The Mommyhood Life – Travel, Crafts, Food, and Florida Family Fun

Month: February 2017

10 Simple Ways to Show Kids You Love Them Everyday! #MixInImagination

This post was sponsored by DOLE® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.

10 Simple Ways to Show Kids You Love Them Everyday

Life gets crazy!  In my house, I have three children running from school to sports, then finishing up homework, squeezing in time to run around with friends, and so much more sometimes in a single day.  There have been days that once dinner and baths were done, and my children were tucked in to bed, I collapsed on the couch in exhaustion with a bit of mommy guilt.

Some days it felt like we had been running none stop all day.  We were doing things they had begged to do but I still wasn’t sure if I had really connected with them in those little ways that make them grin and know they are what makes my heart beat.

I decided to start trying to do little things throughout the day that would make them sporadically feel special.  Here are 10 of my favorite simple ways to show my munchkins I love them though out the day.
Healthy-snack-ideas
10 Simple Ways to Show Your Kids You Love Them

  1. Draw on the bathroom mirror.  My oldest is in middle school and often by the time I get up with the twins, he has already woken up and got ready.  He sees the bathroom mirror before he sees me, so I love sporadically grabbing a marker and drawing silly faces on the mirror to make him smile first thing in the morning.
  2. Surprise them at school for lunch.  My tween has explicitly told me NOT to do this to him, but my elementary aged kids love it.  Every so often I will whip up some of their favorite foods, the kind that wouldn’t keep well in a lunch box, and surprise them in the cafeteria.  Their school also lets students sit outside to eat when parents come, adding to that “I’m special” feeling.
  3. Leave something special in their pockets.  We lay out the kids outfits the night before school, so it is easy for me to sneak treats or pictures into there pockets.  One day I knew my oldest was stress about a big test, so I put a small picture of us in his pocket with a note saying “I was proud of him no matter what”.
  4. Say yes when they are expecting a no.  You know, when they have already eaten half your kitchen and are asking for a second helping of dessert, expecting a no.  Or when they want to stay up late an watch a movie and you were already counting down the minutes till bedtime.  Every once in a while, say yes to the usually no’s.
  5. Call them and chat.  If I have errands or work to do on the weekends or after school, the kids are home with dad.  When I am walking from place to place, I will often call and chat with each of them throughout the day. 
  6. Listen to them read.  Now that my kids are older, they are usually off reading to themselves but sometimes I crawl into bed with them or snuggle up on the couch and tell them to read the story to me.  This gives us great one on one time, plus, it helps them master reading out loud.
  7. Bake something yummy.  When I have some extra time in the day, I will surprise them with one of their favorite treats as an afternoon snack.
  8. Build them up by bragging about them.  When I know, they are within ear shot, I will make sure to build up some of their accomplishments and brag about them on the phone to Grammy or to my husband.  With an “Anthony is doing amazing in school, I am so proud” or “Lilly has been being so kind at school, she has such a caring heart”.  
  9. Put the phone away and get off the computer.  As a work at home mom, it is easy for me to sometimes loose sense of time and get caught up in the middle of writing or answering emails, and of course the social media wormhole.  I’ve started setting an alarm 10 minutes before the kids come in from school so that when they walk in the door, they see me, not me staring at a screen.
  10. Pack their school lunch with Love Notes.  By the time the kids sit down in the cafeteria for lunch, half their day has passed.  They could be having a great day, they could also have gotten a bad grade on a test, got into a disagreement with a friend, forgot their locker combination, or just be having crumby day.  So, putting a little note of encouragement in their lunch could lift them up right when they need it.  DOLE Mixations® are now a signature in my kid’s lunch boxes.  Not only are they a delicious combination of smooth fruit sauce mixed with chunks of real fruit, they also have a customizable package that lets you draw fun designs and personal messages on the lids.  This makes sending an unexpected pick-me-up simple and yummy.

Lunch-Notes-Dole

More about DOLE Mixations!

DOLE Mixations are available in 4 great flavors
Apple-Strawberry Sauce with Dices of Apple
Pineapple-Mango Sauce with Pineapple Pieces
Peach-Apple Sauce with Pineapple Pieces
Apple-Raspberry Sauce with Dices of Apple

My kids love all four flavors and I love that they are non-GMO*, contain no high fructose corn syrup, or artificial flavors, are gluten free and rich in Vitamin C!  Making them an ideal snack.

Plus, not only are DOLE Mixations a tasty and healthy snack option, they are also an easy and mess-free snack with no liquid to spill!

Are you ready to try DOLE Mixations and send a little encouragement in your child’s lunch box?  Now’s the time to try them with this great coupon!  Save $1.00 on any one (1) package of DOLE Mixations.

Dole-Mixations

What little ways do you use to show your children you love them through out the day?


Get social with DOLE
Facebook
Twitter

*No genetically modified (or engineered) ingredients

 

Make your Money Go Further this Tax Season with Samsung Deals at Walmart!

This post was sponsored by Samsung as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

tech-deals-samsung

As moms most of us shop at Walmart, a lot!  I have a Super Center within walking distance from my house, so I am usually there several times a week.  I know where everything is and what isles to run down to get exactly what I need.  On a usual trip I try to stick to the grocery and household section, but I still always end up strolling through the seasonal and stationary isles with extra goodies in my cart.  However, I rarely make a sporadic trip towards the back of the store where the toys and electronics area.  The toy section I avoid at all cost, unless it is a holiday, and the electronics department could easily have me drooling over all the tech goodies I want.  

So, now that tax season is here and I have a little extra cash on hand, it is a great time to take care of my family’s tech needs.  With a family of 5, that extra wiggle room in our budget must go far though.  Luckily Samsung at Walmart has amazing deals on all the popular gadgets my families been wishing for. 

Here are some of the amazing Samsung Deals at Walmart during Tax Season:

Phones are always on our upgrade list, and Samsung has two great options.  One that will meet my needs along with a perfect option for my tween.

Straight Talk GS5
Straight Talk GS5: $199

The Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE Prepaid Smartphone has a fast quad-core dual processor that is ideal for everything, from gaming to multitasking. It also has 5.1″ full HD touchscreen that makes all of your phone activity come alive. The incredibly powerful 16MP camera on this smartphone takes breathtaking photos. 

Straight Talk GS7
Straight Talk GS7: $599
The Straight Talk Galaxy S7 is the smartphone your life can’t do without. It’s big on screen and slim on profile. And with an IP68 rating that protects it from spills, splashes and even dunks, you can forget about searching the internet for magical solutions to dry out your smartphone. Just wipe if off and keep going.

Beyond cell phones, Walmart has some great deals on Samsung TV’s, tablets, and speakers.  These are some awesome choices:

UHD_TV_-_KU6270

Samsung LED Smart HDTV
Enjoy incredible picture and dramatic detail with UHD. Its 4K resolution means everything you watch looks 4x sharper than Full HD.

Tab E 9.6

Samsung Galaxy Tablet
Portable entertainment for everyone- The Galaxy Tab E was made to go wherever you go and do whatever you want to do. From watching a movie with the family at home to reading a best seller at the coffee shop, the big, bright screen keeps everyone entertained.

DAV-SoundbarThe Samsung Bluetooth Soundbar Wireless Subwoofer helps you to enjoy cinematic sound for a more immersive experience. It features TV Sound Connect to make it easy to set up with just one push of a button. The Bluetooth design means that you can connect wirelessly with no clutter.

Make sure you check out electronics department next time you’re in Walmart to make your tax refund go further!

For more information, follow Samsung on  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What’s on your tech wish list this season?

 

The Best Exhibits at Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa

Early in our move to Tampa Bay we had heard about the Tampa River Walk, how beautiful it was and the endless events and activities that take place there. When I decided to check it out, the Glazer Children's Museum stuck out as an interesting place to explore with the kids. So, I was excited when the museum invited us to visit. Growing up in Massachusetts, I had visited the Boston Children’s Museum countless times and always made amazing memories, and I was excited to do the same in our new home state. As you enter the museum, the highlight of the first floor is the large water play area with various weather simulations, boat navigation, and water flow areas. The entire family had fun in this area, especially with the weather simulator. Along with the large water's Journey exhibit, the first floor offered a unique sand box area and tug boat play structure. Like in museums we have visited in the past, Glazer Children's Museum has a large climbing structure for the kids to conquer. These climbing structures are always one of the kid’s favorite exhibits. They climbed for up and down several times, laughing along the way, as mommy and daddy got to relax on the benches next the exhibit and look on. Once the kids were done climbing, we got to explore the second floor which featured a pretend fire house, hospital, pet clinic, Publix, Outback, theater, news station, and more. I was impressed with how clean and organized the museum was given the fact that they had so many exhibits on one level. Also, having the majority of the exhibits on the one floor made it easier for parents with multiple kids to watch them all as they played. Anthony was too old for many of the exhibits, but he did really like the paper airplane section and learning about new broadcasts in the Kids' Network. Aidan enjoyed every single exhibit and played for hours. His favorites were the fire house, the restaurant and the construction area. Lilly spent most her time in the Get Moving area. Which showcased a rock wall and a racing area. After we finally convinced the kids to head outside, we enjoyed a bit of the beautiful River Walk. The Glazer Museum is located right on River with an interactive fountain, playground, and large field right outside the door. It was a wonderful day that I can absolutely recommend to mothers of young children in the Tampa area. After a fun afternoon, I can say with confidence that the Glazer Children's Museum is a perfect place for young families to make memories and learn new things. The Details: Where: Glazer Children’s Museum 110 W Gasparilla Plaza Tampa FL 33602 Price: Adults – $15 Children - $9.50 Babies under 1 year are Free Family Annual Memberships start at $125 Hours: Monday-Friday 10am - 5pm Saturday 10am - 6pm Sunday 1pm - 6pm Get Social with the Glazer Children’s Museum: Facebook Twitter Instagram Disclosure: I received press passes to the Glazer Children’s Museum for myself and my family to facilitate this post, all opinions are always 100% my own.

Early in our move to Tampa Bay we had heard about the Tampa River Walk, how beautiful it was and the endless events and activities that take place there.  When I decided to check it out, the Glazer Children’s Museum stuck out as an interesting place to explore with the kids.  So, I was excited when the museum invited us to visit.  Growing up in Massachusetts, I had visited the Boston Children’s Museum countless times and always made amazing memories, and I was excited to do the same in our new home state.   (more…)

5 Tips for Getting Active and Beating the Winter Blues!

Thanks to Premier Protein and Fitfluential for sponsoring today’s post, as always all opinions are completely my own.

tips-for-beating-winter-blues

In the middle of a chilly winter, it can be hard to jump out of the slump of binge watching TV and ordering delivery.  Being from New England, where the winters are long and the days are short, I can completely understand how easy it is to fall into the winter blues.  
Now I am in my first year as a Floridian and my body is trying to revert to its winter ways despite the 75 degree days.  So, staying active is something I must put a lot of effort into.  I’ve learned that the winter blues is more about a state of mind than the temperature outside.

Luckily, spring is right around the corner.  I know it may not feel like it in many areas, because from my Instagram feed I can see snow piles taller than cars, but it will be here before we know, trust me!  So why not get a jump start on feeling good in your clothes and having energy to conquer each day.

Are you ready to get active and beat the winter blues so you’ll have a head start when spring finally blossoms?

Stay-Active-During-Winter-Protein-Easy

These are my top tips for beating the winter blues:

  1. Get Outside!  I know it may be 20 degrees outside and your thinking “Why go outside when the air hurts my face” but getting fresh air and sunlight everyday can help lift your mood and give you energy.  Try making the most of the season by finding a winter activity to do with friends.  Go sledding, skiing, ice skating, or visit some winter attractions like the New Hampshire Ice Castles.
  2. Stay active!  I usually completely fail at my exercise plan during the colder months and am then beating myself up over it once the birds start chirping in spring.  However, staying active is one of the best way to beat the winter slump.  Get some fun exercise videos for the cold days, join some fun workout classes, and whenever the weather lets you get out and walk.
  3. Turn on some music!  When it is cold and yucky outside, most people revert to sitting on the couch with the TV on but what if you turned the TV off and turned some music on instead?  If you’re like me, it will get you in a completely different mindset and you may even find yourself dancing around the house cleaning.  Imagine having your spring cleaning done before all the snow melts?  That’s usually a goal for me, then once the season changes, I’m out at the park while my friends are cursing about cleaning on Facebook.
  4. Pamper yourself!  Are you one of those girls who takes shaving off your to-do list once your shorts are packed up for the season?  Or was your last pedicure to get festive for the 4th of July?  You still need to take care of you in the cold months!  Yes, maybe the stubble and chipped toes won’t be front and center every time you step out the door, but just imagine how relaxing a nice bubble bath would feel in the middle of a cold day.  Tell your hubby your shaving your legs, lock that bathroom door and pamper yourself girl!  Put on a face mask, light the candles, and take care of you.
  5. Eat right!  It is easy to binge on junk in the winter, when we can easily cover up with big sweaters and comfy sweatpants.  However, that just leaves us feeling more tired and cranky.  So, follow tip number 2 and stick to a work out plan and then make sure you are nourishing your body with lots of protein, veggies, and water.  Protein is one of the most important nutrients to incorporate into your diet.  It helps improve focus, maintain your weight, and even gives your metabolism a boost.  

Winter-workout-needs

The thing about nourishing our bodies is that there isn’t always time in our hectic schedules to make nutritious meals.  That’s why I rely on protein shakes to give me a huge helping vitamins and nutrients while I’m on the go.  Finding a delicious Protein shake can take some trial and error, and I have tried a lot of different brands.  One brand I hadn’t tried until recently was Premier Protein®, so when they offered to send me some of their Bananas & Cream shakes to try, i was excited to give them a go.  I could eat bananas all day long and my mind was instantly thinking about Banana Cream Pies. 

best-protein-shake

When I initially looked at the package I was impressed!  One shake has 30 grams of protein, only 160 calories and 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar.  Plus, it contains a large portion of 24 vitamins and mineral.  All the nutritional facts sounded great to me, based on just that I could see this being a staple in my kitchen.  But let’s face it, taste is what really matters.  If it had that bitter taste or worse that weird after taste that some brands have the box would have ended up in the trash.  We all want to eat healthy but very few of us will stick with it if it doesn’t taste good.
Well GUESS WHAT!?  This shake tasted just like bananas!  I’m now obsessed, it is a staple in my kitchen and is helping me stay on track with my weight loss goals.  I drink one every day after my morning workout and it keeps my hunger pains away till lunch.

6699-201612200935497231

You can learn more about Premier Protein Bananas & Cream here.
Connect with Premier Protein on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Top Tips for Visiting Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

  • image title

    image caption

While in Tampa one of the best places to take the kids is the Lowry Park Zoo!
  My kids are big animal lovers,  Anthony loves to learn all the facts about each kind of animal while the twins just fall in love with all of them, so this zoo was a great experience for us.
 
This was the first time I had ever visited the Lowry Park Zoo and I was very impressed.  The zoo was very clean, they had a wide variety of animals that were very visible in their habitats and the zoo also offered other activities to keep the kids entertained. 

The summer months can get excruciatingly hot in Florida especially if your not from here, so we arrived at the zoo right when it opened so we could finish most of the walking before the hottest part of the day.

  Once walking through the main entrance we headed to the left and went through each of the 6 animal habitat areas, Asian Gardens, Florida Wildlife Center, Primate World, Safari Africa, Ituri Forest and Wallaroo Station.  This ended up being a perfect plan because when we finally arrived in the Wallaroo Station area we were starting to get very hot and tired.  However this area cooled us off quick with a water spray park and some mechanical rides.

The zoo has a petting area with farm animals, an area to touch sting rays and numerous feeding activities at different habitats.

The kids loved all the animals but each had a favorite.  Aidan Loved the Chimpanzees, Lilly thought the elephants were the cutest, and Anthony was excited to learn about rhino’s.

One of the coolest rides that really sets the Lowry Park Zoo apart from other zoo’s we’ve been to was the Expedition Africa Guided Safari.
The safari is a guided tour aboard a 2 carted jeep, through the back area of the “Safari Africa” section of the zoo.

Ready to Visit?
Admission is currently $32.95 for adults and $24.95 for children.  Which includes Pay For The Day, Come Back The Rest Of The Year
For those local to Tampa, this is an awesome deal because it means you will not only get to enjoy the zoo for the rest of 2017, but you will also get to take advantage of the amazing holiday events that The Lowry Park Zoo offers.  Such as “Creatures of the Night” and “Christmas in the Wild”

tampa-lowry-zoo-halloween-event
While the Pay for the Day ticket is a great deal, if you have a large family, like we do, I suggest becoming a zoo member.  There are several membership choices to choose from, for us the Family Plus Guest membership was the best.  This meant for $159 my husband, 3 children, myself, and a guest could visit anytime for a full 12 months.  The memberships also include seasonal events.

Getting there:
1101 West Sligh Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is definitely a must see when in the Tampa Bay area!

Get Social with Lowry Park Zoo

 

1 2