Archive for October, 2015

29 Oct 2015

Peanuts Movie Giveaway!

1 Comment Ad, Kids, Movies, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

We are so excited to see Charlie Brown and his friends hit the big screen on November 6th in THE PEANUTS MOVIE! We are giving away tickets to a sneak preview tickets to five lucky readers on Sunday, November 1st at AMC Veterans and we want you to join us!  Keep reading below to see how you can snag these tickets!

  
Kids and parents alike will love seeing the classic “Peanuts” gang in 3D animation on the big screen! Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linu… It’s going to be one epic adventure!  

  
Make sure you Peanutize yourself too!

We can’t wait to see the movie! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube for the last eat details!

Our first 5 lucky readers that would like to see the movie on November 1st, at 10:30 am at AMC Veterans (Tampa, FL) will be give three tickets to the sneak preview for a chance to see THE PEANUTS MOVIE with the link here!** DETAILS BELOW**

Good luck! 

Thank you to 20th Century Fox for sponsoring this promotion!

**Congratulations! Only the first 5 people to click on the link will have the ability to download passes to the screening. You have a chance of attending the advance free screening of THE PEANUTS MOVIE. Screening will take place at AMC Veterans (TAMPA, FLORIDA) THIS Sunday, November 1st at 10:30 AM. We advise you arrive at least 45 minutes prior to starting time, as your seats are first come first serve. Also, *NOTE* Daylight savings starts Sunday, November 1st! Remember to set your clocks so you don’t miss out. See you soon!

22 Oct 2015

Slow Cooked Meals from Bob Evans are Perfect For This Busy Mama

No Comments Ad, Adventures, Dining Out, Review, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Tampa Restaurants

Thank you to Bob Evans Restaurants for sponsoring this post and thank you for reading!

I love to cook. I truly enjoy cooking a slow meal that we can all enjoy together. We go to the farmers markets on weekends. We cook together. The kids enjoy being a part of making the meal. It’s time we spend together hopefully making memories that my kids will  one day share with their kids.

But life with four kids isn’t always as easy a Sunday morning. We have homework, baseball practice, gymnastics, Girl Scouts. I work full time and so does my husband. I try to be mindful of meals by planning in advance, prepping them the day before and using leftovers wisely. But our kids have grown to really enjoy a fresh, slow cooked homemade meal.

  

I was introduced to Bob Evans Restaurants when we would travel with my family from Milwaukee to Tampa. I honestly haven’t been back in years, but that’s soon to change. They really understand me. They get I’m busy and just can’t do it all. Some days I need a break. Just a break to sit down, talk with my kids and take to work out of the delicious meal. Sometime is good to let someone else do the cookin’ and especially of the food will be just like Mama used to make.

  

The 3 course dinners now available remind my kids of my cooking and our Sunday Suppers. It’s nice to know that any night of the week, when school, work and life get to hectic, we can drop by for a visit where we can slow down, relax, enjoy a slow cooked homemade meal, just like I would have cooked.

My kids loved the pot road and the broasted chicken dinner. With so many sides to choose from, picky eaters can celebrate. Add fresh bread and a salad, and dinner is done!

A little insiders tip is to visit with the family on Tuesday because kids eat free with the purchase of an adult menu. (See store for full rules.)
I’ll definitely be signing up for emails and taking advantage of their specials.

It’s nice to know that places like Bob Evans are there to help busy parents like us. We can’t wait to visit Bob Evans again!

19 Oct 2015

Fall in Florida

2 Comments Adventures, Family Travel, Florida, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Travel

“It’s the most…wonderful time…of the year!”

We love October in the Fall! To be honest, it is trylu the best time to visit the state. It isn’t too cold. The skies are always bright blue. There is a slight nip in the morning air, but summer weather by the afternoon. No real rain storms to ruin your plans. I would highly recommend planning a vacation to anywhere in Florida in the fall.

We live in Tampa, obviously, so I’m sharing my favorite things to do in fall in my neck of the woods. We often travel to Orlando and Kissimmee too, so I’ll throw a few Central Florida things in there as well.

What to do first! In Tampa, there are so many options that I often get overwhelmed with what to do on the beautiful weekends. With so much to choose from, you’ll have to weigh your options and figure out what is age appropriate first, and go from there!

Family Fun

My top picks for the whole family are places and some events that happen each October in the Tampa area. The weather couldn’t be more beautiful, so it’s definitely a time to get outside and enjoy it!

Halloween Fun

If you have little ones and want to head out and experience this fun time of year with the kids in costumes, I love these events! You are sure to have an amazing time!

Adult Halloween Fun

And now for all you grown-ups that want to have some scary fun too, here’s a few more places you’ll love to visit (and I definitely will not be going with you.) Now, I will disclose, that I have had friends take their adventurous tweens to these, but that is your choice. I haven’t been in a long time, and my kids are not into scary. We will stick with family fun for now!

Hope you and yours have a Happy Halloween!

13 Oct 2015

Building Girls’ Up: #NoLikesNeeded

No Comments Everyday, Raising Children, Raising Girls

I have fallen in love. In love with a campaign that speaks so loudly to me as a Mother, that I want to shout it from the roof tops to anyone who will listen.

These are my two oldest girls. And they are being raised in a much different society than I grew up in.

  

It’s obvious, I enjoy social media and have been a fan of it since the beginning, hopping on when platforms when they first started, joining in online conversations, engaging in a whole new world that has lead me to meet many friends that I now call dear friends and sisters. But I often think how different my life might have been if “it” was around when I was younger. When I was in high school. When I was in college. Dating. Learning how to grow up. How the mean girls at school might have really hurt me with their words online, in front of a whole new audience (the world) instead of just at school. Or how terrible it would have been to have not been “liked” or as popular or as perfect as some of my other friends.

How could social media changed me?

I am not sure how it could have impacted me. Silly comments on a photo I thought was pretty. Seeing everyone at a party I wasn’t invited to. Not getting enough “likes” when I was hoping to have a bunch. Someone not being my “friend” who I thought was my friend. Feeling left out because I wasn’t there to be “in” the picture. The list can go on.

I have been struggling with the fact that my daughter is beginning to come of age where she is/ might be ready for the phone or ipod. To text. To view. To browse. To look at what everyone else is doing. (Just like I do…) To hop on a social network. I’m pushing it off as long as possible. I feel fortunate to know my daughters’ friends’ parents and we all share similar values and parenting styles. I personally don’t think she is ready. Ready for the heartbreak that is social media. I don’t want her to value being “liked” by a picture that wasn’t perfect.

I feel like I have so much work to do and I’m not sure where to start. I am raising three daughters in a world full of possibilities and promise. I want them to know and learn so much from me, and I don’t want social media to be a form of validation for them. But first there is education. Alot of education and growing up before we even get there.

Teaching Girls the POWER of Themselves

Education will be to teach our girls about being who they are, unique, different, tall, short, smart, funny, beautiful and so many more things. I just did a Girl Scout lesson on the POWER OF THEMSELVES. We are currently working on the Junior Agent of Change Journey and we did a collage of all the power words that they identified themselves with. Creative. Thinker. Leader. Quiet. Strong. Brave. Confident. Artistic. Imaginative. Considerate. We will be writing in our “Power Logs” every time we meet about how we use our super powers. Their stories were awesome! It was great to have them write it out. See in in color. Know that everything there is true and to have other say, “Yes! So true!”

The Dove Self-Esteem Project

Following along with the Dove Self-Esteem project has also made me realize that much more will need to be added to this lesson to incorporate educating the girls on this new element that is social media and how it can play into their lives. We need to change with the times so our girls are better equipped to know what matters and what REALLY matters.

I will definitely be following the #NoLikesNeeded campaign in hopes to help my girls know that they should feel free to be themselves. I hope to integrate their resources when we dive more into this journey with my Girl Scout girls, and more in my everyday life as I build up my own daughters in everything they do.

I hope you will share and think about talking with the girls in your life too. #NoLikesNeeded Follow along with me too as I walk through this journey. I’d love to learn about what you are doing too!

10 Oct 2015

Ready Or Not…Preschool Here We Come!

No Comments Uncategorized

I’m just not ready to let go. Well, I wasn’t until Wednesday when someone forced my hand and said, “It’s time.”  

  
She’s the 4th. The littlest. My youngest. She’s probably babied…a little bit. She rules the house as any youngest sibling does. She’s smarter than we think and I know she’s thinking to herself,”I’ve got these fools wrapped around my finger.” Because she does.

The day came like any other day, get ready for school, go to school, figure out what errands Abby and I had to run… Until Shelby told me her field trip was THAT day. Yup, the one that I volunteered to chaperone that day. 

“No, it’s tomorrow.” 

“It’s today.”

 “No, it’s tomorrow.”

 Knowing I had my sitter and help scheduled for tomorrow so surly I wasn’t wrong…or was I. I have been wrong before, I live by my calendar, but things happen…I’m so not perfect!
She gave me a look which told me I needed to check. I did. It was today.

HOLY ^%#£!!!!!!!!! 

What was I going to do?! I had 30 minutes to preform a miracle. 

I wasn’t going to call my husband for fear of divorce. (I’m sure he would have canceled meetings to watch her but I was trying to avoid that conversation at all cost and fix this myself.) I have little family to help immediately in a bind and without notice. I started running through my head of friends that MIGHT be able to watch Abby for 5 hours, but I was in panic mode!

The preschool where all my babies have gone is around the corner and with a shaky voice I called the director and told her about my dilemma. The worst bind I have ever been in. With a loving, “it’s going to be ok” voice she said to bring her over. I had 30 minutes to fill my car with gas, shop at Publix for a lunch for Abby and drop her off.

I haven’t sent Abby to preschool yet because she’s my shadow, my buddy, my weekday lunch date sidekick. She naps, I work.  I just haven’t wanted her to go for really no other reason than I just wasn’t ready to let her go.

  
 We go everywhere together, we work on things at home that I know they are working on in preschool.

Truth is, she’s ready. I’m not. 

Thankfully, my some miracle from above, I was somewhat dressed, I don’t think I brushed my teeth, and I’m glad I had a bra on to go to carline which never happens, and Abby had played “preschool” that morning with Mia and got into the car with shoes, socks, a backpack and everything she needed for the day. I added some lunch and she was set…whether I liked it or not. I some how made it to chaperone the field trip on time and all was right with the world. 

  
When I got back from the field trip, I rushed to swoop in and rescue Abby. Mommy to the rescue…not so much. She was resting and we decided to let her be and instead talk about her day. She did AWESOME! She followed directions, played with kids, loved circle time, are lunch and had a really great day. We decided to enroll her 2 days a week. It’s for the best. I know she’ll grow quicker here and will have a great time too. I’m sure I will find ways to fill the time I have with no kids in the house… GASP! What to do first!?! 

  

Ready or not, preschool here we come!!!

10 Oct 2015

Screen on the Green at Water Works Park Returns to Tampa, Florida

No Comments Uncategorized

Bring your popcorn, a blanket, maybe some cash (no ATM’s on site) and get ready for a free movie every Saturday night in October!! 

  

06 Oct 2015

Tampa Mama on Studio 10 TV: Organizing the Back to School Chaos

1 Comment Everyday, Parenting, Raising Children, Studio 10 TV Segment

  
I am excited to announce that I will be on Studio 10 TV (WTSP CBS Channel 10 in Tampa Bay) with a new segment talking kids, Tampa, travel, parenting and everything in between! I can’t wait to get started creating the content that I know inside and out for the viewers of Tampa Bay!

My first segment was on how to stay organized now that the kids are back in school! Here are the tips I talked about!

Organizing the Night Before: 



RULE #1: LOOK AT THE CALENDAR
1. Uniforms/ What to wear- To be picked out and laid out… down to the earrings and shoes!
2. Lunch Prep- Easy things to pack the night before: water bottles filled with water, dry snacks portioned, cold snacks ready to be put in the lunch box in the morning.
3. Nightly back pack check- papers, homework, folder extras, money, ponchos should all be ready to go in the backpack. Ready to go by the front door.
4. Get a good night sleep!!!

Organizing the AM:



One rule: NO KIDS TV SHOWS! News only! I use the BrightHouse app to watch TV in my viewing area.

1. Have lunches ready to be finished.
2. Breakfast ready to go! Think cut up fruit (done the night before), smoothies, pre-made muffins…
3. Bathroom Supplies in one spot…for last minute touch ups… Ponytail holders, deodorant, hair spray, bug spray, sun screen…)

Organizing the After School Chaos:



1. After school snack prep (can be done the night before!) We love having healthy snacks like GoGo squeeZ or pre-cut carrots and grapes ready to be grabbed from the fridge! I also use plastic to go restaurant ramikins!
2. Homework Supplies organization.
3. Each Child has their own file-labeled. “A place for everything and everything in its place!”
4. Important papers, field trip forms.
5. Check your homework checklist! I make them on the computer and then have them on a clip board! Super easy to get kids to remember what they have to do each night when they get home.
6. Ready to go activities for the little one: playdough, markers, stamp pads…
7. A crockpot full of dinner so dinner is done! My motto is “fix it and forget it!”
8. What to do with all the art projects… ArtKive!

Stay tuned forore from the Tampa Mama on Studio 10 TV!

06 Oct 2015

A Vision of Hope: The CARES Foundation Gala and Why You Should Go

No Comments CAH, Kids, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I’m actually living my dream. Right now. I’m in a state of euphoria that seems somewhat surreal because all my wishes came true and are happening before my eyes. The ones I prayed and prayed and prayed for that I wished so hard on every star and promised God the world if he would make them come true.

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I get to see my son play baseball. I get to watch my daughters in a recital. My children excel in school. They are kind. They are happy. They aren’t sick. I get to put my children to bed each night in their own bed. They are healthy happy and living a normal life. THIS is the life I dreamed of that I wasn’t sure would be a reality.

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It was 10 years ago that I lost hope… For that perfect little life I had always wanted. Could it be taped back together from the shreds that I had ripped it into upon learning about our newborns rare lifelong medical conditions? I didn’t know… My hope dwindled.

I remember that day like it was yesterday…4 days after Jake was born. The call that came as soon as we walked in the door. The doctor saying he would never grow out if this. Tears streaming down my face because I couldn’t even pronounce what he had.

All I wanted was someone to tell me it would be ok.

I wanted a crystal ball to tell me his future.

I wanted someone to PROMISE me he would be ok… FOREVER.

I needed a doctor to tell me they made a mistake.

I wanted someone to tell me he’d grow out of this.

I was broken. Afraid. Mad. Terrified.

Many of you, my friends, gave me back my hope. You helped me along the way and still continue to support my family in so many ways. The words thank you seem like an understatement.

And then…I found them. On the internet, at 3am. As I was desperately seeking hope and guidance. I found them. The CARES Foundation. They were a saving grace that helped me through the first, second and third pregnancies when I needed their guidance, advice and friendship. They guided me to doctors, people and gave me hope too. The hope which I have now am able to give to others because I know it exists.

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My payback is simple. Do what they did for me for someone else. Be the vision of hope for someone going through what I know they are going through because I have been there. I have walked in the shoes they now wear and understand what they need. I can’t change the diagnosis on the chart for anyone, but I can help them.

I can tell others that soon it will be ok.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know what the past 10 years looks like for us and can give them a glimpse into what theirs might look like.

I can promise that I will be their friend and that I’m always there to talk.

I can help them find some of the best doctors who understand this condition and will help them make educated decisions.

I will tell them that they were chosen to be this child’s parents because no one else could do this job better than them.

It’s the vision of hope we all need in that hour of desperation.

As a sweet surprise, I was chosen as this years 2015 Visionary Award recipient for the CARES Foundation. I volunteer for organizations that I am passionate about their mission and what they do for others. This organization helps thousands of people and families find hope when they have lost their way. It can be an scary time to be alone. I’m just one person trying to connect with others who might need a friend. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a fortune teller. I’m a friend who has been there.

So here is what I’m asking of you…and I never ask for help unless I really need it, so please listen…

I hope that I have helped you in some way, shape or form that you would be so kind and able to help donate to my cause, The CARES Foundation. Any amount will help. The work they so providing support to people, kids and families could not be possible without your donations. The annual Gala that is being held to raise awareness is taking place in Orlando on May 8th, at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Tickets are being sold for the Gala here and I would love to fill the room with everyone who has made a difference in my life and in turn, thank you for helping others that have been helped, like our family has been.

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT THE CARES FOUNDATION.

I have also appointed Courtney Horner as my “Team Captain” as her support over the years has been amazing. I hope everyone has a friend like her in their life.

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I have a birthday in one week and this would be the greatest gift from all of you. To give in the honor of my kids… My beautiful babies that didn’t ask to be born with this condition. And for all the people and families out there that live with CAH and need help. They CARES Foundation says, “everyone cares. ” I CARE Jake, Shelby and Abby (& Mia of course!). Who do you CARE for?!

So call some friends, buy a table, buy a ticket or just donate to the cause! Let’s all get dressed up, and come to Orlando on Friday, May 8th for The CARES Gala and let’s celebrate the hope we can give to others that have also been touched by this condition.

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xoxo~

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The Langfords

P.S. My husband gets to introduce me on stage, so that should be more than enough reason to buy a ticket! See you May 8th

06 Oct 2015

Escape to Hawaii with a Visit To Roy’s Restaurant

No Comments Dining Out, Review, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Tampa Restaurants

Want to escape from whatever you are doing now?

 
How does Hawaii sound? Right now?! Put me on a plane and let’s go!  Well, it might not be that simple to escape to Hawaii, but if you want to relax, enduldge in Pacific Rim inspired flavors and take a night off, head on over to Roy’s Restaurant for a perfect Hawaiian escape.


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