Archive for Kids

19 Mar 2016

Tampa Bay With Kids:  AirFest and Why You Should Go

No Comments Adventures, Family Time, Kids, Review, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

If you are lucky enough to have the chance, take the whole family to MacDill Air Force Base for their annual AirFest. It will be a long day, but totally worth it and here’s why. 

  
    
    
  
A few things to remember: 

  • Bring a wagon and or chairs if you want to sit. No seating and little shade.
  • Be prepared to walk and use portable toliets.
  • It is hot so dress accordingly and wear sunscreen and hats!
  • You can bring in snacks!
  • The event is free.
  • Come early.
  • Bring your camera. 
17 Mar 2016

Disney on Ice Returns to Tampa in May 2016!

10 Comments Ad, Disney, Giveaway, Kids, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay

Disney on Ice Tampa Florida

It’s here! One of our favorite and most magical events of the year! Disney on Ice is a fabulous show with all of our favorite Disney friends brought to life with song and a spectacular show!

As Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic, this year the show is presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt and will be playing at Amalie Arena May 12-15, 2016!

Tickets start at $18 and are on sale now! Click here to purchase!

About the show!

Be charmed by a cast of over 50, with Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, sweetheart Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana. Relive the magic of Disney’s Frozen with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious Olaf as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all. Sing-along to over 30 unforgettable songs including “Let It Go,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and “Hakuna Matata.” Exciting moments from Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Disney’s The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and more will leave the whole family with memories to last a lifetime.

We have enjoyed these shows overtime we go! We hope you’ll love to attend as well!

We are giving away 2 tickets to the show and all you have to do to enter is comment below! This giveaway will end on May 1, 2016 at 12pm. Winner will be contacted via e-mail and tickets will be left at Will Call at Amalie Arena. Tickets will be for the Thursday, May 12, 2016 opening night show at 7:00 p.m. (Non-negotiable).

Good luck!!

05 Mar 2016

Sorry, (Recess) Moms? No… Sorry, Florida Kids. NO RECESS FOR YOU! 

No Comments Florida, Kids, Parenting, Raising Children, School

Sorry, (recess) Moms? Sorry? Really Tampa Bay Times
IMG_5115.JPG

THESE are the people you should be addressing. Kids are people too.

I’m not into politics, or so I say to myself. I say that, but I’ve started to dive more into the rules, regulations and “politics” of what it takes to get something accomplished in order for it to become a law that might better the lives of kids. My kids, other people’s kids… Don’t you want to stand up for what’s right? Isn’t that how change ACTUALLY came about in so many historical movements? 

I became a part of the Recess Moms to help make a difference. These Moms were inspiring, hard working, smart and did not give up. And they still haven’t. There is always a new session on the horizon and an opportunity for change. 



My kids get recess. They are among the lucky ones in Florida. But what about those that don’t!? Why do some kids benefit and others don’t. Does it have to do with money? Test scores? Bad kids? Good kids? Too much to cover in one school day? If school is the work of the child, then every child should get a break. These are sweat shops and cash cows. These kids deserve to be treated better no matter where they go to school in public. 

This isn’t a laughing matter, however some of the Florida Senators this it is! Check out this video from the day the amendment to the bill is denied. Is this funny? Recess is just for kids, right? Everybody is watching you Senstors. 

Instead of “Sorry Recess Moms,” you should have began your article addressing the 6 year olds, the ACTUAL ones you are letting down. They can read now, you know.
How about this: 

Sorry kids of Florida. The people who are supposed to look out for your best interests, your parents, tried hard. Unfortunately, politicians who are SUPPOSED to represent your best interests – Florida Senators- have decided to vote against a measly 15 minutes in a day as you WORK for 6-7 HOURS, and will continue to be denied recess, playtime, free time and the opportunity to take a much needed break. Your parents were trying their hardest to help give you a voice so your request could be heard, but that didn’t work. Keep slaving away in the system until things can get worked out. 

Hopefully by the time we get this bill passed into law, your spirit as a child and love of school will have not been broken and can be mended back together. 

Sincerely, 

All The People In Suits Who Have No Clue What Actually Goes On In A Classroom 

PS. Your Mom did awesome and I’m sure she will try again, as Mothers always will fight for what’s best for her child.

This is how your Senators voted. Do you even know who your Senator is? If not click here. It’s very simple, if they voted N, they didn’t support the recess amendment being added to a multi-pronged Education Bill that was going to get a Floor vote. You might want to call and ask why? 

  

To read exactly what transpired and to see your YOUR Florida Senator voted, click here

04 Feb 2016

3rd annual Gridiron Kids Cooking Challenge

1 Comment Cooking, Family Time, Florida, Kids

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I love to cook with my kids. As my kids are getting older, they are starting to get more creative and adventurous with what they want to eat and cook!

The Dairy Council of Florida is hosting its 3rd annual Gridiron Cooking Challenge, a fun-filled food competition for elementary and middle school students throughout Florida. Now through February 29, students in groups of four are encouraged to create and submit an original recipe that features dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. The top four student teams in each Florida NFL market will compete for the grand prize – a $2,500 school prize pack and 4 tablets – at the Gridiron Cooking Challenge this spring.

The initiative is created and supported by the Florida Dairy Farmers and is part of Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and NFL to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives. For more information, visit floridamilk.com.

Good luck little chefs!

01 Feb 2016

A Sweet Pairing: A Valentine’s Day Art Party

1 Comment Holidays, Kids, Sponsored

   

My 10 and 11 year old are at that age. Where kisses from their Mom aren’t cool. Where yelling,”I love you!” out the car door is  embarrassing. So how can I show them that I truly love them. Throw them a party without them knowing. Inviting friends and Moms, who also loved the idea of surprising our kids with a fun afternoon of art, friends, hearts, Ghirardelli Chocolate (and Josh Cellars Wine for us Moms) my plan for a sweet pairing of Moms and kids, would go together like chocolate, wine and Valentine’s Day.

    

I went to Walmart and bought everything I needed for this super sweet party. Of course, Ghirardelli Chocolate comes in a variety of flavors, as does Josh Cellars wine, so I bought a variety of both to add to my party shopping list. Along the lines of pairing, I kept all my finger food simple as fruits, cheeses, meats, olives and nuts also pair very well with wine and chocolate. Lots of ideas on my Pinterest Board: A Sweet Pairing.

Follow Marisa ||’s board A Sweet Pairing Party on Pinterest.

The pairing was perfect. Lots of great friends, kids, chocolate and wine. 

 

We had a great time together with our kids and that pairing, is one we will always treasure. 

   

It was a Valentine’s Day to remember. 

  

Painting was a hit. The Ghirardelli chocolates were a perfect sweet treat for everyone that came. We can’t wait to treat our classmates with some sweet squares from Ghirardelli for the big day coming up too! 

 

{Art Studio: A 8 Art Bar Tampa, FL}

Don’t forget to buy your sweetheart Ghirardelli chocolate and some Josh Cellars wine to celebrate your sweet pairing with the one you love. A little sweets for your love will brighten their day on Valentine’s Day.

And if you want a quick easy recipe to make, check out my recipe for Snowballs:

Try these Snowballs! Coconut with Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Raspberry Squares! #ASweetPairing

Posted by Tampa Mama on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

For more great party ideas with a sweet pairing of Ghirardelli chocolate and wine, here are a few great themes:

A Snow Day Party by Walking on Travels

Ladies Day: Painting, Wine & Chocolate

A Bachelor Party 

Thank you to Ghirardelli and Josh Cellars for sponsoring this party. 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.

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.

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