Enchanted Evenings At Waldorf Astoria Orlando

The Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, near Disney, has an unimaginable amount family fun going on this summer during Enchanted Evenings. Enchanted Evenings schedule of events happen every weekend through Labor Day. We had the chance to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, in a two bedroom suite perfect for families, during 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

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

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

Calling Central Florida Babies!

Hey Central Florida! babytalk magazine is holding an open casting call Saturday, December 19 at LuLu Belle Baby Boutique in Baldwin Park from 10 am – 12 pm. They are looking for baby boys and girls 3 to 18 months who love the camera! Do not miss it!

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando 6 Comments

Erica Clements Photography

I have never been a fan of the portrait sessions where the photog instantly transports your little one to a snowy meadow or autumn forest by whipping down a backdrop. When Mia was born I convinced myself I would not succumb to the snowy meadow syndrome and instead attempt for the natural environment photos.

I was introduced to local Orlando photographer Erica Clements a year ago. Erica was able to step in and take charge of my quest for “non portrait portraits.” She wowed us with our holiday photo last year and again this year. We are downtown living folks so it only made sense to capture our natural craziness in the landscape of downtown Orlando.

Zoolander, I mean Mia, really took charge of this shoot with her poses and facial expressions. We all had a great time being ourselves and letting Erica capture these amazing “non portrait portraits.”

Check out more of Erica’s fabulous work  www.ericaclements.com

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando 2 Comments

Cinderella PLAYGROUND Winter 09

Have you picked up your copy of PLAYGROUND magazine’s winter issue? If you haven’t you should. This issue is full of holiday ideas and parenting tips to last all year.

The Cinderella article is just in time for the holidays… when we could all use a little extra help around the house. It’s also just in time for 2010. The perfect time for parents to turn over a new leaf in making sure our kids learn to be independent and responsible. What better resolution!!!

Click HERE to download a copy of the latest issue of PLAYGROUND. Check out my Cinderella article on page14!

If downloading is not your style, pick up your copy at one of the distribution points listed on the website, or subscribe and have it delivered to your home.

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Giveaway: Tickets to Orlando Rep’s Dear Santa

Ho, ho, ho…. And the holiday giveaways continue. Today  Mamma Mia is giving away a family four-pack to the Orlando Repertory Theatre’s showing of Dear Santa. The show runs November 20 through December 20 with showtimes on Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays at 2 and 7 pm and Sundays at 2 pm.

It is the time of year to peek into the magical timeless world of the North Pole, bustling workshops, cheerful elves and even Santa himself. Santa’s efficient, yet frenzied Chief of Staff, the ditzy housekeeper with a secret crush, the high-pressure sleigh salesman and the workshop foreman who does not quite command the English language all combine to keep the place running like clockwork, wit the exception of a few mishaps. Soon, a request from one child’s letter throws everything off course. The answer lies in rediscovering the Christmas spirit.

Don’t miss this holiday show!

How to enter: 

  • To enter to win the tickets simply click here and your entry will be sent directly to the Orlando Repertory Theatre.The winner will be notified on Monday, November 30.

If you don’t win the tickets you can always purchase them by visiting the Orlando Repertory website or by calling 407.896.7365 ext. 1. 

 *Winner can select any date except December 12.

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Posted on by Amanda in On Stage 1 Comment

Giveaway: LeapFrog Junior Book Pal Bundle

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be able to offer one lucky Mamma Mia reader one of LeapFrog’s most amazing products! I guess I really don’t have to tell you over and over how important reading is for our little ones. But trust me… There are really kids who enter kindergarten who have never picked up a book!

Using the same technology as the Tag™ Reading System, the Tag™ Junior book pal was created to work with, not against that natural urge toddlers’ have to explore just about everything. Tag Junior  introduces preschool skills through fun book-based activities.

The Tag Junior book pal is easy for parents and children to use. This is important. Mia’s received a few learning gifts in the past that I still haven’t figured out. Even computer illiterate parents can download audio for up to five books to the book pal, then let their toddlers go to town.

Each Tag Junior board book introduces a different preschool skill including  alphabet, counting and social play. There are fun sound effects and open-ended questions that encourage toddlers to take the lead.  Open-ended questions and fun sound effects encourage children to take charge, as they touch any part of any page to bring words, pictures and activities to life.

Talk about tracking progress… When a child is through playing, parents can connect the book pal to the online Leapfrog® Learning Path to see  progress and download printable activities for more fun.

* Included sampler book, If I Were…, has 16 activities and over 70 audio responses.

What you win:
A LeapFrog Tag Junior Book Pal and two books, ABC Animal Orchestra and Pooh Loves To… This bundle is valued at nearly $57.

How to win:

  • Become a fan on Leapfrog’s Facebook page. You MUST do this in order to qualify as a winner.
  • Leave a comment on this post. Just be creative…. I leave the comment choice up to you this time.
  • If you don’t have a Google account I can link to, please leave your email in your comment or send it to Mamma Mia directly if you feel uncomfortable leaving it in your comment. If you leave your email in the comment leave it as: youremail (at) emailserver (dot) com. I swear I’m working on an easier way to enter my giveaways so bare with me friends!

Bonus entries:

  • Follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know. Just click the link to follow on left hand side of this page. (Come on… I need followers!)
  • Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment with the link.
  • Follow my blog on FB networked blogs. Soooo EASY!!

More stuff to know:
This giveaway ends at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on November 30.  Contest open to the residents of U.S. and Canada only. The winner will be selected through random.org and will have 24 hours to respond with shipping info.

More chances to win:
Fellow mom bloggers are running the same giveaway. Another chance to win, win, win! Yes, I do have a few friends…
Parenting by Trial and Error
Blogging ‘Bout Boys
Frisco Kids
Ready Mom
3 Carnations

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways 2 Comments

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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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment

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 Leave a 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
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