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01 Jul 2015

Travel Hacks: 4 Things I Never Travel Without

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I travel with 4 kids all the time. I have been on the road on vacation for about 3 years now. My little one is still little and there are a few things I have learned to never leave the house without. I know there are more but these are a few of the items that my travel list every trip.

1. A bottle and a bottle brush  

  If you are traveling with babies, it will be easy to clean a bottle only if you have the right tools!

 2. Water bottles
  
Refilling will be easy at the hotel and much cheaper too!

3. A small potty

  
A potty is a necessity when traveling to a hotel or house and you have a training toddler. It makes staying in the hotel easier for you and the toddler because they don’t always have to ask you for help. And it travels easy in the car in case of emergencies too!

5. Play-Doh

  
Currently my daughters favorite. When I need to have the kids chill for a bit, this is what I’ll bring out for her.

What are some things you don’t travel without? We will be posting #traveltips on Twitter and rounding them up here!  I’m always up for a good travel hack! Share with us in the comments below!

27 Jun 2015

Tampa Mama on Vacation: Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine are Historic Florida

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A beautiful place to visit on Florida’s Historic Coast. Ponte Vedra is just north of the historic St.Augustine, the oldest city in Florida. An escape to a beach less traveled and a wealth of history to learn about. A few pictures of what to expect when you visit. More to follow about our travels as we explore this luxurious historic coast, as a couple and with kids. Follow along with us as we travel for Trekaroo to this coast and learn more about its beauty!

Featured: Ponte Vedra Inn and Club

Beach: Ponte Vedra Beach at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club   

  

The Spa pool at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

  

Lunch at The Spa at Ponte Vedra Inn and Club.

  

Castillo de San Marcos, a National Monument.

  Downtown St.Augustine.

  

Flagler College: Rotunda

  

Castillo de San Marcos at night.

  

Morning beach view at Ponte Verda Inn and Club.

    
 

An inside look at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club luxury rooms with ocean views.

21 Jun 2015

You Didn’t Have To. But You Did.

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You didn’t have show me how to play baseball. You didn’t have to show me how to work a protractor that first day we met. You didn’t have to help my Mom with us. But you did.

Someone knew that we should probably meet you before things got tough.  You stepped in. You stepped up. But you didn’t have to. 

You didn’t have to help our Mom through what I can only imagine was the toughest time she’ll ever remember. But you stayed. You didn’t have to promise to love not only her but the two little girls who she’d never abandon. They came as a package and you promised to love and cherish them all. 

  
You didn’t have to raise me to work hard. You didn’t have to teach me to be polite. You didn’t have to help buy me a car. You didn’t have to throw me birthday parties, take us on vacations and be at every major milestone that I can ever remember. You didn’t have to make my childhood as normal (and awesome) as I remember it. But you did (and it was.)

  
You didn’t have to pay for my Catholic school. You didn’t have to give us a house with a pool. You didn’t have to help my Mom parent a stubborn teenager. You didn’t have to help me with college. But you did.

  
You didn’t have to let your family become my family. I didn’t have to call you Dad. But I did because that’s who you are. Biological or not. A Dad is that person who raises you and loves you to the ends of the Earth.  They would lay down their life for their child and they do it because they love their children. We are your girls. And you are our Dad. And we make a family.

  
My Dad walked me down the isle. My Dad came to the hospital four times to meet his grandchildren. My Dad comes to play with his grandchildren. He adores those children to the ends of the Earth. And they do the same. 

My Dad raised me into the person I am today. If it wasn’t for you, my life would not be the same. You didn’t have stick around. But I’m so glad you did.

Love you Dad.

This post is dedicated to all the parents raising kids. You make their memories and they will remember.

19 Jun 2015

Gun Safety on Dateline NBC My Kid Would Never Do That

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Watch the show preview here! 

Back in March, I had the opportunity to educate Shelby, my 5 year old, with some gun safety training done at the University of South Florida. 

The kids received a form of training and then were put to the test. So what do you think your kid would do? Have they had training? Do you have guns in the home? Do you talk with your kids about what they should do if they ever come across a gun?

See what the Today Show had to say before the episode airs. 

The opportunity presented itself for me and Shelby to learn about what to do if she was ever in a situation. As a parent, I wanted to learn what we should do and how we could teach our other kids too. Would she know what to do after the training? Would I as a parent, have done everything in my power to educate my daughter (or children) to do the right thing? 

  
She is my child and my job as a parent is to protect and educate. Giving her all the tools and knowledge she can be armed with to know how to handle the situation herself…when I’m not there.

The Sunday night episodes in June are all filmed with Natalie Morales and are about finding out how we can educate our children to do the right thing. My kid would never do that… Right….

Education is key. In every situation. These segments will give you the tools to talk with your kids about hot button topics that should be discussed. Before it’s too late. Watch the shows. Talk about the topics. It’s really as simple as a conversation.
I can’t tell you what happened. But I will comment about it after the show, so stay tuned. So tune in to watch on Sunday, June 21 on NBC. 

19 Jun 2015

Turn Date Night into a Staycation at Home With the Draftmark Home Tap System

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We love to go out. My husband and I that is. But honestly, when we add up the babysitter, the dinner, the drinks, the Über cab, the time it’s going to take me to get ready and get dinner ready for four kids… Ummmm… I’m exhausted already and all I really want to do is relax… at home… after I get the kids to bed with my favorite person.

But what do we really miss when we can’t go out? I think it is a toss up between the draught beer and the ambiance. It’s so nice to just relax on the patio of some of our favorite place, chill and just be. A cold beverage is always nice and a location is everything! 

Click here to know where we go when we do go out on date night in Tampa!

Recently, had the chance to try out the Draftmark Home Tap System and we were immediately transported to our favorite little place that made us sit back and soak up the good life we have going. And not having to leave our home was even better (especially on the wallet!)

A pint of our favorite craft beer, our own patio, the grill going and friends and family to enjoy the evening with made this our new favorite kind of night. A night we can look forward to more often because we are already right where we want to be. 
With Father’s Day around the corner, and if you have a craft beer lover or looking for an awesome gift for the man that has everything, check out the Draftmark Home Tap System. They offer a variety of beer styles in one-gallon Brewer’s Barrels including Budweiser, Shock Top Belgian White (my favorite), Goose Island IPA (his favorite) and Michelob ULTRA. Chill and charge and your ready to enjoy. Pour yourself the perfect pour every time. Add a bonus glass to compliment your ale or Pilsner and you might just keep your date nights to staycations and save a few bucks.

And with four kids needing to go to college someday, we will take all the opportunities to save a few buck when we can too.

This post was sponsored by Draftmark. All opinions are my own. 

18 Jun 2015

New York City at Night

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It’s the city that doesn’t sleep. Probably why we get along so well. It’s just so cool to walk around at… 

Night. Bright lights will inspire you… They always have.  

  

More sights to be seen from a different angle. Because seeing the world at different times in your life will always give you perspective on how you got there and where you are going next. For me, New York isn’t just where dreams are made of, but it’s the place that got me dreaming big and believing that I could make my dreams come true.

14 Jun 2015

All For One And One For All

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The girls had another successful year in gymnastics. At this point, I’m so glad they are trying things and having fun. 

We aren’t planning college scholarships and drafts yet. Enjoying the shows, making memories and always learning!       

28 May 2015

Let Summer Reading Begin!

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Read. Read. Read.

Get kids reading by engaging their interest! What do they like?

Get a jump on next year with Battle of the Book books!

Battle of the Books

27 May 2015

5 Baby Phases That I’m So Glad Are Finally Over

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I might not have the fancy title I once dreamed of in my younger years, but I am relishing in the sweet success that I have found in my small slice of life. Finally realizing that success does not always come in the forms of money or fame, I realize that it’s in finally reaching those milestones I never thought I’d see. The ones that at some point, seemed so unattainable and so far out of my reach. But tonight I’m going to sleep with a smile on my face because finally, I am here. And oh what a journey it has been.

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1. We are finally out of diapers. Officially. We finally can start saving money because someone finally decided to use the toilet like a civilized human being. Finally. You all must know how good this feels. She was a stubborn one to break, but it finally has happened.

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2. I can finally leave the room and no one cares. I can finally leave the house and no one cares. The baby, in particular, was usually the only one who NEVER wanted me to leave, which was flattering and annoying all at the same time. But we are turning the corner on three and she’s finally realizing that I come back. And that she usually will have more fun with someone else. Finally.

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3. She finally just plays. She doesn’t need me to entertain her. She’s content where being around the big kids. She’s just happy to be playing. I can finally sit and watch. Finally.

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4. She finally eats real food. She’s slightly picky, but some adults are too. But I’m finally not packing an entire refrigerator hoping that she’ll eat something I brought. She’ll finally just eat what we have or what we order for her. Finally, she’s turning into one of “the kids.”

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5. She’s finally not a baby. It’s hard for me to swallow this last finally. My baby is finally not a baby anymore. It’s a punch to the gut that I’m just not ready to take. All the things that make her a baby: diapers, naps, bottles, binkies , blankets and all those wretched big baby toys … Gone. Done. Over. Finished. And for so long, that was all I wanted. She blends right in with the rest if the crew. But now that’s it’s finally happening, I’m finally starting to realize that it’s really over. And as per usual, when most things finally come to an end, you want them to start all over. Because you realize you really didn’t want it to end.

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16 May 2015

Kids on Vacation: Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse (Daytona Beach Florida)

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The tallest lighthouse in Florida and built in 1887 hold 203 steps to the top and is just as majestic as it looks in person.

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Just a short drive South from Daytona Beach, this was a highlight of our trip to this coast.

We climbed, yes everyone, to the top and here’s what we saw:

And it was so worth the climb, as most things are. The big kids learned a little about Florida history and my 5 year old learned to never give up. I would say it was a good day.

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We were hosted by Visit Florida and Visit Daytona Beach to explore with kids. All opinions are my own. More about what we did when we visited can be found on Trekaroo.com.