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Run DMT - I'm a mom on the run!

Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

Disclosure: My family and I received a reduced media rate for a two-night stay at the Guy Harvey Outpost at the Tradewinds in exchange for my honest review of the properties. The opinions shared are my own.

IMAG6017 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

For a family of five living on one income and a tight budget, our vacations can be very limited. We typically take “staycations” to local places that offer enough fun and adventure for the whole family, however, theme parks often surpass our budget.

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort on St. Pete Beach offers enough amusement park-like fun without draining your wallet.  From Splash Island to the High Tide Water Slide, thrill-seekers can delight in the all-day adventures on the resort. Beachgoers can enjoy the complimentary cabanas included in the resort fees.

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

As for the rooms at this amazing resort, a suite fits two adults and three active kids quite comfortably. Although there are many restaurants on site at both the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort and the Guy Harvey Outpost, the full-sized kitchen provides an opportunity for families to enjoy a meal in the spacious suite to save some pennies.

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

For this summer’s staycation, my family and I stayed at the Guy Harvey Outpost. Worried that the second TradeWinds property would be more suited for adults, we were pleasantly surprised to discover several activities for families. On our first night at the resort, we stumbled upon The SandBox Lounge and its mechanical surfboards, Triple WipeOut. We also discovered a Campfire S’more celebration which happens every evening at The SandBox Beach Lounge at sunset.  Once the sun sets, an inflatable movie screen appears for a family-friendly beach screening.

IMAG5992 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

The Guy Harvey Outpost offers a laidback quieter island feel with the amusement park experience “only 200 flip-flops” away at the TradeWinds Island Grand. While staying at the Guy Harvey Outpost, we settled into a spacious Gulf Front Suite, equally as roomy as the suites at the TradeWind Island Grand and enjoyed the family fun and amenities available at both properties.

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

For our last night, we celebrated with a meal at the newly renovated RumFish Grill, famous for its expansive 33,500 gallon aquarium designed by the stars of Animal Planet’s Tanked. The breath-taking tank serves as the scenic backdrop as well as the backlighting for the entire restaurant. Its serene scenery of stingrays and several varieties of Florida sea life entertained my entire family and the fresh fish cuisine delighted our taste buds. Save room for desserts because the Pineapple Rum Tiramisu is a must!

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

IMAG6024 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

IMAG6027 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

If you decide to pass on dinner at RumFish Grill, then be sure to take a stroll through The Cave, which provides an opportunity for guests to gaze upon a magnificent panoramic view of the beautiful sea life inside the aquarium.

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

IMAG6033 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

Through each of the incredible experiences, the TradeWinds offered my family a wonderful chance to #JustLetGo while enjoying an affordable summer staycation.

 Just Let Go at Guy Harvey OutPost

The Tradewinds On St. Pete Beach are offering a “Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway” package with the premiere of Dolphin Tale 2 on Sept. 12.

“TradeWinds Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway includes a three-night package at either the TradeWinds Island Grand or Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Beach Resort and resort fees, two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a dolphin watch cruise for two; a plush Winter the dolphin toy; and the hardcover book, Winter’s Tale.

Just let go and learn more here by visiting www.tradewindsresort.com.

Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope – Review and Interview with the Cast

After leaving our Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), we headed to the movie theater for a sneak peek screening of Dolphin Tale 2 as part of a Tampa Bay Bloggers and Grace Hill Media partnership. My kids and I loved Dolphin Tale and we knew that the sequel would not disappoint.

Dolphin Tale 2 begins at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where we see Winter’s popularity attracting many adoring fans to the facility. After CMA loses a family member, Winter becomes severely depressed and the facility needs to remedy the situation or lose Winter.

Meanwhile, Sawyer (played by Nathan Gamble) faces an opportunity that will require him to leave CMA for some time and ultimately Winter. With the guidance of Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), Sawyer learns that “Sometimes you have to shake things up to move forward.”

DT2 poosibilties Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope   Review and Interview with the Cast

During the night of Saywer’s going away party, the fun is interrupted when a young calf is rescued and brought to CMA. From that moment it is realized that “Winter has Hope”

Dolphin Tale 2 2 Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope   Review and Interview with the Cast

The movie is as heart-warming as the first film with an equal number of tear-jerking moments and endearing lovable creatures. Many of the scenes incorporate live stunts and animal action as well as animal animatronics and visual effects to ensure safety of Winter and the other animals.

IMAG6409 Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope   Review and Interview with the Cast

The next day after our screening, I had the opportunity to attend a press junket roundtable interview with my blogger friends and the stars of the film, Harry Connick, Jr (Dr. Clay Haskett), Nathan Gamble (Sawyer Nelson) and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Hazel Haskett).

IMAG6400 Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope   Review and Interview with the Cast

When Connick entered the scene, his star presence commanded the room. It was obvious that we were in the presence on a superstar. Connick was as witty and clever as he appears on TV and the chemistry between the three stars felt real and genuine. Upon entering the room, Cozi Zuehlsdorff instantly won the mommy bloggers over by calling us hip, beautiful moms.

During the interview, Connick shares his account of the night Hope arrived at CMA. “I knew it was a sequel in the making. I nudged Charles (the director) to starting write the script. The entire cast jumped right in for the sequel. It was like a family reunion.”

Me: Winter, Dolphin Tale and now its sequel, Dolphin Tale 2 has impacted so many lives. How has working with Winter impacted and changed yours?

Connick: We’ve all been dealt a bad hand. There’s a process of acceptance. Working with Winter, gives you perspective and you look at things differently.

Me:  I heard you were on site at CMA for 52 days. Ashley Judd mentions Frenchy’s in the movie, which is one of my favorite spots. Did you have time to explore Tampa Bay? What are some of your favorite spots?

Connick: The ceviche at Casa Tina is the best. I carried some home on the plane.

Zuehlsdorff: I love Clear Sky.

Me to Gamble and Zuehlsdorff: A good portion of the animal scenes incorporate animatronics including a digital prosthetic tale on Winter since Winter can only swim with her prosthetic tale a certain amount of time each day. How did that impact your swimming scenes? How long did it take to film these scenes?

Zuehlsdorff: It took a couple of weeks, but I also have asthma which impacts my time in the water.

Me: Cozi, you are a CMA spokesperson and a role model to so many kids. What advice can you give kids who are dreaming of working with marine life or a career in marine biology?

Zuehlsdorff: It’s wonderful and so rewarding.

Another Blogger: Who is your role?

Zuehlsdorff: My mom is my role model, but it all honesty, Hazel is my role model. I draw my strength from her.

Me to Gamble: Dr. Cameron McCarthy played by Morgan Freeman gave your character some great advice. “Sometimes you have to shake things up to move forward.” What real world advice and coaching did the Oscar-winner give you?

Gamble: He’s Morgan Freeman and a very quiet, private man. I just watched and observed him.

IMAG6403 Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope   Review and Interview with the Cast

It was such a joy spending that Sunday morning with the cast of Dolphin Tale 2 and my Tampa Bay Bloggers friends. I still can’t believe I had my arm around Harry Connick, Jr. and I didn’t faint!

Dolphin Tale 2 opens in theater TODAY and it is a must-see.

DolphinTale 2 movieposter Dolphin Tale 2: Winter Has Hope   Review and Interview with the Cast

 

 

A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Last month, my family and I were invited to tour the Clearwater Marine Aquarium  (CMA) as a part of a partnership with Grace Hill Media and the Tampa Bay Bloggers to promote the upcoming film, Dolphin Tale 2, which splashes into theaters on Friday, September 12.

IMAG6323 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Although my family and I have visited CMA many times before, we were amazed by all the expansions, including the movie sets.

IMAG6319 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

IMAG6322 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Our Dolphin Tale 2 visit enlightened us with new knowledge about Winter and her life at CMA. Our tour began upstairs in a classroom setting overlooking the Clearwater Marina where we met CEO, David Yates, who shared the story about how Winter came to be CMA’s famous permanent resident.

IMAG6324 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

IMAG6325 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

As a young calf, Winter was entangled in a crab trap and stranded near Cape Canaveral, Florida.  While entangled, the crab trap line cut off circulation to her tail flukes and a portion of her perduncle.  Once free, she was transported to CMA for treatment of her extensive injuries, however, her tail deteriorated and it could not be saved.

IMAG6329 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Through the relentless efforts of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc., Dr. Mike Walsh, CMA’s marine mammal veterinarian and trainers, they developed a unique plan to attach a prosthetic tail to Winter. Whereas most dolphins would not survive in such overwhelming odds, Winter’s energy and ability to adapt to her new physical form surpassed everyone’s expectations. She healed completely and adapted to a new swim pattern. During the Q&A portion, we learned that Winter receives a new a tale every four months.

IMAG6332 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

With the aid of her trainer, Winter undergoes extensive physical therapy and stretching to prevent long term issues, such as scoliosis. Her trainer corrects Winter to use proper range of motion (up and down) when she “cheats” and swims side to side.

IMAG6348 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Mr. Yates also shared the core mission of the CMA: rescue, rehabilitate and release, however, in some severe cases release would be a far worse existence.

IMAG6340 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

As a permanent resident of CMA, Winter is loved and her amazing story of survival has inspired millions, including burn victims, Wounded Warriors and Winter Kids. All visitors have a strong connection to Winter.

IMAG6358 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

IMAG6356 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Enter Hope a three month old calf, who arrived almost 5 years and 1 day later from Winter’s historical rescue. On the evening of the Dolphin Tale wrap-up party, the cast watched the outstanding efforts of the CMA team and knew it was a sequel in the making!

IMAG6347 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

The orphaned Hope lacked a herd and the means to survive in the wild. Once the two became acclimated, it was obvious that two would become fast friends. From then on, Winter has Hope.

Our tour led us through the facility where we witnessed Winter and Hope in action. We also met some other resident named, Nicolas, who play Mandy in Dolphin Tale 2.

IMAG6381 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Upon exiting the facility on our way to the Dolphin Tale 2 screening, I asked a handsome gentleman to snap a photo of my family, not realizing it was Austin Stowell, who plays Kyle in the movie. After a good laugh and being a good sport, he posed for a photo with us.

IMAG6388 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

IMAG6391 A Dolphin Tale 2 Experience at Clearwater Marine Aquarium: #WinterHasHope

Later that evening, I bumped into Austin in the theater for the Dolphin Tale 2 screening and congratulated him on his work in brilliant sequel.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my full Dolphin Tale 2 movie review and press junket with the stars of the film!

LeapFrog LeapBand – Fit Made Fun!

Disclosure: I received free products in order to host a LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are my own.

With all the fit watches, bands, bits and loops on the market, more and more parents are modeling fit lifestyles for their kids. Now young children can join on the fit fun with the LeapFrog LeapBands. With fun games and challenges, LeapFrog LeapBand makes fitness fun and even encourages the whole family to join in on the fun.

On September 6th, in time for National Fit Made Fun Day, I hosted a play date for our little friends to try out the new LeapFrog LeapBand. Thanks to the wonderful resources online at LeapFrog from game suggestions to snack ideas, I could plan a truly fun event for all our friends. There were even awards and ribbons to celebrate our achievements!IMG 20140906 122905 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

To keep it simple while offering enough space to move, we met at our neighborhood park. We kicked off the Fit Made Fun activities with a simple Healthy Habits Hunts. Using the healthy snack print outs online, my oldest daughter hid the healthy snacks around the park for the children to explore and find. The child that found the most snacks won a box of Clif Kid ZBars.  LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun! After running around the park and working up an appetite searching for healthy snacks, I provided the children with items for a healthy parfait station. Using small pots of low fat vanilla yogurt, fresh fruit and ZBars for granola toppings, the kids could create their own personal perfect parfait. IMG 20140906 131905 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!Once finished with their snacks, we took on the pre-loaded challenges in LeapBand which are perfect for young children between the ages 4-7, although the moms and big kids enjoyed silly, fit made fun aactivities  LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun! The kids took turns wearing the watch and completing the fitness activities prompted by the virtual pet in the LeapBand. They giggled as they wiggled and laughed as they crawled like turtles. IMAG6611 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

IMAG6610 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun! Although the kids loved the silly challenges, they created their own challenge when my oldest discovered the stopwatch feature in the LeapBand. Upon finding that feature, the kids came up with the idea to time their “sprints” around the park which then developed into races.  LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

 LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun! I loved that the kids found their own way to make fit fun with the help of the LeapFrog LeapBand. At the end of the Fit Made Fun play date, we celebrated everyone’s achievements with personal ribbons and of course, everyone left with of Clif Kid ZBars.  LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun! All my own children (ages 13, 9, and 4) and their friends (ages ranging from 4 – 10) enjoyed the LeapBand and it is definitely a way to get the whole family involved in Fit Made Fun. The pre-loaded challenges are fun and geared for younger children although my whole family loves to be silly and fit.

The Run DMT Review:

The LeapFrog LeapBand is available in three colors: green, blue, pink and retails for $39.99. It will make a perfect gift for active children that love video games, however, it also encourages sedentary children to move through creative play and fun engagement. All kids (big and small) love that they can choose a virtual pet and the pet responds to their activity as well as their virtual nurturing.

10647241 10203708580291618 3340985714990117379 n LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!

With the USB cord that comes with the LeapBand, parents can sync the device, track and customize activity as well as download additional challenges and games online. The sound quality is low, but the voice is audible and clear.  Being outside made the device difficult to hear, but the volume is set to a perfect level when playing inside.  LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!Measuring at less than 1.5″ x 3/4″ and weighing approximately 1.5 oz , the device fits small children perfectly, but the latch is plastic which could break through regular use. No additional bands are provided. LeapBand size LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun! LeapBand LeapFrog LeapBand   Fit Made Fun!Overall, my kids love this product and I loved that it encouraged them to move. Designed with little fit kids in mind, LeapFrog LeapBand definitely made fit fun for the whole family!

What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

I discovered some very interesting facts during my time as a Mommy Certified Blogger for Lennar Tampa. Going into this campaign, I already had an idea of what makes a house a home, however, when I delved deeper and investigated Lennar homes, I discovered what sets Lennar homes apart from other builders. Through a working relationship with Lennar, I now have a more tailored list based on some of the typical criteria included in a Lennar home.

Lennar MommyCertified What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

Space

From the bonus rooms to the pantry, Lennar homes utilize space efficiently, which makes it usable for families. An oversized kitchen overlooking the family room and a study nook nestled in the kitchen allows families to stay connected without feeling cramped. While mom, dad or both parents cook dinner there is still plenty of room for the rest of the family to work on multiple tasks at the same time in the same space.

IMAG6060 What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

With growing families, storage is critical. Many of the Lennar floorplans offer large bedrooms with walk-in closets. Since many families are involved in extracurricular activities and sports, large closets house the toys, games, sporting goods and books kids need to store while spacious bedrooms offer enough room for furniture and living space for active children.

Quality

With every home, Lennar not only meets the standards for a basic home inspection but goes beyond it. The Lennar Quality passed my husband’s inspection making Lennar Homes “Daddy Certified” too. The piles of R-30 insulation blown into the attic, the R 4.1 insulation in the walls and the 1.4 pressure-treated floorboards for added support along the baseboards were some of the items my husband appreciated in a Lennar home.

IMAG6066 What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

With the eco-friendly features, Lennar offers quality and a means to help families save money. Lennar’s cutting-edge green building features such as Low-E glass windows and energy efficient appliances greatly enhance the quality of your home, while decreasing a family’s monthly utility bills.

 What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

Everything’s Included

From the tiled floors to the recessed lightning in the ceiling, the luxury standards you see are what you get with a Lennar home. Since Lennar homes include upgrades such as rounded walls, granite counters and large 42” cabinets, no upgrades are necessary for the homebuyer.

By offering well-built homes and safety standards surpassing other homebuilders as well as the Nexia™ Home Automation system, Lennar provides a secure home for families.  Lennar hand delivers your dream home but all the marvelous features help you sleep more comfortably at night.

 What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

Communities

Lennar communities are built in some of the most beautiful areas of Tampa Bay.  Among any of the Lennar Tampa communities, active families will find themselves surrounded by gorgeous conservation homesites and happy Lennar homeowners. Community amenities such as playgrounds and pools bring families together to help create a pleasant “Mommy Certified” community and lifestyle.

 What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

For more insight as to what makes Lennar homes Mommy Certified, visit my Fellow #MommyCertified Lennar Tampa bloggers, Calley the The Eco Chic and Tracy of Having Fun Saving. Learn more Mommy Certified features at LennarTampa.com.

What standard features makes a Lennar home Mommy Certified for you?

 What Makes a Lennar Home Mommy Certified?

Disclosure: This #MommyCertified post has been compensated by Lennar Tampa. The opinions shared are my 100% own.

Join the Girl Scouts Healthy Habits Journey

Disclosure: I have been compensated to share the Girls Scouts Healthy Habits Journey as part of the Together Counts initiative. My family’s healthy habits and opinions are my own.

As a mom on the run with a focus on fitness, food and family, I understand the importance of balance. I love sweets and fried food just as much as my kids do, but I also realize how important it is to consume these guilty pleasures in moderation. Therefore, I try to model for my kids how to fuel our bodies with the right types of foods, the occasional splurge and maintaining a healthy active lifestyle.

Even with the occasional splurge of sweets and high-fatty foods, there needs to be a balance in the calories we consume with the calories we expend. With cycling as a family and running in races like the Girls Scouts of West Central Florida Thin Mint Sprint, we achieve this balance.

GS thinMintSprint 930x1024 Join the Girl Scouts Healthy Habits Journey

As a mom of two Girl Scouts, I was thrilled to learn about the launch of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s Healthy Habits Journey Program and the Together Counts™ campaign, a nationwide program by the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to inspire active and healthy living through physical activity and nutrition in the efforts to reduce obesity. The principle behind the program is called Energy Balance, which simply means balancing the calories we consume with the calories we expend.

GirlScouts Fact Join the Girl Scouts Healthy Habits Journey

The Girl Scouts are so much more than cookie sales. The Girls Scouting builds confidence, courage and character and now through the Healthy Habits Journey program, it builds a foundation for healthy, strong, physically active girls, which reflects the healthy lifestyle so many families try to adopt in their homes.

In partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, Girl Scouts developed three “healthy habits” booklets for volunteers to use in conjunction with their Journey Adult Guides. The free booklets help guide girls on their Journey as they learn to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

Through the use of these free resources for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors, Girl Scout volunteers and families can guide girls in fun, easy ways to achieve “energy balance.”

The three Healthy Habits Journey booklets available for download include:

To learn more about the Girl Scouts Program and what girls do in Girl Scouting from patch programs to council-wide events, follow the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital on Facebook and Twitter.

Each council offers a variety of exciting program opportunities for girls of all ages. To locate the council nearest you, see the Girl Scout Council Finder.

To explore the Together Counts program and how you can get your school and community involved, visit the Together Counts website and blog. Follow Together Counts on Twitter and Pinterest.

together counts logo Join the Girl Scouts Healthy Habits JourneyThis Tuesday, September 9th at 9:00 pm EST, join me for a Mom It Forward #GNO #HealthyHabits Twitter Chat on to discuss the Girl Scouts and Together Counts.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

Disclosure: My family and I received complimentary one-day admission tickets to LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND Water Park for the purpose of a review. The opinions shared are my own.

IMAG5626 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

With three birthdays in July, there are only so many pool parties you can do before you guests turn into pool party prunes. Instead of parties, my family and I decided to celebrate our July birthdays with a family outing to LEGOLAND. It had been years since my kids and I last visited LEGOLAND Florida Resort for a school trip, however, my husband had never experienced the park before.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

Typically, Floridians avoid theme parks in the summer. Not only does the heat suffocate the joy of the experience, most theme parks have tourists packed in like sardines.

Upcycled on the former Cypress Gardens site in the Greater Orlando area, LEGOLAND Florida is a stone’s throw away from Walt Disney World and about an hour and a half from Tampa. Situated on Eloise Lake, the lakefront property provides a beautiful breeze even on the hottest of summer days and offers several nice shady spots for a picnic, especially when guests are permitted to pack their own sandwiches and healthy snacks.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

Gentle sprinkler misters spray guests as they amble throughout the park and they were a saving grace on a hot July day as were the friendly summer safety tip reminders.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

All of those were certainly bonuses on a hot summer day, but let’s face it. My family and I were here for the LEGO themed rides. Specifically designed for the younger Master Builders, my two younger July birthday children truly enjoyed the park. Little Lion Man met most of the height requirements for the rides but when he didn’t, he quite happily played with the LEGO building stations in the queue while he waited for his sisters.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

We started our adventure in LEGO TECHNIC. While Dad and the girls rode Project X, Little Lion Man and I boarded the Aquazone and then squealed wiht delight as we cycled on the Technicycle.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

As we made our through LEGO CITY, the kids earned their licenses at the Ford Driving School and then shortly after, we headed straight for the LEGOLAND Water Park.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

IMAG5643 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

The Build-a-Raft greeted us upon entering the park and beckoned the girls to come for a swim. Liam and I splashed around DUPLO Splash Safari while we waited for his sisters to return.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

From the Joker Soaker to the Splash Out, we could have easily spent the rest of the day there, however, my little thrill seeking Lion Man was disappointed that he didn’t meet the height requirements for some of the flumes on the Joker Soaker. Thankfully, there was plenty of LEGO Master Builder fun to go around and please him, especially at the Wave Pool.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

Storms rolled in the later afternoon as they often do in the summer months and sadly, we needed to cut our AWESOME LEGOLand adventure short. Upon our next visit we will head straight to the World of Chima first since we missed it for this visit.

 LEGOLAND Florida Resort is AWESOME

This fall, experience the wonder of LEGOLand and the magic of the holidays with two Bricktacular events only LEGOLand could build.

Guests will invade LEGOLAND® Florida Resort during its kid-friendly Halloween celebration of Brick-or-Treat presented by Wells Fargo this Fall.  This spooky event takes place weekends in October, and features trick-or-treating along the brick-or-treat trail, super brick build activities, the largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern in the world, Halloween entertainment and an all-kids costume contest with brick-tastic prizes!

On Saturdays and Sundays in December, Christmas Bricktacular will feature tons of holiday festivities and family fun with park admission including a photo opportunity with a life-sized LEGO Model Santa Claus!

For more information on upcoming events and to purchase tickets or annual passes, visit florida.LEGOLAND.com.

To explore the LEGOLAND Hotel opening in Summer 2015 or to reserve a room, visit florida.legoland.com/LEGOLAND-Hotel

Experience “3D Printing the Future – The Exhibition” and MOSI

Disclosure: My family and I received complimentary one-day admission to MOSI in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.

I have fond memories of visiting The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) when I was a kid. One of my strongest memories involves me stepping into the hurricane simulator and being blown away by the experience.

Recently, I had the opportunity to share Tampa’s MOSI with my children. Of course, the center has grown since my childhood days. In fact, MOSI’s scientific playground offers more than 450 hands-on activities and holds the title as the largest science center in the southeast United States.

For our most recent visit, we explored MOSI’s newest addtion, 3D Printing the Future – The Exhibition.  Through a hands-on exploration and live demonstration, we unraveled how 3D printing technology works, how it is used, and the amazing possibilities for the future.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

Upon entering the exhibit, my Whovian children immediately spotted the 3D TARDIS in the display case.

3D%2520TARDIS Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

Photo captured by my daughter, Allana

As we ambled through the exhibit, we uncovered so many ways that 3D Printing has impacted our world although we didn’t realize it.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

The creative 3D designs of the live demonstration amused us, particularly the Stephen Colbert Octopus.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

Since 3D Printing the Future – The Exhibition is more suited for older children, my twelve year old enjoyed the 3D Workshop, especially when she had the opportunity to draw with the world’s first 3D printing pen.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

There was definitely an art to draw with the 3D pen. Allana wanted to design a more a complex structure but struggled with the material. She opted to a more simple design, her initials.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

Once she finished her 3D design, we joined the rest of the gang upstairs to explore The Amazing You exhibit, which consists of seven developmental life stages: beginning of life, childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle adult, older adult and end-of-life issues.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

Given that some of that content can be a bit intense for younger children, we skimmed through and focused on the hands-on healthy living aspect of the exhibit.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

As much fun as MOSI can be, exploring and climbing MOSI’s  Sky Trail® Ropes Course & Zip Line really pumped my kids and me up. Little Lion Man was too little, so he stayed behind with Daddy. Once Emmalynn gazed upon the looming size of the Sky Trail Ropes Course and Zip Line, she chickened out she hesitated and decided against it.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

Allana and I were the only two brave souls left standing.

This multi-level structure, which opened in 2011, offers many paths and multiple challenges as guest navigate and climb their way to the top harnessed to the apparatus for safety measures. The course can be as challenging as guests choose to make it and since I love a challenge, I attempted a path that resembled tightrope. After losing my footing and nearly falling, I decided to stick to the plank paths and platforms. I met Allan at the top for the Zip Line but she decided against.

I was the last one standing and I was about to be catapulted across the length of a football field. And it was AWESOME! When I relive the adventure, I will plan a MNO event to experience the Sky Trail® Ropes Course & Zip Line  with my thrill-seeking mommy friends.

For the remainder of our visit, my family and I explored our favorite exhibits such as and Kids In Charge! The Children’s Science Center (which is perfect for the little ones), Disasterville, Dr. Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove and the Gulf Coast Hurricane, where I could relive my childhood hurricane memories and create new hurricane simulator memories with my children.

 Experience 3D Printing the Future   The Exhibition and MOSI

3D Printing the Future – The Exhibition made its debut on June 14, 2014 at MOSI and is a limited engagement experience.

MOSI admission, which includes 3D Printing the Future – The Exhibition anda documentary IMAX film, is $22.95 for adults, $20.95 for seniors (60+) and $18.95 for children (2-12). Museum hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information, call 813-987-6000 or visit mosi.org.  ***Children under age 2 admitted for FREE. There is a $2.50 convenience fee for reservations made by phone and web orders.

For this special 3D Printing the Future – The Exhibition MOSI has teamed up with The Dali Museum. The two museums will have reciprocal displays in each of their exhibitions and will offer special discounts to those who visit both museums. MOSI will offer 50 percent off its admission to anyone who presents a ticket stub from The Dali Museum.

 

RANdom Thoughts: Seven Weeks Until Chicago, Some New Running Shoes, a Hotspot and Back on Track {Tuesday}

Disclosure: JD Sports generously sent me a pair of running shoes to review, but the Asics GT-2000 were too narrow for my wide feet. The review is brief, but the opinions shared are my own, including the fact that I really, really wished the shoes fit.

In the marathon training sense, I found myself really struggling to get back into routine the week when the kids returned to school. Hubby and I managed to share the jobs related to the morning school routine and getting the kids off to school on time, but beyond that I didn’t know which end was up.

Honestly, I knew that was going to happen and I planned for it. I gave myself some slack and just focused on surviving the first week of school. After weeks of sleeping in and enjoying the lazy days of summer, I couldn’t face an alarm at 5:00 a.m. So I didn’t.

Some people would call that an excuse. For me, I see it more of redirecting my attention. It’s so hard to juggle training for a marathon, blogging and still trying to be there for my kids and husband. Something has to give. If you are a regular reader of Run DMT, you probably already know which was ignored.

Although I felt no guilt, I have been feeling a bit depressed over the past week which may be a direct link to my lack of workouts. The anxiety and depression could be hormonal but it might also be caused by a lack of endorphins from running less and spinning less and not weight-lifting. It also might be the “end of summer blues”. To overcome this sadness, I know I need to focus on eating right, avoiding sugars, reducing my alcohol consumption and commit to a regular workout routine. I also need to reconnect with my running partners and carve out some positive family time not related to a blogging job, a tech-time out so to speak.

With one school week under way and seven weeks left until the Chicago Marathon, I was ready (kind of, sort of) to face marathon training again and to shake off the anxiety and sadness I had been feeling. That’s not to say I jumped out of bed at 5:00 a.m. but more slumped out of bed around 6:00 a.m., as was the case this morning.

Yesterday, I missed my golden hour to run before my family wakes up but I wouldn’t allow myself to miss another run. So I decided to run around 9:00 after I dropped Little Lion Man off at preschool.

That was a bad move.

Like a bad prank, the morning seemed a tad bit cooler and I thought I would be fine running later in the morning. Unfortunately, my body temperature rose right along with the heat index. Even though I set up extra water for a water stop in my neighborhood, it wasn’t enough. Halfway into the run I changed my course and ran to my local Publix supermarket just for more water some A/C and a potty break.  I filled up my handheld Nathan and still barely made it back to my planned water stop.

IMAG6596 RANdom Thoughts: Seven Weeks Until Chicago, Some New Running Shoes, a Hotspot and Back on Track {Tuesday}

I set out to run 8 miles but could only manage 6 miles in the heat and I was totally fine with that. At least I was committed to running regularly again. And you know what? Even though I felt as though I was going to die from a heat stroke, I felt remarkably better.

Screenshot 2014 08 26 11 01 58 RANdom Thoughts: Seven Weeks Until Chicago, Some New Running Shoes, a Hotspot and Back on Track {Tuesday}

Wanting to avoid another heat stroke, I decided to run a tad earlier than the day before and attempted some speed work. Last time I ran intervals, I ran 4 x 800s and since I need to slowly build up to hit the magical Yasso 800s, I decided to shoot for 6 x 800s today. Not great, but I made good progress toward my marathon goal. Next week, I think I’ll aim for 6 x 800s again to hopefully show some improvement.

Screenshot 2014 08 26 10 37 31 RANdom Thoughts: Seven Weeks Until Chicago, Some New Running Shoes, a Hotspot and Back on Track {Tuesday}

On a side note, I’m totally loving the MapMyRun app, which I discovered through my running partner, Daffodil. Although I was using the free version, I just purchased the upgraded app for $1. I find the MapMyRun to be a great little substitute while I pine over my dead Granny Garmin and decide which watch to purchase next. I just wish I could link the MapMyRun data and workouts to the Daily Mile.

In case you’re interested, today is the last day that the discount will be available, so don’t delay. Get yours today! The MapMyRun app is available in the iTunes store or Google Play store.

I recently received a pair of Asics GT-2000 from JD Sports which was perfect timing as I was due for a new pair of running shoes. Funny enough, my very first pair of running shoes was Asics and I find it amusing to come full circle in the running shoes sense.

This generation of the Asics GT-2000 is a really gorgeous shoes with Dynamic DuoMax® Support System offering lots of support and cushion in the heel (where I need it for my plantar fasciitis), however, no wide width was available and the shoe was a bit tight for me.  I felt a slight pinch on the inside of my foot. *insert sad face*

IMG 20140728 173129 RANdom Thoughts: Seven Weeks Until Chicago, Some New Running Shoes, a Hotspot and Back on Track {Tuesday}

So off to my favorite running store for a new shoe fitting although I waited until tax-free day on August 1 to save a bit of money. As much as I loved the cushioning in the Brooks Ravenna, I feel like the shoes really did some damage to me. In longer runs, my toes would go numb and then, I grew a hideous and painful bunion on my right foot. Ok so, maybe it wasn’t the shoe but rather other factors involved (like my gait for one), but since it all occurred while wearing the Ravenna shoes, I had a mental block and wanted to try something new.

After a few trials, I chose the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14 which is funny because I rejected a previous generation of the Brooks Adrenaline years ago. Rumor has it that Brooks added its famous Brooks DNA to the Adrenaline for added comfort and I would agree to that. My heels are happy and my bunions aren’t complaining either. And knock on wood, no numb toes!

IMAG5969 RANdom Thoughts: Seven Weeks Until Chicago, Some New Running Shoes, a Hotspot and Back on Track {Tuesday}

Then, the other day, I wore my new Brooks Adrenaline to the Zoo Run Run and forgot to pack my favorite Speco recovery flip-flops. I made the mistake of wearing my shoes on the Gator Falls flume ride and my shoes got DRENCHED! UGH! I absolutely despise wet shoes but I hate walking around in wet running shoes even more. My feet felt like they would never dry out. As a result, I believed I developed a hot spot from it. For the past couple of days, I have this horrible sore in the center of my sole that feels like a blister but I can’t see it. It’s painful! According this, I think there may be a blister under the callous. OUCH!

How is your training going?

Have you ever developed a hot spot? How did you “fix” it?

Do you allow yourself a moment to recharge and refocus?

What shoes are you running in these days?

Music Monday: Dolphin Tale 2 – Gavin DeGraw “You Got Me” and Giveaway

Everyone loves a story of an underdog who faces amazing challenges and struggles to survive. In Tampa Bay, Winter the Dolphin is a hometown hero and our lovable underdog (or in this case, underdolphin), who overcame incredible odds just to live.

Winter’s story begins at three months old when a SeaWorld rescue team saved her from a crab trap. After a death-defying release, the young calf was brought to the Clearwater Marine Aqaurium for rehabilitation, however, they could not save her tail. With the help of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc. and CMA’s incredible team of marine mammal veterinarians and trainers, they created a prosthetic tail for Winter. And this incredible tale all happened here in Clearwater with CMA and Clearwater Beach as the backdrop for the motion picture film, A Dolphin Tale.

But Winter’s amazing tale continued when Hope arrived as we learn in the sequel, Dolphin Tale 2.

Only 2-3 months old, Hope was rescued very close to the same location where Winter was found five years earlier. Once again, the CMA’s amazing team of marine mammal veterinarians and trainers had to nurse a young and extremely dehydrated calf. Although the goal is to nurse marine animals to full recovery and release them back into the wild, Hope lacked the skills to survive. In the best interest of the dolphins, Winter now has Hope.

Dolphin Tale 2 movie splashes into theaters on September 12, although I will be attending a red carpet tour pre-screening and press junket event at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this weekend. As a pre-screening swag gift to you, one of my readers can win a download of Gavin DeGraw’s new song “You Got Me”. To enter, leave a comment below. Download giveaway ends Wednesday, 11:59 pm.

For more Dolphin Tale 2 updates, follow Dolphin Tale 2 on Facebook and Twitter by following @DolphinTale @WinterDolphin #DolphinTale2 and #WinterhasHope.

Follow the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Winter and Hope updates and news on all the marine animal residents at CMA.

Dolphin Tale 2 2 Music Monday: Dolphin Tale 2    Gavin DeGraw You Got Me and Giveaway

 

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