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08 Jan 2015

I will ENJOY 2015

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Dear 2015,

So nice to finally meet you! You seem to be pretty relaxed and I like the way you’ve handled yourself, you know, being so new and all. Being the shiny new kid on the block, sometimes people seem to get super excited and ambitious about your new gizmos and gadgets, but I taking a different approach this time. I think I’m going to sit back and have everyone test drive you first, get the feedback I need and then make an educated decision weather or not I should buy into you this year. Sounds good, right?

Yes, I know… This is typically not the way I operate, but it’s time for a change. See, last year wore me out. And so have the preceding 10 years before that. So I’m tired. Well, I’m not THAT tired, but I am older and thus wiser, to see that it’s not always the shiny new bells and whistles that will make me buy into things any more. I want long lasting, durability and longevity. The past ten years have gone by so fast. Lots of new things have been the focus of years past, but you…your different than them.

I’ve finally moved on from that first series into the second. The good stuff. I don’t want new any more. I want to enjoy what I have and relax because it’s about time I don’t have to read the owners manual ten times over to make sure I’m doing it right. 

I’m definitely in this for the long haul and I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride. I purchased my ticket on this train awhile ago and haven’t truly enjoyed the scenery. So that’s what I’m going to do this year. Enjoy. My new word of the year. 

I want to sleep in more. I want to do more yoga. I want to cook with my kids. I want to play more games with my family. I want to travel to places I’ve never been to. I want to enjoy this wonderful life that I have been blessed with. Life will never stay the same. And I just really don’t want to miss out with what is happening right now.

I hope we get along great this year! I’ve probably had the best year already, and I we if we are only 7 days in, I’m excited to see what the next 360 look like. Here are a few pictures of what you look like so far. Not too shabby!

Thanks in advance for the memories, I’m sure they will all be wonderful.

xx~
M

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24 Dec 2014

A December to Remember

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This has been a December to remember.
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I feel like it is my first adult Christmas. Not sure why, but I feel very grown up this year. Maybe because I’m prepared like my parents used to be, or because all is right with my little slice of heaven on Earth. We have so much to be thankful for, I’m not sure where to start. To my ENTIRE VILLAGE, I can’t thank you enough for all you do for us all year long. From my co- Girl Scout leaders, to my “gym family” to my friends that help arranging my daily pieces when I need help making the day work so my kids can participate in whatever-the-he**-we-are-doing-that- day. To the family I call on for help, near and far, there is no way I can thank you enough for just being there for us when we need you.

My word of this year has been help. I’m often helping, or being helped, but it just might be the help that makes this world go around. I am always willing to help. And I know all of you are willing to help me too. To everyone that has helped us this year, thank you. I wish I could hug you in person and buy you the biggest present to show my gratitude, but please know that I am here to help you whenever you need it. I hope that I can be there when you need me to.

Merry Christmas from us to you. Without you, many of these December memories would not have been possible. And for that, I am forever grateful!

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24 Dec 2014

Into the Woods In Theaters Christmas Day

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What is it about the path of life that has us scared, nervous and excited about the adventure that is to come. For all of us who love the deeper side of fairy tales, the movie “Into the Woods” will take you deep into the woods to take a look at some of the most popular fairy tales of all times (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel) and what happens when they cross paths in the woods.

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“Into the Woods” first appeared on Broadway in 1987. Created by legendary eight-time Tony, Grammy and Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Tony® winner James Lapine, who also wrote the screenplay. The production, which ran for 764 performances, won Tony®Awards for Best Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. Among other awards.

The modern twist follows Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), all tied together by an original story involving a Baker and his Wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and what happens when they meet their neighbor, a Witch (Meryl Streep), who has put a curse on them.

If you were fortunate to see on of the 764 Broadway performances, you’ll love songs from the stage musical, including “Children Will Listen,” “Giants in the Sky,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One Is Alone” and “Agony,” among others.

The whole family will love this movie. I was able to see a sneak preview and can in the words of my 9-year old daughter, “This was the best movie EVER!!” Be sure to follow the official movie for the latest updates.

Like INTO THE WOODS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyIntoTheWoods

Follow INTO THE WOODS on Twitter: @IntoTheWoods

Follow INTO THE WOODS on Tumblr: http://intothewoodsmovie.tumblr.com/

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All images provided by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures as well as the invitation to attend the screening of “Into the Woods” for promotional purposes only.

20 Dec 2014

She’s 9. Art Party Fabulous.

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She’s 9. She lives THE life, wild beyond my imagination. After talking her down from a limo ride and a party at the Four Seasons, I convinced her to have a PlayDate with friends to do art, ice cream sundaes and just be girls. After insisting they “toast” (with only the best sparkling grape juice) we planned a fabulous party and made it happen.

What’s so special about 9? Everything. Last single digit. School is still fun and play in third grade before the big fourth grade year. Life is but a bowl of cherries…each day is sweeter than the next. Mia has grown leaps and bounds into this amazing artist, who wants to help with her sisters and people in her community. She blossomed even more so with her fun loving and happy-go-lucky persona that radiates and everyone loves to be around. She’s a world traveler and hopefully she’ll see it all one day.

Nine is fine and life is good. Happy Birthday Mia!

A is for Art: Mia’s 9th Birthday Party

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03 Dec 2014

Christmas in NYC

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A weekend in pictures. Must visit places. Best if you sit back and enjoy New York City while you are here.

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23 Nov 2014

How To Have a Snowy Holiday in Florida

No Comments Adventures, Family Travel, Florida, Holidays, Kids, Uncategorized

Dreaming of a white Christmas…in Florida? Long shot, right? Well, maybe not…

Moving down to Florida from Wisconsin when I turned 13 was devastating to me during the holidays. It wasn’t Thanksgiving with 80 degrees and lots of sunshine. It surely didn’t feel like Christmas in shorts either. I have never truly adjusted to not having a white Christmas in Florida, but with kids, this is the only holiday they know, so it’s up to me and Chance to make it “feel” like Christmas this time of year. I have mastered a few tricks that work for us to get the kids in the holiday spirit.

Finding The Typical Christmas Memories

While there is typically a slight chill in the air, it’s the snow, the ice skating, the hot chocolate, the cookies, the carolers and of course the Christmas trees and music that give kids (and grown ups) a sense of holiday happiness. For me, this is the first year that Christmas actually felt like Christmas. It has always been difficult to feel like it is “the season” when it’s 80 degrees outside. But this is what my kids know. They didn’t grow up with snowbanks to climb at school, snow days or a white Christmas. I have learned to adapt, but I hope that the snowy holidays I can show them will get them in the spirit too!

So what if I REALLY wanted them to experience what a Snowy Holiday in Florida? I have just found the answer.

1. Experience Kissimmee. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Last year, was my first time visiting Kissimmee and we had really just stumbled upon all that Kissimmee had to offer. We only went to the Gaylord Palms, but now that we know there is so much more is happening, we are sure to make this an annually trip (or trips) to experience a fun day, night or weekend that will become our snowy holiday tradition each year.

2. Spend an evening (or a few nights) at Gaylord Palms

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My parents were down from Chicago in November last year and we decided to stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort. We had never been so we were all so excited! I had heard about ICE! but didn’t know what to expect there either. We had the time of our life and experienced Christmas like never before. We had such an amazing time with all they had going on for Christmas that it’s now a tradition that we go back each November or December, even if just for the day (but a few days is so much better!)

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So much happens each year on their property. Decorations, the show, the ICE! exhibit, Gingy’s House, seeing Santa are reasons to come over and enjoy a holiday get away. The show…THE SHOW. In their lobby each night is a free show that rivals any holiday show I have paid for. Combine aerialist, music- the Luminscent band, the Orlando Ballet plus all their holiday light on display and what you have is wrapped up into the best 30 minute holiday show you’ll ever see. It happens nightly in their atrium and is a show you must see. The music is heavenly and the visuals that accompany the show are just stunning. Did I mention it’s free? If you are only there for an evening, pay the valet fee, come in for dinner at one of their amazing restaurants and grab a seat at the show. Then head over to the ICE! exhibit and head home for the night. If you are staying, be sure to check out the Florida Buzz Report for some great deals at the Gaylord Palms.

And what exactly is this ICE! exhibit I’m speaking of? Each year, over 2 million pounds of ice is hand carved and put on display where spectators are able to marvel at the intricate sculptures carved by the

3. Visit Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Of course Mickey knows how to throw a Christmas party! And what a Christmas party it is! The lights, the decorations, the shows, the Christmas parade and the Cinderella’s castle! This year, the show blended a Frozen theme with their show and the lighting of the castle was actually Elsa icing the castle. Olaf, Anna and more Frozen cast members were on hand to help Elsa let her powers go! Pure magic! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does require an extra ticket to attend. You can enter the park at 4pm and stay past midnight. There are only a select few weekends that this happens and once tickets are gone, that’s it. In addition to being open for later hours, because there is only a certain number of people who are able to attend each night, the lines are definitely shorter as there isn’t a great number of people inside the park. We had an amazing time at Magic Kingdom and will definitely be back to celebrate the holidays with Mickey.

For more information on Walt Disney World Mickey’s very Merry Christmas Park visit the Trekaroo blog.

4. Stop by Celebration for a Snowy Night

Just outside of Disney World itself is the town that Disney built. You might not even know it’s there. Celebrate in Celebration as kids will play with faux snow, ice skate (on synethtic ice in 80 degree weather) or have a holiday dinner at the Columbia restaurant. Each night, starting at 6pm, the town square in Celebration becomes a place for carolers and families looking to celebrate the season. Take pictures in front of their Christmas tree for your holiday card or just stroll around the quaint shops complete with whimsical Christmas window decorations. Time seems to stand still here and maybe it will for you too while you celebrate the season.

For more on Celebration and their Snowy Night Celebration visit the Trekaroo blog.

I’ve realized over the years that it’s not just the snow that evokes my Christmas memories, but more about the traditions my kids will remember to bring their childhood to life during the holidays. But yes, because I grew up having a mostly white Christmas, it’s so fun to visit these places that help to bring me back down to memory lane, while creating fun memories for my kids.

Plan your trip to Kissimmee to see these Snowy Holiday events by reading more about them on Trekaroo.com.

For more information on a Snowy Holiday in Kissimmee, here are a few links:

The DadScribe Blog
Fun and Frugal Mom Blog
JonahBonah Blog

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Experience Kissimmee to experience these activities. All opinions are my own.

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11 Nov 2014

Family Friendly Dinner and a Movie at Studio Movie Grill Opens in Tampa

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Studio Movie Grill has recently opened in north Tampa at the University Square Mall. Their state of the art theatre and newly renovated high tech theatre is a perfect place to brain the whole family for dinner and a movie (or even date night if you are that lucky.)

Compared to the Cinebistro in Hyde Park Village or Wesley Chapel, Studio Movie Grill was definitely more inviting to families as the other dine-in theaters have an over 18 age policy. They have a kids menu too which is always nice to have.

The seats were super comfy, lots of room, the sound was amazing and the 3D movie (Big Hero 6) was the best ones I have seen to date in a theatre. Service was great and we had an awesome time too. Can’t beat it!

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19 Oct 2014

What I Hope She Remembers

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What will she remember?
No ones for sure I guess.
But there are somethings I know deep down,
And I’m certain of this, more than less.
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05 Oct 2014

What I Know From One Decade of Being a Mom

No Comments Adventures, Kids, Parenting, Raising Children, Uncategorized

Well, this one hit me pretty hard.

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He’s ten. He’s amazing. He’s made me into the person I am today.

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26 Sep 2014

5 Tips To Survive a Hospital (AKA Parent Prison) Stay With Your Child

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For me, a hospital is very much like the only prison I will ever know. I watch a few random prison TV shows (who doesn’t) and have seen OITNB and feel like a hospital stay with kids is very similar. You have to know the tricks to survive. It keeps you away from loved ones. Some people on the “inside” can tell you the reality of how it is and what you need to do to survive. And if you make enemies, watch out. Because they will hold your freedom (discharge papers) hostage or at least tie them up in approval land and it could take much longer for you to leave.

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