27 Mar 2015

Feeling Good About Diapers

No Comments Ad, Kids, Parenting, Review, Sponsored

We are almost there. Almost done. So close yet so far.

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This is my monkey. She lives in the trees (or at least I would gather that she would rather most days). She’d rather be naked most days and we are on the verge of potty training, but we just aren’t quite there yet. So here we stand. On the final diaper frontier. I can say that over the past 3 children that I have raised I have gotten to be much more knowledgeable about the diapers that my kids wear, what goes into their body, what goes on their body and so on. There are more certifications and labels that I see now on products that state organic, eco-friendly and so on. But I am much more aware of what these mean and what works best for my family too.

I fell in LOVE with the diapers that Abby is wearing now, the Bambo Baby Diapers. I can honestly say that they are the best diapers I have used and my only regret is that I didn’t find them sooner.

Abby has super sensitive skin and these have been the only diapers that she hasn’t had an allergic reaction to because they actually let her skin breathe. They contain no dangerous chemicals and or allergens, and if you have a child with sensitive skin, you will be very aware of anything that touches their precious skin.

According to Web MD, 95% of parents use disposable diapers, but do you really know what they are made of? And of course, the cloth diaper debate is also one to look into as well (my good friend Calley, The Eco Chic, LOVES her some cloth diapers and is considered an expert so you can ask her here).

But for us, we went with an eco-friednly, dermatologically tested Bambo Nature line that made me feel good about purchasing diapers for the time that we have left in them.

Thank you to Bambo Nature for sponsoring this post!

Bambo Nature

For more information and to purchase the Bambo Nature Baby Diapers click here or read below about the product:
For over three decades, Bambo Nature has taken every measure to bring you a premium baby diaper that’s gentle, soft, and made of 100% sustainable materials. Bambo Nature has earned more credentials, awards, and eco-labels than any other diaper on the market. While other brands are busy making claims, we’re busy substantiating our diaper’s premium quality with concrete proof.

Our Premium Promise:
· Guaranteed Skin-Friendly – No Dangerous Chemicals and or Allergens
· Guaranteed Eco-Friendly – Sustainable Resources and Less Waste
· Guaranteed Sleep-Friendly – Maximum Absorbency, Ultra-Soft, Ultra-Flexible

16 Mar 2015

Soulmate Sisters

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I have been hotel hopping since I was about 8 years old. When I was young, we visited a number of pretty snazzy hotels and resorts all over the Milwaukee and lower Wisconsin area. Mostly with my Papi while he worked. My sister and I would play in the pools, meet other kids on vacation, marvel at the opulence that was in every corner and on every wall of the hotel. We became professional hotel explorers.

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It was fun to be rich, even if just for the weekend.

I had a déjà vu moment this past weekend as oldest girls, about the same age apart as my sister and I, frolicked during a night swim on my last vacation. It brought me back to swimming at the pools of my youth when my Papi would bring us, while he worked, to hotels for the weekend. I hadn’t remembered the similarities until just that moment.

My infatuation with hotels and weekend getaways was finally making sense. What if this was a way my father was telling to remember the best times of my childhood? Could it be he’s sending me a message? I fully believe in signs and have always believed in the way that things do happen for a reason.

Ten years ago, my Papi left two little girls on this Earth. We were his world I’ll always remember that for sure. But signs are everywhere telling me he hasn’t ever forgot us and even surfacing out memories I haven’t thought about in years.

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Sisters are soulmates.

We used to stay at hotels because he would work as a mariachi singer and play Sunday brunches for these fancy hotels. The rooms were comped and food was always complementary. We enjoyed our weekends in the hot tubs and pools with him because it was much better than the fridged Wisconsin winters outside. We would have so much fun getting ice cream, using fancy glasses and running around exploring the hotel.

It all stopped so suddenly. Like over night. And then he was gone. And it happened no more. Because we weren’t rich. And that wasn’t what a normal kid did every weekend.

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But the other night was magical. Watching my girls laugh, splash and soak up every moment of being a kid in a fancy hotel pool… Just like I did…once upon a time. And reminding me that my first friend, my oldest companion was my sister. I’ve been with her since day one. She knows what we’ve been through, what happened, how it felt and is my soulmate. Sisters are a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.

So on that night I was reminded that childhood memories are all for the making. There’s a small window to make them remember what their childhood felt like. But sisters will always be there to help you remember where you came from.

Happiest days of birth to my little sister, Gina. May happiness fill your soul and feed your life with pure bliss. xoxo

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16 Mar 2015

A Million Memories And Counting

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How quickly time flies when you are young. As Spring Break ’15 is all over and wrapped neatly with a bow and we are on to the next chapter. It seems surreal that it’s over and upon us soon will be year end parties, summer celebrations and endless summer nights. But are these memories just a dream in the making or will they truly remember what we did together?
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04 Mar 2015

Family Fun at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida

No Comments Adventures, Disney, Family Travel, Florida, Kids, Orlando, Review, Travel Tuesday

Updated March 4, 2015

Each year, I have the opportunity to visit the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival that takes place early March through May at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Backyard Garden Epcot

It is by far, one of my favorite times of the year to visit Disney. The weather is beautiful and the sites are just gorgeous! The topiaries, flowers, experiences throughout Epcot are amazing and each year they bring out new bands, food and more to bring the festival to life.

Muppet Topiary Epcot

This year, 2015, marks the 22nd annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. It will kick off on March 4th and run through May 17th, 2015. A few new additions that we can report are the following: (pictures to follow)

  • The Garden Rocks concert series kicks off with The Gin Blossoms (I know, right?!) every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Shows will be at 5:30pm, 6:45pm & 8pm at the America Gardens Theatre and are included in admission.
  • Follow along with others on social media using the #FreshEpcot
  • Illuminated Gardens will have you wanting to stay into the night to visit the park while the gardens are a glow! You must stay for the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, award-winning fireworks display at 9pm nightly. Have your spot picked out or purchase tickets to the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party and be ready to enjoy desserts from all around the world.
  • Butterflies on the Go Presented by Go Go squeeZ: The butterfly garden is always our favorite as you can marvel at these gentle creatures as they fly around this beautiful garden! Always a favorite with my kids, this year, the garden will have some wonderful surprises from the gang at Go Go squeeZ!
  • Of course, the famous character topiaries are always a must see! For a full line-up of who is where, visit the Disney Parks Blog here.
  • Dining our way through the World Showcase at Epcot is always on our list of things to do. Of course, you can dine with the characters at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway (make reservations here) or watch fireworks from your window side table at Tokyo Dining or on the patio at the Spice Road Table. There are so many place to choose from…what are you in the mood for!
  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

    Your entire family will enjoy Epcot during this amazing time of year. Spring is even more beautiful than you could have ever imagined. And of course at Disney, it’s even better.

    What’s your favorite part of the festival?! Talk with me on Twitter throughout the festival and let me know!

    01 Mar 2015

    Celebrate Life & Do Something: Life with a Rare Condition

    No Comments CAH, Everyday, Kids, Parenting, Raising Children, Uncategorized

    “The world is a dangerous place; not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

    Albert Einstein

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    Today is February 28. Only month in a year that we have 28 days, sometimes 29. Crazy, I know. But do you know why we have a leap year?

    A common year has 365 days and a leap year 366 days, with the extra, or intercalary, day designated as February 29. A leap year occurs every four years to help synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, or the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit about the sun, which is about 365¼ days.

    Without the extra 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds that is needed to make the cycle complete, time would be off. Everything would be out of sync. The stars wouldn’t align and the seasons, eventually would be off. It just wouldn’t be “right.” It’s a rare day that February 29th, but we all accept it and celebrate the extra day we get every 4 years.

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    Shouldn’t everyday on Earth be a celebration? We’re alive, right? That’s exactly how I feel about my kids. They are mine to celebrate and mine to protect. Unique in their own ways, but exactly who they are because of what makes them…them. And without them, for me, and many people who love them, the world wouldn’t be what it is without them either. We celebrate life, the normal and realize life is precious everyday.

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    25 Feb 2015

    Valspar Golf Championship Comes to Tampa Bay

    No Comments Adventures, Florida, Kids, Review, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay

    Jake learning golf from the First Tee of Tampa Bay.

    This is a sponsored post by Valspar Championship.

    Golf is a life long sport. It is an amazing sport to introduce to children. We have

    I have always wanted my kids to familiarize themselves with golf for a number of reasons. Golf is a wonderful sport for anyone to learn at any age at anytime. And most that are introduced at a later age would agree that they wish they would have learned it at a younger age. Here are 5 reasons golf is a great sport for kids:

    1. Learn etiquette. Golf is a game of etiquette. You learn the rules. You follow the rules. You behave in a certain way when playing the sport. It’s a perfect way to learn characteristics that are often missing in the youth sports arena.

    2. It’s a lifetime sport. One can play golf for a lifetime. It’s a sport that is a timeless classic and can be played by many at various skill levels.

    3. Teaches personal responsibly. There are no teammates to blame if a shot doesn’t go your way. You learn to own the outcome of what transpires during each round.

    4. Learn to focus. Concentration. Focus. Patience. Strength of character. Golf takes all if these skills and teaches kids to control their emotions during the highs and lows of the game. Just like in life, we must learn to deals with the good and the ugly, and by using lessons from golf, why not practice these skills.

    5. Push away the screen. Playing golf is a fun activity to get kids outside (or inside) and away from the screen. With childhood obesity at an all time high, activities that help kids have fun and become active are needed!

    For more ways to Push Away The Screen, visit Fit Kids Playground.

    The Valspar Championship is the perfect place to take children (kids under 15 are free) so that they can experience golf at its best. The course is beautiful and it’s an professional experience that will get them excited to learn the sport.

    For a listing of scheduled events for the upcoming championship, Sunday, March 8th through Sunday, March 16th, click here. There is a Jabil Family Fun Zone presented by Publix (8th and 9th holes) during the Championship rounds starting Thrusday, March 8- Sunday, March 12.

    About the Championship:

    The Valspar Championship is considered the most colorful PGA TOUR tournament in world, featuring some of the biggest names in golf, an interactive Family Fun Zone, a complimentary Saturday night concert featuring The Band Perry and opportunities to meet the players and receive autographs. The tournament takes place at the Innisbrook Resort and is scheduled this year for March 9-15, 2015. For ticket packages and information, visit ValsparChampionship.com or call 727-942-5566.

    If you have an interest in starting your child in golf after the tournament, I personally recommend The First Tee of Tampa Bay. They have partnered courses all over the Tampa Bay area as well as classes and teams that are forming year round. Their mission: To impact the lives of young people in the Greater Tampa area by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

    I have donated my 4, one-day tickets to the tournament, to The First Tee of Tampa Bay for families who will be taking their children to the Valspar Championship in hopes to inspire them to golf and learn the sport.

    I loved golf from the moment I began playing when I was 9. I hope that other kids will learn to love it too.

    If you’d like to win tickets, hop on over to my friend, The Eco Chic, where she is giving away 4 tickets!

    18 Feb 2015

    A Lesson from Annie in Optimism

    No Comments Review, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay

    I took my 9 year old daughter to her first musical, Annie. She absolutely loved every minute of this show. From the cast, the songs she had memorized from the movie and the entire experience that the Straz Center offers for bringing children into their theater for a first experience.

    The Straz

    But what stuck me most was the overall life lesson I really didn’t realize she got until the next day after school. It was raining and she didn’t too too well on a test. She was a little bummed but we don’t dwell on things. We address. Fix. And move on. She said, “Well, I bet there will be sun tomorrow!” all with a smile. Optimism is not something that is not inherent. Kids will learn how to handle situations based on how they see adults handle situations. I think that when kids (or adults) mess up or have a bad day, you do really have to remember that the “sun will come out tomorrow.” And it’s not easy all the time. Our actions speak louder than words and attitude is everything.

    The show Annie is a delightful show full of the classic songs we remember from the movie and some new songs and plot twists that will have you watching until the very end. The young cast that is now on tour (through July 2015) is an extremely talented cast that will make you think you are on Broadway!

    The set design was was purely magical as it transformed you from the streets of New York to with the skyline as real as it could be.

    The optimistic Annie was played by Issie Swickle who is a Florida native of Davie and is making her National Tour debut. She voice is captivating as she sings the one of the most memorable songs of many childhoods, “Tomorrow.” While she is on stage alone (with the dog Sandy) you are in awe of her talents and captivated by the song. Of course, Miss Hannigna, played by Lynn Andrews, is a show stopper for she is still as mean as the day is long, just like we remember.

    Take you kids to see Annie. It’s a life lesson that every child (and some adults) need to hear. And a musical that every child will remember forever as well.

    *This post was sponsored by the Straz Center and through the Tampa Bay Bloggers Network. Search hashtags ‪#‎BroadwayInTampa‬ ‪#‎AnnieOnTour‬ to see first-hand how others enjoyed the show.

    12 Feb 2015

    5 Reasons Why Ulele is the Ultimate Date Night Restaurant in Tampa

    No Comments Family Travel, Florida, Opinion, Review, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay

    Kids screaming. Baby crying. Homework is coming out of your ears. Laundry is to the ceiling. Girl Scout badges need to be sewn on. Grocery shopping needs to be done. The house needs a super deep clean. Better start filing taxes… And on and on the list goes. I get it. You need a break. We all do. A night. Take three hours. To relax. Enjoy your significant other or even a friendship. Just an escape. Even a three-hour break each week can immensely improve your mood for the other 165 hours I need to be on the clock.

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    11 Feb 2015

    The Story of Go Abby Go

    No Comments Adventures, CAH, Everyday, Tampa, Tampa Bay

    On Your Mark…Get Set…Go!

    Abby is off to her very first race this Saturday. It’s a big race…30 yards. But that 30 yards has taken us 30 months to prepare for.

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    02 Feb 2015

    A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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    When I was 19 I started working at a bar. It was a popular bar that I had snuck into with friends. Started chatting with a gentleman at the bar (soon to find out he was the owner) who graciously asked, “How the f”ck did you get into my bar?” at the end of a very nice conversation. It was also followed up by, “You start tomorrow.” The next day was St.Patricks Day and I would work the longest shift I’ve ever worked. 9am to 6am. Best night of my waitressing career.

    From there, lots of memories unfolded behind the bar of this quaint Irish Pub set back in the suburbs of Tampa. I meet lots of people who I still call friends to this day. Many friends I have lost touch with, but I could pick up a conversation with them if I saw them…In a heartbeat.

    “It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
    The regular crowd shuffles in
    There’s an old man sitting next to me
    Making love to his tonic and gin.”

    I continued on to finish college while working there and was able to finish college debit free because of this job. I enjoyed my job and loved the people there. The owners and co-workers were family. Many of us spent holidays and many occasions together, at the bar, with customers whom also were like family. This definitely was the place where everybody knows your name. Each night was finished off with Piano Man on the jukebox and a great (loud) rendition of Sweet Caroline. I meet many of my closest friends for the first time at the bar so long ago.

    To me, this was more than just a bar, just a job, just people who were crossing in my path in life. I spent the better part of my 20′s there, growing up into the person I am today. Meeting people, learning their stories, before social media, when you weren’t glued to your phone when you went out, taking pictures of your beer and posting it. Lots of fun and memories that live on inside my mind and in my heart.

    In that tiny bar, I met a boy, who I fell madly in love with. We had never met before and because all the stars were aligned, we crossed paths at that very place.

    I truly believe that everyone has meaning in your life. For me, had I never had that conversation with that gentleman at the bar, my life might not be what it is today. People are put in your path for a reason and then taken out, too soon before you can even say thank you. Not sure where I’d be if I wouldn’t have taken that job.

    I won’t have the chance to say thank you to Bernie for giving me a job. He was loved by everyone and I was proud to say I knew and worked for him. Thank you for the fond memories and for placing me in the right place at the right time.

    “And the piano sounds like a carnival.
    And the microphone smells like a beer.
    And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar.
    And say “Man what are you doing here?”

    Sing us a song you’re the piano man
    Sing us a song tonight
    Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
    And you’ve got us feeling alright.”

    Thanks for the memories Bernie!

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