Archive for Holidays

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!




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



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.”


“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!”

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}

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.

23 Nov 2015

Florida Family Holiday Traditions: Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort 

3 Comments Family Travel, Florida, Holidays, Review, Travel, Travel Tuesday, Uncategorized

{UPDATE: 11/20/2017. Pictured Above: The 2014 Majestic Tree. Below details are from the 2017 event.} Read more

21 Nov 2015

Christmas Events in Tampa’s Downtown

No Comments Holidays, Tampa, Tampa Bay

My favorite time of year is here! Check out the most updated list for family holiday events happening in Tampa’s Downtown!


Updated annually!  Here is the list for 2017!

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10 Sep 2015

How to Host a Backyard Fair

No Comments Everyday, Holidays, Sponsored, Uncategorized


The most wonderful weather is upon us and I’m planning on planning a few outdoor parties soon! We will be hosting a Backyard Fair and I’m so excited! This is a super easy and fun theme to run with!
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31 Jul 2015

Summer Snow Day is Here!

No Comments Holidays, Kids

Any summer day can be a snow day!

Being that I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I long for the winter days, not only in the winter but also in the sweltering summer heat too. When my good friends, Pavel and Jessie, mentioned that they did this day each year, I thought it was BRILLIANT! What a fun day to occupy the other 100 days of summer and switch it up a bit to have some cool winter fun! We will celebrate this day with some ice skating, hot chocolate for breakfast, holiday music, cookie baking, crafts and maybe some snow too! Get in the mood and join us too!

Summer Snow Day…What is this awesome day you ask?

Summer Snow Day

Want some of my ideas for this day?

Follow Marisa ||’s board Summer Snow Day on Pinterest.

03 Dec 2014

Christmas in NYC

4 Comments Family Travel, Holidays, New York City, Travel, Travel Tuesday

A weekend in pictures. Must visit places. Best if you sit back and enjoy New York City while you are here.










For great travel deals to NYC click HERE!