Archive for Uncategorized

29 Mar 2016

#DisneyKids Preschool Play Date | A Mickey & Friends Pool Party

1 Comment Adventures, Disney, Kids, Lifestyle, Mama Loves, Uncategorized

With summer in the very near future, I took our recent Spring Break and hosted Mickey & Friends Pool Party! Living in Florida, we are lucky enough to swim just about year round and pool parties are always fun!

I was super excited (and so was my preschooler) to have been chosen to host a #DisneyKids Preschool Play Date by BSM Media and Walt Disney World Resorts this Spring!  Our box came and we were so excited to get planning!

Read more

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. 
26 Feb 2016

Valspar Championship Returns to Innisbrook on March 6, 2016 {Tampa, Florida}

No Comments Adventures, Family Time, Family Travel, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized

On March 6, 2016 the Valspar Championship returns to Tampa Bay at the Innisbrook Florida, which is one of America’s most celebrated golf courses!

We love having this marquee tournament in our back yard. Innisbrook is a fabulous place to stay and is the perfect place to play golf. 

So much is happening during the week of March 6th through March 14th. Get your calendars out, find some friends and make it weekend you’ll never forget. Bring the kids because it’s such a great sport to introduce them to. They will have a great time!

 2016 Schedule of Events

Sunday, March 6
Par4Miler Run (4pm)

Click here to register

3M Million Dollar Hole-In-One Challenge (4pm)

: NEW in 2016 at the Valspar Championship – the perfect kickoff to Tampa Bay’s PGA TOUR event week for the fitness buff is the Par4Miler. Head out on Sunday, March 6 at 4 p.m. for a four-mile timed run through the scenic tournament Copperhead course at Innisbrook to an upscale 18th hole recovery party where you will collect your one-day ticket to the tournament and a voucher for a gallon of Valspar paint.

Monday, March 7

The Monday Pro-Celebrity-Am presented by BB&T in support of the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics

12pm shotgun start;

Admission is FREE

Tuesday, March 8
Professional Practice Rounds;

Admission is FREE

Wednesday, March 9

Championship Pro-Am;

Gates open at 6:00am

Thursday, March 10
1st Round Valspar Championship

Gates open at 6:00am;

Golf Channel from 3pm – 6pm

Valspar® LIVE! Concert featuring Rascal Flatts (7pm)

DETAILS: The Valspar Live! Concert featuring Rascal Flatts will be after play on THURSDAY, March 10th on the Osprey Driving Range. You will need a Thursday ticket or a Good Any One Day ticket for admittance, there is no special concert ticket.

Click here to purchase tickets
The concert will take place on the Osprey Driving Range. The Osprey Range is adjacent to the 14th fairway. Buses will be available from the Osprey Range back to tournament parking lots after the concert is over.
Admittance to the concert is complimentary to all Thursday tournament ticketholders; however, charitable donations can be made to Habitat to Humanity throughout the evening. 

All you need is a Thursday tournament ticket; you do not need a separate concert ticket. 

However, we are selling a Ultimate Concert Pass that gives you premium seating right in front of the stage. See ticket option section of website.

Friday, March 11
2nd Round Valspar Championship

Gates open at 6:00am;

Golf Channel from 3pm – 6pm

Saturday, March 12
3rd Round Valspar Championship

Gates open at 7:00am;

Golf Channel from 1pm – 3pm, NBC from 3pm – 6pm
Sunday, March 13
Final Round Valspar Championship

Gates open at 7:00am;

Golf Channel from 1pm – 3pm, NBC from 3pm – 6pm

Monday, March 14
Monday After Challenge (play the course the pros play)

Championship Rounds (Thursday – Sunday)

Fun activities happening all weekend: 

These are done great activities that you might not want to miss when you attend! 

Bright House Sports Network Pavilion (between 10th tee and 18 green)

Jabil Family Fun Zone presented by Publix(8th and 9th holes)

Michelob ULTRA 19th Hole (18th green)

Frenchy’s Pool Party (behind 18th green)

Fan Expo Area (behind 18th green)

Tampa General Hospital Interactive Health Screenings and Walk

Pinch A Penny Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost (16th green)

Will you be going this year?! We hope to see you out there! It’s great to live in Tampa Bay! 

{Photo Credit: }

02 Jan 2016

Norm Of The North Movie Party and Ticket Giveaway

21 Comments Giveaway, Movies, New York City, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Uncategorized


We are happy to announce a giveaway courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment and their cute, new movie NORM OF THE NORTH! One lucky commenter will receive a prize pack of movie goodies, including t-shirts, movie posters, and activity booklets! Use the hashtags #ShakeYourBearThing & #NormOfTheNorth to let them know what you think of the movie!

Find out how to make these adorable “Norm Print”  cupcakes here

If you are hosting a party, be sure to check out our Pinterest board with awesome and cute ideas!

Follow Marisa ||’s board Norm Of TheNorth Movie Party on Pinterest.


Entry Rules: Comment on the post and tell us why you want to win our awesome prize pack & $15 Fandango gift card!

Did you that you can get a refund on tickets you purchased to a movie (incase the kids get sick) if bought on Fandango?! Visit for more details! 

From the comments, we will select our favorite post!

 Thank you to Lionsgate & Fandango for sponsoring this post and supporting Tampa Mama!


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 Dec 2015

Tuesdays With Abby: Everything is Beautiful

No Comments Uncategorized

I’m launching a new series:

Tuesdays With Abby:A lesson in life from my baby. We’ve been going to Bob Evans every Tuesday morning for about a month and it just dawned on me that’s it’s now our “thing.”


“Mommy! It’s Tuesday! I so excited!”
“Why are you so excited, Abby?”
“Because we get to go to swim lessons then beck-fast! I lub Tuesdays!”

Tuesdays. They have become our day. Our day to relax a little. Sneak away from everyone. Sit for a moment and enjoy a home cooked meal. 
For me, I get to watch. Watch her play. Enjoy her her company. Listen to her life wisdom at the ripe age of 3. I don’t get to do this enough with a full house and life swirling around me like a tornado. It’s enlightening to watch your littlest one grow. As a parent, I know time is short. I will blink and she’ll be another year older. Wishing she could stay little forever, I’m cherishing the days I have left with my last baby.
She’s now 3 and growing more every day. Tuesdays is our day. A special day with her. We swim first. Then head to breakfast at Bob Evans. 

“Mommy! It is Christmas and everything is beautiful!”
Yes, Abby. Thank you for reminding me to stop and look around at the beautiful holiday decorations. We’ve been so busy with the holiday hustle tha
Each breakfast holds a new lesson that she imparts to me unknowingly. While we try to teach our children about life, our children end up teaching us what life is all about. 
More to come on Tuesdays with Abby!
Thank you Bob Evans for sponsoring this post! We love visiting Bob Evans for breakfast. Good food is a symbol of love. Bob Evans’ delicious breakfast blend options and delicious farm fresh breakfast items are a treat for us when we want to spend that extra time enjoying those who we are with. 
Sipping a cup of Signature Harvest Roast with hazelnut creamer and chatting with Abby is the best way to spend my Tuesdays.

03 Dec 2015

Dreaming About Tomorrow

No Comments CAH, Everyday, Holidays, Personal, Uncategorized

Today began like any other day. Just any ordinary day. It can change in an instant. But I’m already dreaming about tomorrow.

It’s 10pm. I watch her sleep. I watch every move she makes. Is she ok? Is she too hot? When did she have her last does of meds? Did she keep it down? Should we go? Who will stay? 
My mind races at 100 mph and can’t stop thinking. It doesn’t. Not when it’s the well being of your child. 
This is our normal when anyone with CAH gets sick in our home. We have a window and at the 5 hour mark, if we can’t handle it at home, we go. We take no chances. It’s 3am and we haven’t slept all night. 
She will be fine. She’s starting to understand. She was ok with going to the hospital. I stay strong. She braves up. And so do I. We are in this together. 
Dad and I divide and conquer. One stays with the kids. The other goes. I usually go. We are in this together too. When we get to the hospital, it’s go time. Know your shit and get ready to speak to those that are trained to help. I’m only trained to help my little ones, but I’ve studied my heart out to know what I’m talking about. All for them. 

So here she sleeps. It’s safe to sleep here. They will take care of her here. She gets up…we watch movies. The 5am choice is Annie. Appropriate. 


Today began like any other day. Just any ordinary day. It can change in an instant. And lucky for us, the sun will come out tomorrow and it will be a bright new day for us to be thankful that we have another day. We will stick out our chins and grin because we know that this was just a gray day. But right now, I’m dreaming about tomorrow. Hoping for more days like this… Maybe tomorrow, right?! 


30 Nov 2015


No Comments Uncategorized

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. The smallest and simplest things we do day in and day out get over looked. I once was sitting with a friend who’s son was in the hospital for cancer and she said something so profound. “I just want to go home and do laundry. Dishes. Anything normal.” 

I have never forgot this statement. I try to live by it’s meaning on my days when I need a reality check about what really is important. And it makes me think deep in my soul about what I’m thankful I have in my life.

I am so thankful I can hear so that I may enjoy the sound of my children’s laughter. I’m grateful we have a home so we can sleep warm and children have a safe place to be everyday. I’m thankful for our community of great friends who look out for me, my children and our best interests. I’m thankful my children are happy and healthy. I’m thankful my babies were saved by a system that tests for rare medical conditions and we live in a country where we have access to medicine to keep them alive. I’m thankful to have fund my soulmate and created a life together that brings us such happiness. I’m thankful for the family I have, as they all mean the world to me. I’m thankful for the friends, old and new, that have been brought into my life and have made it better.
I’m thankful I have been blessed with one amazing life. We don’t know how long it will last, as every day is a gift. Today, I am humbled and thankful. 

23 Nov 2015

Florida Family Holiday Traditions: Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort 

2 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.