Archive for Parenting

30 Nov 2016

How To Keep Up With Four Kids || Tampa Mama

No Comments Ad, Lifestyle, Parenting, Raising Children, Sponsored

Gaylord Palms Christmas Tampa Mama

SponsoredPostI need lots of energy to keep up with four kids!

My morning routine with Meta Daily Energy Support helps my body produce energy naturally* so I can take care of what I need to do to keep up with this active bunch, every step of the way.

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01 Nov 2016

Tampa’s Mother of All Baby Showers is Here!

No Comments Ad, Florida, Lifestyle, Parenting, Tampa, Tampa Bay
Mother of All Baby Shower

Mother of All Baby Showers-Glazer Children’s Museum

The Mother of All Baby Showers (MOABS) is lis always a hit with Moms in Tampa (and all over the country) and we can’t wait to celebrate and educate expectant parents and parents of newborns through preschoolers. The biggest AND best event adults-only event in the area is sure to be a truly memorable night for our attendees!  This is a really fun Girls’ Night Out or Date Night, truly nothing like it! The event features spa treatments, tasty treats, giveaways and educational sessions from some of the best experts in the area and in the industry!

This is an event you won’t want to miss!

VIP’s receive the following:

  • Baby K’tan® SmartGear Diaper Bag (Bag color/design varies for each attendee)
  • 1/2 hour early admission (5:30 pm)
  • 5 meals from CaterMeFit, the best healthy food delivery service in Tampa  (Retail Value: $39.75)
  • 1 pair of award winning pediped Originals shoes (Color/design varies for each attendee) (Retail value: $40.00)
  • The Mother of All SWAG bags (one per individual/couple and attendee must be present to receive)
Tickets for the event are $15 for regular admission and $60 for VIP admission. Tickets can be purchased by visiting The Mother Of All Baby Showers website.
I will DEFINITELY be there!  What other Mama friends will I see there?!

 

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03 Oct 2016

Having 4 Kids Means Having Your Hands Full

No Comments Kids, Lifestyle, Parenting, Sponsored

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I’m a sponsored Meta Influencer, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.

Scene: A lady walks into a store with 4 kids. You immediately say, “Boy! You sure you have your hands full!”

I hear it 15 times a day or more as I’m walking with my posse.

“You don’t say! Really?” No, that’s not how I answer.

But, yes they really are! They are typically full of laundry, babies, groceries, back packs, toys and so much more these hands do everyday, but what parents’ hands aren’t full?! I find myself repeating to the kids as they go up stairs “full hands up, full hands down” – a saying from my restaurant waitressing days of younger years. Little did I know that my college job of cocktail waitressing would only be preparing me for my life as a mother to four kids. My tips now come is sweet words, pleases and thank yous along with kisses and hugs.

Meta Wellness

Being that we have 4 kids under 11, I am finally used to strangers doing the visual count and double take of how many kids I have and the quick double take back to me to see if they all look like me. I can only imagine what they are thinking. The silent sweet smile comes next. (I have now mastered how to read stranger smiles.)

Or what’s even funnier (as this JUST happened on our date night) is that we get into a nice conversation with a stranger, and they ask us the dreaded question, “how many kids do you guys have?” To which we respond truthfully and get the obvious, “you must have your hands full!” Of course we do!

I’ve also come to accept that my patenting is immediately on display the moment I walk into any public establishment. Think about it. You see a family of 6 walk into a restaurant (or even better, an airplane.) You think to yourself:

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A.) Man, they have their hands full.
B.) Let’s see how well-behaved they are
C.) Please don’t sit near us.
D.) All of the above.

What was your answer?

People are voyeurs naturally. They want to see things in action (case in point: You Tube.) I take this on as a challenge. They want to see how we handle things. How we parent. What it takes to keep four kids in line at the store. The other statement I hear is, “I don’t know how you do it.” Everyone wants to know the secret. It takes a lot of energy to wrangle four kids, homework, after-school schedules, daily routines and everything in between. Meta Daily Energy Support helps my body naturally produce energy* so I can tackle what I have to do, and still have the energy left for what I want to do.* I want to enjoy these four during their childhood because I know that my hands won’t be this full for long.

I have an amazing village of family and friends helping me with my kids, offering to drop off and pick up or host play dates to help me out. I am greatly appreciative of it all and have learned that I am DEFINITELY not superwoman and there is no way I could do this alone. And thankfully, I don’t have to. My hands are always full and I like them that way. Weather that be with kids, my career or my life, I thrive here. I’m in my zone.

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My hands are full of life, love and so much more.

My house is full of laughter, smiles and the pitter patter of 8 little feet.

My house is full of kids and I’m always up for having more kids over for play dates because the more the merrier and they actually work with me, not against me.

On Saturday mornings, by bed is full of kids and all we can do is laugh as we all squish together and watch cartoons.

My hands are so full from the grocery store, that my son uses a wagon to bring in the groceries.

My heart is so full with love for these little people.

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My hands are full of 4 lives that are my responsibility to guide them into being good people and making good decisions.

My hands are so full that I sometimes I do break down because let’s face it, it is a lot of kids and a lot of work. And sometimes, I wave the white flag, and call my Mom for a pep talk.

I love every minute and loathe every other minute of having my hands full. It is the best of times, the worst of times. It’s not for everyone. But it’s also not that bad either. And even on my worst and most trying day, you have to remember that the good days far out weigh the bad and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.

Soon, my hands won’t be this full. I will have kids in high school or maybe they just won’t want to be around me as much as they have to now.

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My days of having my hands full are numbered. My oldest just turned 12 and the baby is now 4. I sometimes can’t wait for the madness to be over, but I know it’s only a short term wish. On the days where I’m upset or frustrated that the work of four kids really is just too much (because some days it just is) I try to remember that it won’t be like this forever. And I’m sure I will long for them to be this full again.

I joke that this is the story of my life with four kids…

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So to the next person, who tells you, “You must have your hands full!” Just smile and say this, “You know, they are! Can you help me to my car? That was so nice of you to offer!”

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03 Apr 2016

How Our Disney Kids Play Date Inspired us to Give Back

No Comments Community Service, Disney, Disney Citizenship, Giving Back, Parenting

 

We had so much fun at our #DisneyKids pool-side play date with our friends last weekend!

Disney Kids Preschool Play Date

After a bedtime story (our current favorite is My Very Very Smelly Breath), we love to talk about our day and anything on our mind. Last night, my six-year old wanted to talk about how much fun we had with all our friends at our Disney party and how lucky we were to have had such a magical day!

I said, “Not everybody get to have a magical day sometimes! And your magical powers helped us bring smiles to all the kids at our party!”

My 6 year old responded, 

“But Mommy, what about everyone that wasn’t invited?! How can I use my magic powers to help other kids have a magic day?”

I think she meant a good day, but nonetheless, it steamed into a conversation about using our powers for good and helping others when we can.

This got me thinking that it might be a teachable moment for me to show her where the power of giving can be her magical power. To help others.

I know it might seem early, but I personally feel that the earlier kids can start to volunteer and give back it will lead into getting kids to thinking about how they can help others. And there are so many ways!

We decided to look into volunteering at a food bank and it just so happened that Feeding America Tampa Bay was having a Girl Scout Hunger 101 event. She is a 2nd year Daisy, so this was a perfect fit! It was an age appropriate introduction and hands on experience for her to learn about how we can help others.

  
Knowing we were going to talk about hunger, we collected and brought with us food that we could donate to others who might be hungry.

We sat in on a session where the instructor talked to the kids about what hunger is and how some kids don’t know if they will have dinner when they go home from school. We talked about what they liked to eat and how it might feel if they went to be hungry.

  

 
{Feeding America Tampa Bay pictured above.}

We got a tour of their warehouse and also helped sort 1400 lbs of food! Everybody helped in some way and together we were able to help feed 171 people with meals from the food we helped with.

  
My girls were amazed that some kids go to bed hungry. They had so many questions. But that was good, because it shows me they are thinking. They loved using their magical super powers knowing they helped bring smiles to kids’ that might be sad because they were hungry.

“Mommy, can we go back and help again?”

“Of course we can.”

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From the Disney Citizenship website: At Disney, we believe that our concern for kids and families must extend beyond their entertainment to the world in which they live. We aim to inspire people to think creatively, live healthier, conserve nature and strengthen our communities.

On April 15-17, 2016, the worlds largest service event is happening thanks to YSA. We hope you consider being a part of this awesome movement!

About GYSD

Established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) celebrates and mobilizes the millions of young people who improve their communities through service.  GYSD is the largest service event in the world and the only one dedicated to the contributions that children and youth make 365 days of the year.

GYSD is celebrated each year in more than 135 countries, with young people working together–and with schools, youth organizations, nonprofits, community and faith-based organizations, national service programs, government agencies, and  adult mentors– to address the world’s most critical issues and change their communities.

Thank you to BSM Media & Mom Select and Disney World Resorts for choosing our family to host a #DisneyKids play date and inspiring my kids to be the change in the world by helping others. “You can’t start a fire without a spark.”

02 Apr 2016

I Have A Dream (The Tired Mom Version)

No Comments Parenting, Raising Children

I have a dream…the tired, exhausted, overworked, Mom version…

I have a dream that one day my husband will rise up out of bed and say gloriously, “I am excited to do the dishes and get my children off to school with healthy homemade lunches and a warm breakfast in their bellies!”

I have a dream that one day in the home of our family, that we can al sit down at a table and eat a hot breakfast before school, smiling at each other and brothers and sisters will all get along, for at least one meal.

I have a dream that one day someone will say to me, “Take a day off! You deserve it! I will take your place and walk in your shoes for a day, and you don’t have to pay me!” I have a dream!!!

I have a dream that one day my four little children will learn to make their own meals, wash their own clothes and can drive themselves to school. They will have smiles on their faces and love every minute of helping with chores around the house.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day my husband will understand what I do and not judge me for saying, “I need a break!” He will understand and read my mind to know when I say, “I’m exhausted” which is code for “Can you PLEASE cook dinner, help with homework and the bedtime routines.” He will say,”Of course, Darling! Anything for you!” I have a dream today!

I have a dream that houses clean themselves magically and homework is absorbed via osmosis. Common Core Math does not exist and everyone has recess. I have a dream!

I have a dream that one day I will not be this tired and my body will magically transform back into it’s 20 year old self.

I have a dream…I have a dream…

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
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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

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.

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!

17 Aug 2015

What I Wish I Had Known About Back To School Fashion

No Comments Kids, Lifestyle, Parenting, School, Sponsored, Tampa

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