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


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 like you would for a human. All the while the characters are in the process of saving the aging Aquarium, which they do with Winter’s help.

That's Winter behind Mia's big smile!

We decided this summer would be a great time to meet Winter in person. Only about 1.5 hours from Orlando is beautiful Clearwater Beach and the somewhat small Aquarium. Staff at the Aquarium give you the feeling they are family and all have a vested interest in the success of the facility. Mia likes to talk and the staff there took the time to answer EVERY SINGLE question she had with no sign of annoyance. There are no bells and whistles here, but in a good way. Just fish, sharks, dolphins, stingrays, turtles, otters, local shell and geography exhibits and daily educational shows that incorporate the marine life.

Mia & Charli checking out the prosthetic tail

After the success of Dolphin Tale, the Aquarium now has a new facility located just a trolleyride away that is dedicated to the making of the movie – Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure. We weren’t able to get to this facility, but it was included in our entrance price and the trolleyride is free! Winter calls the main Aquarium home.

I highly recommend visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for an authentic marine life experience. Prices are reasonable. $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids. Teachers and active military get in free!  There are often coupons available like this one on TampaBay360 for $2 off each ticket purchased.

If you can’t make it to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium just yet, you can follow Winter on Twitter or even view Winter through the online webcam! 

The operating room from the movie


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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 3 Comments

The Family Yard Sale

Growing up, we had a huge community yard sale every summer. I counted down the days to the big sale every year.

Raising money for her Disney Cruise

My family and I would set aside items months ahead of time deeming them yard sale material. We’d all be up early the day of to get our business running. We were serious about making money. Taking turns, we’d watch the sale while the others would go out and search for treasures (or a slushie of some sort.) We ran the operation at my grandma’s house (she was pretty central in the neighborhood) so she kept us in check along with some supervision from our mom. Otherwise, our parents pretty much let us run the show. Each year, we’d end the sale buying pizza for the family and splitting the remaining funds three ways between my brother, sister and I.

This past weekend our neighborhood had a community yard sale. When I originally saw the flier I thought I was going to pass, but Mia reminded me that we do need some extra money for our Disney cruise. (about $2,000, but who is counting) The opportunity also made me think about my childhood yard sales and the fun I had with my family.

Mia's best customer – Charli

Mia and I began digging through clothes, shoes and toys. She and I priced the items – discussing in depth if Big Bird was worth 25 or 50 cents. When Saturday morning rolled around, we were up early setting up. Daddy and I took turns supervising the sale, Mia ran her lemonade/cookie stand and Charli amused customers and played with the toys we were trying to sell.

What a great way to spend our Saturday morning… outside for five hours on a beautiful Saturday, talking with neighbors and bonding over sales strategies. Mia took charge a few times, informing me that “You scared off those customers because you were yelling at me” and “I already know before someone walks over if they are buyers or just looking around.” Please note, by yelling she of course meant me telling her that no one wanted to buy cookies if she was touching them.

Daddy & Mia Bonding

I’m going to have my mom search for some old school yard sale photos for me to post, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these from our family sale. At the end of the day, we only made about $55. The memory of it, come to find out, is worth way more… I can vouch for it.

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting Leave a comment
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