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

Healthy Lunchbox Ideas

Mia has a book called Samantha's Silly-icious Sandwiches. Samantha gets sick of having the same boring sandwich in her lunch everyday and decides to create her own unique sandwiches. Her "Silly-icious Sandwiches" turn into a hit at school and a booming business, which she soon hands over for her 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

Giveaway: Crazy Love With Michael Buble

Growing up, Frank Sinatra was often the soundtrack too many a family gathering. So when Michael Buble came on the scene in 2004, I was captivated by his similar sound. His music stirred up all kinds of wonderful memories and emotions for me.

I had the amazing opportunity to hear Michael Buble in 2005 at the historic Wang Theater in Boston. We happened to be there for the weekend and my thrifty man found us last minute tickets. Michael Buble combined with one of the most acoustically magnificent venues… speechless.

So yes, Michael and I have a history. I’ve been listening to his new CD, Crazy Love, in my office all week… My office is definitely far from the Wang Theater, but the CD has absolutely carried me through a rather hectic and crazy week. The CD rocks! Watch the video for Haven’t Met You Yet on You Tube now. I aspire to have this much fun at the grocery store.

Don’t take my word this new CD is sweet therapy for your soul. By leaving a comment below you can win your very own copy. Let us know why you’re a fan, or why you think you’ll be a fan or even why you want to be a fan… be creative. I have five to giveaway so chances are pretty decent you’ll be swaying to the Buble beat sooner than you think.

If you don’t want to comment below (or don’t know how… ahem… mom), but still want to enter you can email Mamma Mia directly. (you’ll need to click on Mamma Mia to get to my email, mom.)

Winner will be announced November 25.

There’s a lot of great music out there. I’m trying my best to review it all and relay my thoughts to you all on the best of the best. Stay tuned for some kiddie music reviews. Mia and I are having a private kiddie listening party this weekend so stay tuned!

PS~ Sorry for the lacking of accent marks on the Buble. My system was rejecting my attempts.

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways 1 Comment

Drowning in the Sea of Kiddie Art

I live in 1200 square feet of space with my little family. I don’t have room for people let alone space to store the amount of  artwork my Mia brings home. Everything is a masterpiece to me, and symbolizes  another step in her toddler to big kid journey. The other day Mia showed me a piece of paper and said, “This is a rocket ship.” Usually I just say yes it is and move on, but let me tell you… This really was a rocket ship. My kid is drawing real stuff! Milestone moment indeed. How can I not save every single beautiful project?

If you’re drowning in a sea of kiddie arts and crafts, fear not. I’ve been asking around and have come up with some ideas to save space, save sanity and save the art!

The No Hassle Scrap Book. The word scrap book in general kinda scares me, but I’m not sure what other word to use for this. You must first find a non scrap book kind of scrap book. The kind that has plastic sleeves instead of blank pages for decorating. Utilize a book for every two year’s of your child’s life and slide artwork into the plastic sleeves. There are lots of cool scrap books out there sans tape, paste or glue. Just slide art in the sleeve and viola it’s preserved in time. I’ve found books at local Marshalls, TJ Maxx or even Target.

Family Affair. At the beginning of the month set up a letter sized envelope for each family member… Nana, Pap, Great Auntie etc., etc. Divvy up the artwork between envelopes as you bring it home from school. At the end of the month slap an address on it and send to your relatives who are surely dying for artwork or some kind of creation by your child. Be sure to set one or two masterpieces aside for your file.

Framing. Have you seen a Jackson Pollock piece? Um, yeah… Your child is creating real art that when framed correctly could look pretty cool on your wall. There are always great frames to be found at IKEA. 

Go Digital. Take a photo of the artwork and toss the original. As harsh as it sounds, that jpeg is taking up far less space. If you have access to a scanner, you can always scan it straight to your desktop. I found some of my childhood projects last year and did just that.

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Posted on by Amanda in Tiny Picasso Leave a comment

Halloween in Central Florida

Looking for some goulish fun this weekend in Central Florida? Gather up your favorite goblins and check out these cool happenings around town.

Sea World Halloween Spooktacular
Enjoy an ocean of fun! Trick-or-treat for goodies, meet amazing sea creatures, catch silly and spooky shows and more. The little goblins can follow their special Spooktacular maps to 15 different treasure stations, get funky with the interactive ice DJ and even meet Count Von Elmo at the Sesame Street Halloween show! Kids are encouraged to come in costume. Dates for this week include the 30 and 31 beginning at noon. Spooktacular is included with park admission. Did I mention FL residents can pay for a day and come back for the rest of the year!

Trick or Treat Safe Zone at Orange County History Center
Visit the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando on Saturday, October 31 and enjoy three floors of trick or treating, creepy crafts, and games. Don’t miss the haunted maze and other surprises! Festivities begin at 11 am and end at 4 pm. Ages 12 and under welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. Best thing about this event. It’s FREE!!
Central Florida Zoo Boo Bash
Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town during the Central Florida Zoo Boo Bash.  It’s a safe, fun, and a not-too-scary event for young and old alike.  Kids are invited to bring goodie bags and wear costumes for trick-or-treat stations and face painting. Take a leap into the Bounce House, visit the Pumpkin Patch for a fun photo, and learn about the myths and realities of some misunderstood animals. The fun begins at 9 am on October 31 and ends at 3 pm.

These are just a few cool Halloween events in Central Florida this weekend. Please comment and let us know if you know of any others! 

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando Leave a comment

Authentic Parenting

I have a few friends who are pregnant with baby number one. I can’t help but think back to that time myself. I felt good, I felt nervous and I wanted to be the perfect mom. This is why I read book after book “learning” how to be the perfect mom. I paid attention to breastfeeding advocates who wanted me to breastfeed my daughter until she was two, and those who believed that my epidural would surely cause my child and I lifelong harm. I watched in wonder as moms whipped up homemade organic baby food and had their babies fast asleep every night by 7 pm on the dot. I listened to the co-sleepers and wondered how one could survive never having time for themselves… not even while sleeping.

I was in labor with Mia for 30 hours and insisted on pushing forward because I was “smart” and was surely outwitting  insurance companies who just wanted me to have a c-section to make money. When at 30 hours, I had a near emergency c-section, I realized that while outsmarting the insurance company, I could have killed myself and my child.

I know many mothers who cried for days when their infant didn’t “latch on.” Part of me thinks they were crying not because they couldn’t breastfeed, but because they felt like a failure to society. That makes me sad. I had many disapproving looks when I supplemented with Mia because I just needed a break. Was it wrong for me to need a break?

A child made a comment to me last week about McDonalds. The mom feverishly explained that they never ever go to McDonalds, it was just a one time thing. Who cares! Kids like a chicken nugget every now and then, and it’s not going to kill them.

The other day one of my friends paid me a compliment that might be the
best I have ever received. She said she believed my parenting style was authentic and that I was really “me” as a mom instead of who I “should be.” That makes me very happy because it has taken a long time to get here. It has taken a long time to let the outside influences go.

So as parents, let’s talk. Let’s be honest. Let’s admit to our feelings and stop trying to put on a show. We are all different, all babies and children are different, we all need different things to sustain our quality of life. And, it’s okay.

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Being Green Was Never So Much Fun!

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away… Really, it never gets old. I attended my first Sesame Street Live show at the ripe old age of one, and have been a fan ever since. There was a brief period of time where I thought I was too good etc., ect. But now, Sesame Street is part of my life once again and I’m glad.

Last evening Mia and I attended the opening performance of Sesame Street Live’s Elmo’s Green Thumb at the UCF Arena. (The show’s in town through Sunday, October 11.) Elmo’s Green Thumb brought the same energy and fun that family’s can always expect from Sesame Street Live. The colorful set, special effects, dance and song numbers made for a truly excellent performance.

 In the show, Elmo and his friends look for the perfect spot to plant Elmo’s sunflower, Sunny. Abby Cadabby tries to set a spell to help Sunnygrow, but in turn shrinks the friends. Being so small allows Elmo and his friends to see the garden from a bugs eye perspective, literally. They have a picnic with ladybugs, dance with the beetles and talk face to face with a bee. The accidental shrinking spell allows them to understand why it is so important to respect the earth and nature around us. In the midst of the fun, there’s always a lesson to be learned on Sesame Street!

The set for the show is bright and the effects are the coolest. The music is, as always, amazing with a mix of well-known tunes like “Lady Bug Picnic” and “I Love Trash” and  renditions of songs like “New Attitude” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” Only the characters from Sesame Street can get away remixing old songs with new words so parents can get in the groove with their kids!

Sorry for the grainy cell phone photo of Mia. Left my camera in the car and had to depend on the cell. Compliments of my technologically advanced mother, a photo of the two of us at my first Sesame Street Live show. Yep that’s me, and as Mia said, “I have a flag.”

So, tear, tear… The show brought back many memories and gave me the opportunity to make a new one with Mia. I’m sure this isn’t news to  anyone. I guess it’s what Sesame Street has been doing for years.                                                                                                                                                                                                     
The show is at the UCF Arena through Sunday, October 11, so get your tickets! If you’re not in Central Florida, find out when Elmo’s Green Thumb is coming to a city near you. You don’t want to miss this one.

PS~ Telly Monster deserves some major recognition for those toe touches!

Photo Credit: TM/© 2009 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. Photographs courtesy of VEE Corporation.

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Posted on by Amanda in On Stage, What's Cool Leave a comment

Wow Wow Halloween – Wubbzy Goes Boo!

It’s that time of the year again… Costumes, treats, goblins and gouls. Mia has already started toting her trick-or-treat bag around the house in hopes that I might place a goodie into the bag.

Adding to our family’s month-long Halloween celebration, one of Mia’s fav TV shows, Wow Wow Wubbzy, has released a special Halloween edition, Wubbzy Goes Boo. (You can view the trailor by clicking on the link.) We are looking forward to joining Wubbzy and his friends on a spooky Halloween adventure!

Do you have a special Halloween treat that you remember from childhood. What treats does your child love to receive? I have always been a Nestle Crunch girl and Mia loves her M&M’s.

Leave a comment letting us know your favorite Halloween treat and you will be automatically entered to win a copy of the new DVD Wubbzy Goes Boo. I’ll announce the winner Friday, October 9th. Remember to leave a link or way to reach you. (I swear I’m working on making it easier to comment!)

The best thing about the Wubbzy Goes Boo giveaway is that there will be five winners! You can gain a bonus entry if you tweet or share this giveaway on Facebook.

Click on the Wubzzy coloring page above to download a full-page printable coloring page.

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P is For Pumpkin

I talk a lot about the combination of motherhood and the perfect career. I admire those who are able to make it happen. Retse Saylor, Orlando graphic designer, has been able to combine the two harmoniously and all the while nurturing her children’s creative side.

The super cool t-shirt, shown on the right, was designed by Retse’s children and is the fifth shirt in a inspiring Alphabet line! In the spirit of Halloween, Mamma Mia is giving away a P is for Pumpkin t-shirt to one lucky reader.

You know your kiddie will look adorable wearing this t-shirt the entire month of October!

But, I need you to participate just a little… Post your favorite Halloween memory and your email below to enter the giveaway. I’ll have my assistant, Miss Mia, draw a name randomly and announce the winner on Monday, October 5.

To check out the entire Alphabet t-shirt line visit You can also join Retse’s facebook fan club to receive special offers on new apparel. I almost forgot to mention, $1 from every shirt sold benefits local schools.

*Shirt comes in sizes 3-6 months to size 6. Retse will substitute alternative alphabet shirt if your size is out of stock in P is for Pumpkin.

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways 1 Comment

iWhat PLAYGROUND Fall 2009

Have you seen the fall issue of PLAYGROUND magazine? This issue is chalked full of earth inspired living ideas for the entire family.

Yours truly was able to contribute to this amazing issue by writing the iWhat article on page 24. We are all busy, but if you look deep inside, it’s truly possible to stay connected without blowing a fuse. My article offers easy tips for parents to allow technology to help not hinder life balance. (If it’s possible to plagiarize your own work… I just did.)

Click on the magazine cover or the iWhat article below to download the fall issue of PLAYGROUND. Enjoy!

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Posted on by Amanda in PLAYGROUND Leave a comment

Pregnancy After Cancer – Who Needs Statistics Anyway!

This week I welcome Tanya Villar as a Mamma Mia guest blogger. Tanya is a true survivor and a dear friend. You know the kind of friend that would drive five hours in the middle of the night in the rain to pick you up on the side of the road. Yeah… that’s her.

I have always known I wanted to be a mom. Choosing my career as a teacher was a no-brainer knowing that I wanted to spend the maximum amount of time with my future children.

At the age of 25 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced with the question, “Do you want to freeze your eggs?” They told me chances of getting pregnant after chemo and other treatments would be slim. I opted out due to financial reasons, and not really knowing if I would live or die. I told the doctor what is meant to be would be. I had a double mastectomy twenty days after that question. It was a scary time. My cancer had started to spread, but not to the stage four. I was a cusp of stage 2/3 cancer.

Five years went by, my cancer was in remission and I met someone that I thought could be “the one.” When we first started dating, I was very open about the potential issues with conceiving. Without a second thought he said, “There is always adoption.” Exactly what I needed to hear!

A year into our relationship, we moved in together and began discussing marriage and children. In October of 2006, we decided to test the odds and try to conceive.

We knew it would be a process, figuring we’d have time to get married and do other things. On December 1, 2006, and four pregnancy tests later (you never quite believe the first two or even three), we found out we were going to be parents. So much for statistics!

Although I was labeled high-risk, I had a perfect pregnancy that resulted in a perfect little boy (all 8lbs 15oz and 21 inches of him) who joined our family on August 13, 2007.

It has now been two years since my son was born, and I am due with child number two at the end of September! I was never a big fan of statistics anyway!

I feel extremely fortunate to have beaten the odds not once, but twice! Motherhood has been the most amazing gift, and I truly appreciate every step of the journey. My son is the most amazing little man. I love him with everything I have. I can’t wait to share my life with his little brother.

If I had based my life on statistics, I would have never been a mother. I am a cancer survivor…but most importantly…I am a mother!

If you are interested in learning more about breast cancer, other amazing survivors or to make a donation visit the Susan G. Komen website.

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Posted on by Amanda in Amazing Moms, Guest bloggers, Parenting Leave a comment

Mia’s Best Seller List

At my baby shower, a friend asked that everyone bring their favorite childrens book to help build Mia’s library. What a fabulous idea that was! Mia had a little library ready to go when she arrived. I created a tiny book shelf for her so that all the books were easily accessible. I even set up a “reading chair” for her that she still uses today.

Mia definitely loves her books. I’m glad she inherited more than just my drama queen persona! Here are a few of her current favorites. I’m sure your little ones will love them just as much!

What are your children’s favorite books? Comment and let me know!

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Posted on by Amanda in What's Cool Leave a comment