Archive for Uncategorized

23 Nov 2015

Florida Family Holiday Traditions: Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort 

No Comments Family Travel, Florida, Holidays, Review, Travel, Travel Tuesday, Uncategorized

{Pictured Above: The 2014 Majestic Tree}

A the heart of every family tradition is a meaning experience. The holidays are wrapped in traditions that I hope live with kids in their memory for years to come and might even be taken into the next generation. I feel like many of our traditions began once we had our son. Memories of “the first time” we did things as a family always make me smile. Now that our kids are older, I know which experiences they look forward to each year. They get so excited once they find out the date and start to reminisce of last years experience. Christmas at Gaylord Palms has become one of our most cherished traditions and we look forward to it each year. 

This is not just one experience. There are so many things to do and see while you are there for a night or even a weekend! Here’s what you’ll need to know if you plan on attending for an evening of holiday magic! (Additional times are listed on the website and are subject to change.)

Tip: Before you go, purchase your tickets for ICE! as they can sell out nightly. 


3:00pm: Arrive! Check in! Welcome to Christmas at the Gaylord Palms Resort!
I recommend arriving early to enjoy the resort. Explore the resort. Each year they have a scavenger hunt that takes place in the main atrium. This year, have your eyes peeled for the Elf on the Shelf elves placed throughout! Find them and submit your form for a special prize! This is always on of the kids’ favorite activities!

If you are staying the weekend with a Christmas package, arrive early to swim (their kids pool is awesome and yes it should be warm enough) or check into your amazing room!

Cost: Purchase the Christmas at Gaylord Palms Package and save money as it includes tickets to ICE! and a photo with Santa for the family!  

Package Price:

  • Rates from $235, for 2 people
  • (Extra adult or child rates available)
  • Package Includes:
  • Room accommodations
  • Tickets to ICE!® with priority access and unlimited entry during your stay
  • Souvenir Family Photo (one per room)

Tip: Ask about AAA membership discounts or Marriott Rewards discounts. 

Tip: For the evening events, bring the whole family dressed in holiday clothes and use the amazing props for a beautiful family picture! So many scenes to choose from in the hotel, one is bound to be a perfect family photo opportunity for the Christmas card. Santa is also available daily for pictures in Alpine Village if you’d like to get that checked off your traditions list too!

Cost: No sitting fee to tell Santa you’ve been good this year. Picture packages start at $35. 
Additionally, in Alpine Village, which opens typically opens 12pm to 6pm daily (times vary by day through out the season) stop by and decorate Gingerbread House or a cookie family! Decorate away and don’t forget to get your picture taken with the Gingerbread Man himself! 

Cost: Cookie Family Kit $22.99 or Gingerbread House $29.99

Tip: Save money if you are staying overnight be booking a package! Or ear at Wreckers and have them validate your self-parking ticket with a receipt of over $25 (for self-park).  And ask for Cherish…best waitress ever! 


6:15pm: Majestic Christmas Tree Lighting

Arrive early and you’ll marvel at the decor, especially the most Majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the St. Augustine Atrium. Standing 54 feet tall, it’s a magnificent sight to see and totally gets is in the Christmas spirit as soon as we see it. Nightly at 6:15pm, you’ll want to be in the Atrium for the lighting of the tree! With carolers (the Mistletones sang tonight) and lights galore, you’ll instantly be in the spirit! 

Cost: None

Tip: Come just for an evening by only paying for parking. Cone early to get a sweet holiday treat from the coffee shop before you sit down, or have dinner at the hotel before the festivities begin.


6:30pm: Cirque Dreams UnWrapped Stage Show
Even if you only come for an evening, you’ll be treated to the most spectacular show immediately filling the Majestic Christmas Tree Lighting. The new show, Cirque Dreams UnWrapped Stage Show is THE MOST fabulous treat of the season. The first time we saw it, I was in awe that this show is preformed nightly for guests during the season. For the first time in their 22 years of performing on an international stage, Cirque Dreams will perform nightly to awe families with its acrobatics on the stage and in the air. My children are captivated by this style of theatrics and live performance. 
Cost: None

Tip: Arrive early for a great seat.

6:55: NEW! The Grand Snowfall 
No more dreaming of a white Christmas Florida kids! Immediately following the show, the entire Atrium will be turned into a gigantic 4.5 acre snow globe as snow will fall from the sky. Such a magicsl night to remember for all the kids who haven’t seen snow fall! 


7:00pm ICE! ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas & Snow Tubing
I had to see it to believe it. Think Christmas morning in Alaska. 9 degrees. A little chilly, right?! What exactly is it? The ICE! experience is two million pounds of hand-carved ice on display for all to see. A new theme is chosen for ICE! each year. This year, the theme is ” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Beautiful ice sculptures are inside this winter wonderland where you’ll walk through admiring their beauty. Four two-story ice slides are also inside! Typically, people walk through for 30-60 minutes. Lots of photo opportunities. My favorite scene is the Nativity scene carved from crystal clear ice. I’ve never seen anything like it. 

Attire: Coats for all ages, including children and infants, are provide. Bring hats and mittens. Boots aren’t necessary, but close toed shoes are required. 
Upon your exit out of the ICE! experience, you’ll see the Snow Tubing Experience! This is a separate price (and up grading is available.) This was my kids’ favorite part! Grab a tube, walk up the slide and slide down until your heart is content. It feels just like snow tubing down a real hill up north! 

The prices are for one time admittance only. So you can’t come back all day, even if you are staying overnight. They vary by time slot too. J

Cost: ICE! Only Advance Online Price Phone and Box Office Price

  • $28.99 Adults $29.99 Adults
  • $26.99 Seniors** (ages 55+) $28.99 Seniors** (ages 55+)
  • $14.99 Children (ages 4 – 12) $16.99 Children (ages 4 – 12)
  • Children (3 and under) FREE with paying adult.

Tip: If you, the adult, won’t be riding the snow tube, just buy that ticket for your child. You can still go in and take pictures.


Cost: ICE! & Snow Tubing Combo

  • Save when you purchase an ICE! and Snow Tubing Combo Ticket!
  • Advance Online Price Phone and Box Office Price
  • $41.99 Adults $44.99 Adults
  • $38.99 Seniors** (ages 55+) $41.99 Seniors** (ages 55+)
  • $31.99 Children (ages 4 – 12) $33.99 Children (ages 4 – 12)
  • Children (3 and under) FREE with paying adult

Tip: Buy your ticket early and online if not staying over night. Tickets will cost more if bought at the box office and over the phone.


Tip: Save money on tickets three ways:
Florida Residents Offer (ICE! tickets only)

Save an additional $4 per ticket for advance tickets, and save $3 on regular ticket sales. Use promo code FLR15 when you book your tickets to save**! Offer valid on the purchase of ICE! tickets only.
Marriott Rewards Member Offer — Discount on ICE! Tickets

Save 20% on ICE! tickets by using promo code MRICE15**
Hero Offer

The program is for first responders and their families (military, fire, police).

Adult: $22.99**

Child: $8.99**

Dates: Every day
Purchase: ICE! Box Office only

Is it worth it? What’s my option for best pricing?

Yes, yes, YES!  We LOVE this event and you will too! Sometimes Groupons or Living Social will have a deal. For those that have gone before, they will swipe up the offer immediately because it does save money.

For us, here’s my breakdown: Tickets were purchased online. 
$20 Self Parking ($27 valet)

$95.97 Three children tickets to ICE! with Snow Tubing Combo Ticket

$57.98 Two Adults

Free One Three Year Old

-$20 Florida Resident deal 

$153.95 Florida Resident ICE! & Snow Tubing Combo Tickets for a family of 5 plus one baby.

At this price, you might consider taking advantage of a one night stay that would include tickets to ICE!. The hotel’s amenities and pool are so much fun, that this would be a special weekend! Even for one night, with the whole family, we feel what we experience is well worth the cost of this tradition.

We love our tradition of Gaylord Palms and we look forward to it each year! 

Then… 3 years ago…



Read my full reviews on the Gaylord Palms on Trekaroo

*I was compensated with tickets for the ICE event by Gaylord Palms. All opinions are my own. 

21 Nov 2015

Christmas Events in Tampa’s Downtown

No Comments Holidays, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

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

A favorite parde of ours is the Santafest Parade. Shorter route for kids! Lots of music. And it ends at Curtis Hixon Park at the Christmas Tree.  Saturday, December 5th, 2015. 

What is your favorite Downtown Tampa event?!

11 Nov 2015

Travel Tips: Homemade Meals To Go From Bob Evans

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Thank you to Bob Evans Restaurants for sponsoring this post and thank you for reading!

As a travel writer, we are typically on the road about once a month. This typically will mean eating out as hotels don’t always have a full kitchen for me to make that homemade meal that I’ll make when we are home. Eating out can also be super expensive when you travel too! We have our kids share meals and we try not to do the “chicken nugget + French fries” thing too often. Even if our hotels did have a full kitchen, I’d rather be exploring the new city and spending time making memories with my kids while we travel.

Thanks to the Bob Evans Meals to Go, I have truly found the best alternative for us to get our home cooked meal while on the road!

{Picture Courtesy of Bob Evans. Signature Pot Roast is slow-roasted for nine hours with fresh glazed carrots and grilled onions and drizzled with savory gravy. Served with your choice of one or two savory sides and freshly baked bread.}

Bob Evans offers Meals To Go for $19.99 or $24.99 that will feed a family of four (but in my case 1 adult and 4 kids)! I can easily feed them with the healthy home cooked meal I would have cooked if we were home. You’ll choose a main dish from the regular menu, one or two sides, your choice of bread and that’s it! We take our meal to go back to the hotel, eat by the pool or in our room in our our jammies! It’s been a life saver to find a Bob Evans near our hotel and that’s pretty easy because they are everywhere! 

{Picture Courtesy of Bob Evans.}

Take the night off, even if you are at home, to try one of the meals to go from Bob Evans! Their slow roasted pork and mushrooms cooks for five hours and is topped with pan gravy. The green beans are just like Grandma made with little bits of ham and onion. Cooked slow and perfect, you’ll savor every bite!

Time is what they put into every dish. And as precious as time is, stop by, pick up a Meal To Go, and spend that extra time enjoying the home cooked meal with the ones you love around the table. Family is what matters most.

09 Nov 2015

Movie Sneak Peak: My All American

No Comments Florida, Giveaway, Movies, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

If you loved classic feel-good inspirational movies like Rudy and Hoosiers, you’ll love My All American based on a true story about Freddie Steinmark at the University of Texas. 

Thanks to my friends at Clarius Entertainment, I have 20 pairs of tickets to give away to the Tuesday, November 10th 7:30pm screening at AMC Westshore.

Download your tickets here!  Tickets are first come, first serve and the screening is also first come, first serve. We recommend that you arrive early to claim your seat.

We can’t wait to see the movie with you!

My All American is officially out on November 13th and tickets can easily be purchased on Fandango

Enjoy the show!

06 Nov 2015

A Small Jesture to Thank Our Veterans: Hair Cuttery Share-A-Haircut 

No Comments Uncategorized

I have a friend who visits a fallen soldiers family every Veterans Day. I see her pictures tell a story of how this solider have so much for our freedom. For the millions that have severed our country to keep our land safe and honor our freedom, I have the utmost gratitude and appreciation for what they and their families have given to us. A thank you is simple and easy but it’s always nice to know when others who can do more do.

It’s a small justure. A hair cut. It might not seem like much, but to someone in need, it might mean so much more. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, and businesses like Hair Cuttery are doing their share to give back yo those in need they way they can.

As we celebrate Veterans Day this Tuesday, November 11, for every adult hair cut that is purchased a donation of a hair cut certificate will be given to a veteran local organization to reach those in need. They hope to help 25,000 veterans this year. 

This is s great way to give back doing something you’d normally do anyway. To find a Hair Cuttery location near you visit them here

Thank you Hair Cuttery for sponsoring this post and letting our readers know about this easy way to give back and help someone in need. 

Follow Hair Curtery on Twitter @HairCuttery

29 Oct 2015

Peanuts Movie Giveaway!

1 Comment Ad, Kids, Movies, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

We are so excited to see Charlie Brown and his friends hit the big screen on November 6th in THE PEANUTS MOVIE! We are giving away tickets to a sneak preview tickets to five lucky readers on Sunday, November 1st at AMC Veterans and we want you to join us!  Keep reading below to see how you can snag these tickets!

Kids and parents alike will love seeing the classic “Peanuts” gang in 3D animation on the big screen! Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linu… It’s going to be one epic adventure!  

Make sure you Peanutize yourself too!

We can’t wait to see the movie! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube for the last eat details!

Our first 5 lucky readers that would like to see the movie on November 1st, at 10:30 am at AMC Veterans (Tampa, FL) will be give three tickets to the sneak preview for a chance to see THE PEANUTS MOVIE with the link here!** DETAILS BELOW**

Good luck! 

Thank you to 20th Century Fox for sponsoring this promotion!

**Congratulations! Only the first 5 people to click on the link will have the ability to download passes to the screening. You have a chance of attending the advance free screening of THE PEANUTS MOVIE. Screening will take place at AMC Veterans (TAMPA, FLORIDA) THIS Sunday, November 1st at 10:30 AM. We advise you arrive at least 45 minutes prior to starting time, as your seats are first come first serve. Also, *NOTE* Daylight savings starts Sunday, November 1st! Remember to set your clocks so you don’t miss out. See you soon!

10 Oct 2015

Ready Or Not…Preschool Here We Come!

No Comments Uncategorized

I’m just not ready to let go. Well, I wasn’t until Wednesday when someone forced my hand and said, “It’s time.”  

She’s the 4th. The littlest. My youngest. She’s probably babied…a little bit. She rules the house as any youngest sibling does. She’s smarter than we think and I know she’s thinking to herself,”I’ve got these fools wrapped around my finger.” Because she does.

The day came like any other day, get ready for school, go to school, figure out what errands Abby and I had to run… Until Shelby told me her field trip was THAT day. Yup, the one that I volunteered to chaperone that day. 

“No, it’s tomorrow.” 

“It’s today.”

 “No, it’s tomorrow.”

 Knowing I had my sitter and help scheduled for tomorrow so surly I wasn’t wrong…or was I. I have been wrong before, I live by my calendar, but things happen…I’m so not perfect!
She gave me a look which told me I needed to check. I did. It was today.

HOLY ^%#£!!!!!!!!! 

What was I going to do?! I had 30 minutes to preform a miracle. 

I wasn’t going to call my husband for fear of divorce. (I’m sure he would have canceled meetings to watch her but I was trying to avoid that conversation at all cost and fix this myself.) I have little family to help immediately in a bind and without notice. I started running through my head of friends that MIGHT be able to watch Abby for 5 hours, but I was in panic mode!

The preschool where all my babies have gone is around the corner and with a shaky voice I called the director and told her about my dilemma. The worst bind I have ever been in. With a loving, “it’s going to be ok” voice she said to bring her over. I had 30 minutes to fill my car with gas, shop at Publix for a lunch for Abby and drop her off.

I haven’t sent Abby to preschool yet because she’s my shadow, my buddy, my weekday lunch date sidekick. She naps, I work.  I just haven’t wanted her to go for really no other reason than I just wasn’t ready to let her go.

 We go everywhere together, we work on things at home that I know they are working on in preschool.

Truth is, she’s ready. I’m not. 

Thankfully, my some miracle from above, I was somewhat dressed, I don’t think I brushed my teeth, and I’m glad I had a bra on to go to carline which never happens, and Abby had played “preschool” that morning with Mia and got into the car with shoes, socks, a backpack and everything she needed for the day. I added some lunch and she was set…whether I liked it or not. I some how made it to chaperone the field trip on time and all was right with the world. 

When I got back from the field trip, I rushed to swoop in and rescue Abby. Mommy to the rescue…not so much. She was resting and we decided to let her be and instead talk about her day. She did AWESOME! She followed directions, played with kids, loved circle time, are lunch and had a really great day. We decided to enroll her 2 days a week. It’s for the best. I know she’ll grow quicker here and will have a great time too. I’m sure I will find ways to fill the time I have with no kids in the house… GASP! What to do first!?! 


Ready or not, preschool here we come!!!

10 Oct 2015

Screen on the Green at Water Works Park Returns to Tampa, Florida

No Comments Uncategorized

Bring your popcorn, a blanket, maybe some cash (no ATM’s on site) and get ready for a free movie every Saturday night in October!! 


06 Oct 2015

A Vision of Hope: The CARES Foundation Gala and Why You Should Go

No Comments CAH, Kids, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I’m actually living my dream. Right now. I’m in a state of euphoria that seems somewhat surreal because all my wishes came true and are happening before my eyes. The ones I prayed and prayed and prayed for that I wished so hard on every star and promised God the world if he would make them come true.


I get to see my son play baseball. I get to watch my daughters in a recital. My children excel in school. They are kind. They are happy. They aren’t sick. I get to put my children to bed each night in their own bed. They are healthy happy and living a normal life. THIS is the life I dreamed of that I wasn’t sure would be a reality.



It was 10 years ago that I lost hope… For that perfect little life I had always wanted. Could it be taped back together from the shreds that I had ripped it into upon learning about our newborns rare lifelong medical conditions? I didn’t know… My hope dwindled.

I remember that day like it was yesterday…4 days after Jake was born. The call that came as soon as we walked in the door. The doctor saying he would never grow out if this. Tears streaming down my face because I couldn’t even pronounce what he had.

All I wanted was someone to tell me it would be ok.

I wanted a crystal ball to tell me his future.

I wanted someone to PROMISE me he would be ok… FOREVER.

I needed a doctor to tell me they made a mistake.

I wanted someone to tell me he’d grow out of this.

I was broken. Afraid. Mad. Terrified.

Many of you, my friends, gave me back my hope. You helped me along the way and still continue to support my family in so many ways. The words thank you seem like an understatement.

And then…I found them. On the internet, at 3am. As I was desperately seeking hope and guidance. I found them. The CARES Foundation. They were a saving grace that helped me through the first, second and third pregnancies when I needed their guidance, advice and friendship. They guided me to doctors, people and gave me hope too. The hope which I have now am able to give to others because I know it exists.


My payback is simple. Do what they did for me for someone else. Be the vision of hope for someone going through what I know they are going through because I have been there. I have walked in the shoes they now wear and understand what they need. I can’t change the diagnosis on the chart for anyone, but I can help them.

I can tell others that soon it will be ok.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know what the past 10 years looks like for us and can give them a glimpse into what theirs might look like.

I can promise that I will be their friend and that I’m always there to talk.

I can help them find some of the best doctors who understand this condition and will help them make educated decisions.

I will tell them that they were chosen to be this child’s parents because no one else could do this job better than them.

It’s the vision of hope we all need in that hour of desperation.

As a sweet surprise, I was chosen as this years 2015 Visionary Award recipient for the CARES Foundation. I volunteer for organizations that I am passionate about their mission and what they do for others. This organization helps thousands of people and families find hope when they have lost their way. It can be an scary time to be alone. I’m just one person trying to connect with others who might need a friend. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a fortune teller. I’m a friend who has been there.

So here is what I’m asking of you…and I never ask for help unless I really need it, so please listen…

I hope that I have helped you in some way, shape or form that you would be so kind and able to help donate to my cause, The CARES Foundation. Any amount will help. The work they so providing support to people, kids and families could not be possible without your donations. The annual Gala that is being held to raise awareness is taking place in Orlando on May 8th, at the Orlando World Center Marriott. Tickets are being sold for the Gala here and I would love to fill the room with everyone who has made a difference in my life and in turn, thank you for helping others that have been helped, like our family has been.


I have also appointed Courtney Horner as my “Team Captain” as her support over the years has been amazing. I hope everyone has a friend like her in their life.

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I have a birthday in one week and this would be the greatest gift from all of you. To give in the honor of my kids… My beautiful babies that didn’t ask to be born with this condition. And for all the people and families out there that live with CAH and need help. They CARES Foundation says, “everyone cares. ” I CARE Jake, Shelby and Abby (& Mia of course!). Who do you CARE for?!

So call some friends, buy a table, buy a ticket or just donate to the cause! Let’s all get dressed up, and come to Orlando on Friday, May 8th for The CARES Gala and let’s celebrate the hope we can give to others that have also been touched by this condition.




The Langfords

P.S. My husband gets to introduce me on stage, so that should be more than enough reason to buy a ticket! See you May 8th

20 Sep 2015

Raw Cocktails: Candy Carrot Martini

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I’ve recently bought a juicer and am addicted! So I have started to experiment with cocktails, which are so much better with fresh and raw ingredients! 

My latest is a Candy Carrot Martini! Pretty, huh?!


So simple!


2 full carrots

1/3 pineapple

1/4 inch raw ginger (peeled)

1/2 orange

Mix with:

4oz vodka 




Garnish and serve on Halloween! So fun!