Archive for Sponsored

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.

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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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25 Sep 2016

Free College? Where Do I Sign Up? Learn More About The Florida Prepaid College Giveaway |Tampa Mama

No Comments Education, Florida, Giveaway, School, Sponsored

scholarship-program_promoWith our oldest son turning 12 soon, my count down clock has begun to tick louder as college tuition seems to be knocking louder as his high school graduation seems to be approaching fast. 6 more years. Which in my world, it kind of like tomorrow. Having four children, and wanting them all to further their education beyond high school, the cost of college tuition seems to be a hurdle I am going to need to prepare for in order to set my children up properly for their future. Living in Florida, we have some amazing college choices for those looking to take that next step, but understanding the financial obligation and preparing for it is something that will be much easier if tackled years in advance. That’s why I have partnered with the Florida Prepaid College Board to help get the conversation started about college, how we can best save, options we have as parents and how it can effect our kids in the future. We all want our kids to be ready for college, but the question I find myself asking is will WE be ready as parents to send them financially.

Last March, the Federal Reserve reported student debt across the U.S. at about $1.2 trillion. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of new alumni have debt, at an average of $35,000 per graduate. In Florida, the average debt load for those with college loans is $24,017. All I can say is WOW.

Yet according to the How America Saves for College 2016 report, only 2 out of 5 families have a plan to pay for college – even though a postsecondary degree is more necessary than ever for career success. According to state projections, 59 percent of all jobs in Florida will require postsecondary education by 2018. Do you have a plan for your children? It’s time we start really talking about ways to prepare them not only academically but also ways to avoid the student loan debit post college too.

The 2016 Florida Prepaid College Giveaway

Ten Florida families will win two free years of college from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, which today is launching its Florida Prepaid Scholarship Program. The annual scholarship program runs between September 19, 2016 and October 23, 2016 – coinciding with National College Savings Month and the mid-October launch of Open Enrollment, the annual period when families can purchase Florida Prepaid Plans.

Participants can register to win one of ten 2-Year Florida College Plans at www.floridaprepaidscholarshipprogram.com. Then you get chances to earn extra entries by answering questions, learning more about saving for college and sharing on social media. There will also be chances to win a total of 50 weekly prizes. So enter, share with friends and family so they can enter, and keep coming back to the site every day to learn more and get extra chances to win!

Prepaid Plans are available for purchase during Open Enrollment, which begins October 15, 2016 and ends February 28, 2016. For more information, visit www.myfloridaprepaid.com

I hope you’ll stay with me as I explore the ways we can all save for our kids’ college together. We all want to give our kids the best start for their future. Thank you to the Florida College Board for sponsoring this series of posts on TampaMama.com!

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20 Sep 2016

Simple Strategies Make Sure Back-to-School Germs Don’t Take the Family Down

No Comments Healthy Living, Kids, Sponsored
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I’m a sponsored Meta Influencer, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.

Back to school means our kids will be sharing germs in no time. Germs are something we don’t want to share with anyone! With 4 kids in our house, I try my hardest not to let the domino effect take place because when one goes down, they all seem to fall one right after the other. And the bigger we are, the harder we fall. I try my best to educate and teach the kids simple things that they can do to keep the germs away and stay healthy. It might not seem like a lot, but these are ways to make sure that the whole family will stay healthy and back to school germs (or any germs for that matter) won’t take the family down!

META Tampa Mama

Washing your hands. Most kids are in such a hurry to get out of the bathroom they forget to wash their hands. Yuck! It really only takes 15 to 20 seconds and some soap and water to kill germs and bacteria that can make you sick. I try reminding them that they should also be washing hands before they eat or after a fun day of playing at the playground. It’s such a simple thing to do, but the most effective in keeping the germs away!

Mom & Dad need to stay healthy, too! We set the tone for our kids. If they see us take our vitamins and eat healthy, they will too. Keeping our immune system healthy is truly the first line of defense to keeping our whole family healthy. We take Meta Daily Immune Support that helps naturally support a healthy immune system*. Trillions of bacteria in your digestive system can be thrown off by diet, travel, or stress So supporting your immune system really matters. I want to be as prepared as I can be to take care of my family and every day life.

Kids need to stay healthy from the inside out! Eating a healthy breakfast, getting enough sleep and taking care of our bodies are our first lines of defense in keeping the germs away. We make sure all the kids get enough sleep, especially when they are waking up so early for school. With the kids getting older and wanting to stay up later, this has been challenging. Routines work well for us: reading before bed; no electronics before bed; a good breakfast in the morning.

META Tampa MamaHave stress free mornings. Did you know that stress can actually weaken your immune system? Kids shouldn’t be stressed. But it’s easy (and unintentional) to over schedule and frazzle your child. Homework and studying is done before we begin any after school activity. We organize backpacks the night before. Get our clothes laid out for the morning. Make lunches the night before, too. All of these simple steps help us have a smooth and stress-free morning. I also make sure that I am up early so that I can set the tone for the morning by being prepared and on time. Having a stress free morning will help keep their immune system strong and can fight off the germs from the inside out!

 

META Tampa Mama

It’s the little things that can make a huge difference in our health! If kids learn now, they will create habits to last a life time!

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Disclosure: Meta partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Meta believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Meta’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

 

07 Sep 2016

Tips for the Exhausted Mom: 7 Easy Ways to Feel Your Best Each Day

No Comments Ad, Healthy Living, Raising Children, Sponsored

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

The sheer volume of work that comes from having a child or multiple children might seem like having the task of climbing Mount Everest placed in front of you each day you wake up. Daunting. From school work, to homework to housework to out-of-the-house-work, the lists go on and on and never seem to end. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that give me the strength and energy to power me through the day. (I went through some old pictures and just got exhausted seeing how much we’ve done!) Some might seem easy, but from this once tired Mama, I know can say I have more pep in my step and more energy now than I ever have. It’s the sweet moments with my kids that I want to enjoy because they won’t be little for long. Here are some tips to help you feel your best each day!

 

  1. Get ready the night before. I seem to have little time in the morning to get myself ready for the day because I am simultaneously getting 4 kids ready as well. A little sprucing up in the morning and I’m ready to tackle the day! This might seem more psychological, but I definitely feel more energized when I’m not in my pajamas all day!
  2. Don’t skip breakfast!  I won’t let my kids go to school without breakfast and I won’t let myself go without breakfast too!  Make it easy on yourself!  A yogurt, a piece of fruit, an egg…anything!  Your body needs fuel, good fuel, to start the day!  You’ll notice you’ll have more energy and be in a better mood too!  I also take Meta Daily Energy Support as a part of my morning routine. The B-vitamin complex works naturally with my body to support natural energy* production without stimulants like caffeine. There’s also a beneficial probiotic to support a healthy digestive system. It’s all just a part of the healthy way I start my day!
  3. Exercise. Even if it’s walking for 20 minutes talking on the phone to your Mom, take a break and get your blood flowing. Exercise will ALWAYS make you feel more energized! Grab the stroller and head out! The baby or kids will love the walk too.
  4. Take a break. A mental break. A nap break. A brain break. Some times I need to check out from my kids or work and regroup. Even if it’s a small break, it’s a chance to disconnect even for a little while to recharge. Communication with your partner is crucial so you can figure out a time to make this work.
  5. Sleep. As tempting as it is to work late at night or watch you TV shows once the kids are asleep, set a limit on how late you stay up so you can get in some good rest. I know the nights of solid realm sleep might be few or nonexistent with potty training toddlers or breast feeding babies, but sleep is a game changer. Swap nights if your can with your partner. One of my mottos has always been “you sleep when they sleep” and that includes naps too! We know how much energy our kids have and it’s probably because they are getting a solid 10-12 hours of sleep each night!  Who wouldn’t be energized! I want their energy!
  6. Cut down on sugar and caffeine. I love good chocolate and a hot cup of coffee, but sugar and caffeine are stimulants. I started to notice how much better my body functioned when not so dependent on that morning cup of coffee. I have switched to a better breakfast and a fresh squeezed juice to start my day and haven’t looked back. Make little changes. One cup of coffee, not four. 1 teaspoon of sugar, not 2 tablespoons. No sugar after 6pm. Baby steps.
  7. Slow down. I’ve started to shift my focus to making my health a priority. I have been caught in the world of an over-scheduled parent and wiith four kids, that was very easy to do. It’s much easier said than done, but no one can do it all. Not even Superman or SuperMom. These are the moments you just don’t want to miss.

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Don’t miss out on any sweet moments with your kids! Moments like these won’t last forever. Eventually, you will feel the best you’ve ever felt and be your best each day. You owe it to family and especially, yourself.

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*Meta partnered with bloggers, such as me, to get the word out about its great product benefits. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. Meta believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Meta’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

11 Aug 2016

#FamilyTravelTruth Instagram Contest by Preferred Hotels | Tampa Mama

1 Comment Adventures, Family Travel, Sponsored, Travel

Pictures only tell part of the story. They are a brief moment in time that stands still. But in that moment, captured in time, a story- funny, sad, heart-warming or hilarious- can be told about that night, that trip, that memory. I’m excited to partner with Preferred Hotels and Resorts to tell you all about my family travel truths and can’t wait to see yours too!  Just by sharing and tagging your #FamilyTravelTruth on Instagram, you’ll have the chance to win a 2-night family-friendly hotel stay with Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Winners will also receive free prints from Artifact Uprising! It’s not always just poolside cocktails and perfect beach views with clean kids looking like they just stepped out of a magazine. Let’s get real, shall we?

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10 Aug 2016

Stay Healthy and Stay in The Game | Tampa Mama

No Comments Healthy Living, Lifestyle, Sponsored

Meta Wellness Four Kids Tampa Mama

 

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27 Jul 2016

The Summer Vacation Marathon

No Comments Lifestyle, Sponsored

Back to School

 

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27 Jun 2016

Stay Hydrated This Summer With Smoothie King

No Comments Family Time, Healthy Living, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay

Summer in Florida is HOT!  We love to be outside- playground, beaches, parks or someplace cool like waterparks, but after a long hot day in the sun, it’s super important to hydrate!  Smoothie King has just launched a new line of healthy smoothies that kids will love and parents will love even more!  Read more

10 Jun 2016

A Father’s Day Date: Hard Rock Cafe and the World Burger Tour

No Comments Dining Out, Florida, Lifestyle, Multi-generational, Orlando, Review, Sponsored

My Dad and I rarely get to spend Father’s Day together. The distance keeps us apart on most years, but not this year. My parents were visiting for a week to see the kids and I actually got some alone time with my Dad one day while the kids were at school. I decided to make a break for it and head to a restaurant that I knew he would LOVE!

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25 May 2016

Local & Legendary: Hard Rock Cafe Announces the World Burger Tour 

1 Comment Dining Out, Lifestyle, Orlando, Sponsored

Summer time makes me want to travel all over the world, wanderlusting and eating my way through every country visit. I miss the freedom of my 20’s when I made my way around Europe, dining on local foods, laughing with good people and experiencing new cultures. Hard Rock Cafe has just announced a new way to dine around the world with their Local Legendary World Burger Tour! 

Over 150 artisian chefs from all over the world, those who run the famed Hard Rock Cafes, competed in a burger creation contest to showcase their talents along with local flavor. The burgers that won over the Hard Rock culinary team would be placed on the World Tour menu- in true rock star fashion. If you like burgers and enjoy new and unique flavors you are going to want to make sure you have a ticket, I mean a reservation, at your local Hard Rock Cafe, before they are gone (June 30th.)

Some of the burgers you might find (menus vary on location) are:

Sizzling headliners featured as part of Hard Rock Cafe’s World Burger Tour menu include:

Java Lava Burger – this American Legendary from Seattle features a Certified Angus Beef® patty grilled and dressed in a house-made espresso rub and topped with lava sauce, crunchy java onions, bacon, melted Tillamook Cheddar cheese and garnished with a fried jalapeno

Haggis Burger – this Scottish Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with savory haggis, melted Monterey Jack cheese, golden turnip frazzles and a whisky maple glaze

Schnitzel Burger – this German Legendary features two stacks of tender pork schnitzel lightly breaded and made crispy to order, topped with crunchy sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard and savory bacon

The Aussie Burger – this Australian Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with caramelized onions, a fried egg, Cheddar cheese, crispy bacon and beetroot

Marimba Burger – this Guatemalan Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with a chipotle and jalapeno spiced layer of beans, fresh salsa, Monterey Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese and crispy tortilla straws

Banh Mi Burger – this Vietnamese Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with house-made Vietnamese glaze, pickled vegetables and cucumbers accompanied by a garnish of cilantro and green onions

Sweet & Sour Burger – this Chinese Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with a fried onion ring, bell peppers and grilled pineapple drizzled with house-made sweet and sour sauce

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burger – this Indian Legendary features a dark meat chicken patty seasoned with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, topped with mint mayonnaise and served with a side of cucumber

Date Burger – this United Arab Emirates Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with rich date chutney, diced fresh dates and a dollop of cream cheese

The Bosphorus Burger – this Turkish Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with homemade eggplant salad, fresh and flavorful haydari sauce and pickle slices

Lancashire Hot Pot Burger – this English Legendary features a juicy lamb burger broiled until tender and topped with caramelized onions, crispy carrot frazzles and mint mayonnaise

The Andean Burger – this Bolivian Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with tender avocado slices, a fried egg, melted Cheddar cheese and garlic mayonnaise

Chamorro Burger – this Southern Pacific Legendary features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with house-made Chamorro glaze, chili paste and spicy Pepper Jack cheese

Mango Mahi Burger – this Caribbean Legendary features blackened Mahi Mahi topped with a Caribbean-style mango salsa and citrus mayonnaise

Cuban Burger – this American Legendary from Miami features a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with marinated pulled pork, melted Swiss cheese and sweet plantains

All burgers are served with the signature Hard Rock’s Savory Artisian french fries.New sauces include Chili Seasoned Fries with Chipotle Garlic Ketchup, Parmesan Romano Fries with Garlic Aioli and Herb and Garlic Fries with Chimichurri Mayo.

Along with this menu comes cocktails that are perfectly paired to go with your burger! 

Mai Tai One On – a South Pacific-inspired cocktail that features a refreshing blend of Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Cointreau® Orange Liqueur, Monin Orgeat, a splash of lime and orange juice

Pomegranate Mule – a mix of ABSOLUT® Vodka, Monin Pomegranate and ginger beer make this summertime favorite from Russia

Mezcarita – this refreshing and smoky margarita, which hails from Mexico, is a perfect combination of Del Maguey Mezcal, Cointreau® Orange Liqueur, Malibu® Coconut and fresh strawberries

Pineapple Ginger Caipirinha – a Brazilian blend of Agua Luca™ Cachaça and pineapple with the subtle hint of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur

Maple Old Fashioned – a twist on a classic American cocktail that features Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, cherries, maple syrup and orange juice garnished with a crisp bacon stir stick

I’ll be heading over to the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando at Universal Studios Orlando in the CityWalk entertainment complex for a Father’s Day date with my Dad. Sounds like the perfect place for me to tell him he’s the best Dad in the world!

Comment below and you’ll have a chance to win a Hard Rock Cafe gift pack! 

Disclosure: A gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Hard Rock International. All opinions are my own! Thank you for supporting Tampa Mama!