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

Dinner Time = Family Time #MealsTogether

I must start off by saying this is a sponsored post by Tyson. However, I believe strongly in family meal time so all opinions shared in this post are my own.

 

Tyson #MealsTogether

What family dinner looks like in our house

While our family is involved in numerous after school/after work activities, I shoot for the entire brood to sit down at the family dinner table at least three weekdays and on weekends. It’s tough, and I imagine as the girls get older it will get tougher. I try to make sure the family has something yummy and healthy on the table, but also cherish the conversations and laughs we share.

 

Tyson #MealsTogether

Our quick weeknight meal

Tyson is running a #MealsTogether initiative encouraging families to share meal time together. Accompanying the message is a photo contest where all you need to do is upload a photo of what meal time looks like at your house.

 

For our Tyson #MealsTogether entry we used a photo from a quick weeknight meal. I use Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken breast strips, heated  in the oven with sliced zucchini and then accompanied with steamed broccoli and watermelon. It was just me and the girls for dinner so this was the perfect quick and healthy meal before we were off to dance class.

 

Enter the Tyson #MealsTogether photo contest here.  They are giving away weekly prize packs and a grand prize of $1,500!  Our entry is above. Good luck!

 

Tyson #MealsTogether

Tyson #MealsTogether

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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 home. We only had three days in the City of Love, but found some awesome kids spots to share and recommend.

Jardin Du Luxembourg – Or as Mia calls it “the largest playground in the world.” Check out this kiddie zipline in our video. It was 1 Euro to enter, but totally worth the minimal cost. The park is in the garden of the French Senate located within the Luxembourg Palace.

Luxembourg Palace

Luxembourg Palace

 


Jardin des Tuileries – Perfect stop after visiting the Louvre. This garden was created in 1554 and located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde! Grassy areas to picnic, a cool playground, food vendors (including cotton candy) and a trampoline park in the midst of it all.

Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre

Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre

Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre

Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre

Gardens surrounding the play area

Gardens surrounding the play area

 

Parc de Bercy –  Right near our hotel in Bercy Village was the huge Bercy Parc area connecting 12 beautiful gardens. The girls loved the winding paths and of course the fun play area. The parc is situated on the bank of the Sienne so you can take a peek at the famous river and the city.

 

Just minutes from our Hotel Kyriad Bercy was this quaint park

Just minutes from our Hotel Kyriad Bercy

These trees were just days away from blooming

These trees were just days away from blooming

Taking a glimpse of the Sienne

Getting a glimpse of the Sienne

 

Check back for more posts from our Europe adventure! I promise I’m getting through these photos and memories and will have lots to share to help you plan or dream about your next family trip.

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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!

Kiddie Travel Journal

Kiddie Travel Journal

My brother sent an awesome kids travel journal so Mia could document her first international trip. She created her packing list, wrote down what she thinks will be her favorite things and even drew in pictures of what she imagines will happen on her trip. There are pages for pre, during and post trip. The journal is simplistic and is an easy and great way to document the adventure through your child’s eyes.

We visited our local library and found multiple gems like Kidding Around London and Count Your Way Through France. Books that talk about landmarks and quirky facts are the best. For instance did you know a baguette can be up to three feet?

The library also had a London and Paris DVD from the series Travel With Kids that we were able to check out.

Mia received the book Charlotte in Paris, from my sister. While in Paris, Charlotte dines at a cafe on the Champs-Elysees, watches a marionette show in the Tuileries gardens and celebrates her birthday at the Eiffel Tower. Mia will celebrate her 8th birthday at the Eiffel Tower as well! Perfect.

Charlotte in Paris

Charlotte in Paris

Last but not least, Mia has been working on the fun kids language app Duolingo for weeks. She is not speaking fluent French just yet, but she definitely knows more than me and is going to have fun recognizing and hearing words she knows.

I can’t wait to share the fun details of our upcoming travels.

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Giveaway Time! Mega Bloks Barbie™ Build ‘n Play Luxe Camper

Charli (3)  is obsessed with building puzzles and  any type of blocks she can get her hands on. I think I have an engineer on my hands! The Mega Bloks Barbie™ Luxe Camper is right up her alley because it combines another love… Barbie. Geared to kids ages 4-10, but she and I worked on it as a team.

MEGA BLOKS BARBIE™ BUILD ‘N PLAY LUXE CAMPER

MEGA BLOKS BARBIE™ BUILD ‘N PLAY LUXE CAMPER

The sparkling holiday cruiser includes bunk beds, make-up area and  front seats. Outside of the camper there is a firepit, hot tub and picnic area. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty jealous of Barbie and her friends once we completed the camper.

I’m really excited to be able to give one away!

How To Win:

  • Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite thing (or not fave thing) about camping
  • Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did so
  • Tweet about the giveaway: Win a @MegaBloks Barbie Luxe Camper on The Mamma Mia Blog @amandamkeefer #giveaway
Contest open to US residents only. Contest ends on March 25 at 3 pm.I was provided with product for review. All thoughts and opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my own.
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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.

Marriott Sand Key

Marriott Sand Key

As we drove over the bridge to Clearwater, I kept expecting a turn off at one of the many beach hotels.

To my surprise we headed over a bridge away from Clearwater Beach and turned into the Marriott Sand Key.

We only had Saturday and Sunday to spend in the area, but I can tell you this was pure paradise. Close enough to Clearwater tourist area to enjoy the pier and shops if you wanted, but far enough that you are amongst residential condos and free to enjoy a beach undergoing a nourishment project that welcomes a plethora of amazing shells.

Sand Key Beach

Sand Key Beach

The Marriott Sand Key has an amazing pool area, kids club (We’ll be back withthe kids), restaurants (on location and nearby), fun water sports, tiki bar, great room views and friendly staff.

We will definitely be back!

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Sofia The First CD Giveaway

I haven’t done a giveaway in awhile, but I’m pretty stoked to be able to giveaway three copies of the new Sofia The First:Songs from Enchancia music CD. You all know we are Disney fans… Kind of a given living where we live.

Sofia The First: Songs From Enchancia

Sofia The First: Songs From Enchancia

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love this recently released Disney Jr. series. Even my older daughter and nephew beg to watch this show. I love that Sofia is part of a blended family (like our own). In my opinion, this show does an excellent job of teaching children how to be kind and accepting of others. Project Runway fans will become attached to Baileywick… Tim Gunn is the voice behind this loveable character.

The album includes tracks such as “Good Little Witch” and “Ride of our Lives,” plus 4 instrumental karaoke tracks. Oh yes, we love some karaoke.

How To Win:

  • Leave a comment below letting me know your fave character from the show.
  • Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did. I swear you’ll love my tweets!
  • Tweet about this contest with the following tweet: Win a #SofiaTheFirst CD from @amandamkeefer & @disneymusic www.themammamiablog.com

 

This giveaway is for US residents. I will select and notify winners on 2/14. For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, please visit Disney.com/music, become a fan at Facebook.com/disneymusic or follow at Twitter.com/disneymusic.

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways 18 Comments

Orlando Parents Vote On Their Local Hotel Favorites

Living in one of the most visited locations in the world means that families living in Orlando have a plethora of options when it comes to a staycation. Readers of PLAYGROUND magazine voted on their top staycation choices in town and I had the pleasure of writing about the results. I was also able to throw a few faves of my own in there. I think it’s a must read for Orlando parents and really any family traveling to Otown. Click below for the full article (pages 32-34)

Staycations in our backyard!

Staycations in our backyard!

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Holiday Fun Around Orlando

I’m going to petition to add just a few more weekends to the month of December. There are always so many fun things to do in the Orlando area over the holidays. I had a long list, but here is a quick snapshot of the holiday themed activities we were able enjoy this month.

 SeaWorld Sea of Trees is part of SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration. It’s amazing and a must-see in Orlando over the holidays.

The Rosen Shingle Creek Nutcracker Tea is a chance to dress up and celebrate the holidays with carolers, an abbreviated performance of the Nutcracker, great desserts and snacks and a visit from Santa. Truly the perfect mommy daughter holiday outing.

Nutcracker Tea

Nutcracker Tea

Lake Eola Park has a huge Christmas tree as well as gigantic nutcrackers guarding the entrance to the park off of Rosalind Ave. The Russian Academy of Ballet does a free Nutcracker performance at the lake each year and other activities take place at the lake throughout the holiday season.

Lake Eola Park Holidays

Lake Eola Park Holidays

Disney Magic Studios Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights will take your breath away. Disney puts on this magical show of lights each year at Magic Studios.

Whether you are on a budget or have money to spend, there are always fun activities around Orlando during the holidays!

Be sure to follow more of our family travel & holiday adventures on Instagram!

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Back In Orlando & Tix Giveaway

I’m excited to announce the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey January Orlando premier of their brand new show LEGENDS!. The show will be in Orlando January 9-12, 2014 at the Amway Center.

The circus has been a  tradition for families for many years. It’s an experience that spans generations. Truly a show for all ages.

The Greatest Show On Earth!

The Greatest Show On Earth!

Just in time for Christmas, I’m giving away a family 4-pack to this year’s show. I’m sure your family would be excited to see these tickets under the tree. I’ll be contacting the winner on Dec. 23.

How To Enter:

  • Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite circus memory or act
  • Tweet about the giveaway using this tweet: Enter to win tix to @RinglingBros #Orlando LEGENDS! show on @mammamiafl blog. #RinglingOrlando
  • Share on Facebook (leave a comment to let me know you did)

 

Even if you do not win. You can use special code MOM14 to receive $4 off each ticket. This code is valid only for Friday 7:30 p.m., and Saturday 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances.  Not valid on front row and premium seats. Not valid day of show.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, January 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 11 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 12 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

Tickets for Thursday and Friday performances are: $75 (Front Row), $35 (Premium Seats), $27, $23 and $16

You can also like Ringling Bros. on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Be sure to follow our family adventures on Instagram!

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Feld Entertainment is providing me with complimentary tickets to the show. All opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my own.

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Orlando 7 Comments

Rosen Orlando Holiday Happenings

I can’t even wrap my head around the many fun holiday happenings in Orlando this year. I really need two months of December to fit it all in.

One of my favorite hotel groups here in Orlando, Rosen Hotels, is hosting a slew of fun holiday events for every age. From lunches and dinners with Santa and the Winter Wonderland Festival to the European Winter Fair and Christmas Wagon, there has to be something to put your family in the holiday spirit.

Rosen Centre Holidays

Rosen Centre Holidays

This weekend, we will be taking part in ice skating fun at the Rosen Centre. It’s the first year for ice skating at the hotel and we are super excited. What could be more fun than ice skating in Florida! Plus, the skating is paired with face painting, balloon art, photo booth a DJ and more holiday fun.

Next on the agenda… Mia and I are attending the Nutcracker Tea at the Rosen Shingle Creek complete with a performance of the Nutcracker, traditional tea and photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Shh… I’m surprising her with this little mommy daughter holiday date. She is hard pressed to get my full attention these days. Follow my Instagram or Twitter for the play by play of her surprise.

Cost for each holiday activity is listed here. Prices are reasonable for memorable holiday family fun close to home!

Come back to The Mamma Mia Blog to read about more holiday happenings in Orlando.

Be sure to follow more of our family travel & holiday adventures on Instagram!

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