It’s no lie. I love me some ahi tuna. And steak. And the always delicious Bloomin’ Onion, but now I get to shout my love for Outback Steakhouse from the rooftops as an official Best Mate (#bestmate)! Oh, and I’ve also got some gift certificates to share with you…read further down to see how you can score one!
I’ve been itching for some amusement park time before the Florida summer brings two things every Florida resident hides from: the heat and tourists (sorry, no offense!). Rather than spending Mother’s Day at home eating breakfast in bed, I thought it would be fun to trek out to Legoland Florida in Winter Haven.
Legoland Florida is the newest addition to the already awesome Florida amusement park landscape. Located away from Orlando in Winter Haven, Florida, the area surrounding Legoland is really nice! We noted tons of restaurants right outside the gates and plenty of hotels to choose from. You may even want to consider staying away from the hustle-bustle of Orlando and traveling in Winter Haven.
As a military family, we always stop into our installation’s Information, Tickets and Tours (ITT) to see if any of our selected destinations offer military discounts or rates. Legoland Florida did not disappoint. For 2013, military families can purchase deeply discounted tickets and the active duty member gets free admission to the park!
DID YOU KNOW? There’s an ITT office located in Orlando at the Shades of Green Resort. It’s a great resource every vacationing military family needs to know!
You have the option to buy a 1 or 2-day Legoland or Legoland/Water Park Combo ticket. We opted to purchase the 1-day Combo ticket in advance at ITT. You can buy tickets at the gate, but you will not get the same pricing as ITT, nor will you get the tax-free purchase benefit. It is good to know that Legoland does provide 10% military discount at the gate just in case. For Homeskillet’s ticket, he had to show his ID at the ticket counter, and voila! Instant admission!
Let’s get to the fun stuff now…how is the actual park?
Legoland Florida is Perfect for Families with Young Children
Homeskillet said it best. If you have kids between 3 and 10, Legoland Florida is the perfect park for your family. Crowds were non-existent during our visit. We waited max 5 minutes for every single ride.
La Rubia (age 2, 36 inches tall) was able to ride about 75% of the rides in the park. La Grande (age 6 and 49 inches tall) could ride EVERYTHING. Needless to say, La Grande thought that Legoland Florida was a slam-dunk.
We loved that Legoland Florida was intentionally constructed with kids and the Florida sun in mind. There’s plenty of shade, a great mix of indoor waiting areas and play spaces with air conditioning, and, our personal favorite, lego play corrals where children can play while parents wait in line.
Must Have Park Snack: Apple Fries. Holy cow! Talk about an addictive snack! The apple fries are served fresh and hot, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and served with a whipped cream dip. To. Die. For.
We finished the main park in under 4 hours, but we didn’t watch any shows. Once we wrapped up the park, we headed to the Legoland Water Park.
Legoland Florida Water Park
The Water Park was pretty cool. Once again geared towards younger children, the water park offers a small lazy river, toddler slide and pool area, pretty expansive big kid water play park, small wave pool, and four other large slides perfect for older kids and adults. I don’t have any pictures from our water park adventure, mainly because I feared for the safety of my iPhone, sorry!
We made three loops on the lazy river thanks to the innovative lego inner tubes that allow your kids to build Lego creations using giant rubber legos while floating down river. La Rubia amassed a pretty impressive stash of Legos by the time we finished our trip.
Legoland’s water park has tons of life jackets for children located near each of the main attraction areas, including baby-sizes as well.
Final Verdict: Would We Go Back To Legoland?
Our final verdict? Yes. We’d definitely go back. It’s a perfect a low-key park experience. It’s much less overwhelming than other larger parks in the area and if you’re a military family, you can’t pass up the pricing.
Have you been to Legoland Florida? What did you think?
I hate buying gifts for my mom for any holiday…particularly Mother’s Day. She’s a nightmare. And, if she’s reading this, she’s adamantly denying being anything but laid back and easy-breezy. My ass. Right, Dad?
One of the reasons that I hate buying gifts for my mom is because I can’t ever seem to find anything that really conveys my love and appreciation for her. A sweater? A candle? Flowers? They all pale in comparison when I think about everything that she continues to give me each and every day.
Even cards seem trite.
How can I wrap up a lifetime of love, sometimes tough love, sacrifice, and safety? How do I tell a woman who spends every last minute of her day committed to making sure that her daughters and sons-in-laws, and grandchildren never doubt her truly unconditional love?
Well, I can start by apologizing.
Mom, I’m Sorry. The Short List.
Mom, I am sorry for the following things:
Being a picky eater, overly persistent, and thinking I know better than you.
I’m sorry for not eating the chicken nuggets you drove 20 miles out of the way to find because I said that’s what I wanted to eat and you were desperate for me to eat ANYTHING.
I’m sorry for being persistent about riding my bike with training wheels down a hill despite the fact you told me not to, and then crashing into a parked vehicle resulting in the fracture of my forearm while you were cooking dinner and tending to my then 18 month old sister.
Oh and the time I broke my clavicle doing the exact same thing 5 years later. And then again in my car 7 years after the last incident, and even though I walked away totally scared of driving, you forced me back into my car the very next day.
I’m sorry I volunteered you to make all of the May Day costumes in Kindergarten even though you didn’t know how to sew.
And I’m sorry that I volunteered you again, 4 years later, to sew flags for the Salute to America program, including the great state of Wyoming…I had no idea you knew how to free hand a buffalo.
I’m sorry that I melted down and told my teacher that you would kill me for making a B on my test, causing her to call you in to her office for suspected child abuse.
I’m sorry for ages 11-15 and then again for ages 17-20.
I’m sorry that I told you that I couldn’t wait to move out of the house. I’d give my right eye to move back in and have everything as it was. And I know that I’d clean anything without you having to ask.
I’m sorry I didn’t ever seem to see all the dust and dog hair on the floor and that I never voluntarily vacuumed or mopped. I am proud to report that I see dust and dirt and dog hair EVERYWHERE now.
I’m sorry if I ever complained about putting away laundry or what you made for dinner or why I had to clean the bathrooms. It drives me insane when my own children complain now and I know this is my comeuppance.
I’m sorry if you ever felt that I didn’t care or appreciate you. I was stupid and selfish. And I get it now.
I have a lot more to be sorry for, but honestly, for every apology, I have even more to be thankful for…
Thank You, Mom. This Doesn’t Even Begin To Cover It All.
Thank you for always believing in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
Thank you for always telling me the truth, even when I don’t want to hear it.
Thank you for listening. Just listening.
Thank you for being the not-so-little voice in my head reminding me that family and love are all that really matter in life.
Thank you for modeling what a positive and strong marriage looks like. Oh, and for letting me know that passion in your marriage matters.
Thank you for loving me for who I am and never asking me to be any different. Because the love you give me has taught me how to love my girls not only as my daughters but as the amazing individuals that they are.
Above all, thank you for being my friend, my mom, my sanity. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day!
Have you ever hit a point where an empty roll of toilet paper or a lone crayon on the table will send you right over the edge? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like I was losing my mind. Going off the reservation. Cukoo for Cocoa Puffs.
<Insert other witty metaphor for…ooohh…crazy cakes. I like that one.> [Read more...]
What do you get when you combine money savvy frugal bloggers who can’t shut up about money? You get the #FrugalCrew! And now, they’ve invited me to hang out with them and periodically bring my personal financial know-how to their #FrugalCrew Twitter Chats on Wednesdays at 1pm EST.
Having just returned from
my all inclusive vacation Type-A Advanced Conference in Philadelphia, I am finding myself just a little bit pissed off by the Wall Street Journal’s piece (no link…not sending you there to give them traffic) about entrepreneurs, who just happen to be moms, escaping their mom-lives by attending conferences.
They might as well have said this:
Because obviously I’m not a real professional. I’m just playacting at being a legitimate professional. I mean, I’m a mom, so that whole working from home thing is really just a hobby to keep my little brain busy.
And I’m really upset that they twisted up Katherine Stone’s words, who is an amazing and inspirational and PROFESSIONAL blogger, who just happens to be a mom in addition to being an entrepreneur.
Now, let’s be honest. Do I have fun when a I go to a blogging conference? Uh, yes. But I had fun when I went to conferences and professional development opportunities when I guess, according to this article, I had a “real job”.
And don’t get me started on the endless business trips Homeskillet’s taken over the years (read: one of them involved the words casino and all you can eat buffet). Would anybody say the same thing about his trips? I didn’t think so.
So, Kathrine, don’t apologize for your words being slapped all over that train-wreck of a piece. We know who you are and we definitely know who we are. We are professional. Oh, and go check out Katherine Stone’s Blog, Postpartum Progress…she wrote a post, Overwhelmed by Motherhood: The Anatomy of an Anxiety Attack, that shook me to my core
Oh, and to the Wall Street Journal? Thanks for portraying my profession as a bunch of opportunistic, burnt-out-moms who have to dress a vacation in business casual to get out of doing the laundry.
I was out of town at the Type-A Advanced Conference in Philadelphia this weekend and left Homeskillet home alone with the girls and two dogs for the first time, well, ever. As the stay at home parent, I’m pretty used to being the one left behind at home. And even though I do have the luxury of taking short solo trips here and there, he’s never had to take the helm completely. And prepping the girls solo for school and the day? Never.
I just love some old school hip hop (I just cringed at the thought of calling Naughty By Nature “old school”) and I love saving money. Oh, and I love having fun which is why I’m all about using our installation ITT office (aka Information, Tickets, and Travel).
I suck at using coupons. I never remember to clip them or if I do manage to clip them, I leave them at home or in the car or in my purse. I don’t have anything against coupons and by now you know that I love saving money, so it’s not like I’m trying to be a spendthrift. I just suck at couponing.
To make matters worse, I am not motivated to use coupons because, frankly, very little that I buy falls into the “has a coupon” category. I mean, if lettuce had a coupon or asparagus, count me in! But they don’t. And I know that a lot you experience the same thing.
You want to save money, you’re willing to use coupons, but there aren’t any coupons for what you buy. So, how do you save money on groceries if nothing you buy has coupon?
What if I told you that saving money has absolutely nothing to do with your budget? Saving money is all about habits and behavior. Sometimes if you change how you live day-to-day it can have a huge impact on your personal finances!
1. Take care of what you have
My dad always told me that almost anything you own can last forever if you just take care of it. I’ve applied this to my housekeeping, car maintenance, and personal well-being. You’ll spend less money replacing things if you just take care of them in the first place. Value you what you have and teach your kids to do the same.
Disclaimer: If poop scares you. Just turn back around and leave now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Shell shocked. I’m totally shell shocked. I can still smell the putrid sweet stench of the shart that brought my errands day to a screeching halt.
I was so stoked to be invited to the blogger preview for The Container Store’s Tampa opening! I know my MacDill AFB and Tampa Bay friends are eagerly awaiting the grand opening, so I was super excited to check it all out. Not only did I get spoiled rotten with blogger swag, I was able to learn a little bit about The Container Store and bring my milspouse eyes to the event.
Going from a two income family to a one income family is scary. All of a sudden you feel like the flexibility in your life is disappearing. The freedom to buy. The exhilaration of making a last minute trip. The nonchalance of opting to order out rather than fire up the stove.
On my birthday, February 28 (mark your calendars…I like Starbucks gift cards), I left my part-time telecommute job at a nonprofit I’d worked for since 2009. I didn’t make a lot of money, but I did make enough to give us a little bend and flex and spontaneity in our budget. It was a difficult decision to make, mainly because I find comfort in regular, reliable income. But it wasn’t as difficult as it could’ve been if we didn’t make a conscious decision to live on one income 6 and a half years ago.
We blew it. La Grande lost a tooth this weekend and we blew our tooth fairy duty. We totally forgot to do the one thing that makes losing a tooth less traumatic. We’ve weaved a complicated and magical web of lies and one slip up, no matter how slight, can bring her childhood and trust in us crumbling to the ground. First it’s the tooth fairy and then it’s Santa, the Easter Bunny…what have we done!!!
Luckily, I’m good at lying to my kids…oh wait…uh, that did not come out right. Let’s just get to the story.
A couple of years ago, I realized that I am not allowed to die. Seriously. Heaven forbid (not that I’m presuming I’ve earned my place beyond the pearly whites yet), something were to happen to me, I don’t think my spouse would be able to go on. Not in the completely inconsolable way (which he would be, I mean, I’m worth missing), but in the “where do the forks go” sense of going on. We’ve been married 8 years, and to this day, this preeminent military professional doesn’t know where we keep the toilet paper.