I hope you enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends. Our day was pretty great. We started the say with doughnuts and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, we lazed about in the afternoon watching movies, and I spent some time in the kitchen getting the food ready. Can I just say that peeling potatoes is not my favorite. Anyway, the food was delicious, and we all had a great time laughing and telling stories from years past. The girls got to wear their new xmas pajamas, and we watched Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving, and are now watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The day was filled with tradition and love, and I have so very much to be thankful for!
p.s. I have finally started an Instagram account. I can be found @modernmommyblog.
The mister and I just returned from a five day cruise to Cozumel Mexico. It was our first trip ever without the kids, and it was AMAZING. Our days were filled with naps, margaritas, delicious food, lounging about in the sun, and it was just what we needed to reconnect and relax.
We visited a couple of beaches in Mexico, where it was warm enough to swim in the ocean, and we had a blast being serenaded by mariachis, eating the BEST guacamole ever, and shopping for handmade goods at the market. I bought the paper mache puppets in the photo above for the girls, and the tiny Day of the Dead diorama for myself.
We took the Carnival Paradise out of Tampa, so it was really easy trip across the bridge for us. I was lucky enough to win $100 gift certificate for the spa on board ship, so I spent half the day in the spa getting services, and loving every minute of the pampering.
I feel refreshed and ready to take on the hectic pace of the holidays. Three cheers for vacations right before the Christmas madness.
I was recently asked if I would like to receive a Ziggle from Radio Flyer, and write a review for my readers. I was excited to review this new toy, and certain it would be a hit for my girls. To ride the Ziggle, you twist the front and wiggle the back, and off you go! Maggie is three in and half now, and she has a blast riding all over the place, and really gets her speed up, too! This riding toy is designed for children 3-8 years old, and has an adjustable seat that will grow with your child. Amelia is six, and she enjoys riding the Ziggle, too. Maggie is not quite old enough for a bicycle, but can keep up when her sister when she is on her bike. If you have a young child, I would definitely add the Ziggle to their Christmas list.
*The Ziggle was given to me at no expense, but the opinions are my own.
The girls picked out their own costumes this year. Maggie wanted to be Jewel Sparkles Lalaloopsy, and Amelia chose Cleopatra. We sprayed Amelia’s hair with black hairspray per her request, and I was a bit nervous it wouldn’t wash out (it did). Amelia had her fall festival at school tonight, and the girls had a lot of fun trick or treating, playing games, and hanging out with their friends. I hope you all have a great weekend!
We will FINALLY get our first cold front of the season this week, and I can not wait! I spent the morning tidying up the deck right off our house in preparation for the nicer weather and alfresco dining. After hiding out in the air conditioning for months, I am really looking forward to opening up the windows, and getting outside more for family time in the yard. Our deck really is magical at night.
We’ve just finished carving our pumpkin. The girls requested a cat this year, and my husband freestyled this fun feline for them. It always feels so festive to have a glowing pumpkin in your home. Tomorrow, we will go to a favorite fall festival for rides, cotton candy, and games. I can’t believe this month is more than half way over!
Last night we took the girls with us to the 34th annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday. I was very excited to see one of my favorite contemporary jazz singers, Jane Monheit, perform. Jane sings some of my favorite standards, and her voice is a blend of Doris Day, Judy Garland, and Ella Fitzgerald. Maggie & Amelia really enjoyed her version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. We had a great evening eating dinner (and dessert) picnic style, the girls danced to Latin jazz, and we all snuggled on the blanket under the stars and full moon.
When my sister and I were kids, my parents would take us every year to the festival, and it is one of my favorite childhood memories. I am certain that being exposed to jazz at such an early age help to influence my deep love of jazz music today. I am happy to keep this family tradition going with my children.
If you ever find yourself visiting Clearwater in the month of October, this music festival is not to be missed!
This morning, we celebrated Amelia’s 6th birthday with friends and family at one of our favorite parks. Amelia requested a Madeline theme, and it was really fun to put together. We have been reading the Madeline books for years now, and Amelia loves that the stories take place in Paris. I kept the party simple with ham & cheese croissants, fruit salad, mini eclairs, and homemade cupcakes. Amelia had a blast playing on the playground with her friends, and the kids squealed with delight when the piñata, shaped liked Madeline’s famous yellow hat, was finally busted open.
This morning, my mom and sister joined the girls and I on a little road trip to visit Sweetfields Farm. It was our first time visiting, but it definitely won’t be our last! I always try to find a fun local pumpkin patch with different fall related activities for us to enjoy every October, and this farm had everything on my wish list. We enjoyed a hayride, fresh apple cider, a hay maze (they had a giant corn maze, too), a beautiful pumpkin patch, a treehouse with slide, vegetable picking, pig races, pumpkin painting, and so much more. It was a hot summer like day, but we will finally get a break in our weather later this week, and I can not wait. I hope you all are enjoying a fun autumn weekend, too.
I have spent the morning cleaning and decorating for fall. October is a favorite month for me, as we celebrate Amelia’s birthday, and my wedding anniversary. We have a bunch of fun things planned for the coming weeks; a visit to a pumpkin patch, fall festivals, a birthday party, and Halloween, of course.
This morning, we got up early and had breakfast at one of our favorite spots. After our bellies were full of pancakes and the like, we headed out to Weaver Park, so we could check out a brand new playground I had just found out about. What a fun park! The entire playground was nature themed, with animal carvings in the “wood”, a giant anthill to climb, a tree fort with slides, an egg shaped chair, and more! The girls were excited to find a little library where you can take and leave books. Maggie took a book about dinosaurs, and I will be going through their books here at home so we can leave a donation next time we visit. The park had a nice restroom facility, two shelters, and a large fishing pier across the street that goes out over the intracoastal waterway. It was the perfect little Sunday adventure, and I hope to visit again once our weather is a bit cooler. Happy Fall!
one-Amelia’s open house at her school was this week. Beau and I had a good laugh at the family portrait she made, as it seems she gave him a “hitler” mustache.
two-I found four of these old school lunch trays at a thrift shop recently, and Maggie has been making me different lunches all afternoon.
three-A friend of mine just returned from a nearly month long trip to Europe. She found this forty year old french copy of Disney’s Snow White in Paris, thought of me, and bought it as a gift for me. I have been swooning over the illustrations and beautiful french words.
We have just finished one whole year as Disney passholders, and boy, what a year it’s been! We started our passholder journey last September, and we have learned and experienced so much! Our annual passes will be expiring next week, so we spent this weekend trying to get in a few new experiences before we said goodbye to our annual passes.
Here are some of the highlights.
-Amelia was finally tall enough to ride Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom. It was a bit scary for me, but my brave girl had a blast!
-We finally got to see the Finding Nemo Musical at AK. This is not to be missed, it is so good.
-We went to a character lunch at The Tusker House in AK. The food was awesome, and the girls got to meet Daisy, Donald, Mickey & Goofy. The orzo pasta, and volcano chocolate cakes were especially yummy.
-The Magic Kingdom was decorated for fall, which is my favorite time at the parks.
-The evil stepmother from Cinderella and her wicked daughters rode the carousel with us today at MK. That was something I had never seen before.
-We were at MK right when they opened this morning and got to see the welcome show, complete with a few of my favorite old songs, and then the train rode in with several Disney characters on it.
-Amelia rode Splash Mountain for the first time at MK. She is already talking about doing it again sometime soon.
-I know there are a lot of people who are upset about the new presence of Starbucks inside the Disney parks, but I, for one was pleased to be able to get my iced vanilla latte this morning at the Main Street Bakery.
I will be back soon with some specific travel tips for the Disney Parks. In the last year we have made 9 separate overnight trips to the Disney Parks, visiting the parks nearly two dozen times, and enjoyed special events such as the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and Star Wars Weekend at Hollywood Studios.
I was recently asked if I would like to receive some hawaiian leis to review for this blog. I love flowers, and have always wanted to visit Hawaii, so to get these lovely flowers in the mail this week was a real treat. The leis came from Aloha Island Lei, an online flower retailer located in Aiea, Hawaii. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was how fragrant the flowers were, they smelled amazing. The flowers arrived in perfect condition, and were packed very well, on lots of ice. My girls were delighted to wear the leis, and pretended to be hula girls. It was a fun teaching moment for us. I showed them where Hawaii is located at on our globe, and we spoke about the tradition of leis.
The leis from Aloha Island Lei would be perfect for a beach wedding, or an island themed party. The leis would make anyone feel special, and would be a lovely addition to your next event.
Hello, all. I am so looking forward to the long weekend. I have got an exciting DIY planned, as I will be painting these gorgeous vintage Jenny Lind beds for my girls. I have been looking for these beds for many months now, and was elated to find not one, but TWO of them on Craig’s List for a song. I plan to paint them to look like this one, and this one from Land of Nod.
one-a silly Amelia.
two-our sweet Italian Greyhound, Allybird.
three- enjoying all the summer produce, especially cherries.
four-vintage Jenny Lind twins ready to be painted.
Amelia and her half sister, Baylee, start back to school a week from tomorrow. We are enjoying these last few days of no schedules, homework, or alarm clocks. The weather this morning was perfect, and we had a good section of the beach to ourselves. We built sandcastles, combed the beach for seashells, and floated in the big, blue ocean. I feel relaxed and ready for the new school year, and I think the kids feel the same way.
I recently purchased an annual family membership for the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa. This museum is a favorite place for my little ones, and I am excited to have unlimited access to it for a while. Today we drove across the bridge and had lunch in downtown Tampa at the Taco Bus, (seriously delicious), then we spent the afternoon exploring the museum. It was the perfect activity for a hot July day here in Florida. I even remembered their swimsuits, so they could run through the fountains near the museum. If you ever find yourself in the Tampa Bay area, I highly recommend you take your little kiddos to this great hands-on museum.
This morning the girls and I went with a friend and her daughter to a bakery in Tampa to try a cronut. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. We had to pre-order our cronuts the day before to ensure we would be able to purchase them. I am glad we did, because we arrived before ten this morning, and there weren’t any left in the case! I must admit that I found them to be very delicious. Flaky with layers like a croissant, but sweet and dense like a donut. If you are lucky enough to have a bakery near by that sells them, I suggest you go and treat yourself.
This morning we took the girls to visit an educational farm about thirty minutes away from our home. Old McMickey’s Farm is a super fun place to take the kids for a family outing. It was so nice to get out of the city, and visit the country. The girls got to milk a cow & ride ponies. We took a hay ride, and met many different animals. This farm had some of the fanciest chickens I’ve ever seen, and after our visit, we are already planning to get some of the different breeds we saw today.
The girls and I have had terrible summer colds. We woke up today, and felt better, finally. To celebrate, we decided to pile in to the car after dinner and drive the ten minutes it takes to get from our house to Clearwater Beach. Our goal was to eat gelato, and watch the sunset. I didn’t put the girls in their bathing suits, so I let them play in the tide pools with their clothes on, which they thought was pretty fun. It was so nice to get out of the house, and I am happy to be able to resume our summer activities. Here’s to a snot-free rest of the summer. Fingers crossed.
I am glad we don’t have any real plans this weekend, because we sure have packed in the fun these last 24 hours. Today, we went to a favorite local 4th of July parade, went swimming, made a delicious dinner of hamburgers & potato salad, a yummy flag cake, and set off some fireworks in the street with our neighbors. I have always loved the 4th of July, and making new memories with my children is the best. Happy Birthday America!
After a super rainy day, we were all excited when the clouds parted, leaving us with a cool summer evening to go see a baseball game. We decided it made sense to take the girls to the small stadium near our house to see their large pre-4th of July fireworks display, instead of fighting with the crowds tomorrow night. We ate hotdogs, popcorn, peanuts, and ice cream, and cheered for our home team, the Threshers. They won, in overtime.
We are looking forward to a parade in the morning, and a bbq in the afternoon if the weather holds out. I hope you all enjoy a safe and very happy 4th of July!
We kicked off the official start of summer the best way we know how, with a weekend at the beach! My mom surprised my sister and I by booking us a two night staycation at a small motel on Clearwater Beach. It was great for us all to be together with our families.
We played in tide pools, made bracelets out of seaweed, ate seafood & gelato, swam in the pool, shopped for jewelry made from shells, and danced to live music.
We learned that Maggie likes smoked fish spread, Amelia can swim the whole pool, even the deep end, without help, and uncles are the most fun in the pool because they will throw you high in the air. It reconfirmed for me just how nice it is to be together with your siblings and parents on a vacation.
The day after a tropical storm (or hurricane) comes through, the weather is usually gorgeous. That was the case today after Tropical Storm Andrea passed by us yesterday. After being cooped up in the house all day yesterday, the girls were more than happy to have some fun in the sun on our local beach this morning. I am so happy to live just a short drive from the ocean. It is good for my mental health. Happy summer everyone!
We had a blast this weekend over in Orlando! We made plans a few months ago to start our summer off with a bang, and visit Epcot, then Hollywood Studios for Star Wars weekend. My husband is a big fan of Star Wars culture, and turns out Amelia is, too. She had no fear when meeting Darth Vader. She even put her arm around him during the photo op. Ha! We are really enjoying our annual Disney passes, and we’re already planning our next trip.
We are so very lucky to live on the west coast of Florida. One of my favorite things to do is to act like a tourist in my own town. This morning, we took the girls to John’s Pass in Madeira Beach. It’s a fun boardwalk on the intracoastal waterway with restaurants, kitschy shell shops, ice cream parlors, and charter boat rides to see the dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. We had lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and let the girls do a little shell shopping, they both chose starfish. It is officially hot here in the south, but the humidity is low, and that makes it more comfortable.
I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend, and the unofficial start of summer!
Amelia has graduated preschool, and will start kindergarten in the fall. We are really excited about the charter school she got in to. It is a small public school, run more like a private school, with a focus on math & science. Amelia is embarking on a new journey with the start of elementary school, and recently asked if her room could get a makeover. Amelia asked for a grown-up room, and I agreed is was time to mix things up.
I ordered this print from JordanGraceOwens on Etsy. It arrived today, and it is gorgeous! Amelia’s room is a nice mix of modern & vintage, and this piece will complement her room.
A friend of mine is giving me a very handsome mid-century desk, very similar to this one, and it will be a great place for Amelia to read, draw, or work on homework.
I am hunting for new window treatments, which has proven difficult. Amelia has pink walls, and I am looking for a print, but it needs to be subtle.
We’ve pulled up the carpet in all of our bedrooms, because we have beautiful terrazzo floors underneath. They still need to be polished, but we love the way they look!
I also recently found Amelia some new sheets with a fun honeycomb print in pinks, peaches & gray at Target.
I hope to make a few trips to the local flea markets soon. Amelia is a collector, just like her mama, and enjoys the unique pieces we find while thrifting or at a flea market.
Do you reorganize or redecorate your kiddos room in the summer?
You know it was tasty, when you have a chocolate beard!
It is officially summer break for Amelia. She had her last day of preschool last week. I have Tuesdays & Thursdays off, and so during the summer I try to plan a little something fun while we are out running our boring errands. This morning, I took the girls to a new bakery that opened in downtown Safety Harbor. The girls had peanut butter chocolate dipped cookies, and I had a salted caramel cheesecake bar. Both were delicious, and we will be back!
I really enjoy supporting new local businesses, if you do too, or if you just enjoy really good desserts, stop by Joey Biscotti and treat yourself.
Today, our sweet Maggie turned three. We decided to combine her birthday with our Mother’s Day celebration, and had a family picnic at a beautiful local park. I made spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting,( a family favorite), and we feasted on hotdogs fresh from the grill, pasta salad, potato salad, baked beans, and deviled eggs. All of the perfect picnic foods. It was a lovely warm day, and the girls had a blast playing on the playground, tossing water balloons around, feeding squirrels, and getting candy from the gnome piñata. After three plus hours of outdoor fun, Maggie promptly told us that she was ready to go home. Ha! She had her fill of fun. Happy Birthday, Maggie!