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

We’re Here!

After a long travel day… And, some turmoil with United Airlines, we arrived in San Diego mid-day to rain and clouds. The rain moved out quickly, and we managed to beeline for Seaport Village for a quick burger at San Diego Burger Company. Yum!  Staying at the Hilton Bay Front, but haven’t had a whole lot of time to explore. Just finished dinner with old friends at their home in Chula Vista and now some rest so we are ready for the week. Mia was an awesome traveler, as usual, but her first major time change has not been so well received. Tomorrow will be a better day for all. Wild Animal Park and La Jolla on the schedule! Please excuse my phone quality photos… I’ll have the new camera ready tomorrow.

Still smiling… waiting for connection in Los Angeles

Um… Tired, but happy to be here.

Room view… 29th floor Hilton Bay Front

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 1 Comment

New, But Not So New

Hi friends! I have fabulous news! The Mamma Mia Blog is finally settled into our new home at www.themammamiablog.com. Yes! Yes! It’s our own Web site. Seriously, I know I’m a little over the top, but let me have my moment.

Over the course of about a month, I have been working with an amazing blog guru Rob McGuire, who also built one of my favorite blogs Savvy Sassy Moms. Rob successfully migrated Mamma Mia from Blogger to WordPress. Kudos to Rob for a job well done and for putting up with me.

So, what does this mean for Mamma Mia? Well, we have a lot more functionality, which allows us to be BIGGER and BETTER… More giveaways, more guest bloggers, more travel, more fashion, more food ideas, more local fun and even more of my “take it or leave it” random life lessons.

To kick things off, I’ll  be blogging every day next week as we take beautiful  San Diego, California by storm on our family vacation. The Griswolds have nothing on us. Brace yourself San Diego, I’m coming back… and I have kids this time. Something we should do or see? Leave a comment and let me know.

San Diego Here We Come!

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Posted on by Amanda in Announcements, Travel 6 Comments

New Liberty in Kids Fashion

A few months back, I fell in love with the Stella McCartney line at Gap Baby/Kids. The McCartney line is a little pricey and Mia is not easy on the wardrobe. So what’s the alternative for a kid who can’t keep their clothes clean for longer than .5 seconds? Well, I ran to Target on my lunch this afternoon (in search of a pink Zhu Zhu pet… another story for another time) and found tada… Liberty of London for Target. Style at a bargain price!

I knew I had to come back immediately and report! Apparently, there’s a baby line, a woman’s line, there’s bedding, there’s teapots, there’s… Okay I’m taking this a little far and I imagine you don’t want your house to be a paisley mess, but here are just a few of my finds. Click the pic to go direct to the item on the Target page.

Liberty of London demin romper

Liberty of London short-sleeved graphic t

Liberty of London woven green dress

So get on over to your local Target and bask in the victory of cool kids clothing for a great Target price. Wow, did I just sound like a commercial.

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Posted on by Amanda in Fashion Leave a comment


If you haven’t picked up the latest issue of PLAYGROUND, you should ASAP. This issue is full of “Artsy Fartsy” fun for families in Central Florida. Some of my favorite articles (besides the two I wrote) are “the alternate route” giving parents the low down on schooling options, “College Park… it’s just edgy” and of course the fashion spread.

I had the opportunity to experience and write a piece on Orlando Bellydance. A true alternative to the average kids athletic activity. I also immersed myself in the optional art classes the area has to offer for kids. There are just so many cool classes to choose from!

To read the full articles, go to PLAYGROUND’s website and download the electronic version. While you’re on the site, take a look at the calendar of upcoming events and sign up for a subscription. You know you want to!

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Posted on by Amanda in PLAYGROUND Leave a comment

Go Ahead… Play With Your Food

Well what do ya know… It’s Foto Friday again. I’ve fallen slightly behind but the reason is good. Big news for The Mamma Mia Blog coming soon!

I don’t have much talent in the kitchen, but over the past four years, Mia has inspired me to do better. I’ve actually found that cooking is kind of fun. Yes, I said it! Anyway, I’ve had some great times cooking and baking together with Mia. Well, I call it cooking and baking and she calls it playing with food.  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve made cookies solid as a bricks and a cake that had no center, but hey… we’ve had fun.

Here’s a super easy, and emotionally stimulating, recipe to try with your kids.

Emotional Pizza
What you need: Whole grain pita, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, veggies to make faces

Mad Pizza Face
Happy Pizza Face
 Chef Mia hard at work…
Check out more easy recipes to make with your kids at Family Fun!
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Posted on by Amanda in Food Leave a comment

I heart PlayFoam

This lovely Foto Friday is dedicated to the newest addition in Mia’s arts and crafts collection, PlayFoam. I don’t mind getting messy every now and then, but the fact of the matter is that I live in a 1200 sq. ft. condo (I know, I continuously remind everyone of this.) Messes just seem bigger there. When I get a real house with a real driveway etc., I will blog about big messes in my big house.

This latest and greatest addition is an oldie but definitely a goody. You might have played with PlayFoam as a child, but seriously, this stuff is amazing. I totally forgot just how fun it is. Apparently my family (sans myself) might have a career waiting for them in PlayFoam sculpting. See last photo below. Holy PlayFoam master!

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Posted on by Amanda in Tiny Picasso 5 Comments

Win It: Berenstain Bears At Orlando Repertory Theatre

I am extremely excited to announce that the Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP) will be presenting The Berenstain Bears On Stage: A Bear Country Musical February 27 through March 28. Gotta love the Berenstain Bears!

I’m even more excited to announce that you can win a family four pack from the Mamma Mia blog.

Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the Berenstain Bears in their 1962 book The Big Honey Hunt. Throughout the last few decades, the Berenstain Bears have been seen in picture books, television shows, toys, and now, on the stage at our local REP.

Showtimes are Saturdays at 11 am and 4 pm and Sundays 2 pm and 5 pm through March 28.

To enter to win the family four pack to the show time of your choice*, email the REP with your contact info by clicking here. I’ll be announcing the winner of the tickets next Monday, March 1.

If you want more information on the show or to buy tickets visit The REP’s Web site or call 407.896.7665 ext. 1.

*Promo excludes showtimes on Saturday, March 20.

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Posted on by Amanda in On Stage 2 Comments

Foto Friday: Feel The Love

The big V-day was celebrated with lots of love (and food) this year… We ventured out for brunch at a new restaurant location, 310 Lakeside. The restaurant has actually been there for a year, and is literally next door to our building, but we had never been. Food and $3 brunch special sangrias were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Next we journeyed across town to the Desert Lady on W Church Street. If you haven’t been to this oasis of sweets, you must go immediately. The atmosphere is calming and I imagine hours could go by while sipping coffee and you’d never know.  Sort of like my old days at 3 for 1 happy hours. Anyway, I digress…. These photos will speak for themselves. (Click the Desert Lady link to get a glimpse of the place)

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Posted on by Amanda in Foto Friday Leave a comment

Mean Girls

Or, purple monsters… For lack of better photo. Anyway, I’ve never seen the movie Mean Girls, but I can only imagine something similar to what I witnessed in high school. I was never a mean girl, but I witnessed bullying. I had my head unnecessarily shoved into a locker or two in my day. I turned out okay, I think. I certainly do not want my Mia shoving heads into lockers.

A mom from Mia’s school informed me the other day that the girls had formed some kind of “club” and they where periodically excluding girls from the group. Mean girls at age 3???

It wasn’t JUST Mia, but being part of that group is just as bad! I was in shock, and suddenly had that overwhelming feeling of… “Oh crap, I’m THAT mom whose child is going to act totally different when she steps out of the house.”

As I began to research, it seems that I should have caught onto the signs that this “club” thing was coming. Back six months ago, Mia was on an “Okay then I won’t be your friend” kick. To me, to her dad, even to the cat… yes, she was threatening her friendship with our cat.

Good news… There are many ways to nip this in the bud. I still have time to straighten out my closeted mean girl and so do you.

Here are some tips from the experts, aka not me:

  • Make sure your preschooler gets plenty of opportunities to make their own choices and feel powerful in their life. Much like a toddler learning the power of ”no,” preschoolers abuse social exclusion more if that’s the only time they get to feel powerful.
  • Help the child identify the cue they missed or mistake they made, by asking something like: “How would you feel if Emma and Jane didn’t want you to play on the tire swing with them?” Instead of lecturing with the word “should,” offer options the child “could” have taken in the moment.
  • Sensitize your kiddo to other people’s experience by constantly commenting on how others feel so they see things from other people’s viewpoints. Make comments like… “Look, that boy is crying. I wonder why?” or “Laura seemed so happy when you hugged her.” It’s crucial that children develop this skill, not just so they turn out nice, but because reading the social cues of others is the only way to function in a complicated social world.
  • Create an imaginary but similar scenario where the child can make the right choice. For example, you could say, “If you and Danielle were playing in the sandbox and Samantha wanted to play too, what would you say?”
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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment

Foto Friday Late As Heck

I can’t believe I’m that much of a slacker… It is yet another Foto Friday and I haven’t even posted in between. I’m slipping. In my defense, it’s been a rough week on both the home front and the work front. We are trying to sell our condo and purchase a new home in a crap snap economy. Anyway, I promise to do better. I mean it.

Here are a few photos or fotos as we like to call them on Friday’s on the Mamma Mia blog. Mia and I have been big fans of the Sea World annual pass (Play for a day come back all year) for almost four years now. Here are two snapshots from our recent trip to Sea World.

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Posted on by Amanda in Foto Friday 1 Comment
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