So two nights ago, I stayed up until 1am determined to finish checking off everyone on my Christmas list and I did it guys! It was a long might but it felt so good to be done. I had 40 people to get gifts for (Yes, I know! I come from a very big family). While I was clicking away, I had a thought that maybe a few of you last minute shoppers might benefit from my list. I know there are a lot of Holiday Gift Guides roaming around the Internet right now so I’m not going to recreate one with tons of suggestions. My list includes exact items that I purchased or were gathered from my recipients’ want list. Most of these gifts are for kids. There are many sale items on this list. If you act now, you’ll still be able to receive everything by Christmas Eve so here you go:
Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would be driving around town in a minivan. Well it happened! The never ending mom dilemma is real guys! I asked you guys on Instagram whether you were team minivan or team SUV and so many of you chimed in. Many of you were pretty adamant that you would NEVER be a minivan mom and offered some great 3 row SUV options. And there were some of you that swore by the minivan and felt it would be best for us given the stage of life that we are in.
“I am NOT a minivan kind of mom!” Those are words that have been ingrained in me for many many years. Why? Honestly, there is no real good reason for it, other than it being an aesthetic thing. Let’s be serious here, minivans are in no shape or form cool looking and I am TOTALLY cool right? LOL. Perhaps it’s me, along with some other fellow moms, trying to hold on to a bit of our pre-kid self. This debate is something I dwelled on for many months, while visiting numerous dealerships trying to rationalized why an SUV was a better fit. I guess if I had to put forth this much effort in finding justification, then deep down inside I must have known what the best option was. A real heart versus head battle within the XO My Home body.
So here it is, I’m laying it all out for you why I made the leap in case you are ever in the same predicament as us:
Trunk space: Unless you are going for gas guzzling monster of an SUV, there is just not enough trunk space once you put up that third row for a third child. I consider myself quite the minimalist but once you throw a stroller in the mix, there just isn’t enough room for much else. We were only considering mid size SUVs.
Access: Getting in and out of a minivan is so much easier. It is lower to the ground yet taller so you don’t need to hurt yourself bending over to strap those 5 point harnesses in. The kids can hop on and off with little effort. We looked at many SUVs searching for different mechanisms that would allow the boys to access the third row on their own. For the most part, it was too difficult or too heavy for the boys to move the second row seat themselves in order to get to their seat in the back. Some SUVs do have the option for captains chair in the second row and this does make it easier for kids to get in and out. However, for adults you would still have to crouch quite a bit. If you have aging parents, this is something to note.
Sliding doors: This somewhat ties in with point number 2 and was actually not a deal breaker for me. However, I think it is worth mentioning here. The automatic sliding doors are quite amazing as you would never have to worry whether the car parked next to you left you enough room to get in and out. You’ll never be left frustrated and crying bloody murder as you squeeze yourself in between the two cars trying to strap your little one in. And in our case, the sliding doors are automatic and that is helpful for younger kids. They can let themselves into the car rather than waiting for you to pull on that heavy SUV door for them.
My kids love it. They voted for the minivan from the beginning as they think it is the coolest car ever. I am sure that will change at some point but in their eyes right now, I totally have Cool Mom status!
Energy Efficient: This may or may not apply to you. We opted for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as it allows us to reduce our energy consumption as a family. I love the idea that most of our day to day drive, we won’t be burning fuel, doing our small part in making this world a better and cleaner place for our children.
Last but not least, the aestethics. Yes minivans have come along way but there are some beautiful and sleek looking SUVs out there. However, I am choosing not to make it matter to me. I absolutely want to be that mom that is chauffeuring my kids and their friends around town to different events and activities and the minivan just fit the bill. However, I’ll be doing it while rocking my cool mom graphic tees and designer handbags.
There you have it! I hope if you are ever debating wether you could become a minivan mom or not, that you find this helpful.
“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication” ~ Leonardo Davinci. This is a motto that guides my design principles.
I like to keep things simple and minimal allowing each design feature and decor item to speak for itself. This is the same rule I apply when I am styling a coffee table.
Tips on how to style a coffee table that will accommodate almost any style:
I always love adding fresh flowers, plants or greenery to add life and color to a room. It could be as simple as fresh flowers in a mason jar, as I have here, or potted plants or some faux greenery in a vase.
I have a number of items on my coffee table such as the candle, vase, paper weight and bead garland. To keep it looking clean and clutter free, I added a tray to store all the items. I chose a tray that complements the decor of my home. In my case I chose this gold mirror tray that really ties in all the pieces adding a level of sophistication to the overall look of the coffee table.
To create visual interest, I added some contrasting pieces such as the natural wood bead garland wrapped around the mason jar next to the polish gold apple paper weight. The different material choices immediately draws your attention to it, not in a negative way but in a complementary way.
The purpose of the candle here is to add varying height to the coffee table. If everything on the table is the same height, it will often look boring and cluttered. By adding objects with varying heights it keeps the eye moving and captivated. That and I simple love candles. You’ll see them pretty much in every room of my house (with the exception of the kid’s room and their bathroom). They are pretty to have around but also keep the house smelling fresh!
Coffee table books are just one of my favorite accessories in the house. Find one that interests you and they are often very well designed so it looks great in any home. It also allows your guest something to browse when they are visiting. Magazines are also great options and you can always stack them to create varying height as mentioned above in #4. Rule of thumb: stack in odd numbers.
So first off, I am most definitely pregnant, 33 weeks plus 4 day to be exact. The reason I named my blog post as such is because I have been getting a lot of complements from family, friends and various people that I cross path with about my pregnancy glow.
I am not sure how much of it has anything to do with my pregnancy but instead how diligent I have been with my skincare routine the past 6 months or so. I have spent the past 14 or 15 months trying different products and have finally settled on a routine about 6 months ago. I am pretty happy with this routine and definitely have noticed a difference in the quality of my skin. Now if only had I started taking care of my skin in my 20s instead of my mid 30s. Also, something to note is that I NEVER wear foundation so my focus has been to even my skin tone and make my skin more healthy.
My morning routine:
Wash my face with Youth to the People Superfood antioxidant cleanser. Now, I don’t always my face with a cleanser in the morning. I usually wash it with just water first and see how it feels. I don’t want to wash away all the natural oil from my face. However, it does feel more oily than I like, than I would
Use this Rose floral toner to tone my face using this super soft cotton pad. A toner is important to restore your pH balance after cleansing your face.
Being in Florida, I get a lot of exposure to the sun so a good vitamin C serum is really important to me. I apply this vitamin C serum to my face and have noticed my skin tone more even and firm.
Then I apply my favorite product of all time and it is this glow oil as my mositurizer. At first I was hesitant about using an oil but it absorbs really quickly and leaves my face glowing all day.
One thing I wish I had done in my 20s is reduce the exposure to UV rays, instead of lying outside baking in the sun without any sun protection. I guess better late than never so now I always make sure I apply sunscreen on my face everyday, even on a cloudy day. I love this one from Supergoop as it is clear and applies matte on my face. It doesn’t feel sticky or leave any residue on my skin.
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My night/after shower routine:
I always double cleanse my face at night. The first wash is to remove my makeup and sunscreen and I use this one by Farmacy. The second one is to cleanse my face and I use the same one as in my morning routine.
Once or twice a week, I would use this facial peel. If you are just starting out or if you have more sensitive skin, I would use this one, which is a bit more gentle. The peel is great for reducing fine lines and wrinkles and brighten skin tone.
I also try to incorporate this overnight mask from one of my Youth to the People a few times a week. So instead of using the glow oil, I would replace it with this mask and leave it overnight. I love that this mask absorbs really well overnight and the next morning, you wake up with an instant glow.
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The key to good skincare is to be consistent. In the past, I have tried to develop a thorough skincare but never stuck to it or was never patient enough to realize the benefits of proper skincare. Also, I am a firm believer that skin care starts within so feeding your body with lots of water and proper nutrients will also help nourish your skin.
I hope you find this helpful. I am sharing you my specific routine and the products that have worked for me and my skin type. If you do end up trying some of these products, please let me know in the comments below what your thoughts are on them.
Guys, just a few more days and I’ll be 31 weeks pregnant which means we are officially in single digit countdown! To say we are excited in anticipation of this baby is an understatement but not being prepared is definitely not one. Our poor baby still does not have a place to sleep. My goal next week is to start the preparation for the arrival of our new bundle of joy. Stay tune for upcoming nursery, baby gear posts and so much more.
As I am quickly approaching the end of my pregnancy, I wanted to share with you how I built my maternity wardrobe without any maternity clothes. This sweet little boy or girl (it will be a surprise) will be our very last baby. I didn’t want to invest in clothes that I can only wear a few times or for a few short months. If you are in the same boat as I am or looking for versatile pieces that will accommodate both a growing baby bump and post pregnancy, this is for you.
For the most part, I avoided wearing jeans/pants and stuck to dresses, elastic band skirts, joggers and jumpsuits.
This dress is currently my favorite dress of all time. It is a such a flattering day to day midi dress that comfortably stretches to accommodate a growing belly. It also makes the perfect LBD post pregnancy.
I have owned this Leith dress in multiple colors for a few years now and it has been the perfect go to maternity dress. I also recently purchased this red bohemian dress that simply drapes over my belly. It is such a statement dress that is comfortable and light weight, perfect for summer.
If you are into jumpsuits, then you cannot go wrong with this one. It hits all the marks, affordable, comfortable and on trend. I also got this kimono during the Memorial Day sale to rock at my baby sprinkle in about 2 weeks. And let’s not forget about comfortable nightmare. I have this night gown from Target in all three colors.
What I Pretty Much Live in These Days
Living in Florida, you can’t really get away without putting on a swimsuit every now and then. I pretty much stick to high waisted bottoms and these have been my affordable go to swim suits during my pregnancy. This blush tunic coverup is my all time favorite.
Accessorizing with a headpiece has been my tool to elevate my maternity wardrobe. If you follow me on Instagram and seen my stories, you’ll notice that I am almost always rocking one of these headbands.
Guys, we finally renovated our kitchen after contemplating for over 2 years since the day we moved into our 1680 square feet townhouse. After finding out I was pregnant with baby #3, I immediately knew our kitchen had to be gutted and remodeled. Now that I will be nesting with a baby, I knew I needed to love my home. The kitchen was the one room in my house that I did not love, yet spend the most time in it.
If you ever once thought white kitchens are boring, well I hope to change your mind today. In my opinion, white kitchens are classic and timeless. For our kitchen remodel, I wanted to keep it traditional while adding some modern elements and plenty of visual interest to it.
We didn’t touch the layout as this layout functions great for our family but we pretty much replaced everything.
What we did:
Added taller shaker style cabinets (old cabinets were 30″ in height, new are 42″).
Added crown molding above the cabinets.
Replaced the under cabinet microwave hood with a custom built in hood.
Added open shelves on each side of the hood.
Lowered the bar top to countertop level.
Removed the pantry and replaced it with full height cabinets.
Added deeper cabinets over the refrigerator and panels on each side.
Replaced the travertine backsplash with white 3″x12″ subway tiles.
Added shiplap above the shelves and cabinets and on the back of the peninsula.
Added lighting above the shelves.
Replaced the tile floors to waterproof/kid proof vinyl wood floors.
Replaced the speckled corian countertop to the Calcatta gold quartz countertop.
Added the waterfall effect to the countertop of the peninsula.
Replaced hardware, faucet and sink.
Despite the layout remaining the exact same, the kitchen now feels a lot more open and spacious. The taller cabinets, the open shelves, the lowering of the bar top, the replacement of the pantry with full height cabinets all played a significant role in this.
The rectangular hood above the range may appear simple but definitely added a modern statement to the overall look and feel of the kitchen. The simple black hardware, stainless steel apron sink, champagne gold faucet and industrial glass pendant lights all added the perfect modern balance to a traditional kitchen.
The shiplap, the crown molding, the beautiful veins on the Quartz countertop and most definitely the waterfall effect adds drama and keeps your eyes captivated despite the very white and neutral color palette.
I absolutely love how our kitchen has turned out and excited to be making many more memories with my family here. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on white kitchens. If you didn’t like them before, was I able to convince you otherwise.
Traveling with young children may seem scary, I get it! I know many parents who avoid traveling altogether, because they fear how their children will be, when confined in a small aircraft, away from their comfort space and off their routine. This is definitely a fair and a legitimate concern.
If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know that my husband and I both love to travel. One of my favorite philosophies in life is that “variety is the spice of life”. Nothing offers more variety than being able to see, experience and immerse yourself in different cultures and lifestyles from around the world. It is important to us that our children learns to appreciate the uniqueness and complexity of different cultures and understand the vastness of what this world has to offer. Not all classrooms need to be made up of four walls.
Having said that, traveling with kids can be a lot of work so I have tried my best to outline as many key tips for you to make your experience as positive as it can be. Let me be clear, I have had my fair share of disastrous trips so I want to help you prevent that from happening. Nothing is worse than spending a ton of money on a vacation and NO ONE is happy!
1. Be realistic about your travels: No one knows your child best so be realistic about your destination, activities and duration. For example, if you have a young toddler that does NOT like to walk for a long period of time, don’t plan long hiking trips unless you are fit enough to be carrying your child for most of the hike.
2. Accommodate some routine in your travel plans. I definitely think you should be able to relax a bit when you’re travelling. The reality is, you are on vacation and there are places you want to go, and things you want to see. Accommodating every nap, every routine, every day, is probably not realistic. However, we all know that kids are better and happier when they on a routine.
My rule of thumb is when we skip naps for one or two days, we’ll try to accommodate naps the following day. Or if we went to bed late one night, then the following night, we would try to go to bed earlier or at least on time. I consider this as an opportunity for your child to reset. The last thing you want is to have a tired child having an epic meltdown in the middle of the streets, while hundreds of tourists stare at you. I speak from experience! This on routine, off routine (or reset) method worked really well for us when our kids were younger. However, every child is different, so the schedule that worked for us may not necessarily work for you. You know your child best so determine a schedule/rhythm that works best for him or her. It may take a few trials and error before you get it down so be patient! As your kids get older, it will get easier to skip the day to day routines.
3. Book flight times around your children’s schedule. If it is a long flight, book an overnight flight if possible. It will be dark and late so they will most likely be tired and sleep through most of it. If it is a shorter flight, try to schedule it around their nap time. Sometimes the perfect flight time may cost more, so do what makes the most sense for your family financially. Any hour you can get them sleeping on a flight, the better and less stressful it is for you. If napping/sleeping is not an option, then select a time where your child is easiest to accommodate such as in the morning, after they had a full night of rest. Tired kids are often cranky ones.
4. Keep them busy on flights. The older your child is, the easier it is with flights. I personally had great traveling experiences with my kids when they were babies. They slept, ate snacks and when they got cranky, I would nurse them and that usually did a great job of calming them. Make sure to pack lots of snacks if you are traveling with infants, it will come in handy. For toddlers, if you are open to screen time, then iPads and tablets are great. Download activities, games, and shows prior to your flight so they can occupy themselves with that. Now if you’re like me and try to limit screen time, bring activities. I always hit up the local dollar store. For $10 or so, I can get a number of coloring books, fun packs, playdoh and some simple sticker crafts that will keep them busy for hours. Reusable sticker pads and audio books were also great hits with my boys.
5. Don’t care about the other people on your flight! For some reason, this is hard for most people. We get so occupied with not disturbing other flyers, and completely stress ourselves over it. Most people are understanding when they see you traveling with young children. But trust me, I’ve gotten a few eye rolls here and there (definitely not often), as I walked down the aisle by the business class section by myself with two young children. You know what, I don’t care! I have the right to be on that flight with my kids just as much as anyone else does. The reality is, most of these people were once in your shoes at one point or another. If they can’t sympathize with you, then that is too bad, and makes me want to care less about what they think.
6. Pack as much as you need (yes, this is probably different from what you are used to hearing). I’m not saying pack your entire house for all your trips, but if there is something that is going to make your trip easier, then why not bring it. For example, we went to Portugal this past summer and my husband didn’t want to bring a stroller. I thought he was crazy. Yes, my 5-year-old should be walking for most of the trip, but let’s be serious, there was a LOT of walking and he’s going to be tired, along with my 3-year-old! I am a fan of catering your trips appropriately to accommodate your family type. However, unless you have all the time in the world or a lot of money, you’ll want to get the most out of your trip. If you need a stroller so you can see or do more, then by all means, bring a stroller! Bring what makes your trip easier. If you think the benefit of having something outweighs the inconvenience of having to bring it, then bring it!
7. A little planning goes a long way. As romantic as the idea of being spontaneous may sound, routine and structure are good for kids. Plan ahead the various activities that you would like to do or places you would like to visit and create a travel itinerary. This way, you can accommodate some of your children’s routine as outlined in tip #2. For example, you don’t have to go back to your hotel everyday for your kids to nap, but if you are going to have a car, plan for your kids to nap while you drive from one destination to another or in the stroller as you push them to the next location.
8. Hand sanitizers are a must. Make sure it is in each bag. Let’s get real, kids are gross! Prevent germs from spreading or kids getting sick so pack those hand sanitizers.
9. Be flexible with the your travel plans. Now if you created an itinerary as suggested above, realize that with younger kids, you might not be able to tackle everything on that list. Prioritize your list of things to see and do each day, and try to get through the ones highest in priority first. Be flexible to move things around if you can’t get to something on a certain day. I think we often forget that we’re not able to move as quickly with younger children.
10. Make sure to include kid friendly activities or attractions in your trip. Most kids don’t get excited about art galleries, museums and sight-seeing. We took the kids to the aquarium in Lisbon in Park of Nations and they had a blast. They are on vacation too, so plan something fun for them as well.
11. If your child is old enough, give him or her a camera. I did this with Lucas in Portugal and it was probably one of the best things I did on this trip. He felt empowered with his camera and it provoked his curiosity wherever we went. He was excited to go sight-seeing because he could capture the experience himself.
12. Last but not least, JUST HAVE FUN! Enjoy yourself and not stress over everything. Traveling is about being present and immersing yourself in new experiences and having cool stories to tell later on. Appreciate the people you are with, in the surrounding you are in, so go have some fun!
As you know, I reside in Florida so the closest things we have to Fall at this time of the year are pumpkins and various colors of mums found in grocery stores in mid 80 to 90 temperatures. So it doesn’t really feel like Autumn around here and you MUST know that this is my absolute favorite season!!!
I miss being able to dress for this time of the year with all the layers, cozy sweaters, jackets of all sorts and BOOTS! I MISS MY BOOTS!!! I remember the first year I moved to Florida, the day after Labor Day, I totally had my OTK boots on. I couldn’t tell you how silly I felt, as not only was I sweating in them but EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE were in flip flops, even the men, which you almost never see up North. But that’s not going to stop me from embracing all the warm hues and beautiful rustic elements of this season. I might not be able to rock the oversized cozy sweaters and booties that have been blowing up my Instagram or take evening strolls watching the leaves grow old in vibrant colors of yellow, orange and red. But I can definitely sit inside the comfort of my cozy Autumn home sipping on a pumpkin spice latte in my super fuzzy slippers.
Here are a few easy ways to bring the beautiful season of Fall into your home:
1. You know Pumpkins were going to be on my list so it might as well be the first one. I can’t seem to resist them at this time of the year despite knowing very well that they will NOT last long given the Florida heat and humidity. Nothing screams Fall more than pumpkins. They come in various sizes and colors so make sure to grab a few and scatter them on your mantle, coffee table, entry way table, shelves and/or front porch. Instantly Fall has found its way into your home. If you prefer more of a neutral decor like myself, then white pumpkins/gourds are perfect for you.
2. In fashion, plaid is a big hit at this time of the year. This is when I love rocking button down shirts/flannels, my way of incorporating the season into my wardrobe even with the lack of cooler temps. This same trend can also be applied to the interior of your home. Plaid throw pillows and towels can easily be staples in every house and will allow you to maintain the color scheme of your decor. They never go out of style and really can be used anytime of the year. Texture and layering is quintessential to a cool Autumn day so this is a great time to add hearty texture to your decor. Bring out the faux fur, chunky knits and velvet throw blankets and pillows to add that touch of coziness.
(Image found on todaycreativelife.com)
3. When I think of fall, I think of nature, being in the woods surrounded by trees with tons of leaves, some on the tree and some scattered on the ground. So add some rustic elements and wood tones to your decor. Replace a ceramic planter or vase with a wooden one and you’ll be surprised how warm your space will feel.
4. Flowers are always a nice touch to every home. If you’re like me and can’t keep plants alive to save your life, flowers are a great way to add life and a pop of color to your home. To celebrate this season, add some mums to your front porch in rustic planters and you are set. Fresh cut sunflowers in a vase is another great way to showcase that warm Fall hue in your decor.
5. Yellow, Green, Orange, Red and Brown are the probably the colors that come to mind during this season. If that is your thing, by all means, incorporate these colors to your home. If you are like me and prefer a more neutral palette, instead of introducing bright orange pillows to your couch, find a more subtle way to introduce these tones to your home, such as adding amber glass jars/vases for your shelves or in my case, hand soap/lotion bottles. It doesn’t have to be extreme or over the top, subtle touches are often the most impactful!
Also try shopping from your own house. It is likely that you have something stored away that you can reuse or repurpose and that is really the best way to shop! I brought out my olive-green hunter boots and placed it by the entry way for that extra touch of Fall. The reality is I NEVER wear them but you know what, that’s ok because it makes me happy! I also have an oversized plaid scarf that I’ve had since my days in Toronto and now I use it as a throw blanket for this time of the year.
I would love to hear what you have done to incorporate Fall into your home. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments below.
Earlier this month, I shared my thought of creating a Fall tablescape with my Instagram followers and asked if they were interested in seeing a Thanksgiving or Halloween tablescape? The vote was unanimous and the conclusion was Halloween. Everyone wanted something for their kids, so here it is!
Initially I was going to put together a pretty and elegant Halloween table for you. Then I remembered that everyone that voted, voted because they wanted something fun to share with their kids. Having that in mind, my goal for this Halloween table was to create something that is:
Kids are messy and they probably couldn’t care less whether they are eating on fancy china with gold flatware or paper plates and plastic forks.
To decorate my entire table, I opted to use some of my existing Halloween decorations such as the pumpkins, banners, candle holder, the faux blood napkin, halloween tree with ornaments and skeleton. So feel free to dig through your Halloween box tucked away in your garage or basement and see what you can use to create your own whimsical Halloween table. Everything else I purchased from the dollar section at Target: the broomsticks, the pumpkin paper plates, napkins, mini black caldron, faux plants, mini mason jars, paper straws and black tablecloth.
We absolutely LOVE Halloween in our family! As much as I didn’t want to make it over the top scary, I did want to add some of the traditional Halloween ghoul. That is why I decided to add the skeleton (Mr. Bones) in one of the seats to play up the fun factor and have him enjoy the meal with the kids. Now if anyone is scared, then he can easily be removed and put back into his grave :). I also added some faux spider webs over the centerpiece (the Halloween tree) but did not add any creepy crawlers because I wanted to keep it light and those could be too much while trying to enjoy a meal.
My table was set outside because I live in Florida and there are very few months where a meal outside is actually enjoyable. Since it is typically a bit cooler during the month of October, I figured this would be a great opportunity to eat outside. Also, I usually have some fun craft and decorating activities for the kids after their meal so keeping the mess outside would definitely help maintain my sanity.
To style this table I used less than $20 to purchase everything I needed, on top of the existing decor I already had. This was very simple and inexpensive to create. Your kids and their friends would absolutely love it, Even if you are not planning a kids party, why not simply enjoy a fun halloween family dinner with your kiddos! Enjoy guys and Happy Halloween!
As many of you know, our family moved from Toronto to Tampa 4 1/2 years ago because of my husband’s job. Florida has become our home and it’s where my oldest son spent most of his life and where my second child was born. As much as we have loved the endless sunshine and being surrounded by beautiful palm tress and white sandy beaches, our plan is always to return to Toronto to be closer to our families.
Keeping that in mind and really unsure of when that date will be, my goal lately is to take as much advantage of this lifestyle as we can before we move on from this chapter of our lives.
Here are a few things that I have listed on my Florida Bucket list to do with my boys (in no particular order):
1. Go to the Beach more often
There are so many beautiful beaches around the Tampa Bay Area and it is ashamed that we don’t go nearly as often as we should. Prior to this year, we probably went 3 to 4 times a year or when guests came to visit. This summer, my goal has been to go at least once a week or every two weeks. Once we move back to Toronto, the ocean will be a lot more than a skip, hop and jump away.
2. Watch the sunset on the beach with my boys
We are only half an hour away from the beach so I would love to take the boys one evening, grab dinner on the way and have dinner on the beach while the sun is setting in the horizon. One day they will probably want go be sharing this experience with someone special in their lives as I did with their dad in some of the most beautiful places in the world. For now, I would love them to be the special people that I get to share this experience with before I pass that baton to someone else.
3. Try stand up paddle boarding
We were able to check this one off the list when we got back from our Portugal trip but I would definitely like to continue exploring it as a sport. I found it extremely calming and relaxing when we were out in the water.
4. Continue to explore all the amusement parks
If there is one thing that Florida has, it is definitely an abundant amount of amusement/themed parks from Disney World to Busch Gardens to Legoland to Crayola Experience and so many more. The first year we moved down to Florida, we immediately went to Magic Kingdom at Disney World. Let me tell you, it was everything BUT magical, nor was it the happiest place on earth. However, we learned from our lesson and got much smarter and attempted it again 2 years later. A little pre-planning made the world of difference in our experience. We had a blast every time we went. So far we have been to Magic Kingdown; Epcot; Busch Gardens and we always have an amazing time. We visited Legoland this past long weekend and my boys still rave about it EVERY SINGLE DAY!
5. More weekend trips
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My kids love staying at hotels. I’m not sure why to be honest, because for the longest time, I struggled at the idea of sleeping in a room that has been used by gosh knows how many people. But I guess they think of it as a place away from home and it means we’ll be spending most of our time doing fun activities, which is true. Florida has some great spots for quick getaways that I’d love to take advantage of prior to our move. So far, we have been to Sanibel Island, Miami, Jacksonville, Naples, Orlando (Disney) and St. Augustine (the oldest city in the US. A quick side note: it wasn’t that old. LOL). Here are a few places that are definitely on my list for future weekend getaways: Anna Maria Island; Key West/Florida Keys and Seaside. We always have such a great time on these short weekend trips and the memories we make on them are priceless.
6. Rent a boat and spend the afternoon out in the ocean
I feel like you really should be in or around water as much as you can when you are this close to the ocean. So a day out in the ocean on a boat with family and friends sounds like a lot of fun to me. I would prepare lunch to eat on the boat, try fishing (which is really not my cup of tea, but hey, why not) and perhaps convince the kids to go tubing.
7. Weeki Wachi
(Picture from http://hernandoconnects.com/buccaneer-bay-weeki-wachee-springs/)
I discovered this place on the Labor Day long weekend as we went with a bunch of friends and I can’t tell you how amazing this place is. It was on my list of things to do but now that we have gone, I want to take every guests that visits us here and take the boys as many times as I can. This is such a neat little place with plenty of fun activities for everyone. There is a live mermaid show, a wildlife show, canoeing, a spring where you can swim in, multiple water slides that drop you into the spring, a kids area and you can even rent a float and float along the spring soaking up the sunshine. During our visit, there was a manatee in the swimming area so we were able to dive under water to see it in person. That was pretty cool!
8. Watch a Rocket launch at NASA
We recently watched Elon Musk launched a Tesla up into space on the news and the boys have been fascinated with rockets and space ever since. We have visited NASA in Houston but not in Florida. I am actively monitoring the launch schedule on their website. Once there is a rocket launch that is aligned with our schedule, we will definitely be packing our bags and heading to the space coast. I can’t wait!
9. Attend a Gasperilla Pirate Festival
Can you believe we have lived here for over 4 years and never attended any Gasperilla events? For those that may not be familiar with Gasperilla, once a year, pirates invade Tampa Bay aboard the majestic pirate ship “Jose Gasparilla,” kicking off a full schedule of pirate-themed events. There are a lot of street events that typically involve a lot of alcoholic beverages which I am not particularly interested in. However, I would at least like to attend the children’s Gasperilla parade with the kids, with them all dressed up as pirates collecting treasure/beads. We planned to attend last year but my little donut got sick the night before so we didn’t end up going. However, it is definitely on our list for this coming year.
That is it for now guys! I am sure I will be adding more to the list overtime. If you have any additional recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.