical of the decade” by The New York Times.  Recently, the Denver Post called the Grammy-winning indie rock score by Duncan Sheik “the best original score since West Side Story.”  Tickets range from just $25-$65 and are available through the Spring Awakening website.

How to win:

Automatically enter by leaving a comment

Bonus Entries:

Follow @spring tour on Twitter and comment that you did so

Become a fan of Spring Awakening on Facebook and comment that you did so

Note: Due to brief and partial nudity, language and sexual situations, we do  not recommend for children under 13 years of age unless the parent feels their child is mature enough. For further guidance, parents can check out the parents site: http://parents.springawakening.com/

This contest will run through May 14. I’ll contact the winner directly.

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Posted on by Amanda in On Stage 20 Comments

Field Trips For All! Win A Sony Camera

Field trips are a great way for kids to gain memorable, hands on learning experiences outside of the classroom. It’s disappointing to see school budgets being cut, and field trips slowly just going away.

In support of a new program, Field Trips For All, Lunchables will be hosting  free-admission to the Orlando Science Center for the first 1,000 people this Saturday, May 1.  The campaign aims to help 50 deserving classrooms across the country go on educational and inspiring field trip adventures.

Nominate a classroom! Anyone can nominate a 1st – 8th grade classroom to win a field trip through June 1 on the Lunchables website.

To capture those “oh so special field trip moments,” the folks at Lunchables have provided The Mamma Mia Blog with a Sony DSC-W220 Digital Camera with 12.1 Mega Pixel, 4x optical zoom and rechargeable battery to giveaway. I’ll announce the winner Friday afternoon (April 30)…. So hurry up and enter!

How to Enter:
Post a comment about a field trip memory from your youth. I’ll start because I just can’t help myself.
Bonus Entries:
Follow @mammamiafl on Twitter and post a comment saying so.
Retweet this contest on Twitter
Fine print: Contest valid for U.S. residents only

Mia discovering dinosaur bones at the Orlando Science Center

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Orlando 272 Comments

Four Years Later…

When you were born, I was scared, excited and happy among many other emotions. In all the uncertainties that made up my life, you became the only thing that I was really certain of. That felt good, and I thank you for it. In the beginning, you needed me. You need me less and less all of the time.

Your independence makes me proud, but I’m always here to be needed. In the past four years, I have never laughed so hard or felt so much love. I only wish I had a replay button to do it all again. (Well, maybe not all of it, but a lot of it.) Happy 4th Birthday Mia. Someday when I’m done teaching you… I hope you will understand everything you’ve taught me.

April 4, 2010

April 4, 2006

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 6 Comments

PLAYGROUND Music & Arts Fest

It’s Monday, and already I’m thinking about the weekend. Make plans now to head to the PLAYGROUND Music & Arts Fest on Sunday, April 18. Last year was a blast, and I’m sure this year will be even bigger and better! PS~ It’s FREE!

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando, PLAYGROUND 1 Comment

Day 3/4 San Diego

Yesterday we ventured to Coronado for breakfast and then made the two hour trek to Big Bear. The weather was beautiful. We decided not to ski due to lack of time, but did partake in some snow tubing. Seriously, I’m talking Mia on my back flying down a giant hill of snow! Our little rustic hotel, Frontier Lodge, sat right on Big Bear lake. We spent time soaking in the beauty of the lake and skipping rocks on the water. This was a side of California I have never seen, and one that Mia really enjoyed.

Getting ready to tube at Big Bear Mountain

Today was a lazy day back in San Diego…. Right after sleeping through the 5.5 earthquake aftershock, we laid by our bay front pool and soaked in the rays. This evening, we went to La Jolla for a casual dinner at Bubba’s Smokehouse and spent some time with the seals. After dinner it was back to the Hilton to hang by the giant fire pit by the bay.

La Jolla

We head back to Florida tomorrow, but this trip was definitely refreshing for my soul. Maybe we can “accidentally” miss our flight. Don’t test me… I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It’s been a great trip and I hate to see it end. Catch you all back on the other coast!

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 3 Comments

Day 2 San Diego

The high today was 65 with a low of 47. Kind of cold for my taste. We woke up early due to our EST internal clocks and headed to MaryJanes at the Hard Rock for breakfast. Breakfast was yummy, but if you ever venture to MaryJanes, beware of the $5 orange juice and $3 split fees. Signature hash browns are to die for, and overshadow all the extra charges. Get it… hash browns at MaryJanes… um, maybe it’s just me.  Anyway, they are to die for!

Played around at PetCo Park’s mini ball field and spent some time at the pool. Yes, the pool in 65 degree weather. Thank goodness for the awesome pool at our hotel… heated saltwater pool situated in direct sunlight all day. The only set back today was when Mia exited the pool to tell me she was going to throw up and promptly did so in a drainage gate. She’s like her mom… always has to liven things up a bit.

Running the bases at PetCo Park

We spent the afternoon and early evening at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Lots of fun, but very crowded due to spring break. We waited over an hour to go on the Journey Through Africa Safari. It was awesome once we finally made it onto the safari. Totally worth the wait!

Finally on the safari…

Heading to Big Bear tomorrow for the day and night to do some snow tubing…. Maybe skiing. Hoping for a connection to post, but can’t promise anything.

I’ll finally adjust to this time change and it will be time to head back to FL! Maybe we should just stay…

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 1 Comment
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