19 Nov 2016

Thanksgiving Traditions with #WinnDixieHydePark + #Giveaway || Tampa Mama

No Comments Holidays, Lifestyle, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Things To Do

Thanksgiving Traditions with #WinnDixieHydePark + #Giveaway has been sponsored by Winn-Dixie.

Thanksgiving

 

 

My favorite holiday of all time is Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because the whole holiday centers around being together as a family, eating amazing home cooked food and just giving thanks for what we are blessed to have. It’s a slow holiday that I savor every year.

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18 Nov 2016

Early Holiday Shopping Deals and Holiday Shopping Tips at Westfield Malls || Tampa Mama

12 Comments Uncategorized

With four kids, I have to be on ready for Christmas! And shopping early at Westfield Shopping centers is the perfect place for us to get a head start on the holidays! We love Westfield Shopping Centers – Westfield Brandon, Westfield Citrus Park and Westfield Countryside, because we know we will always find awesome deals and gifts for everyone on our lists!

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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.

Meta Wellness

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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05 Jun 2016

Grandparents Day Out: Summer Fun in Tampa Bay 

No Comments Family Time, Florida, Grandparents, Lifestyle, Multi-generational, Tampa, Tampa Bay

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12 May 2016

Tampa Mama Loves: Disney Family Vacation

1 Comment Disney, Family Travel, Lifestyle, Mama Loves, Orlando, Things To Do, Travel

My recent trips to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida have made a Disney believer. Read more

09 Jan 2016

Ringling Brothers Circus: A Picture Review

No Comments Adventures, Florida, Kids, Tampa, Tampa Bay

A super fun night! Filled with smiles, laughter, awe and excitement. Acrobatics, amazing feats that captured their attention for 2 hours! Ringling Brothers has put so much thought into every detail of this show, LEGENDS. When it comes to your city, I hope you’ll go enjoy the greatest show on Earth! Tip: Come early and get an up close VIP experience with clowns, acrobatics and more performers.


  


Pictures by Marisa Langford at the Ringling Brothers LEGENDS show at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay Florida, kicking off the 2016 tour.

21 Nov 2015

Christmas Events in Tampa’s Downtown

No Comments Holidays, Tampa, Tampa Bay

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

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Updated annually!  Here is the list for 2017!

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22 Oct 2015

Slow Cooked Meals from Bob Evans are Perfect For This Busy Mama

No Comments Ad, Adventures, Dining Out, Review, Sponsored, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Tampa Restaurants

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

I love to cook. I truly enjoy cooking a slow meal that we can all enjoy together. We go to the farmers markets on weekends. We cook together. The kids enjoy being a part of making the meal. It’s time we spend together hopefully making memories that my kids will  one day share with their kids.

But life with four kids isn’t always as easy a Sunday morning. We have homework, baseball practice, gymnastics, Girl Scouts. I work full time and so does my husband. I try to be mindful of meals by planning in advance, prepping them the day before and using leftovers wisely. But our kids have grown to really enjoy a fresh, slow cooked homemade meal.

  

I was introduced to Bob Evans Restaurants when we would travel with my family from Milwaukee to Tampa. I honestly haven’t been back in years, but that’s soon to change. They really understand me. They get I’m busy and just can’t do it all. Some days I need a break. Just a break to sit down, talk with my kids and take to work out of the delicious meal. Sometime is good to let someone else do the cookin’ and especially of the food will be just like Mama used to make.

  

The 3 course dinners now available remind my kids of my cooking and our Sunday Suppers. It’s nice to know that any night of the week, when school, work and life get to hectic, we can drop by for a visit where we can slow down, relax, enjoy a slow cooked homemade meal, just like I would have cooked.

My kids loved the pot road and the broasted chicken dinner. With so many sides to choose from, picky eaters can celebrate. Add fresh bread and a salad, and dinner is done!

A little insiders tip is to visit with the family on Tuesday because kids eat free with the purchase of an adult menu. (See store for full rules.)
I’ll definitely be signing up for emails and taking advantage of their specials.

It’s nice to know that places like Bob Evans are there to help busy parents like us. We can’t wait to visit Bob Evans again!

15 May 2014

Disney on Ice: Through Abby’s Eyes

1 Comment Adventures, Kids, Tampa

We are headed to see the new Disney on Ice Let’s Celebrate, which is coming to Tampa Bay on May 15- 18, and we are the first stop on the 17 markets that they will be heading too!

Honestly, we are HUGE Disney fans anyways, but each year for the past 6 years, we have been fortunate to see the Disney on Ice show that comes to Tampa in May! But this year is a special year…It will be Abby’s first show and I cannot wait to see her face light up when the show starts!

All my kids love attending the show. From my 9-year old son to my 4-year old daughter everyone loves the Disney on Ice show. And with Abby being versed in Disney characters from reading Disney books and the occasional show, I’m thrilled to see her see them in real life!

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate

The Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate show looks to have a wide range of characters for all my kids to get excited about! Everyone from the Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto will be there as well as a few friends too: Toy Story’s Buzz and Woody, Alice, the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Alice in Wonderland, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen will celebrate a jazzy Mardi Gras jubilee, and Mickey will help celebrate Chinese New Year with Mulan and Shang! I am sure that this show will be spectacular! (Check back soon for my pics of Abby at her first show!)

And of course, we are headed to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, one of Tampa’s BEST places to see a live preformance with kids! They will be hosting us tonight, as they host many families throughout the year for a wide variety of shows as well as the Tampa Bay Lightning games and Tampa Bay Storm games, which are also super fun to attend with kids! We see so many shows here each year and we LOVE their staff and venue!

So for tonight, my family and I are going to celebrate kids being kids and enjoy the Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate show that is sure to bring a smile to everyone who is in the audience..especially my little ones! And I can’t wait to celebrate!

And if you want to keep up with us in real time, we will be on Twitter with #DisneyonIce and #LetsCelebrate

For more reviews of the show, visit a few blogger friends of mine at DadScribe and MommyGuru!

Tickets are still available as of May 15, 2014 for Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Times Forum Information
Ticket Information
Show Information
Tour Information

*I have been provided with tickets for my family to attend the Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate show as guests of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. All opinions are my own.

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28 Apr 2014

A Year Later: Keeping Promises

No Comments Adventures, CAH, Everyday, Personal

One year ago seems like yesterday. I can recount every minute, every instance. Every person who helped. Every person who prayed. It seems so much like yesterday. And still brings tears thinking about how differently things could have turned out.
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