Cool Down This Summer at Adventure Island

Disclosure: I was provided free tickets to Adventure Island and Busch Gardens as well as attendance at a VIP party, however all opinions are my own.

Recently Bobby and I attended a special VIP party at Tampa’s Adventure Island water park. We had never been to the water park before, so were super excited to check it out before we bring Emma Kate on her first visit.

There were storm clouds all around, and it did pour on and off, but we still had a blast and got to see some of the awesome attractions and even make a few animal friends.

Did I mention they had delicious cocktails served out of pineapples? I may have had more than one, and was able to cross off a bucket list item!

As we were walking to our destination I immediately saw this fun kids area and can’t wait to bring EK back here. There is another splash area as well but we didn’t get to visit that part of the park.

Hello lazy river! This is where I will be spending my time friends.

We did get to see some awesome, tall, cool looking slides including the park’s newest attraction, Vanish Point. It is a drop straight down, yes the floor literally falls out from under your feet!

adventure island

Say hello to my friends that came to greet us. The flamingos were just walking around saying hey to everyone.

There was music and delicious island fare, and everyone was so nice and friendly. I give the food and drinks two thumbs up!

I had no idea you could rent cabanas here. This looks so relaxing and nice on a hot summer day. Rental is for the whole day and includes four lounge chairs, a mini fridge with water, meal vouchers, and all day locker rental.

Another shot of these awesome slides. We got to see someone go down the big yellow and green one in a family sized raft and it looked awesome. There is plenty to do here, and tons of dining options!

There are so many other slides, pools, and activities to explore at Adventure Island, and for a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card for FREE*. Hurry! Offer ends on July 1.

adventure island

Be sure to Follow Adventure Island on Twitter and Facebook.

Emma Kate: 3.5 Years

Well we now have a child halfway to four years old, which blows my mind! on March 24th, Emma Kate turned three and a half and we baked a cake to celebrate and she LOVED it. I just wanted to take a moment to catch you up on our little girl.

Eating: Girlfriend LOVES to eat. She can still be pretty picky, but she loves large quantities of food, and I have grown to hate the word “snack”. She loves fruit like peaches and blueberries and strawberries, and also is a big yogurt fan. She even likes broccoli which is shocking to me. She eats a lot of turkey and chicken, and tries to get us to let her have candy whenever she can (all these holidays are killing me.) She still drinks a lot of water, and isn’t a huge fan of ice cream/cold stuff, but LOVES cupcakes!

Sleeping: We moved her to her “big girl bed” a couple weeks ago and she has been doing great and she loves it. She sleeps great and hasn’t fallen out (yet) and stays in her bed until we come get her in the mornings. Nap is hit or miss, if I let her sleep too long in the morning she won’t nap at school, but I would venture to say she sleeps for an hour 3-4 days a week at school and 85% of the time on the weekends. She goes to bed at 7:45 and usually lays there until about 8:00, and is up anywhere between 6-7 in the morning, but on school days I make sure she’s up at 6:30 so she will nap!

Clothing: She wears 4T and 5T now exclusively, and is quickly outgrowing several 4T things, which makes me so sad. She’s in a size 9 shoe but I feel that will be changing very soon as well.

Potty: She hasn’t had an accident in FOREVER, and has been dry for a week straight at night, and is always dry after nap. I think we are super close to not needing a pull up at night. She is doing awesome in this category!

Emma Kate says the funniest things and cracks us up on a daily basis. She loves to sing and dance, and has been watching movies like Aladdin, Trolls, Moana, The Incredibles, and Monsters Inc. She still loves big bows and lets me pick out her clothes most of the time (thankfully!)

She has been doing this thing where she doesn’t like when Bobby and I talk to each other so she will interrupt us and then she has nothing to say. it’s pretty annoying, any tips for breaking this habit?

She loves to have us sing with her at night int he rocking chair and she says her own little prayers which is so cute.

I don’t have an official height and weight but I’m thinking close to 40 pounds and 39 inches tall? I will have to measure her later!

We had our first trip to the ER on Easter Sunday, she jumped off the bed at Grammy and Papa’s house and hit her head on the rocking chair corner and there was blood everywhere and she had a deep gash, so she ended up with three staples. I nearly had a heart attack. She is fearless and independent and brave.

We switched schools at the end of 2017 and she is doing SO well at the new school because they have a pretty strict curriculum and I feel like she is learning so much. She recognizes most letters, counts to 20 something, and is writing with her little left hand.

She loves her “sister” Bella, wrestling with daddy, and putting together puzzles (shes REALLY good at puzzles!) We love you sweet bug and this has been such a fun half year!

Mary Poppins Returns and Christopher Robin Teasers

There is some exciting stuff coming out this year my friends! I have two things to tell you about. First of all, there is a new teaser trailer and poster our for Christopher Robin! I grew up on Winnie the Pooh so I am loving this:

“In the heartwarming live action adventure, the young boy who embarked on countless adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with his band of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.”

Be sure to follow Christopher Robin on Facebook.

This movie in theatres everywhere on August 3, 2018!

Also…

I am so pumped for this one guys. Mary Poppins Returns is in theaters on Christmas Day, 2018, and there is a new teaser trailer available (at the end of this post if you are in a hurry.)

 

 

mary poppins

be sure to follow Mary Poppins Returns on Facebook!

Christmas Recap 2017

Happy January guys! I can’t believe it’s now 2018. How many of you are still forgetting and writing 2017 on everything? Hand raise! We had a great Christmas, but just like every year it flew by so fast and I want it back! Here are a few of my favorites photos and things we did.

The Friday before, Emma Kate had PJ day at school and obviously had to show them off.

Saturday we made reindeer food and fudge.

Christmas eve we went to church along with my mom and dad. 

Love singing Silent Night with just out voices and the candles. So beautiful. 

After church, we hit up PDQ. I know it’s not very traditional, but we knew we were going to be cooking all the things that night and the next day so I was not up for cooking again for lunch.

Bobby cooked pork chops for dinner and mom was in charge of bread, which is terrifying because she always burns it. So she sat in front of my oven to make sure she didn’t. Bless it. 

We made cookies for Santa and left them by the tree with some milk. 

We read the Christmas story from the Bible and the Night Before Christmas. My sister’s plane arrived just in time for her to get to join in and tell Emma Kate good night.

My mom, dad, and sister left to go to their house, then Santa came!

On Christmas morning, I made EK sit at the top of the stairs and wait just like I used to do. She was a trooper even though she didn’t really understand ha.

She ran downstairs to see that Santa came, and was so excited! She even had gifts in her stocking.

This is my FAVORITE Christmas photo from the day. Sums it all up perfectly. 

Happy girl loved her “doctor things”

Self timer for the win!

We got ready then drove down to my parents new house for the day. It was my first time seeing it with furniture and I love it!

Emma Kate even has her own room.

Also, Santa made a visit to Grammy and Papa’s house, too.

Bobby also got in on the gift action. (and he got me a laptop!)

Maybe a future career?

The weather was in the low 70’s and perfect.

We had our big meal at lunch, and it was delicious.

Santa even left Emma Kate a cupcake.

Self timer again! 

Lunch goodness.

Christmas day is also my moms birthday so we had a cake, of course!

Emma Kate learned how to “drive” papa’s golf cart.

The sign of a good day, asleep int he car by 7:30. We drove home and were so sad it was all over, but thankful for the great memories!

I hope you had a great Christmas with your loved ones. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Merry Christmas 2017

From my family to yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with those you love.

Luke 2 New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

Thanksgiving 2017

This year, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house. It was just us and my parents, but we ended up with enough food to feed a small army, and ate leftovers all weekend. It was nice and relaxing, and I’m glad I got to spend time with my family.

Thursday morning I started cooking and getting ready, and soon my parents arrived with the turkey, an it was time for the parade.

It was also time for mimosas!

Bella is one smart cookie. She knows when the turkey is being cut, every year!

After we ate, everyone but me napped (what’s new) and we watched football.

The next day Emma Kate and I went shopping with my parents while Bobby was at work.

Is it just me or does she look way too grown in that picture?!? Anyway, Saturday we went to the playground, and found a turtle (we are VERY exciting people).

That night we met one of EK’s friends from school at our local outdoor mall for the dancing lights and a kids sing along show.

She has a BLAST and we were all worn out after. On Sunday, Emma Kate and I went for a stroller run to the playground while Bobby was at work, and then we met up with my parents at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but more on that in another post. Anyone recognize that office from a certain movie about a dolphin?

We had a great holiday, and I hope you did, too! Now, on to my favorite…Christmas!

 

Emma Kate: Three Years Old

As I sat down to write this post, I just stared at the screen for a little while, because I honestly had no idea where to start. Trying to sum up six months into one post is difficult, especially since a lot has happened in those six months, but I will do my best.

(ppsssttt, you can find Emma Kate’s other recaps here.)

Here are her official stats: 39 inches tall (86%) and she weighs 35 pounds (83%)She’s really tall and really heavy (either that or I am getting weaker by the day!) I will say that she is in size 4T and 5T clothes, but can still wear 3T in some dresses and some shorts. She is in between an 8 and a 9 shoe.

First haircut April 2017

The biggest news I would say in the past few months is that Emma Kate is officially potty trained! *Insert spastic happy dance here.* I was so dreading this part, but once she got it, it happened fast. Where we stalled was with the pull ups. We started using them and she would tell me *after* she pottied that she had just gone. This led to LOTS of frustration. Finally one day after the prompting of a friend, we just sent her to school in big girl underwear (with lots of changes of clothes). She had 3 accidents, but we kept at it, and by the end of the week she was only needing a diaper for nap and only had an occasional accident (maybe once or twice a week after that first week). I was pumped! She still refused to poop on the potty so we bribed her with cookies, and that did the trick! She hasn’t had an accident since the very beginning of July, and doesn’t even wear diapers for nap anymore, just bedtime (and 3-4 times a week those are dry, too!) As a parent this was a huge hurdle and sigh of relief. For awhile there I was convinced she was going to go to Kindergarten in diapers.

First kids race WDW April 2017

Emma Kate talks non stop, and she mispronounces several words, but I would never correct her because it’s so adorable. A few of my favorites:

White = “wipe”

Panties = “candies”

Backpack = “pack pack”

Cheers = “deers”

She cracks me up especially when she repeats phrases that I say all the time, it makes you realize how often you say certain things! If I say “stupid” she tells me that’s bad and I need to go to time out. Quite the tattle tail.

She is super independent and wants to do everything herself. She can put on her socks and shoes by herself, get in her car seat, open the door and garage door, walk the dog, feed the dog, and the list goes on. It’s great, but sometimes annoying because let’s say I turn the light on and SHE wanted to do it, she will turn it off then back on again. The only time I can get her to hold my hand is to cross the street, and she likes her bows to match her clothes (I wonder where she gets that from? haha).

Emma Kate moved up to the 3 year old room a couple months ago because she was getting bored in the 2 year old room. She had a little bit of an issue transitioning (not wanting to nap, not listening) but is doing much better. Speaking of nap, she is still not great at them, and only naps for an hour, and some days not at all. We have to REALLY wear her out on the weekend to get her to nap so we go to the pool or playground in the mornings. We still put her to bed at 7:45 at night, but she usually doesn’t fall asleep until 8 or 8:15, and wakes up anywhere from 6:15-7:00, depending. She still tells us “I took a good nap/I had good dreams!” when she wakes up in the morning.

She is still obsessed with the iPad and YouTube kids, but has recently taken a real liking to drawing/coloring so we have been doing a lot of that lately. We still watch a lot of movies (current favorites are Moana, Monsters Inc., and the Toy Story movies.

One of my least favorite words is now “snack”. She will eat only a few bites of dinner then immediately ask for a snack. We have started making her eat more before she gets them, but it amazes me how much she can eat! She is pretty picky and likes the standard chicken nuggets, turkey, mac and cheese, etc. But also really loves fruit like grapes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and peaches. Lately she has also been all about popsicles and since we went to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, she now always wants candy (which we rarely give her). She still drinks a ton of water, but we have started limiting it in the evenings and at night due to potty training and not wanting her to wake up a ton at night needing to go to the bathroom.

She still loves Disney World and going to “the castle” and meeting characters. she isn’t shy around them at all which I love. She is really into Paw Patrol and Moana toys as well. She likes to ride her tricycle in the evenings when we go on walks, and we got her a scooter for her birthday so we will see how that goes.

Emma Kate is very strong willed and can throw a tantrum with the best of them. She easily gets frustrated when she can’t do something or we tell her no, and obviously doesn’t like time out (who does?) She is sassy which I think will serve her well later in life but it is currently taking years off my life. She says “I do it” to everything, and tries to tell me no and tells me not to talk, etc. which I’m of course not a fan of. Bobby handles her fits better than I do if I’m being honest, as he has much more patience than me.

She tells us to come “sit by me!” on the couch and still likes to be held. She gives good hugs and kisses, and loves to read in the rocking chair and say prayers before bed. Her favorite songs to sing are Let it Go, Jesus Loves me, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Wheels on the Bus. She loves all things pink, and has to have a bow before we leave the house. She has the BEST memory, which is a blessing and a curse. She loves her mommy and daddy and “her dog” Bella.

There is so much more I could say, but I will stop there for your benefit. We love our sweet Emma Kate, and can’t wait to see how her spunky personality develops more into a little girl.

 

Painting With a Twist (of fun!)


Last weekend, my mom and I had the unique opportunity to attend a class at my local Painting with a Twist. I have done a similar class before, but it has been many many years. My mom had never done anything like this before, so I knew it was going to be fun for a mother daughter night away.

We easily signed up online after finding the nearest location (ten minutes from my house!) and were sent a conformation and some instructions. I was excited to see we were allowed to bring wine/beer and snacks, and was hopeful it would make my painting skills better? Ok so maybe not!

We arrived a few minutes early to get our aprons on and get set up at our table. The instructor had already placed our names in front of our canvas and poured our paint. Meanwhile, I poured us some wine and we chatted with our classmates before we got started.

The instructor was so nice and had a very relaxing voice. She went over the rules and calmed everyone’s fears. She wanted to make sure we had FUN no matter what, and really took the pressure off. She explained that she would be painting along with us and helping us as we went. She had on a microphone so it was easy to hear her, and she was up on a stage. I like that they also had a completed painting next to her so we knew what the finished product would look (or should, ha) look like.

She was sure to explain the steps several times, telling us what colors to use, how to do our brush strokes, etc. Slowly but surely, my painting came to life. After about an hour we took a 15 minute break to stretch, walk around, and let the first part dry (and of course take a few sips of wine).

Then, it was back to it and we finished everything up in two hours. I was skeptical, but can’t believe I did the whole thing so quickly! Now, I’m no artist, but I had a really good time and I think my painting turned out pretty good.

Painting with a twist

I would definitely do this again. I think it would be super fun for a girls night, date night birthday party, or family event. You can even do private parties! I’m so glad I got to have a stress free, phone free, couple of hours and experience this with my mom. Now I have a painting at home so I will always remember it.

Be sure to check out their website to find a location near you. What I love is that you can check their calendar and see what paintings they will be doing on each day, so you can pick your favorite and sign up on that day!

5 Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disclosure: I attended an expenses paid media trip with Walt Disney World. All opinions are my own.

When you stay on Disney property, you have so many choices on where to rest your head at night. That’s one thing I love about Disney—there is something for everyone. There is also something for every price range, which makes my heart happy because as if having a child wasn’t expensive enough, now I have to take her to Disney? HA! I’m getting off track. I had the privilege of touring Disney’s Art of Animation resort a few weeks ago on a press trip, and I kept saying to myself over and over “Emma Kate (my two year old) would LOVE this!” That being said, I wanted to give you five reasons to stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with your family on your next vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.) Price: Art of Animation is considered a value resort by Disney categories, but it is what is called a “value plus” resort as it seems a bit of a step up from the other values in several ways (some which are bullet points in this post!) The grounds are spacious and beautiful with great Disney detail I have come to know and love, there are interior hallways, a great gift shop, food court, and more.

You can stay in a “family suite” (I know, the word suite makes me think of thousands of dollars a night!) for a decent price for a larger family. You still get all the perks of staying onsite like access to the Disney bus system, free magic bands, and access to daily extra magic hours, but for a fraction of the cost of some of the deluxe resorts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.) Space options: Family suites were designed with larger families in mind that can’t fit in a regular value resort room (which sleeps 4). These babies sleep six, and there are three themes: Cars, Finding Nemo, and the Lion King. I’m fairly certain my two year old would flip out over any of these themes! There is a bedroom/bath combo with a queen bed, as well as a living room with fold out sofa bed, a table that turns into a bed, a kitchenette, and a second bathroom (HUGE plus!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Great food court: If I’m being honest, the food courts at the other value resorts don’t thrill me. However the food court at Art of Animation (called Landscape of Flavors), has taken things up a notch with delicious options like gelato, create your own pasta bowl, and many others. Not to mention it’s really beautiful inside!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Great pools: At value resorts, pools are pretty basic, but not here! Not only are there multiple ones to choose from, but the Finding Nemo pool has a splash pad area, and you can even hear music underwater! Be sure to stop by the bar, adorably named the drop off, for your favorite adult beverage to sip poolside, or grab a first come first serve cabana at the Cozy Cone Cars themed pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.) Life Size characters: Every little kid (ok and big kid, too) loves life sized Disney characters. Thankfully, there is no shortage of them at Art of Animation! Each themed area is scattered with your favorites like Mufasa, Tow Mater, and Prince Eric. (PS: there are standard sized resort rooms in the Little Mermaid section if you don’t want to stay in a family suite).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

art of animation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter your reason for staying, there is a lot to do and see at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Be sure to take a look at the options there on your next Disney vacation!

QOTD: Have you stayed at Art of Animation? What is your favorite Disney resort?

FRiYay Lessons with Disney Junior

Tracking Pixel

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

In case you are new to my blog, I think it’s important for you to know that Disney is a HUGE part of our household. We live in Tampa, so fortunately we get to visit Disney World a lot. However, during times we can’t visit, we do the next best thing, which is watch Disney Junior show on TV! More specifically, we are loving the FRiYAY all NEW episodes that come on every Friday morning on Disney Channel!

Right now Emma Kate is really into Mickey and the Roadster Racers. She has always been a fan of the mouse, and I think her competitive nature is starting to come out (just like mom and dad!) so she really likes the racing aspect of the show. Me? I’m more of a princess girl but I know we have plenty of time for that!

Since my husband and I are both competitive and (admittedly) like to win, we connect with Mickey and the gang and their racing ways. It’s a fun show for both boys and girls who love Disney! We decided it would be fun to have some racing and games of our own at home, and thought up some fun outdoor activities for Emma Kate. However, daily rain in the forecast changed our plans so we had to get creative with indoor games. Fortunately it didn’t matter to Emma Kate, and she had a blast!

First we played a game to see who could throw the most balls into the basket.

 

Then we decided to see who could build the tallest tower out of blocks.

Lastly, we played a racing game, which was Emma Kate’s favorite. I gave her and her daddy a school bus and told them they had to push their bus down the hall and see who could get theirs to go the furthest.

 

She kept wanting to play again and again, and kept saying “I win” or “I lost”, so we explained to her that winning isn’t everything, that it’s about having fun, too and being with people you care about, just like in Mickey and the Roadster Racers when Goofy got to compete against his movie hero but ended up losing the competition. However, Goofy ends up gaining respect form the other racers and even the sponsor who has a special surprise for Goofy.

Want to know how you can watch these new episodes with your family? There are two places to look! First of all, The Disney Channel:  During the morning block (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air first on Disney Channel.  Usually new episodes will air here FIRST so tune in to catch the premiere! Check out the schedule below:

FRiYAY, 6/16 – Mickey and the Roadster Racers @ 8:30am followed by an all-new Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 6/23 – Puppy Dog Pals @ 9a
FRiYAY, 6/30 – Sofia the First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor
FRiYAY, 7/7 – Back to back Lion Guard starting @ 8am followed by an all-new Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 7/14– Lion Guard starting @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey & The Roadster Racers and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 7/21 – Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Sofia The First and Elena of Avalor

FRiYAY, 7/28- Mickey & The Roadster Racers @8:30am followed by an all-new Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY,  8/4 – Sofia the First @ 9am
FRiYAY, 8/11 – Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

I hope you tune in on FRiYAY mornings on Disney Channel this summer and can catch the premiers of some of these great shows!

QOTD: In what ways do you teach your kids that winning isn’t everything? What is your favorite Disney Junior show?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.