Jul 142014
 
disclosure for site

I was provided press passes to Kennedy Space Center to facilitate this post. Opinions expressed are that of my own.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

I have lived in Florida for most of my life and one of the places I have always wanted to visit was the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA is and was an important part of history, and I have always looked up to Astronauts and the scientists that have made this voyages possible. I also have been fascinated with Space and really enjoy Sci-Fi type genre whether Movies, TV Shows, or Books.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

This piece of our past has laid the ground work for so much technology of today, and I think it is important to teach kids about where it all began.

My husband and I are pretty nostalgic about the Space Program, and this summer we got to see it first hand and introduce our children to it as well.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

When we arrived at the Kennedy Space Center, it was recommended that we immediately take the Space Center Tour.

They have multiple buses running every 15 minutes that travel around the facility.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

We headed over that way, and after about 30 minutes we were on a bus.  The seats were comfy and we all just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

Our driver had a great sense of humor, and he started joking about all the Alligators in the area. He said, “All you need to know is, just be able to run a little faster than your neighbor and you will be alright.”

He then mentioned how he used to drive limousines and chauffeured well known journalists Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, to witness one of the rocket launches.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

As we went around, our driver showed us the VAB  - Vehicle Assembly Building and shared interesting  facts about structure.

Next, he drove us past a 5 million pound Crawler Transporter that was used to take the Shuttles to launch pads. I could not even wrap my head around 5 million pounds.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

We then went past a few empty launch pads that will be getting some use soon. The Space X program and Boeing will be lifting off new technology in the near future.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

Once we were finished with the bus tour, (it lasted about 45 minutes) we were then dropped off at the Apollo/ Saturn V Center.

This area took us back in time even before Hubby and I were born. I definitely got an education at this facility.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

Upon entering, we watched a video and then witnessed a simulated take off of a Rocket Mission.  Through special effects, it was almost like we were there when it happened over 40 years ago.

Both my kids thought it was a real takeoff at first, it was awesome!

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

Once the presentation was over, we entered a warehouse where the Saturn V Rocket is kept.

It is longer that a football field and taller than 2 Statues of Liberty.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

We walked around it and under it, and there were plenty of displays and information about the rocket and the program.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

As we went along, we also saw a Moon Rock.  Of course we all had to touch it. Some of us (a toddler I know) had to do it twice.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

We then went into a room where they house all of the old Astronaut gear.  We saw old equipment, molds, and the evolution of the Astronaut suits.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

We also got this neat photo opportunity in front of the rocket capsule. I am shocked that everyone was looking at the camera at the same time. :)

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

Once we were finished exploring, we took a break and ate at the Moon Rock Cafe. The prices are reasonable, and they had burgers, hot dogs, salads, and more.

FYI, the Burgers are shaped like Moon Rocks.  :)

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

After that we watched a presentation on the First Moon Landing in another theater. When it was over, we got back on the tour bus and headed towards the beginning of the complex.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!
If it is any indication of how big the place is and what there is to see, we were probably at the Apollo/Saturn 5 Center for close to 3 hours.

When we returned, we went straight over to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

I have to admit that I got emotional at this part.  They bring you into a room and there you watch a short film on how the Shuttle came to be.

Then you walk into another room and they show you multiple take offs. Just as the film is ending, well… you will have to see it in person to find out for yourself.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

Inside the Space Shuttle Atlantis Complex, there is so much to see and do.

There is a slide for the kids, a miniature Space Station to explore, interactive touch panels, and so much more.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

There is also a Memorial To Those Who Have Fallen during the Shuttle Missions, and a Shuttle Launch Simulation.

My 2 older kids and I did the Simulator, and it was a lot of fun.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

After the Shuttle Atlantis, we made our way over the Angry Birds Space Encounter.  There the kids got to play for a little bit.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

They had a place where you could sling the Birds at those Bad Piggies, and all three of my kids gave it a try. They also have a mirror maze, interactive puzzles, and Laser Tag.  

We decided to reserve the Laser Tag for another trip. 

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

After this, we came across a Photo Opportunity with an Astronaut character and then we went through an exhibit called Robot Scouts.

At this point we were starting to get near the end of our day, so we quickly made our way to the Space Shop to pick up some Souvenirs.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!

As we exited, we passed the Rocket Garden, and then went into the Early Space Exploration Museum.

Exploring Kennedy Space Center:  A Must See Florida Travel Destination!
We did not make it to the 2 IMAX Theatre Presentations, an Astronaut Encounter, The Astronaut Memorial, and Exploration Space.  I definitely could have spent more time in the exhibits and could see making a second day of the Kennedy Space Center, or arriving earlier to take it all in.

FYI, there is also a U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame nearby and general admission tickets allows 2 entries in if used within seven days of the initial entry.

Have you visited Kennedy Space Center before?  What was your favorite part?

Visit kennedyspacecenter.com for more information about the complex.

You can also check them out for up to date information on Facebook at facebook.com/KennedySpaceCenterVisitorComplex and Twitter at @ExploreSpaceKSC.

Kennedy Space Center really outdid themselves when it comes to exhibits and the interactive environment. My kids have been talking A LOT about this trip and my son mentioned a few times already that he is ready to go back.

FFM

Jun 092014
 
disclosure for site

Westgate Resorts invited me to experience a Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa Event. Most expenses were covered, and all opinions are my own.

Westgate Lakes and Resort Entrance

Image credit Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

If you have been thinking about a vacation with awesome amenities, dining, and entertainment, you will want to check out my recent experience at the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa in Orlando, Florida!

Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa Pool

I along with other bloggers were invited to visit the property and explore all of the great amenities that this Full Service Resort has to offer.

When I arrived at the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, I first checked in at the front desk, and then was provided an escorted drive to my room by a very friendly gentleman named David.

Bedroom at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

David, who has been an employee of the resort for over 12 years, went in the room first to make sure everything was in good working order. He then gave me a tour of the “Home Away From Home” I would be staying in for the next couple of days.

As he left the room, he told me to call him if I needed anything.

Room at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

Talk about luxury, I was set-up in the One-Bedroom Deluxe Villa that included a King Bed and Queen Sleeper Sofa, plus a dining and living room area.

It also had a double sink bathroom with shower, and an adjoining hot tub.

Room at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa Jacuzzi

I have to say that I was extremely impressed by the kitchen. With my family of 5, having a fully equipped area to cook in is an absolute must when on long-term vacation stays.

Kitchen at Room at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

There were also 2 flat screen televisions, a washer and dryer, and a furnished balcony. The resort also offers comfortable studio units to spacious two, three, or four bedroom grand villas that sleep up to 16 people.

Once I was settled in my room, I logged in via the FREE Wi-Fi and worked for a while.

Arcade at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

After relaxing in the room, I headed out on a tour of the property along with others who were also attending the event. Our first stop was an on-site Arcade.

We then visited a children’s activity center with bikes, a “Stuff-N-Fluff” workshop for making stuffed animals, and supplies for painting crafts. Each was available for a minimal fee.

Mini Golf at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

Next stop, was the tennis courts along with a 18-hole miniature golf course. My kids would have loved the mini-golf  for sure.

Paddle boats and Kayaks at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

After that, we walked down towards the water and saw paddle boats and kayaks. These are also available via rental.

The view of the water was so nice, and they certainly had a crowd that day.

Pool at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

A couple of our stops also included visiting 2 of the 7 heated outdoor pools on the premises.

Water Feature for kids at a Pool Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

They both were beautiful, and one also included a water feature for kids.

Food options at onsite store Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

We then stopped by Joe’s Marketplace & Deli. This convenience store has snacks and other foods you can prepare up in your room.

Smokehouse Grill Restaurant at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

Finally, we visited the Westgate Smokehouse Grill, which is one of many dining locations on site.

I actually had the breakfast buffet there the next day, and it was fully loaded and delicious.

Breakfast Buffet at Smokehouse Grill Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

After the tour of the property, I rested in my room for a bit and then went back to the Westgate Smokehouse Grill for a VIP dinner. Our group dined with residents, and got to enjoy fabulous food, drinks, music, and dancing.

I was super excited about the beautiful and tasty desserts.

Desserts at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

The next day we ventured off property at 5 am to take a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride with Orlando Balloon Adventures and hung out the rest of the day at the resort.

Later that evening, we went out to dinner at Bongos in Downtown Disney, and attended a performance of Cirque du Soleil La Nouba.

Event for Cirque du Soleil La Nouba through Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

Since La Nouba doesn’t allow photography, I snapped a shot of my ticket and the pre-show performance by 2 hilarious clowns. If you are looking for a circus performance that has a little bit of something for everyone in the family, this show does exactly that.Cirque du Soleil La Nouba Downtown Disney Orlando Florida

There are tight rope walkers, trapeze artists, bikes stunts, trampolines,  plus so much more.  It is a constantly moving environment and is really an amazing performance.

Preshow entertainment for Cirque du Soleil La Nouba Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

The next morning on “check out” day, I decided to pay a visit to the Serenity Spa. I wanted to get a massage, and since I was way over due for a haircut I decided to set-up an appointment at the salon.

The entrance to the Serenity Spa at Westgate Lakes

When I entered, I was greeted by the Spa Manager Sharon and was then taken to the back to get ready for my treatments. There I was given a robe and slippers to change into.

The entire Spa was beautifully decorated and the staff could not have been any nicer.

The Serenity Spa at Westgate Lakes

While I waited I could have also soaked in the Hydrotherapy Spa, visited the Eucalyptus Steam Room, or used the Redwood Sauna. Next door was even a gym available for use. I was also invited to grab a snack and one of the staff members even got me a cup of coffee.

I had a great massage performed by Lissette and also got a new “DO” styled by Donna. By the time I left to head home, I felt relaxed and revitalized.

Hair Salon at at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa

As you can tell, I had an AWESOME and RELAXING time at the Westgate Resort & Spa. I think what impressed me most was how kind and established the staff was, how clean and updated the rooms were, and how much there is to do without even leaving the property.

SPECIAL OFFER

If you are looking to experience a similar vacation, Westgate Resort & Spa is offering La Nouba Weekend in the month of June. It includes 3 nights, 2 Tickets to the show, along with a $100 Downtown Disney Dining Certificate.

This is only $299 per couple and you will also save an extra 10% off when you use the code BLOGGER!!! 

These events sell out quickly, Call 1-877-326-6003 or visit http://bit.ly/SZmjGX.

WG Events Save 10 Percent

When was the last time you made a trip to the Orlando area? Which amenities at the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa do you like best?

The Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa is located at 10000 Turkey Lake Rd. Orlando, Florida 32819.

For more information about the property visit westgatedestinations.com. For other upcoming Westgate Events, visit westgateevents.com or check them out on Facebook at facebook.com/WestgateEvents.

FFM

Jun 042014
 
disclosure for site

Orlando Balloon Adventures invited me to experience a Hot Air Balloon Ride. Expenses were covered and all opinions are my own.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 5 Things To Expect

I am still in awe of the fact that recently took my very first Hot Air Balloon Ride with Orlando Balloon Adventures.  

To make this once in a lifetime opportunity even more special, I got to ride at sunrise along with 5 other great ladies and of course our very talented pilot, Pat.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando Setup

Pictures truly do speak a thousand words and the photos really show what this ride was all about.

However I will give you a little bit of background of how we actually got up in the air that morning.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando Setup 2

We first headed out at 5 am and met our pilot at a local Starbucks.  We got introduced to the gentlemen who would coordinate our adventure, and also signed off on wavers for our flight.

After the pilot determined the wind direction, we then headed off to a field for take off.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando Setup 3

Once we arrived at the location, the equipment was pulled out, and the staff immediately started setting up the balloon.  This included laying the balloon out in front of the basket and starting the inflation process with a fan.

The other ladies and myself each got a chance to hold on while it was being blown up.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 2

Once it began to rise up,  it was time to turn on the heat.

I could feel the warmth on my face and see just how powerful this vehicle was as it rose up higher.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando Setup 4

At this point, it was time for us to make our entrance.

Along the sides of the basket there are notches to step up on, and with a little assistance, we entered inside.

Boarding the Hot Air Balloon Orlando

Here I am with Kelly, Mary, Amy, Jennifer, and Tara as we are getting ready to go.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 7

Right after take-off, Crew member Adam took this photo. Thank you to the Orlando Balloon Adventures May 30 Facebook Post for supplying this picture.

Picture of our Hot Air Balloon from Orlando Balloon Adventures

As we went up into the sky, this is one of the first things I saw.  Breathtaking Sunrise.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 8

Next, the pilot maneuvered us over a body of water so we could see our reflection.

Reflection of Hot Air Balloon

Pat also told us, that we might also see wildlife and he did not disappoint.  We saw a large group of deer.

Aerial views of deer from a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Of course one of neat things was seeing the other balloons around us.  It was such an awesome sight.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 9

As we floated along, I snapped a picture of our shadow as well.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 11

I think what was the most eye-opening to me on this flight was just how small we are, being up this high was a big reminder.

Aerial views from the Hot Air Ballon Ride

As we went over other bodies of water, we were also reminded that Florida has Alligators.

I zoomed in on this one poking his head out of a pond.

Hot Air Balloon Ride and Alligator View

Check out how small that  person is in the pool below.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando Florida 2

Do you see the famous Mickey Mouse Ears power line? It is next to the push pin.

From up at this height, we were also able to see Epcot and other Disney World Attractions.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando Mickey Mouse Ears

As we heading towards the field we would be using for our landing,  I caught another neat photo of the other 2 balloons.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 14

At our descent,  one of the balloons was getting pretty close to the water.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando 15

I thought this was a great photo of it hovering over the pond.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando

As we were coming in to land, we were instructed to bend our knees a little and hold onto the ropes on the inside of the baskets.

It was a smooth touchdown thanks to Pat.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando breaking down

After the landing, the balloon was immediately deflated and came down a lot faster than it went up.

Pilot of of Hot Air Ballon Ride Orlado Florida

I actually was very calm through the whole process, and only after landing did I get emotional. They were happy tears.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando breaking down 2

Our stats for the day included reaching a top altitude of 1476 and top speed of 17 mph.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Orlando breaking down 3

We weren’t finished after the landing though.  Just as the day began, we ended our trip by helping to dissemble the aircraft.

Breaking down the Hot Air Balloon in Orlando

A couple of the ladies helped break it down and load it back up.  It was fun to watch.

The Pilot toasting after our Hot Air Ballon Ride

Of course an Orlando Balloon Adventures ride would not be complete without some history and a toast.

Crew member Adam and Pat even set us up with a great breakfast, and furnished Mimosas to complete our, “Cheers!”.

Toasting after Our Hot Air Ballon Ride Orlando Florida

We were even entertained with “The Balloonist Prayer”.

The winds have welcomed you

with softness, the sun has blessed you with

his warm hands, you have flown so high

and so well that God has joined you in

your laughter and set you 

gently back into

the loving arms

of Mother

Earth.

Hot Air Balloon Ride Expectations

I highly recommend taking a Hot Hair Balloon Ride with Orlando Balloon Adventures. The Crew, Pat and Adam, were professional and at no point in time did I ever feel scared. They did a great job of lifting us off and bringing us in for a safe landing.

This was such an amazing opportunity and I am so grateful to have seen such wonderful views from that height and perspective.

Have you ever been in a Hot Air Balloon before? Is this something you would like to do?

Visit orlandoballoonadventures.com or call (877) 475-9386 to find out more information and to make a reservation.

You can also follow along via Facebook at facebook.com/orlandoballoonadventures and Twitter @orlandoballoons.

FFM

May 232014
 
disclosure for site

I was provided free tickets to facilitate a review for Dinosaur World Florida. Opinions expressed are that of my own.

Dinosaur World

Last week I shared a post about Dinosaur World Florida, and how my family would be taking a trip to the park.

This would actually be our first time visiting, so we were all excited about this travel experience.

Dinosaur World 18

Well I am happy to report, that we went this past weekend, and the entire family had a blast.

The kids loved it and we shared many special memories.

Dinosaur World 19

The pictures really tell the story, but just to give you an idea of what happened, we first visited a museum and then headed over to the Skeletal Playground.

This was a place where all 3 of my kids could enjoy themselves.

Dinosaur World 3

Surrounding the playground were realistic dinosaur statues and covered picnic areas.

Dinosaur World Florida allows you to bring in food since they do not have a restaurant on site, this is definitely a way to keep your trip on a budget. 

Dinosaur World Statue

Next, it was time to head over to the Fossil Dig.  

This is included in the general admission for children, and when they are finished excavating, they are provided with a bag to keep 3 “fossils”.

Dinosaur World 21

My husband lent my 5-year-old daughter some assistance, but my 8-year-old son took right to it and starting digging.

It was fun watching all the kids sifting through the sand.

Dinosaur World 5

After this, we headed over to see a paleontologist presentation and then took a walk through the park to check out all of the dinosaur statues.

The kids also got to Feed Koi Fish in a pond, and after we headed over to a Bone Yard to unearth some buried dinosaur bones.

Dinosaur World 10

To finish up our day, we went to the Dino Gem Excavation.  This experience is included in the Excavation Pass Rate. 

The kids were each given a bag of sediment filled with gems and as they moved their “dirt” through the sifter and water, the treasure appeared. They got to keep any items they found in a “Lucy Strike” bag.

Dinosaur World 12

My kids thought this was so AWESOME! There was also a  Geode Cracker option that could be purchased for an additional fee.

Dinosaur World 11

Throughout the day the kids and I had fun “HAMMING IT UP” for pictures and my favorite photo was this one of us in front of T Rex.

Dinosaur World TRex

We really enjoyed ourselves at Dinosaur World Florida, and I wish we would have visited sooner, it is well worth the trip.

Have you ever visited a Dinosaur World location before?  What was your favorite part?

Heading over to Dinosaur World Florida?  Print your exclusive coupon here $2 off per adult – Exclusive Coupon for Dinosaur WorldExpires 8/31/14.

FFM

 

May 162014
 
disclosure for site

As part of this sponsored post, I was provided park details and will be given free tickets for my family to facilitate a review for Dinosaur World in Central Florida.

Dinosaur World Central Florida

Thinking of where to take a trip this summer? 

Dinosaur World is the only attraction in Central Florida that is dedicated to DINOSAURS. The property is situated in Plant City on over 20-acres, and contains lush gardens and entertaining exhibits.

Do your kids dream of being Paleontologists or enjoy exploring?  

If so they can give a Fossil Dig and Bone Yard a try. (That sounds like A LOT of fun to me.)

 

Dinosaur World Coupon

When the family is finished digging, they can head over to a skeletal playground, the NEW Dino Gem Excavation, or the Geode Cracker. If you are looking for more entertainment, there are also 2 NEW interactive shows.

Have you ever visited this attraction before?  What was your favorite exhibit?

My husband and I are both Florida natives, and have never been to Dinosaur World. As a family, we are going to making our first visit in the near future, and we are super excited!

Taking your own trip to Dinosaur World?  Print your exclusive coupon here $2 off per adult – Exclusive Coupon for Dinosaur WorldExpires 8/31/14. 

I can’t wait to share our experience in an upcoming post!

FFM

May 162014
 
disclosure for site

Westgate Resorts invited me to experience a Westgate Event. Most expenses were covered. All opinions are my own.

Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa Press Event

Stay Tuned … because May 29 -May 31, 2014, I will be participating in a Press Event at Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa in Orlando FL!

There, I will be checking out the resort’s amenities, trying out some great dining, and seeing Cirque du Soleil La Nouba LIVE at Downtown Disney.

While in town, I am also going to take part in a sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride. 

If you want to keep up with ALL THE FUN and see what activities myself and other Mom Bloggers are participating in, simply follow the Hashtags:

#WGEvents 

#LaNouba

#OrlandoBalloonAdventures.

I am looking forward to this experience, and can’t wait to share all the details about this great travel adventure!

FFM

Apr 252014
 
disclosure for site

I was provided 2 complimentary tickets to attend this event, opinions expressed are that of my own.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Thanks to Whole Foods Market Sarasota and Geraldson Community Farms, I was invited this past week to attend a dinner to sample locally grown organic food coming straight from the farm.

The “Field to Fork” Dinner Event allowed attendees to taste prepared vegetables that are grown locally, dine under the stars, and enjoy family fun activities like lawn games along with music and dancing.

Field to Fork Event Geraldson Community Farm 9

Initially my husband was scheduled to go with me to this event, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, this ended up being a girl’s night out. He got put in charge of the baby sitting responsibilities.

However, I was happy to have a good friend come along, and I think we were both excited to sample the unique dishes that would be served during the evening.

Goodies at Geraldson Community Farm Field To Fork Event

When we arrived at the event, the first items we were directed to were the utensils. These were neatly wrapped in twine along with a piece of farm themed material AKA our napkins.

In addition, they were placed in a mason jar which was our reusable beverage container for the evening.

Field to Fork Event Geraldson Community Farm 10

After this, we made our way to the food and wine pairings.  Our first stop was a Kohlrabi Slaw with Tangerine Dressing.  This slaw was a light dish, and had a great color and fresh taste.

Neither one of us had tasted Kohlrabi before, and it reminded me of cabbage. Of course, I immediately went to the internet to see what this vegetable was all about, and actually learned something new.

Field to Fork Event Geraldson Community Farm 3

Next, we tried the Beet Salad. I have to admit upfront that I am not a big fan of beets, but I do love goat cheese and since that was one of the ingredients, I was open to trying it. I was not disappointed.

The goat cheese really enhanced the recipe, and I would definitely want to try to make this at home to expose my kids to the dish.

Beets and Goat Cheese

After this, we walked the grounds and checked out a few of the other items that were up for sampling. Shortly there after, dinner was served.

The meal via buffet style included Chimichurri Steak, Vegan Squash Gratin, Key West Shrimp, Wilted Greens Salad, Eggplant Stew, Grilled Vegetables, and a Raw Kale Salad.

The grilled vegetables were really good, and the Key West Shrimp was amazing. My only regret was that I did not go up for seconds of the SHRIMP.

20140418_195515

I also accidentally found out that there were some carrots cooked with some amazing heat. I am sure those who like SUPER hot food were absolutely loving this.

Although many of the foods at this event were items that I probably would have never been exposed to, and I was happy to try something new and broaden my horizons. I was also happy to end my evening with a piece of Candy Striped Beet Baklava with Walnuts and Local Honey.

Field to Fork Event Geraldson Community Farm (2)

Between the decorations, the dishes, and the atmosphere, this event truly had a farm feel about it, and I am looking forward to touring the Geraldson Community Farms facility in the future.

Do you grow your own vegetables or are you a part of a (CSA) Community Supported Agriculture Farm?  If not, do you try to shop local for farm foods?

Whole Food Market is America’s first national certified organic grocer and is the leading natural and organic food retailer. For your nearest location, visit wholefoodsmarket.com

Geraldson Community Farms is a 20 acre Certified Organic (CSA) Community Supported Agriculture Farm located in Bradenton, Fl. To learn more about this operation, visit geraldsoncommunityfarm.org. For additional photos of the event visit field2fork. 

FFM

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