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

Parenting

Ear Infections & Dairy: My Story

Babies and toddlers today seem to be plagued by ear infections. What gives? Well, I’m no doctor, that’s for sure, but I do know that I have some info to share based on my own experience.

My littlest bean had eight ear infections in eight months. Not wanting to pump her with another round of antibiotics, our pediatrician sent us off to the ENT. Before our visit I started researching. (ie. Googling any reference to ear infections in toddlers.) I found sites saying all kinds of things, but the one that stood out indicated that consumption of dairy could be a factor in reoccurring ear infections. I even had tips from friends on Facebook that said dairy could be the culprit.

The Ever Interesting Ear

So here’s what I found…. According to the Center for Food Allergies, A milk allergy is by far the most common cause of ear infections. Removing dairy from the diet will often times result in complete resolution of this problem. For some reason, many pediatricians overlook the possibility of food allergies, especially milk allergies to chronic ear infections.

We did still pay a visit to the ENT, who immediately recommended tubes. I asked we hold off for three months while I try removing the daily two sippy cups of milk and yogurt from her diet.

Last April, we switched over to Almond milk, did yogurt once a week and limited cheese to the special occasion pizza. It’s been nine months and not a single ear infection. Why was I never privy to this info and why did I have to search for it?

I love dairy and I love a big glass of milk every now and then. I am in no way the Dairy Debbie Downer. However, it is amazing to realize the power of the foods we put into our body and how we react individually. As busy parents, we look to our pediatricians to offer us this information, but that doesn’t always happen.

I am happy to have helped even just one parent with my post. Feel free to leave me a comment. Again, I am not medically certified in any way, but I am a mom with a very credible story to share.

Here’s another reference article:  HealthyChild.com 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 1 Comment

The Kiddie Journal

It’s extremely therapeutic to get your thoughts down on paper or in a journal. It helps to look at things from a different perspective and often times helps identify the root of what seems like a big issue. My big girl has been super emotional lately. I’m not sure if it’s the pressures of first grade or what it could be, but I decided to try some kiddie journal therapy.

Kiddie Journal

My plan started with talking about things that make her happy and things that make her sad/anxious and the best ways to react to these situations. I purchased a large drawing sketch pad and encouraged her to draw pictures of things that make her feel a certain way. While the journal started out as a platform to deal with emotions, it morphed into a daily journal of what she did each day.

Her emotions seem to be back in check (as much as they can be for a six-year-old) and she loves her new daily journal. We sit together and look at all the fun things we do, no matter how simple they might be.

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Parenting 1 Comment

Back to School

There are pros and cons to this infamous time of year. The biggest pro for me is being back on a schedule. There’s a certain sense of calm knowing exactly where your kids will be each day and for exactly how long. No camp coordination till next year! Woo hoo!

Off to conquer 1st Grade and 2-Yr-Old Class

Now the cons – being back on a schedule. Yes, it’s a con too. This means the snooze button is not an option. This means there are lunches to be packed and bed times to be had. This also means a new year of math homework for my 1st grader. This means another year closer to the year when I can’t help anymore because my math skills are on a third grade level. (Hell to me is the equivalent of life as an accountant) But, shhhhh… I’m good at pretending math is sheer awesomeness.

Regardless of pros and cons, back to school can be fun. Mia doesn’t wear a uniform and I’ve always been pretty stringent on what she wears. When I told her she could pick her own outfits this year as long as they met school dress code she nearly passed out.

Twinkle Toes

She has spent the past three nights selecting outfits for the following day. I even gave into the three year request for Twinkle Toes. (See photo on right for reference) Oh, and the toes light up!! I’m more of a Sperry girl myself so these are kind of out of my element. Mia’s whimsical self needs creative outlets. I’m stepping out of the way.

A friend of mine has an awesome blog over at Parenting.com. She too has seen the light and is letting her little one lead the fashion way this year. Her post How Cynthia Rowley Changed My Daughter’s Life  is a must read for any fashion focused parents.

May the force be with you parents!

 

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The Dying Thank You Note

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for awhile. I don’t claim to be a perfect parent, but there are a few things that remain priority on my list of lessons to pass along to my kids. I remember my mom sitting us down after a holiday or birthday to write thank you notes.

We didn’t necessarily have to write notes to people we were able to thank in person, but we did write notes to those who weren’t there to thank.

Teaching Gratitude to Kids

Nowadays, it’s rare to even get a thank you note from an adult let alone a child. It takes time to sit down with a child to write out thank you notes…. Time we don’t all have, but time we should make.

Gratitude is a trait that’s so important for our society and it’s slowly fading away. Here are a few tips to help your kids to be thankful.

  • Let them pick out their own thank you notes at the store. It will give them more ownership of the project. Check out this website that let’s you easily design and print your own thank you cards.
  • After an event, have your kids make a list of the gifts they received and match it with the gift giver. This makes a fun matching game and it will stick in their brains.
  • If they aren’t sending a note, remind them to verbally thank their gift givers and remind them of the gift they received.
  • Identify gifts (if you can remember) when they use them throughout the year ie. “That Leapfrog map Nana bought for you is really cool.”

Just a little bit of time is worth the result – a member of society who is appreciative of other’s efforts. A dying breed for sure!

 

 

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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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Rules of the Playground

Finally, someone took the liberty to put all of the things I’ve been thinking together and publish it! Parents please read this and take it to heart.

Rules of the Playground Courtesy of Babble.com

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Posted on by Amanda in Featured, Parenting 1 Comment

Life Lessons & Magnetic Marbles

My baby, Charli, puts everything in her mouth. My big girl, Mia, has never been one to put things in her mouth. This is why I was extremely surprised when I had the call last Tuesday that Mia had swallowed a magnetic marble at school. So here we are, week number three of Kindergarten and ingesting magnetic marbles. I raced to the school clinic to discover a crying Mia insisting that she had been wiping her mouth and had inhaled the marble accidentally. Part of me wants to believe this tale as I’ve never seen the child put a single thing in her mouth. The other part of me wonders the odds of inhaling a marble.

A quick phone call to our pediatrician to find out next steps, and I was on my way to Arnold Palmer ER. Apparently if more than one magnetic object is swallowed there is a chance they can connect and cause some havoc on the intestines. Mia couldn’t confirm it was only one marble.

After about an hour in the waiting room and another hour watching Disney Channel from the comfort of our ER bed, we had the following news…

Looks Like One Marble To Me!

Whew! They found only one marble in there and we were good to go. Never could I have ever imagined my life would consist of six straight hours focused on a magnetic marble. So happy they let me steal a pic of this.

Mia is doing well. We kept an “eye out” for the return of the marble, but haven’t seen it. lol Stay tuned.

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The Real Meaning of Sorry

I don’t repost a lot, but this article on Babble today made way too much sense not to pass on. I originally read it on the site last March, but noticed they had repurposed it, and rightfully so.

I admit my little Mia often says, “Well I said I’m sorry!” I often wonder where I missed the boat on making sure she understood that just saying sorry doesn’t make it all better, all the time. Take a few minutes and read Christina Knapp’s article on Babble.com. I’m definitely going to take this info to heart.

The Real Meaning of Sorry

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