Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

Disclosure: I was hosted by Wyndham for my stay in their resort. However, all opinions are my own.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Bobby and I decided we wanted to take Emma Kate to her very first water park in Orlando. When Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive invited us to stay as their guests, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity.

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The best thing about this resort is that you can stay where you play. It is the official resort of I-Drive 360, and there is so much to see and do, many things within walking distance (Like the Orlando eye). It’s also only twelve miles from the airport, so you are literally close to everything. The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld.

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I loved all the greenery and tropical plants surrounding the walkways and the pool areas. There are also plenty of dining options including a bar in the lobby and at the pool. The resort is also home to Gatorville, he poolside grill and bar.

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The rooms all have pillowtop mattresses, 40” flat screen tv’s and mini refrigerators. We were in a king room/family suite that included a separate area with bunk beds and another TV for the kids.

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I really love the idea of the bunk beds, I just wish there was a door or partition to close off this area from the rest of the room. Emma Kate LOVED the bunks though and hung out on the top one all evening.

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Another thing I liked is there is complimentary wifi at the resort. I was given a password upon check in and logging on was super easy.

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Also, there are TWO outdoor pools as well as a heated spa, and a renovated fitness center. The lounge chairs at the pool looked so nice and relaxing!

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This resort also boasts over 60,000 square feet of meeting space. There are two grand ballrooms, and a catering team ready to meet your wedding, party, or business needs.

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I wish we had more time to explore the area, as there were so many things within walking distance we could have done! There is the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, the 7D Dark ride adventure, and great restaurants and shopping like Tervis, Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Sugar Factory.

Probably the best thing about this resort is the price. Rates start at just $79 per night, so it’s perfect for a quick getaway, girls weekend, or business trip.

QOTD: Have you ever stayed here? What do you look for in a resort?

New Mizuno Wave Sky


Disclosure: This post about the new Wave Sky is sponsored by Mizuno through Fitfluential. All opinions are my own.

If you have been reading my blog lately, you know I have been struggling with a quad/knee injury that sidelined me for around 8-9 weeks. Not running was no fun, but I knew I needed to be extra careful when I did come back to the sport. When I was asked to try out the new Mizuno Wave Sky, I was pumped as the timing was when I was coming back from my injury, and I couldn’t help but think maybe some new shoes would help my knee to not hurt.

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Well, I was absolutely right. Not only has my knee not hurt running in these new shoes, but I feel like I am running on a springboard. There is just something about running in new shoes that makes me run taller and faster. However, after five runs in the Wave Sky, that feeling has not gone away with the cloudwave technology in these shoes.

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This is a neutral shoe, but it has plenty of cushioning, and as someone who prefers a wider toe box, I am happy to same my toes have not gone numb like that have in other shoes. I also really like the new thicker premium sock liner for a better, more comfortable fit.

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This shoe comes in three great combos for the women, and you can check them out here. I have a feeling I will wear these out really quickly and will need a new pair, I’m digging the pink and want to get those next time!

QOTD: What do you look for in a new shoe? Have you tried Mizuno running shoes before? What is your favorite color combo on the new wave sky?

KidsPark: Easy, Fun Childcare

When we moved to Tampa at the end of last year, I knew one of the things we were going to miss most was being close to family. Not only did we enjoy hanging out with them on a regular basis, but we really loved the option for babysitters, and never had to have a stranger watch our two year old!

Not only does Tampa offer a wide range of fun activities I wanted to attend, but as a blogger I get invited to special events and dinner etc., too. Not knowing anyone made it difficult to find a baby sitter, so when I saw an ad in a local paper for KidsPark, I knew I needed to investigate.

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The website is very informative, and I found out that KidsPark is actually a pay by the hour daycare franchise with many locations throughout the country. I was super excited as my babysitting problem was solved! Not only that, but Emma Kate would get to play in a new environment and have fun interacting with other kids all at a very low hourly rate, while mom and dad go to have fun of our own. Lucky for us, the nearest location is less than ten minutes from our house. The best part is there are NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED! You simply show up, check your child in, and leave. Some people drop their kids off for an hour or two so they can go get groceries or go to the doctor, and some leave them for a full day of fun. It’s up to you!

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When you arrive, you register and pay a small registration fee, and then are charged by the hour for your child’s time at KidsPark. At the end of the day the price per hour is WAY less than I would have to pay an in home sitter, plus my child is getting to be in a new fun place with new friends, which I prefer.

There are cubbies at the front for your child’s belongings and shoes. Children are required to take their shoes off, but must wear socks, so don’t forget them!

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Another thing that I love is there are meals and snacks at KidsPark. Meals at our location are $4.00, or you can bring your own meal from home (we have done both, it just depends on the menu and home much time I have as to what we do). Snacks are at no additional charge. Wondering about ages and activities? Kids can start going to KidsPark at age two through age eleven at our location. The “big kids” also have a special play area so they aren’t constantly on top of the little kids, so no worries there!

They even help assist with potty training. Emma Kate wears a special color sticker on her name tag so they know to remind her about the potty. Awesome! Sometimes Emma Kate comes home with a craft or picture that she drew, so it’s nice to know they are doing different activities with the kids. They also have different themed days and weeks depending on time of year, holidays, etc.

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As you can see from this happy face, Emma Kate has never been upset when we leave her! There is so much to do, and so many new friends to make! Another favorite thing about KidsPark is that it is open on a lot of holidays when regular schools are closed. There have been times when EK’s daycare was closed that we brought her to KidsPark because I needed to get work done. They are also open late into the night for those date nights for mom and dad (midnight on Friday and Saturday!)

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Another option we have not taken advantage of is that KidsPark operates as a preschool during the day. It’s a traditional preschool with a modern twist, so think music, drama, art, math and science for your little ones. You can even start a young child at one day a week and move up to five days.

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Emma Kate LOVES the little house and kitchen area!

KidsPark is even open for private parties on Sunday mornings and evenings when the center is closed to the public. You get a hostess to help with your party so you can enjoy instead of clean up, lead games, etc.

Don’t forget KidsPark is licensed and all the teachers have early childhood backgrounds and pass background checks. They are great at making your child feel comfortable and they always remember Emma Kate’s name, even after she had only attended a couple of times (they know her as the girl with the big bows, of course!) KidsPark’s mission is simple: Happy kids, happy parents, and in our family, they have succeeded!

Click here to see if there is a KidsPark location near you!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Imaginative Play with LEGO® DUPLO ®

I am really loving the age that Emma Kate is at right now. Just in the past month, her language has exploded, her motor skills have gotten a lot better, and she has gotten way more imaginative with playtime, which is also really fun for me! One of her new favorite things to do is to play with LEGO® DUPLO® bricks.

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These preschool building toys are specially designed for little hands (ages 1½ – 5 years old). They are much larger than regular LEGO® bricks (twice the size!) Making them safer for toddlers and preschoolers and easier for them to handle.

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I have to admit, playing with these toys brought back so many childhood memories for me, I love how LEGO® bricks have stood the test of time, and more than 25 years after I played with them in my living room, now my daughter is playing with them in our living room!

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As soon as Emma Kate opened the box, I was down on the floor next to her, helping her set up the “choo choo train” and building tall towers that are “so high” (her favorite). I think it’s so important to not only let a child’s imagination grow, but as parents, we should be partnering with our kids in playtime, showing them the ropes and encouraging them to learn new things. Kids learn by playing, touching, and experiencing new things. It is my job to guide Emma Kate on this learning journey, and LEGO® DUPLO® just makes it a lot of FUN! The nice of the legos is that you can build anything you want, there are few toys like that, for example a spinning toy that you can learn how to build your own.

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LEGO® DUPLO® offers so much flexibility and open-ended play for each stage of your young one’s development. You can do things from build towers, to trains, to buildings and more. There are even figurines like cute dogs and little people to put in the structures.

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Ready to be inspired for playtime with your little ones? Head over to LEGO.com/Family and see what you can do to help nurture your child’s imagination.

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QOTD: What is your family way to play with your kids and help their imaginations grow?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Swim Readiness: Then and Now

This post was sponsored by Speedo. Thanks for the products you sent to me and Emma Kate!

Before I had a baby, getting dressed and ready to swim was a fairly simple task. I only had to think about what I needed to do for myself, and myself alone. Oh how I took for granted those simpler times, because getting a child ready to swim is a whole different ball game! I wanted to take you through my step by step process of what it’s like now to get ready to go to the pool/water with a toddler.

The dance of the swimsuit:

First I have to actually convince my toddler to get into her swimsuit. This may or may not involve chasing, begging, wrestling, and crying (me, not her). Ok, so maybe I’m kidding a little, but once Emma Kate saw her adorable new sun shirt from Speedo, she asked me to immediately help her get it on. This sun shirt is quick drying. It also is UV50+ and provides protection from harmful sun rays. To learn more about this product, go to this page. Emma Kate was obsessed with the butterflies on it!

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The “slather”:

Putting sunscreen on a child is very, very important, but also extremely difficult. As a teenager, I worked at a local summer camp, and distinctly remember how hard it was to get squirmy four year olds to stay still long enough to coat them in the protective stuff. Inevitably, one would turn their head and sunscreen would get in their eyes, hair, etc. Thankfully, Emma Kate understands the importance of sun protection, and knows she will not get to go near the water without it, so she generally complies without too much fuss when I slather it on her.

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Swim Shoe shuffle:

We have a water table and kiddie splash pad we like to set up in the backyard. However, we quickly realized that when the concrete gets wet, it’s quite slippery. I immediately got Emma Kate some swim shoes from Speedo, and now she is much safer. They are also great for the pool or pool deck so their little feet don’t get blisters! We love the awesome colors too, and how easy it is to get them on and off with their four way stretch.

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Rules were made to be broken—er… followed:

I know Emma Kate is only two, but she had a pretty firm grasp on what is expected of her when we are near water. No running, no getting in the water without me, and always wear your swim vest/life jacket. We obey other adults and life guards and stay in the shallow water. Even at her age I feel it’s important to be consistently repetitive so she knows what is expected of her ahead of time.

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The rinse:

I always think it is wise to rinse off in the shower (most pools have an outdoor one nearby) before getting in the water. I mean, we are dealing with toddlers here, and at any given time there are five different kinds of food stuck to her face and in her hair, and we don’t want to get that in the pool.

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So on top of getting mommy in her cute Speedo swimsuit and cover up, (My new swimsuit has great adjustable straps on the top, and is stretchy and flexible. My cover up is super comfy and has a lightweight, cute racerback design) and getting sunscreen applied, there are a lot of other things to consider these days. I have to plan ahead, and make sure I have allowed enough time to get together everything we need for a fun and successful day in the water.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites, so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

A Quick and Delicious Start

I have partnered with belVita and Dannon to help promote the belVita and Dannon partnership. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product. However, my opinions are entirely my own, and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

I will admit, I am not a big breakfast eater. This goes back to my elementary school days, and I am just typically never that hungry in the mornings. This has come back to haunt me in my pregnancy, so I am having to be careful to make sure I get a full and nutritious breakfast in the mornings not only for my health but for the health of my baby. I don’t like to spend a lot of time preparing something most days, and prefer to get straight to work at my laptop. When I heard about the partnership with Dannon and belVita, and their quick and convenient breakfast partnership, I was excited to try this #MorningWin for myself. no cooking involved, just grabbing a quick but filling breakfast is right up my alley.

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The yogurt contains 12 grams of protein (twice as much as regular non fat yogurt), and the belVita crunchy biscuits give me continuous energy to power me through until lunch time. (Everything tastes great, too!) I will try any flavor of Greek yogurt, but I went with my standby of strawberry this time. As far as the belVita goes, I bought golden oat and cinnamon brown sugar, and the honey oat is my favorite! Other belVita flavors are apple cinnamon, chocolate, and blueberry. Each package of biscuits is individually wrapped with 4 biscuits, so they are easy to throw in your purse along with your yogurt to eat on the go if necessary.

For someone busy in the mornings, it can help to have a plan for how to get the most out of your time when you wake up. Check out these tips:

Tips to get the most out of your morning:

-Prepare as much as you can the night before, you will thank yourself in the morning!

-Plan your to do list a day early. Again, less to do the next day!

-Start your morning with a yummy, balanced breakfast. This will help ensure that you have the stamina to get your to do list done, and have a productive day!

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Be sure to visit the Dannon and belVita websites for more product information, and use hashtag #MorningWin when talking about this great breakfast combo!

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QOTD: What is your favorite easy/go to breakfast?