Archive for December, 2015

25 Dec 2015

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 

No Comments Adventures, Holidays, Personal

Our sweet little family had a most wonderful Christmas. Just us. And what a merry little Christmas we had. Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday!

xo,

Marisa

   
    
    
 

20 Dec 2015

Teaching Kids About Health and Fitness with Ringling Bros. Circus in Tampa

3 Comments Ad, Adventures, Family Travel, Florida, Giveaway, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay

Each year, we go to see the Circus! I am always in awe of the performers and what they are able to do! This year, they come to America with a 90-city tour, that begins here in Tampa Bay with their new show: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents Legends! This show is set to let you eyes feast on fanciful and mysterious acts that will have you in amazement! This is still “the greatest show on Earth!”


My kids have visited the circus each year and it is always a new show when it comes to town. Never the same. Yet the acts in each show are just amazing to watch! They are all so talented and so athletic that I often wonder if my 6 and 10 year old gymnast will one day run away with the circus because they have a talent that they have learned from a young age!

I learned of a program that is supported by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Circus Fit! They have partnered with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to help children remember how FUN it is to be FIT! They have a curriculum that it is FREE and available for download so that teachers and community leaders can implement bringing fitness, nutrition and healthy living to classrooms and after-school programs anywhere!

Did you know that Circus Fit can help educators with lesson plans, interactive video clips, handouts and a host of additional support materials and information that will help you set your students or youth group on the path to a physically fit and healthy lifestyle!

My passion project, Fit Kids Playground, has taught me that fitness should be made fun for kids and coming from a clown, childhood obesity is no laughing matter! This is a wonderful way for kids to want to have fun, be silly and get fit all at the same time! I hope that more teachers, preschool coordinators or community leaders learn about this opportunity and curriculum that is available to everyone for free. It is a great way to head to the circus and talk about how all the acts use healthy habits to keep them doing the amazing things that they can do.

If you haven’t got your tickets yet, an insiders tip is that opening night is typically less in cost, but there is only one show.
There is also an additional add on this year! Ticketholders can purchase an upgrade and go backstage with a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The backstage experience includes an insider look at props and wardrobe, an up close and personal encounter with the animals and a chance to meet stars from the show. Fans will also have an opportunity to take pictures and learn educational fun facts. To take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, just log on to ringlingbros.expapp.com from your iPhone or Android smartphone, and provide your name, e-mail and phone number to become a VIP circus insider.

This is a limited ticket and allows you access to a personal and once-in-a-lifetime experience that will have your family walking with clowns, petting elephants, shaking hands with the Ringmaster and standing in the infamous motorcycle Globe of Steel! How fun!

And of course, for any show, arrive an hour early for an All Access Pre-show that starts an hour before the show. Come down to the arena floor and meet the performers of The Greatest Show On Earth, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind pachyderm painting.  Take lots of pictures and be sure to show them off to your friends! It is really like you were a part of the circus!

We have been provided with a 1 family-4-pack for tickets to the Tampa Bay show happening January 6 at the Amalie Arena. 8 shows in all. We are so excited to help kids push away the screen with “the greatest show on Earth!”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

19 Dec 2015

How to Make Time Stop

1 Comment Kids, Opinion, Parenting, Raising Children, Uncategorized

She’s T E N. A glorious number. Double digits. She has her whole life ahead of her. But where did the past ten years go?! 

  
So let’s get this straight. Essentially the theory goes that the faster you go the slower time moves. 

Truth be told…There is no real way to make time stand still or slow down. 

But I can tell you how to make it stop… for a moment… In your mind. As if time was frozen. So that the memory will last forever.

I took a trip across America about 13 years ago. Every morning I would run in a different city every morning. Every morning I would wake up and run. In NYC. In Montana. In Venice Beach. In Seattle. In Washington D.C. I would stop every day and close my eyes and take a picture not knowing if I’d ever return to these places. The moments stand still in my mind. OF THAT MOMENT. Not on a phone. Only in my mind. Kind of like the “core memories” that are described in the Disney Pixar movie “Inside Out.” 

I’ve locked them into my “long term memory” and pull them out when I want to dream about the places I’ve been to or would love to see again. Just like I’ve done with the billion moments I’ve been blessed to witness with my kids. 

  

   
   
I don’t know that time will ever stop or what the universe has in store for us as we live here on Earth not knowing our destiny, but I’m cramming my brain with moment and memories that I never want to forget.

Time moves at the speed of light and I’m not sure I want to miss a moment. So I’m going to do the opposite. I can’t move faster than the speed of light to stop time, so I’m slowing down. Waaaaaaaay down. 

Life moves too fast. Stop. Breathe. Soak in the moment. Enjoy it. Remember it. 

The past 10 years were amazing with this one and the billion moments I have in my mind of her and our life. I’m looking forward to the next hundred billion moments I get with this one and the others. I’m sure I’ll have enough space, right?! 

Happy 10th Birthday Mia! 

16 Dec 2015

Ways to Raise Caring Kids: Giving Back During the Holiday Season

No Comments Adventures, Florida, Holidays, Kids, Parenting, Raising Children, Studio 10 TV Segment, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

You might not think your children understand the “true meaning” of the holidays, but it is never to early to start teaching your kids gratitiude and compassion towards others, especially during this time of year. 

  
With Santa on their mind and toys swimming through their head, often times it is good to take a step back and think about how you can give to others. Take some time to give back as a family or brighten someone’s day and take advantage of all the teachable moments along the way too.

 Shelby and I had the opportunity to be on Studio 10 TV in Tampa to talk about how we give back and ways kids can help make spirits bright during the holidays for others! Trust me, the kids will love it!

If you missed the segment here’s a link and what you might have missed!

Giving Back With Kids on Studio 10 TV 

  
Together as a Family

Activity: Shop Together & Donate Toys or Food

Tampa Connection: Metropolitan Ministries

  

 
As always, modeling the behavior you want your children to demonstrate is a wonderful way to teach your kids about kindness and compassion. We donate our gently used toys and clothes throughout the year and have the kids actively participate. The holidays are also a perfect time to go on a family outing to a store and shop together with others in mind. Adopt a family or donate a meal you’ll be enjoying. You’d be surprised how involved the kids will become in choosing toys or food for others. Talking about what you are doing will always lead to more questions and many teachable moments.

 

Teachable Moments

Activity: Operation Christmas Child

Locations: Anywhere

Kids love to pick out gifts and give them to others. We’ve used Operation Christmas Child to talk about others far away that might not have what we have here in America. We participate and even track our box to see what country it will be going to and then we learn about their country too. Last year, Operation Christmas Child delivered over 10 million boxes in over 100 countries.

 

Parent Challenge: Set aside money for them to help choose a charity that would make them feel good about giving.

 

 

The Power of One

Activity: Start a Drive

As a Girl Scout Leader, we have realized that the power of one combined with that of the power of others, amazing things can happen. Encourage your child to start a drive that might benefit a group they might be passionate about in your community! With so many non-profits to choose from in the community, I bet they didn’t know there are so many ways to help others!

 

Remember the Intangibles

Activity: Brighten Someone’s Day

Nursing Homes, Neighbors, Family & Friends

  

 
Time is a most precious gift to give. Weather you spend it baking, making a card or just sharing a smile, kids should always remember that it is the thought that counts. Brighten someone’s day by baking some cookies and delivering the package to your neighbors. Go visit relatives that you might not see often. Plan to sign carols at a nursing home. Stay a while and talk to the residents. Make a simple gift to give them. The thoughtfulness of the act will speak volumes to someone else. Smile!

  

 Teaching Thankfulness

Activity: Thank You Cards

Your child might be fortunate enough to receive gifts from many familiy members and friends! Teach gratitude by making thank you notes fun! Go around the table at meal time to share what everyone is thankful for. As the kids grow older, it is the hope that instilling compassion, kindness and gratitude that they will remember and continue to pass it forward in life. Giving doesn’t have to be confined to the holidays, there are plenty of ways to give year round too.

11 Dec 2015

Magical Holiday Sights in New York City

No Comments Family Travel, Giveaway, Holidays, Travel

December this year in New York City was the warmest I’ve ever experienced it. Not cold enough for a jacket and even better for exploring. The city turns into a magical city Christmas in December. Buildings are decked out the nines in holiday decor and everywhere you look, it’s just beautiful. The cities attention to detail has you marveling at every corner. Here are a few sights I loved while walking around the city this trip:

 1. Rockefeller Center  

2. The Pinnsula Hotel

3. Union Square Holiday Market    

4. The Plaza Hotel

5. St. Patrick’s Cathedral    
6. The Windows at Bergdorf Goodmans

  

7. The Windows at Lord & Taylor

  

   

08 Dec 2015

Tuesdays With Abby: Everything is Beautiful

No Comments Uncategorized

I’m launching a new series:

Tuesdays With Abby:A lesson in life from my baby. We’ve been going to Bob Evans every Tuesday morning for about a month and it just dawned on me that’s it’s now our “thing.”

IMG_5697-0.jpg

“Mommy! It’s Tuesday! I so excited!”
“Why are you so excited, Abby?”
“Because we get to go to swim lessons then beck-fast! I lub Tuesdays!”

IMG_5700.JPG
Tuesdays. They have become our day. Our day to relax a little. Sneak away from everyone. Sit for a moment and enjoy a home cooked meal. 
For me, I get to watch. Watch her play. Enjoy her her company. Listen to her life wisdom at the ripe age of 3. I don’t get to do this enough with a full house and life swirling around me like a tornado. It’s enlightening to watch your littlest one grow. As a parent, I know time is short. I will blink and she’ll be another year older. Wishing she could stay little forever, I’m cherishing the days I have left with my last baby.
She’s now 3 and growing more every day. Tuesdays is our day. A special day with her. We swim first. Then head to breakfast at Bob Evans. 

“Mommy! It is Christmas and everything is beautiful!”
Yes, Abby. Thank you for reminding me to stop and look around at the beautiful holiday decorations. We’ve been so busy with the holiday hustle tha
Each breakfast holds a new lesson that she imparts to me unknowingly. While we try to teach our children about life, our children end up teaching us what life is all about. 
More to come on Tuesdays with Abby!
Thank you Bob Evans for sponsoring this post! We love visiting Bob Evans for breakfast. Good food is a symbol of love. Bob Evans’ delicious breakfast blend options and delicious farm fresh breakfast items are a treat for us when we want to spend that extra time enjoying those who we are with. 
Sipping a cup of Signature Harvest Roast with hazelnut creamer and chatting with Abby is the best way to spend my Tuesdays.

03 Dec 2015

Dreaming About Tomorrow

No Comments CAH, Everyday, Holidays, Personal, Uncategorized

Today began like any other day. Just any ordinary day. It can change in an instant. But I’m already dreaming about tomorrow.
  

It’s 10pm. I watch her sleep. I watch every move she makes. Is she ok? Is she too hot? When did she have her last does of meds? Did she keep it down? Should we go? Who will stay? 
My mind races at 100 mph and can’t stop thinking. It doesn’t. Not when it’s the well being of your child. 
This is our normal when anyone with CAH gets sick in our home. We have a window and at the 5 hour mark, if we can’t handle it at home, we go. We take no chances. It’s 3am and we haven’t slept all night. 
She will be fine. She’s starting to understand. She was ok with going to the hospital. I stay strong. She braves up. And so do I. We are in this together. 
Dad and I divide and conquer. One stays with the kids. The other goes. I usually go. We are in this together too. When we get to the hospital, it’s go time. Know your shit and get ready to speak to those that are trained to help. I’m only trained to help my little ones, but I’ve studied my heart out to know what I’m talking about. All for them. 

  
So here she sleeps. It’s safe to sleep here. They will take care of her here. She gets up…we watch movies. The 5am choice is Annie. Appropriate. 

  

Today began like any other day. Just any ordinary day. It can change in an instant. And lucky for us, the sun will come out tomorrow and it will be a bright new day for us to be thankful that we have another day. We will stick out our chins and grin because we know that this was just a gray day. But right now, I’m dreaming about tomorrow. Hoping for more days like this… Maybe tomorrow, right?! 

  

01 Dec 2015

Tuesdays With Abby: Everything is Beautiful

No Comments Dining Out, Holidays, Raising Children, Sponsored, Tampa Restaurants

I’m launching a new series:

Tuesdays With Abby:A lesson in life from my baby. We’ve been going to Bob Evans every Tuesday morning for about a month and it just dawned on me that’s it’s now our “thing.”

IMG_5697-0.jpg

“Mommy! It’s Tuesday! I so excited!”
“Why are you so excited, Abby?”
“Because we get to go to swim lessons then beck-fast! I lub Tuesdays!”

IMG_5700.JPG
Tuesdays. They have become our day. Our day to relax a little. Sneak away from everyone. Sit for a moment and enjoy a home cooked meal. 
For me, I get to watch. Watch her play. Enjoy her her company. Listen to her life wisdom at the ripe age of 3. I don’t get to do this enough with a full house and life swirling around me like a tornado. It’s enlightening to watch your littlest one grow. As a parent, I know time is short. I will blink and she’ll be another year older. Wishing she could stay little forever, I’m cherishing the days I have left with my last baby.

  

She’s now 3 and growing more every day. Tuesdays is our day. A special day with her. We drop off the big kids. Then we swim first. Then we head to breakfast at Bob Evans. 

“Mommy! It is Christmas and everything is beautiful!”

Yes, Abby. Thank you for reminding me to stop and look around at the beautiful holiday decorations. She’s been so excited each time we see a Christmas tree and lights. We’ve been so busy with the holiday hustle that we forget to slow down. The life we see each day is beautiful. Take a second to remember that. 

Each breakfast seems to holds a new lesson that she imparts to me unknowingly. While we try to teach our children about life, our children end up teaching us what life is all about. 
More to come on Tuesdays with Abby!

Thank you Bob Evans for sponsoring this post! We love visiting Bob Evans for breakfast. Good food is a symbol of love. Bob Evans’ delicious breakfast blend options and delicious farm fresh breakfast items are a treat for us when we want to spend that extra time enjoying those who we are with. 

 
{Photo Courtesy of BobEvans.com}

Sipping a cup of Signature Harvest Roast with hazelnut creamer and enjoying a delicious bowl of oatmeal and chatting with Abby is the best way to spend my Tuesdays.