Archive for November, 2014

23 Nov 2014

How To Have a Snowy Holiday in Florida

No Comments Adventures, Family Travel, Florida, Holidays, Kids, Uncategorized

Dreaming of a white Christmas…in Florida? Long shot, right? Well, maybe not…

Moving down to Florida from Wisconsin when I turned 13 was devastating to me during the holidays. It wasn’t Thanksgiving with 80 degrees and lots of sunshine. It surely didn’t feel like Christmas in shorts either. I have never truly adjusted to not having a white Christmas in Florida, but with kids, this is the only holiday they know, so it’s up to me and Chance to make it “feel” like Christmas this time of year. I have mastered a few tricks that work for us to get the kids in the holiday spirit.

Finding The Typical Christmas Memories

While there is typically a slight chill in the air, it’s the snow, the ice skating, the hot chocolate, the cookies, the carolers and of course the Christmas trees and music that give kids (and grown ups) a sense of holiday happiness. For me, this is the first year that Christmas actually felt like Christmas. It has always been difficult to feel like it is “the season” when it’s 80 degrees outside. But this is what my kids know. They didn’t grow up with snowbanks to climb at school, snow days or a white Christmas. I have learned to adapt, but I hope that the snowy holidays I can show them will get them in the spirit too!

So what if I REALLY wanted them to experience what a Snowy Holiday in Florida? I have just found the answer.

1. Experience Kissimmee. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Last year, was my first time visiting Kissimmee and we had really just stumbled upon all that Kissimmee had to offer. We only went to the Gaylord Palms, but now that we know there is so much more is happening, we are sure to make this an annually trip (or trips) to experience a fun day, night or weekend that will become our snowy holiday tradition each year.

2. Spend an evening (or a few nights) at Gaylord Palms

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My parents were down from Chicago in November last year and we decided to stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort. We had never been so we were all so excited! I had heard about ICE! but didn’t know what to expect there either. We had the time of our life and experienced Christmas like never before. We had such an amazing time with all they had going on for Christmas that it’s now a tradition that we go back each November or December, even if just for the day (but a few days is so much better!)

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So much happens each year on their property. Decorations, the show, the ICE! exhibit, Gingy’s House, seeing Santa are reasons to come over and enjoy a holiday get away. The show…THE SHOW. In their lobby each night is a free show that rivals any holiday show I have paid for. Combine aerialist, music- the Luminscent band, the Orlando Ballet plus all their holiday light on display and what you have is wrapped up into the best 30 minute holiday show you’ll ever see. It happens nightly in their atrium and is a show you must see. The music is heavenly and the visuals that accompany the show are just stunning. Did I mention it’s free? If you are only there for an evening, pay the valet fee, come in for dinner at one of their amazing restaurants and grab a seat at the show. Then head over to the ICE! exhibit and head home for the night. If you are staying, be sure to check out the Florida Buzz Report for some great deals at the Gaylord Palms.

And what exactly is this ICE! exhibit I’m speaking of? Each year, over 2 million pounds of ice is hand carved and put on display where spectators are able to marvel at the intricate sculptures carved by the

3. Visit Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Of course Mickey knows how to throw a Christmas party! And what a Christmas party it is! The lights, the decorations, the shows, the Christmas parade and the Cinderella’s castle! This year, the show blended a Frozen theme with their show and the lighting of the castle was actually Elsa icing the castle. Olaf, Anna and more Frozen cast members were on hand to help Elsa let her powers go! Pure magic! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does require an extra ticket to attend. You can enter the park at 4pm and stay past midnight. There are only a select few weekends that this happens and once tickets are gone, that’s it. In addition to being open for later hours, because there is only a certain number of people who are able to attend each night, the lines are definitely shorter as there isn’t a great number of people inside the park. We had an amazing time at Magic Kingdom and will definitely be back to celebrate the holidays with Mickey.

For more information on Walt Disney World Mickey’s very Merry Christmas Park visit the Trekaroo blog.

4. Stop by Celebration for a Snowy Night

Just outside of Disney World itself is the town that Disney built. You might not even know it’s there. Celebrate in Celebration as kids will play with faux snow, ice skate (on synethtic ice in 80 degree weather) or have a holiday dinner at the Columbia restaurant. Each night, starting at 6pm, the town square in Celebration becomes a place for carolers and families looking to celebrate the season. Take pictures in front of their Christmas tree for your holiday card or just stroll around the quaint shops complete with whimsical Christmas window decorations. Time seems to stand still here and maybe it will for you too while you celebrate the season.

For more on Celebration and their Snowy Night Celebration visit the Trekaroo blog.

I’ve realized over the years that it’s not just the snow that evokes my Christmas memories, but more about the traditions my kids will remember to bring their childhood to life during the holidays. But yes, because I grew up having a mostly white Christmas, it’s so fun to visit these places that help to bring me back down to memory lane, while creating fun memories for my kids.

Plan your trip to Kissimmee to see these Snowy Holiday events by reading more about them on Trekaroo.com.

For more information on a Snowy Holiday in Kissimmee, here are a few links:

The DadScribe Blog
Fun and Frugal Mom Blog
JonahBonah Blog

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Experience Kissimmee to experience these activities. All opinions are my own.

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11 Nov 2014

Family Friendly Dinner and a Movie at Studio Movie Grill Opens in Tampa

No Comments Ad, Dining Out, Florida, Sponsored, Studio 10 TV Segment, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Tampa Restaurants

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Studio Movie Grill has recently opened in north Tampa at the University Square Mall. Their state of the art theatre and newly renovated high tech theatre is a perfect place to brain the whole family for dinner and a movie (or even date night if you are that lucky.)

Read more

06 Nov 2014

Don’t F**K With Nap Time

No Comments Opinion, Parenting, Raising Children

Dear Mr. You-Have-No-Clue-What-Naptime-Means-To-Me:

When babies nap, stay-at-home-parents be like…

Freedom

As I type this letter, you are SO MAD that I told you NOT to start the 3-hour pressure wash my house at 11:30am. There were many good reasons that I asked specifically for this to be done ANY HOURS between the hours of 7am-12pm OR 2pm-8pm. I understand that you don’t get it. “It’s just one day. She won’t wake up. I won’t make THAT much noise.” Oh no, no, no, no…it is NOT just one day when it comes to the schedule of my toddler, who I have MIRACULOSULY figured out the Rubik cube of a puzzle, called “the toddler” where she naps for two hours, everyday.

First off…DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT RUBIK CUBE is to figure out? Well, the toddler schedule is even harder. Not only to figure out, but to adhere to and to stick with once said schedule is in place. And nap time, well, nap time is as sacred to parents all over the world, just as the sign of the cross is sacred to Catholics. Parenting is my religion these days and there are a few things that I hold in the highest regard. Nap time is one of them (with a close second of bedtime and private potty or shower time.) Don’t F**K with nap time. There is nothing else that boils my blood more than others who don’t respect nap time for those of us who LIVE religiously by this sacred time during the day. You know that scene from Braveheart, where Mel Gibson has his face painted, and is ready to go to war with everyone behind him and he yells,”FREEDOM!” THIS is who I feel like when I fight for nap time. I have THAT kind of passion for my two measly hours of FREEDOM once the baby goes down for a nap and I will not be giving that up without a fight! Victory is sweet.

At this very moment in time, I LIVE by the naps. Most parents who have “been here” can relate. It is the only solitary two hours during the day where I try to do dishes, clean the house, wash/fold/put away laundry, make dinner, send e-mails, plan for Girl Scouts, write my blog, watch TV, eat lunch (or breakfast), nap myself, change the bed sheets, clean the bathrooms, paint my nails, take a shower, blow dry my hair, send HomeRoom Parent e-mails, shop online for EVERYTHING (but cold stuff), Christmas shop (yes, I do this all year long), read up on teacher e-mails for 3 OTHER KIDS, clean out the closets, garden, take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, or possible…sit down. Yes, these are all (and I am sure that I am missing some) of the things that go through my head once my two year old goes down for a nap. Oh the possibilities…so many with so little time. So when someone like you plans to come and F**K with my sacred time, I am immediately irate when you JUST. DON’T. GET. IT. because you my friend, have never walked in my shoes.

My shoes are the shoes of parents who stay home with kids and sacrifice traditional “working” roles for the role of caretaker. My boss is the baby. I try to boss her and manipulate her, but in the end, I know who is boss. You, Mr. You-Have-No-Clue-What-Naptime-Means-To-Me, don’t get that my ENTIRE DAY has been planned around nap time, from the exact time she woke up, and that if you F**K it up, I will probaly go into nuclear melt-down crazy mode and ain’t NOBODY got time for that. I cringe at a dog barking, neighbors doing construction and have even gone to the lengths of booking a hotel room in order to preserve nap time for one of my kids. Yes, that might be OVERLY dramatic about this precious time, but aren’t we all of anything that we hold of value?

I value, wait, I WORSHIP nap time, yes, my measly two hours during the middle of the day because sometimes, that’s all I get. There are NO other times during the day that I am without a child. I do get the ever so frequent break to go do yoga at night, or possibly head to a night out with the hubby or friends, but for 22 hours of the day, these four kids are under my watchful eye. Even the bedtime break is short lived because I typically pass out from exhaustion the MOMENT I sit down. So, yes, Mr. You-Have-No-Clue-What-Naptime-Means-To-Me, these two F**KING hours are MINE and I will stand to fight and protect them with everything I have and will not back down…UNLESS you want to give me the day off and deal with the cranky toddler? Didn’t thing so.

So to every parent out there who values nap time, fight with me! Do not let others just brush us off or disrespect the nap. This is my sanity. I regroup and recharge during this time and I will argue with anyone about my position on naps. They are good for babies as well as adults. (Even Harvard says so.) So PLEASE DON’t F**K with my nap time. It’s all I have left right now.

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