Archive for Adventures

29 Jan 2016

LEGOLAND Florida: World Premiere of The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure

1 Comment Adventures, Family Travel, Movies, Orlando, Travel, Travel Tuesday

January 28th is not just any day…especially to a die-hard Lego fan. It’s actually International Lego Day, which means we are celebrating the anniversary of when the patent for the original Lego brick system was filed, in 1958. 

So how old does that make Lego? 58 years young and those little bricks continue to inspire and educate and kids each and every day. 

Living in Tampa, and only an hour away from the second largest LEGO themed park, LEGOLAND Florida in Central Florida, we often visit to explore this massive amazingly fun park, filled with rides, LEGOS, attractions, LEGOS and more LEGOS!  

Today, January 28th, is also the day of the World Premiere  movie for The LEGO® Movie™ 4D A New Adventure!  

We were invited to the world premiere at LEGOLAND Florida for their red carpet Hollywood- style premiere and it was awesome (or SUPER as I should say!)

Mocktail and fancy glasses for the kids, lots of character meet and greets, kid celebrities and of course the ne movie!! 

If you loved The Lego Movie, you ar going to LOVE this short 3D film that includes Emmet, Wyldstyle and new  friends that will reunite in an all new adventure!  And who is Risky Business?!  No spoilers here but get ready to help Emitt and Wyldstyle save the day!

The 3D movie with “4D” effects like wind, water and fog, will play at LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in 2016. 

SUPER fun new attraction you wontbwantbto miss the next time you visit LEGOLAND Florida!

   

It’s Unkitty!
  
Working the red carpet with Emitt & Wyldstyle!

   

Kid-friendly mocktails in fancy glasses!


Confetti everywhere!  


Meeting up with Jen Reyneri, a fellow Trekaroo writer! 
   
    

Abby ready to watch the show!
   

The show is about to begin!

  
We had to get a picture with Risky Business!  

More of my reviews of family friendly travel places can be found on Trekaroo– the best resources for families who love to travel! 

Disclosure: I was invited as a guest of LEGOLAND Florida for this event and as always, all opinions are my own!  

13 Jan 2016

Dinner in Orlando with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Nickelodeon Suites Resort

No Comments Adventures, Dining Out, Family Travel, Florida, Kids, Travel Tuesday

If you have TMNT fan in your house that it might be worth the trip to Orlando for dinner with your favorite turtles!
Antonio’s Pizza-Rama dinner featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is available and open to the public this weekend January 15 – 17, 2016.

Details:
· Adults 11 and up: $33 plus tax

· Children 4 – 10: $17 plus tax

· Children 3 and under eat free from the buffet with an adult dining full fare

· 18% gratuity on parties of six or more

· Advanced dinner reservations are required, 407-387-5438

· Open to non-hotel guests

For more information and to make reservations visit the Nick Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

Image above from Nickelodeon Suites Resort website.

09 Jan 2016

Ringling Brothers Circus: A Picture Review

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

A super fun night! Filled with smiles, laughter, awe and excitement. Acrobatics, amazing feats that captured their attention for 2 hours! Ringling Brothers has put so much thought into every detail of this show, LEGENDS. When it comes to your city, I hope you’ll go enjoy the greatest show on Earth! Tip: Come early and get an up close VIP experience with clowns, acrobatics and more performers.


  


Pictures by Marisa Langford at the Ringling Brothers LEGENDS show at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay Florida, kicking off the 2016 tour.

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

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.

08 Nov 2015

Instructions for Grandma: How to Take Care of 4 kids for 3 days

No Comments Adventures, Kids, Lifestyle, Personal, Random, Travel

Dear Grandma (and Aunt Gina):

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for volunteering for the best three days of your life! Not only have you awesomely given me and Chance the opportunity to sit on a beach and do nothing for THREE FULL DAYS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, you have volunteered to lovingly take care of our not one, not two, not three but four beautiful children! Honestly, we can’t thank you enough and hope that you have an amazing time with the kiddos! (Could you please sign appendex 4 and return it with a notary stamp so that the contact is bound and we know that you won’t back out last minute? Thanks!)

I have put together a manual for you so that you’ll have a brief run down of events and schedules, important numbers, medical information, the children’s likes and dislikes, etc. so that way you are prepared for the three days you’ll be here! (It was all my pleasure and the least I could do!) I know you have a college education, two masters degrees and will retire this year from education, but things have changed since you raised me, and I just want to make sure you are properly trained to manage four kids…the right way.

It’s not too long (456 pages, single spaced with 10 appendices) and should be read prior to boarding the plane to visit! I have also taken the liberty to brief you here with some of the more top of mind things you should be aware of. I’ve made a brief outline of what is going on for the day, what your responsibilities are, the processes and procedures that take place so we won’t have many “Mr. Mom” moments…i.e “You’re doing it wrong.” Pretty straight forward really.

I’ve also included the links to instructional videos that you can reference if you have any questuons about how it actually should be done (what goes in each kids’ lunch, how to cut tomatoes, how to make an “Abby Grilled Cheese” or how to read “Pete The Cat” correctly (because if you don’t do it exactly right, Abby might just melt down and possibly explode!

If you remember correctly, I wrote you a four page letter abut 10 years ago when you had first offered to watch our first born child. I think we went to Vegas and I gave you an instruction manual for our then 9 month old. If I remember correctly, you told me you followed everything to a tee, so this should be like riding a bike!

So here it goes! Please make sure to print this out, take notes in the columns and have sticky notes readily available to be able to reference the items in the complete instruction maual that I have Fed Ex’d to you yesterday.

Wednesday

8am Arrival – Marisa to pick you up at airport

9:00am– Short breakfast meeting to go over any questions that may have arisen after reading manual. All notarized paperwork should be turned in.

10:00am– Short “how to go to the park” session with Abby to go over all playground rules and safety procedures when at said park. We will be going to one of the approved parks on the list (See appendix C for complete list of approved outdoor play spaces in Tampa)

11:00am-Return home to begin training. “How to Fix Abby Lunch” will be first on the schedule.

12:00pm– Training continues with “How to Put Abby to Sleep”. It is important to follow proper steps (on left side with blanket tag in hand) or the sleep process might not happen if not followed completely. We advise you take notes, pictures or video to remember.

12:15pm-Training continues with a house tour to guide you through where everything is.

12:30pm-Training continues with a “How to Cook Dinner” Tutorial. Approved menu options can be found on Appendix D in the Instruction Manual.

12:45pm- 12:55pm Lunch or Rest (one or the other)

1pm-Training continues as you prepare to get ready for afterschool pick up, homework, sport practices and afternoon chores.

1:15pm-Training continues with chore list expalniation. Please refernce appendex E for what chores are to be done daily.

1:30pm-Abby should wake up

2:00pm– Get ready to leave. Pack cooler with snacks for after school. Bring pencils to do homework in car.

2:10pm– Leave to start pick up routine

2:30pm–  Pick up #1: Shelby. Have a snack and do homework in car.

2:50pm-Pick up #2: Mia.

3:15pm– Pick up #3: Jake.

3:30pm– Arrive home.

3:45pm-Training continues with homework, dinner prep and after school activities.

5:00pm– After school activities begin. Please see appendix C for schedule of after school activities by day. Home work will need to be completed with each child individually. We find that the “new” homework takes twice as long and you might need to pour yourself a cocktail while assisting the children with their common core math homework. Should you need assistance in finding an answer (because you cannot understand the problem) we suggest you ask your Facebook friends for assistance. There is no other alternative.

  
7:00pm-Meal training. Please see list of organic, free-range and approved meal options. Dinner must be a 4-course meal, chosen from the approved list of meals and must be served at 7:00pm.

7:10pm– Training continues for clean up and bedtime routine.

7:30pm-Watch an approved show from the list of approved television shows (see appendix D).

8:00pm– Read books. The children may choose a book from the approved list (see appendix E). 

8:30pm-Bedtime. 

8:35pm-Laundry (washing, folding putting away), next day preparation-back packs, lunch prep, breakfast/ morning prep & house cleaning. Please see the checklists for each activity and follow accordingly.

11pm-Take Abby to the bathroom. Should you miss this step, there might be consequences as she is still potty training.

11:15pm-Sleep. But be aware that there might be middle of the night training as nightmares or accidents might occur.

11:30pm-Set alarm for 5am. Sleep

5am-Wake. Begin morning routine training. Coffee is mandatory. Please be showered and ready at this time and meet in the kitchen.

5:15am-Begin to finalize lunches and backpacks.

5:30am- Begin to prepare the children’s breakfast or homemade organic waffles, fruit, freshly squeezed juice and grass-fed bacon. 

6:15am- Wake the kids. 

6:30am– Make sure everyone is up and getting ready.

7:00am-Hair. You’ll have had to complete beauty school training in order to complete the desired French braids and fishtail braids that the three girls will need preformed on their hair. (This training should have been completed prior to arrival.)

7:30am-Final check.

7:35pm-Leave for school. 

8am-Drop off. Begin day with Abby.

REPEAT

———————

But in all honesty, none of this really matters.

  
 As long as my kids are in your care, you have my blessings to do things your way. You raised me just fine and I know you’ll have the most amazing time with these kids doing whatever it is you want to do.

I Hope you throw this list away. I hope you make memories with your Grandkids and that you have a most amazing time just hanging out. Take them out of school. Give them donuts for breakfast. Let them sleep in your arms. Let them know that you love them and make memories that they will cherish forever. I cannot thank you enough for watching over them. I love you to the moon and back, Mom. Have a great time with the kids.

Love, 

Marisa

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!

29 Jul 2015

Tampa Mama is Your Urban Insider for Tampa Bay: Tampa eBoats in Tampa’s Downtown

1 Comment Adventures, Everyday, Family Travel, Florida, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Travel, Travel Tuesday

  

I love showing off MY city! Knowing Tampa inside and out, I often have the opportunity to give an insider perspective for place I love to visit. I live close to Tampa’s Downtown and many know I can be found hanging out with my kids at events, museums or on the water.
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