Dec 062013
 
disclosure for site

My family was provided complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND Florida to facilitate this post. Opinions expressed are that of my own.

Kids Trip To LEGOLAND

Happy to be at the park!

Thanks to LEGOLAND Florida, my family was given complimentary tickets to check out the theme park.  In addition, we also took advantage of a Buy One Get One Free offer for LEGOLAND that is good through December 21, 2013.

This wasn’t our first trip there, but I have to say that this 2nd time was an entirely different experience for us.

Meeting Legofriends Mia

She got to meet LEGO Friends Mia!

I say that it was different because we saw things that we missed before. I was able to participate in more as well since our youngest has grown up a bit, and we all went on a lot more rides.

In the meantime, the WORLD OF CHIMA opened, so this just goes to show how much there is to do at this park.

Meeting a LEGO Guy at Legoland

My son even got to meet a LEGO Guy!

Both of my older kids got to meet characters, which was exciting for them (the baby flirted with Mia from a distance) and we even got to catch part of the PIRATES COVE Live Water Ski Show from the sidelines.

Boat show with Pirates at Legoland

 PIRATES COVE Live Water Ski Show.

When we were finished checking out the water acrobatics we ventured over to the Fresh from Florida area in FUN TOWN.  There we learned about Florida agriculture in the Greenhouse and Learn & Grow Experience and there was a section outside with science as well.

The kids even human powered a fan by riding a bicycle.

Learning about Florida at Legoland

 Fresh from Florida oranges.

Of course a trip to LEGOLAND wouldn’t be complete without building with bricks. Throughout the day we would stop and let the kids build and play. They had these stations at many of the rides as well, so it made the time pass for the kids while we all waited in line.

Playing with LEGOS at Legoland

Building in the Fresh from Florida Greenhouse.

We then took in a show at the Wells Fargo Fun Town 4D Theater and headed over to MINILAND.   The kids raced cars and checked out scenes from across the country like Las Vegas and New York. We also saw places in Florida like St. Augustine, and Cape Canaveral.

Racing Cars Miniland USA

Racing at the Daytona International Speedway.

After sight-seeing across the USA, we then walked over to the Star Wars Area. This is a favorite of my son and husband, and we saw many of the movie scenes, and life-size LEGO statues of Darth Vader, R2D2, and Darth Mal.

Hanging with Darth Vader at Legoland Florida

Posing with Darth Vader

One of the rides we missed on our previous visit was the Kid Power Towers, which both my husband and I took a turn riding with my son. It was fun and really high! My husband and kids even took a ride at the Boating School, and we went through a course at the Ford Driving School.

A hands on ride at Legoland

Taking a ride on the Kid Power Towers.

A fun boat ride with Dad at Legoland

Cruising at Boating School. They really do navigate.

Learning to drive at Legoland

Getting some driving skills at the Ford Driving School.

A Ford Car Replica at Legoland

Check out this full size replica of a Ford Explorer.  It took 2500 hours to build.

After all this activity I had sleepy baby in tow. I can totally understand though, there are so many exciting things and people to see at LEGOLAND, and that can be pretty tiring for a little guy.

Sleepy Baby at Legoland

LEGOLAND made him sleepy.

As the afternoon went on, I made sure to grab a Waffle Spear. I had heard about this park dessert earlier, and the Gentleman in the booth recommend the chocolate and sprinkles on top. It was good!

Waffle Spear with Chocolate at Legoland

Enjoying my dessert. I did share a little.

As our day came to a close the kids took a horse ride on the Royal Joust in LEGO KINGDOMS and we then checked out the WORLD OF CHIMA

Riding a LEGO horse at Legoland

Riding on a LEGO horse.

Since this was the first time we visited WORLD OF CHIMA, I didn’t realize that it primarily consisted of water activities. Note to self, bring a bathing suit for the kids next time. 

Chima Guy at Legoland World

Hanging out with a CHIMA guy.

However, we still found something fun to do in this area in a center set up for CHIMA Speedorz. My son had discovered these earlier in the day and now is a big fan. He actually bought a set before we left the park.

Playing with Chima Speedorz at World of Chima

 Playing with CHIMA Speedorz.

At the end of the day, we had a few moments to spare. It was getting dark out and the park was about the close. My son and I made a last-minute decision to ride a roller coaster. We rode The Dragon in LEGO KINGDOMS twice and the smiles, laughter, and screams from my son were totally worth all the running around!

Just like our first trip, this was such a fun relaxing family vacation for us. 

LEGOLAND Florida is located at One LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884.  To learn more about the theme park, visit their website at legoland.com. You can also check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/LEGOLANDFlorida and Twitter at @LEGOLANDFlorida.

Legoland Hotel Set To Be build in Florida

(PHOTO / LEGOLAND Hotel, California)

I also wanted to share that LEGOLAND Florida has released some exciting NEWS!  

The much anticipated LEGOLAND Hotel will be opening in 2015. This four-story LEGOLAND Hotel will immerse families with young children in the world of LEGO®  and will feature 152 brightly colored and highly themed rooms and suites, LEGO décor, interactive play areas. and a pool and a restaurant. This will be the fifth LEGOLAND Hotel in the world.

Have you been to a LEGOLAND location in the past?  Are you excited about a Hotel being put at the Florida Location, and how would this benefit your family?

I am so excited for the Hotel to be opening. This will truly make the theme park a total destination, with opportunities to extend our stay and see all the attractions in one trip. We might even check out the LEGOLAND Water Park next time.

FFM

Jul 242013
 
disclosure for site

Donut  Decorating Dunkin Donuts kids

A few weeks ago I came across an event for a tour of a Dunkin Donuts in Palmetto Florida that was set-up through the mommy group that I am a member of. I knew my kids would get a kick out of this, so I signed them up and kept it a secret until we were well on our way to the store.

Tour of Dunkin Donuts

When we got there they had tables set up special for us, and they took the kid’s order for plain or chocolate milk. We then were taken on a tour of the facility and after, the kids were given crayons and coloring sheets to decorate and keep.

Decorating Donuts at Dunkin Donuts

After coloring, they were provided plain donuts with icing and sprinkles to decorate with. Once they finished making their creations, they got to eat them, and my guys even decided to lick the plate.

Kids decorating donuts

It just so happens that there is a Baskin-Robbins at this location, so the kids also got to sample ice cream.  I decided not to worry about their sugar intake for the day.  

Field Trip Dunkin Donuts

When we were at the end of our adventure, they gave the kids a certificate for decorating the donuts. This event was so AWESOME and completely FREE.  It was such a wonderful experience for all of us and did make for an interesting and loud drive home.

When I first stayed at home with the kids I was pretty isolated, and being a member of a Moms Group became a real life saver for me. It gave me an opportunity to get out of the house, helped me meet new people, and allowed my children to experience new activities and have playmates.

If you are looking for a Moms Group in your area check out meetup.com, and if you are interested in taking a tour at your local Dunkin Donuts, I encourage you to call your area store to see if they offer this service.

FFM

Jun 262013
 
disclosure for site

“I attended an event on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Busch Gardens. I received free admission to the park as a thank you for participating. Opinions expressed in this post are that of my own”

Natural Fun at Busch Gardens

Face painting at Busch Gardens.

Last week I had an opportunity to attend a seminar at Busch Gardens on the topic of “Natural Fun Deficiency”. This round table discussion was head up by Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central Consulting. Stacy is a social media and marketing expert, who has been featured on many shows including CNN’s American Morning and Fox News, and the The Tyra Banks Show.

Apes at Busch Gardens

Watching the Apes being fed.

The premise of  ”Natural Fun Deficiency” is that kids and parents need to unplug themselves from technology and all of the planned activities such as sports and lessons, and allow their family to have more unscripted fun.

In March of 2013, Mom Central Consulting conducted a survey of 870 moms and it was found that 93 percent of moms aspire to do more natural, unstructured outdoor activities as a family. 93 percent of their kids wished they could have more fun together as a family.

Animals at Busch Gardens

Checking out the Lions.

“As kids, we remember our moms opening up the screen door on a summer day and telling us ‘go outside and play,’ … We fear we’re raising a generation of kids with ‘Natural Fun Deficiency’ who rarely play outside unless as part of planned activities and a coach nearby carrying a whistle and a clipboard.” - Stacy DeBroff  Founder and CEO Mom Central Consulting.

Stacy gave us information with tips on how to combat the ‘Natural Fun Deficiency’ for families.  She suggested planning a family getaway to take a break from everyday responsibilities, exploring the great outdoors such as the beach or a theme park like Busch Gardens, or arranging easy family activities at home like picnics, dinners on the patio, or walking the dog together.

Is your family getting enough Natural Fun? Visit Busch Gardens Natural Fun to check out some fun tips, information, and a family quiz.

Baby at Busch Gardens asleep

My little guy was having so much “Natural Fun” he would only sleep sitting up.

After the discussion concluded, we took a tour of Busch Garden’s attractions including the animal enclosures. We visited the apes, hippos, and the lions. We also checked out Busch Gardens’ Iceploration, an all-new adventure filled show with world-class skaters, original costumes, amazing aerial performances, master puppetry, and live animal stars.

Dietary restriction products at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens has food items for individuals with dietary restrictions.

When we completed our tour, we were then given a run down of Busch Garden’s new dietary programs. These included Gluten FREE products and nuts, eggs and dairy FREE products, fruits available for children’s platters, and an under 600 Calorie meal option. This makes planning a trip to Busch Garden’s easier for those having to either monitor their food, or those trying to make better food choices.

For the rest of the day and night, my 2 boys and I went out and explored the park.  Since we had been to the park before, I decided to let my 7-year-old  set the pace and lead the way.  He rode “Air Grover” 5 times with a fellow blogger’s children, he explored a Tree House and Bounce area in the Sesame Street Safari of Fun, and then rode additional rides in the park.

Ride at Busch Gardens

My big guy enjoying a ride.

While we were on our adventure, we came across an area with Hula Hoops near the Cheetah Hunt Roller Coaster. I have to say that the highlight of this day was watching my son try out his hula hoop skills. He was so happy to play, and first he tried one, then two, and then three. The expression on my son’s face pretty much tells the story of the great time he was having a Busch Gardens. I was so happy to have had an opportunity to share this experience with him, and I know it will be a memory we both cherish.

Natural Fun at Busch Gardens at Night

 His expression was priceless, he kept calling out “Look at me!”.

Don’t forget that Busch Gardens is the place to explore your children’s NATURAL FUN during day and night hours!

Park hours are extended for Busch Gardens’ Summer Nights. Hours are Sundays through Thursdays until 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m.  Summer Nights is included with daily admission or any annual pass.

For more information on Summer Nights and Busch Gardens, visit buschgardens.com or call 1-888-800-5447. You can also connect with Busch Gardens socially via Twitter at twitter.com/BuschGardens and  Facebook  at facebook.com/BuschGardensTampaBay.

FFM

Dec 112012
 
disclosure for site

 

I was fortunate enough to get another opportunity to attend a Speaking of Women’s Health Event this year in South Florida.  This year’s theme was “Share Good Health” and again the proceeds benefited the Manatee Memorial Foundation Inc. which serves my local community.

 

 Chef Tim Schoonmaker

With 16 breakout sessions, topics included heart healthstress and anxietyhormonesbreastfeedingskin healthhealthy eating, and financial health. I attended a cooking demonstration with Chef Tim Schoonmaker called “Cooking with Fresh Herbs, Healthy Oils, and Lean Meats”.

 

Chef Tim did an excellent job showing some healthy alternatives for stuffing, ways to prepare poultry, and he also made a delicious granola for everyone to sample. What was awesome is the fact that these were all recipes that could easily be prepared at home. I am still thinking about that granola.

 Corista Williams, MBA, RD, LDN

I also attended a session called “Real Weight Loss Solutions for Women” presented by Corista Williams, MBA, RD, LDN.  This was an excellent presentation and extremely informative.  The presenter shared some great information on the correct ways to promote healthy weight loss, and also opened my eyes to what proper portions are for food. Let’s just say I need to cut back a little.

 

Maureen Groer, RN, PhD, FAAN

The last break out session I attended was “How Breastfeeding Protects Women’s Health Throughout the Lifespan”, presented by Maureen Groer, RN, PhD, FAAN.  This happens to be a subject that is near and dear to me since I am breastfeeding.  The information provided just continued to reinforce the benefits of breastfeeding, but it also enlightened me on all of the individual benefits I was getting, and I would be reaping as I got older.

 My blood pressure screening.

In addition to break out sessions, there were Yoga presentations and Health screenings throughout the day. Attendees also had an opportunity to shop from an unique group of vendors at the “Gift Bazaar.” Items for sale included jewelry, purses, accessories, and other gifts. I got to check out the vendors and get my blood pressure checked at one of the Health Screenings.

 

 Here are the goodies!

Since I had a VIP ticket I got to enjoy the luncheon, fashion show, and picked up a few goodies to take home as well. I missed out on the Keynote Speaker, Maureen Whelihan, MD, but I heard it was extremely entertaining.

Make sure you mark your calendars, because next year’s event in South Florida is scheduled for November 16, 2013.  For more details, visit manateememorial.com. Not in this area? Speaking of Women’s Health events are held nationwide.

To find an event near you visit speakingofwomenshealth.com

FFM

Frugal and Fun Mom did not receive compensation for this post but was provided a free VIP ticket to the Speaking of Women’s Health event. The opinions expressed in this post are that of my own.

Nov 052012
 
disclosure for site

The Tenth Annual Speaking of Women’s Health Conference in South Florida is set for Saturday November 10, 2012!

Manatee/Sarasota’s premiere women’s health event returns for a tenth year on Saturday, November 10 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the Bradenton Area Convention Center (formerly the Manatee Convention Center) One Haben Boulevard, Palmetto, FL.  Tickets are $5 for general admission and can be purchased in advance or at the door.

 

  

 

The theme for 2012 is “Share Good Health”. Women will have the opportunity to hear from more than sixteen experts on important health and well-being topics.

Breakout session topics include heart health, stress and anxiety, hormones, breastfeeding, skin healthhealthy eating, and financial health.  They will also have yoga presentation during the day. Health screenings will include heart health, vision, hearing, grip plus much more. Attendees will also have an opportunity to shop items from a unique group of vendors at the “Gift Bazaar.” Items for sale include a jewelry, purses, accessories, and other gifts.

 

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend last years event and had a blast. CLICK HERE-->Speaking of Women’s Health Event 2011, I Got Tips on How To Be Strong, Healthy, and How To Be In Charge to check it out!

For more information about the event, visit manateememorial.com. To purchase advanced tickets or to get a detailed schedule of events call (941)745-7545.

FFM

Frugal and Fun Mom did not receive compensation for this post but was provided a free VIP ticket to the Speaking of Women’s Health event. The opinions expressed in this post are that of my own.

Oct 152012
 
disclosure for site

Thanks to Michael Angelo’s, I was sent FREE product coupons to try and review their Italian Frozen Meals here on Frugal and Fun Mom.

This was awesome because I was able to take a meal vacation last week. Now, I call it a meal vacation for 2 reasons. First, all I had to do for dinner 3 nights was pop a meal in the microwave or oven, and then prepare veggies. Second, I got to try some delicious meals whose inspiration comes straight from Italy.

 

 Shrimp Scampi

Michael Angelo’s is a family owned and operated business that has been around for 30 years. The founders Michael Angelo and his mother Sara have created home-style Italian Dishes that are made from fresh ingredients and contain no preservatives. As Michael says, “If you can’t find it in Mom’s kitchen, we won’t use it in our food.”  These small batch meals are then flash-frozen and shipped directly to local grocers, natural food stores, and warehouse clubs. Meals can either be prepared in the microwave or in the oven.

 

 Shrimp Scampi how it appears out of the box.

Now my husband happens to be Italian, so we tend to eat a lot of pasta anyway. I was interested to see how he and the kids would react to the different meal creations.  Individually, I tried the single serve Chicken Parmesan.  It is made with imported cheeses , vine-ripened tomatoes, and White Meat Chicken Breast.  It was delicious!

 

 Chicken Parmesan

As a family, we tried the Shrimp Scampi, Meat Lasagna, and Baked Ziti & Meatballs. The Shrimp Scampi is made with a Heirloom Garlic-Butter Sauce that has a sweetness to it.  I thought it tasted wonderful however, Hubby said it was really rich and the kids said it was spicy.  So, this might have to be a future treat just for me.

As for the Meat Lasagna and Baked Ziti & Meatballs, they were both hits with my entire family.  These meals are made with imported cheese and vine-ripened tomatoes.

To learn more about Michael Angelo’s and their various dishes, visit their website at michaelangelos.com.  You can also check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/michaelangelos or Twitter at @Michael_Angelos.

 

 Baked Ziti & Meatballs

Want to learn how to cook Italian from the experts?

Michael and Sara will sharing the cooking secrets that Sara learned from her Sicilian grandmother, Foti, at an upcoming Publix Apron’s Cooking School series in Central Florida. They will be creating a full Italian holiday meal, complete with an appetizer, pasta dish, meat dish and a dessert, and guests get to sample each delicious creation.

The Tampa Publix cooking class is Thursday, October 18, and the Sarasota Publix cooking class is Friday, October 19. Advanced registration is available online. Check out what is on the menu below!

 

 Michael Angelo’s Publix Apron’s Cooking School Menu

o   Appetizer – Caprese Stacker

§  Toasted crostini, grilled eggplant with basil pesto, heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella seasoned with Italian style dressing.

o   Primi Piatti – Rigatoni Pasta alla Norma

§  Zesty tomato sauce with roasted eggplant, capers, kalamata olives, calabrian chili peppers and al’dente rigatoni pasta topped with ricotta salata and imported Romano cheese.

o   Secondi Piatti – Beef Tenderloin Ripieni

§  Beef loin filled with sautéed spinach, prosciutto, imported Romano cheese and pine nuts, seasoned with Tuscan-style fresh herbs and served with roasted vegetables and red wine sauce

o   Dolce – Tiramisu

§  Tiramisu hand-dipped in Belgium dark chocolate, garnished with zabaglione, raspberries and blackberries.

  Giveaway Details:

And, thanks to Michael Angelo’s, (1) one lucky Frugal and Fun Mom Reader will WIN a Prize Pack with 6 Coupons For FREE Michael Angelo’s Meals! This includes 3 single-serve and 3 family-serve meals. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Please allow a moment for the form to load.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FFM

Frugal and Fun Mom did not receive compensation for this review but was provided Free Michael Angelo’s Product Coupons to facilitate this post. Details about the product were provided by a PR agency representing the company. The opinions expressed in this review are that of my own.

Jul 222012
 
disclosure for site

 

 

Planning a trip to the Orlando Florida area anytime soon?  Check out this offer from Fun Spot Attractions!

Receive 60-minutes in the arcade FREE with the purchase of an armband ($9.95 value).  

CLICK HERE–> Fun Spot Attractions Special Offer for Orlando Florida Location to print your coupon and to visit their website. Offer good through December 24, 2012.

I just checked out some reviews on-line, and it looks like this place is a ton of fun!

Fun Spot Attractions are true Family parks. They are locally owned and operated and privately held by the Arie Family.  This family has created an environment that is a  Safe – Clean – Fun – Park for all ages.

 

 

 

Fun Spot Orlando is 4.7 acres of fun and boosts 17 attractions, including four innovative multi-level go-kart tracks, seven thrill rides and six kiddie rides. A state-of-the-art arcade and snack bar is located inside a 10,000 square foot building on site.  Open year round – rain or shine.

If you are heading that way, enjoy your trip and discount!

FFM

By posting this offer, my family will be receiving an all day armband to attend one of the Fun Spot locations in Orlando or Kissimmee Florida. Information and coupon provided by USFamilyGuide.com.

Apr 262012
 
disclosure for site
Soccer game!

Thanks to Tropicana Pure Premium and SocialMoms, I am excited to participate in a blogging program that shares Daily Rituals that bring my family together, and information on Tropicana Pure Premium 100% Pure Florida Orange Juice!


Our Daily Rituals:



One of the most important daily rituals we do together as a family is sharing a meal.  I think this is extremely important because at some point in the day this makes us all sit down together as a family, talk to each other, and find out about one another’s day. At dinner, our conversations  might start with my son by us asking “What was the most exciting thing you learned at school today, or did anything interesting happen?”.  For my daughter, I’ll ask her to tell Daddy what we did special.  And of course for Dad, it was “How was work?”.  As for me, they usually don’t have to ask, I just start spilling the details of my day.


This special time together gives us insight into one another lives that otherwise we may never know about.  Plus, it also lets us know if anything is going on with our son, (since he spends the majority of his day away from us) that we should know about.

Beach Play!

Another daily ritual, is doing some type of activity together. These activities includes swimming in our pool, heading to the beach, sports, visiting the library, or dancing to the “Just Dance Kids” on the Wii.  We look for activities that will get us up and active to enrich our lives. 


Sometimes these activities involve doing housework together. Whether it means feeding or walking the dogs, emptying the trash, or putting away clothes, it is an activity that involves the family, and has us all take responsibility for our home.  Of course, I prefer the activities that get the kids out of the house, so they are getting exposed to different things and keeps them from wanting to sit in front of the TV. And for Mom, it gives me a break from cleaning.

Pool Time!

One of our families favorite rituals that is not necessarily a daily, but a weekly, is going out for a treat.  This is either in the form of going to the grocery store for a cookie.  Or, their favorite of course, taking a trip to Starbucks to get a Vanilla Milk.  This is something that I have done with the kids ever since they could walk, and they really look forward to it. 


What are some of the rituals that you do with your family?  I would love to hear your comments, as I am sure other parents would as well!

About Tropicana and Tropicana Pure Premium:


Tropicana is the single largest buyer of Florida fruit, purchasing approximately 11.6 billion oranges from Florida each year. Tropicana uses groves in 22 different Florida counties, primarily in central and southern Florida. I think this is awesome, because not only is it coming from my home state, but it is coming from growers from in and around my area, and supporting the local economy. Plus, Tropicana actually got its roots in the community I live in, and has had some of its current grower relationships dated back to the 1960s.

Tropicana Pure Premium is made with a 100% Pure Florida Orange Juice and the two major oranges used are Valencia and Hamlin, giving it a unique taste. Each 59oz container of Tropicana Pure Premium® has 16 fresh-picked Florida oranges squeezed into it and an 8oz glass gives you 100% vitamin C to help you maintain a healthy immune system.  


More information on Tropicana  visit tropicana.com or “Like them on Facebook at Facebook.com/Tropicana.




At Home Moma

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Tropicana blogging program, to earn My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.”
Feb 222012
 
disclosure for site
We made it!

I have to admit, I was getting a little worried, my son turns 6 in a couple weeks, and that is the cut off to get the FREE Preschool Pass to Busch Gardens and SeaWorld for Florida Residents. Once we have the pass, we are set till the end of the year, but getting there was another issue.


Between parties, kids being sick, me being sick, it seemed like we were not going to make the deadline. We even attempted to go last Friday, but it rained as soon as we got there, so I told my son we would head up after school to try to get it again.





We made it today, with time to spare. We got into the park around 4:30, had some French Fries, refilled our cup from years past, (discounted refills), and walked around the park. My son even got to ride a couple rides.


I am so glad that is over.


If you are thinking about taking advantage of this offer, here is a link to frequently asked questions Busch Gardens Preschool Pass Frequently Asked Questions. To get your pass, visit Busch Gardens Tampa. Offer only available for a limited time.


At Home Moma