Working through mom guilt…

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It happened, my six year old told me something brutally honest this morning. "Mommy, put your phone down! You're always playing on it. Won't you play with me instead."   (silence - let that soak in)   ...I immediately set the phone down and finished helping her get ready for school.  I made a conscious effort to not pick up my phone for the rest of the morning.  I dropped the kids off at school, came home and went to work, but those words stuck with me ALL day! Am I really on my phone THAT much? Clearly, if a six year old thinks I'm on my phone too much then it's got to be true. Here's the thing though, I have made an effort for the past year to be more present in my kids lives.  Not that I'm a absent mom (absent minded maybe, but not absent), but it's so easy to focus too much effort on the wrong things.  I've made an effort to leave my phone on my desk when the kids are home from school in the afternoon, during dinner, and while they get ready for bed. ... [ Read More ]

Sunsets in Winter

Sunset in Florida

The weather is warm this week in Florida and I decided that tonight we were going to watch the sunset on the beach.  We don't typically go out on school nights, but we were passing by the beach and I had to stop.  The ocean was calling my name. I needed to fill my soul with sunshine, sand, and salt air. Children were barefoot, rocks were tossed, sand was thrown in the air. I'll find the remnants of the trip for weeks to come in the bottom of my purse and on the floorboards of my Jeep.  Children giggled and dug holes in the sand.  They got dirty. The rays of the sun peeked through the clouds and glistened the ocean below. Strands of hair glimmered. Memories were made. Bedtimes were delayed. Dinner was quick and not very healthy. The ocean shimmered and waited anxiously for one final kiss from the sun. As the sun and the ocean became one, the clouds were tinted with every color of the rainbow. The day was done. Location: Honeymoon Island, Dunedin, FL About the photos above: ... [ Read More ]

Valspar Championship Family Friendly Events 2015

ValsparChampionship

This post is sponsored by the 2015 Valspar Championship. Continue reading to the end and enter to win a 4 pack of tickets to the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, FL. We've lived in Palm Harbor for almost 10 years now and March is my favorite time of the year.  We didn't realize when we decided on Palm Harbor that Innisbrook was within walking distance from our house and that every March, the big blimp would be flying overhead.  It's fun for us to tell our out-of-state family to watch the Valspar Championship to see our house from the blimp and the kids love it.  What kid doesn't love to see a blimp in the sky? I don't think there's been a year that at least 1-2 of us have gone to a round of the Championship.  There were a few years when I stayed home when Bailey was a baby and let the boys enjoy the day on the course.  In 2014 we finally took our youngest (she was 5 then) to her first Championship and she loved every minute of it.  I would never have imagined ... [ Read More ]

Remember When…

YoBaby Prize Pack

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Yogurt. Keep reading to enter to win a YoBaby prize pack.  When did my kids grow up? I'm a mom of an almost 12 year old and a 6 year old.  They are hardly babies any longer; even if they do still like to cuddle with mommy. I decided to pull out the baby book from my youngest's first year and reminisce over all the "firsts." You know, the first time they roll over, the first time they crawl, the first time the stand up and of course the first time they walk.  I remember the days when they would try any food (or toys, noses, and anything that would fit in their mouth) you put in front of them. Both of my kids were fond of yogurt as babies and I love that my kids have been able to grow up as YoBabies, YoKids and now big kids who enjoy their yogurt.  YoBaby contains organic whole milk, real fruit and nothing artificial.  It was a great first food by itself or mixed with other ingredients.  I love mixing a little fresh banana and avocado ... [ Read More ]

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

@THEECOCHIC

She's been featured on my blog since she was just a baby and Sunday she turned SIX! I'm still not sure how time has gone by so quickly.  I'm now a mom of a six year old and an eleven year old.  My life is full and there is never a dull moment.  I know that sounds SOOOO cliche but it's true! She's in Kindergarten and reading like a pro. She still likes to sleep in our bed. She is independent...but really likes it when mommy helps her. She hasn't learned to tie her shoes yet. She's very artistic and loves to color, paint, and draw. She wants to be a vet when she grows up. She loves animals and always wants to pet any dog that walks by. She loves candy. She looks up to her big brother. She is the most beautiful, smart, and sassy little girl I've ever met.  Yes, I'm a little partial but it's true! She had a wonderful birthday with just our immediate family and asked for Outback for dinner.  She didn't have cake, but devoured the entire bowl of ice cream! Happy ... [ Read More ]

Ringling Bros. Circus XTREME Tampa

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  The Circus... Acrobatics... Clowns... Human Cannonball... BMX... Contortionists... Tightrope Walkers... Elephants... Tigers... Popcorn... Cotton Candy... Smiles... Laughs... That pretty much sums up our day at the Circus! The performers were XTREME and put on a fabulous show for us today in Tampa.  This was the first time in at least 25 years that I've seen a Ringling Bros. Circus and it was pretty close to what I remembered as a child.  The acrobatics were stunning.  The clowns were silly.  The ariel performances were amazing.  The energy from the performers was over the top! As I watched the circus through the eyes of my own children I'm reminded that sometimes we just need to laugh and be silly.  I'm hoping that 2015 is full of laughter and fun with my family.  Today was a good start to laughing more.   We'd like to thank Ringling Bros. and the Amalie Arena for inviting us to be part of the circus today. ... [ Read More ]

How to Bake the PERFECT Christmas Cookie

Christmas Cookies

I'm FINALLY in the Christmas spirit and in the mood to bake a few batches of our favorite cookies.  We don't bake much the rest of the year, but I always find time to bake cookies with the kids in December.  You probably won't stumble upon my recipes pinned on Pinterest or on the pages of a magazine, but I make the PERFECT Christmas Cookies!!  Do you want to know my secret? First, go to the baking aisle of your favorite store and pick up a few packs of morsels that look good to you.  I couldn't find our favorite mint chocolate chips from last year, but I did find some red & green morsels and a pack of toffee chips.  At least that will make up some good chocolate chip cookies, right!? Next, think really hard about what other key ingredients may be missing from your kitchen.  I know I needed eggs and I thought I was out of stick butter so I chunked those in our cart.  I can't possible think of anything else that I'm out of so we head to the checkout. After dinner is over and ... [ Read More ]

Sea World’s Christmas Celebration 2015

Sea World Christmas Celebration

This past weekend we were invited to Sea World's Christmas Celebration to get a glimpse behind the scenes and to learn more about the special Christmas performances going on around the park.  Unlike some of the other area theme parks, Sea World includes their Christmas performances with your regular park admission.  Plus, kids get in FREE through the end of December with a paying adult. Sea World will always hold a special place in my heart and the Christmas spirit just enhances that love of the park and the work they do to help preserve our natural world. I found myself a little teary eyed during some of the performances.  Even if you only go for a few hours, here is my list of 5 things you don't want to miss at Sea World in December. 1. Polar Express - Sea World has once again transformed the polar exhibit into a train ride on the Polar Express that takes you to the North Pole to meet Santa Clause.  The experience is based off the popular Christmas movie, the Polar Express. ... [ Read More ]

Fun Things To Do at TradeWinds Island Resort With Kids

Fun Things To Do at TradeWinds Island Resort With Kids

If you're looking for a fun place to take your kids for a fun filled day (or week) on the beach, consider visiting St. Pete Beach and the TradeWinds Island Resort.  The weather is still warm in Florida this Fall and the water is still warm enough to swim.  My daughter and I were invited to spend a day at TradeWinds earlier this summer and I'm ready to go back! I hold a special place in my heart for St. Pete Beach. When I was growing up, my Grandmother lived one block from TradeWinds and I spent a lot of time as a child playing in the Gulf of Mexico. I remember vividly walking down to the beach with our arms full of sand toys.  I remember vividly how she used to sit on the beach for hours reading her books.  I remember vividly walking down the street to Larry's Ice Cream.  I used to love picking out a new souvenir at the little shop in front of her complex.  I still get a little teary eyed when I drive past the complex where she used to live (she died when I was in high ... [ Read More ]

Merry Christmas

The Christmas Story

This year for Christmas I wanted to share something very special to me.  Every year as a child my dad would read us The Christmas Story that his father read to them as children.  On Christmas morning my brother and I would first go and wake up my parents and my dad would read us the story before we were allowed to go open presents.  It was a good way for us to remember why we celebrate Christmas - to celebrate the birth of Jesus. While re-writing The Christmas Story this year (my version is pretty beat up) I was asking my family if they remembered when Grandpa wrote the story.  He was a preacher and my dad and his brothers all remember him telling the story as a child.  My uncle remembers hearing the story as far back as 1951.  My dad told me that they all urged my Grandfather to write down the story so they could share it with their own children (us).  My Grandfather passed away the year I was born and we're guessing that the story was officially written down in the early 70's ... [ Read More ]