Run DMT

I'm a mom on the run!

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

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

 

Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot {Giveaway}

What do you get when you combine Girl Scout Cookies and fast-paced runners?

A Thin Mint Sprint!

For a second year, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida will be hosting their delicious Thin Mint Sprint 5K and Tagalong Trot on Saturday, September 27 in beautiful downtown Safety Harbor.

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Allana and I had such a fun time last year and we are so excited to return with Emmalynn in tow this time.

IMAG3305 Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot {Giveaway}

Just like last year, the 5K and 1-mile race day participants will receive finisher medals for each event. I absolutely adored the medals and the matching green Thin Mint Sprint t-shirts.

IMAG3304 Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot {Giveaway}

Also like last year, the top 50 male and top 50 female 5K finishers will receive a box of their favorite Girl Scout cookies, compliments of FITniche! I’m really hoping to win a box again this year.

IMAG3325 Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot {Giveaway}

The faster runners can also expect an awards ceremony for the top 3 male and female finishers. But even if I don’t make the top 50 again or earn a finishers award, I can still indulge in the stacks and stacks of FREE Girl Scout Cookies at the post-race party.

IMAG3317 Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot {Giveaway}

IMAG3318 Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot {Giveaway}

Along with the 5K and 1 mile fun run, the organizers have added a VIRTUAL option as an added treat this year. So, no matter where you are in the world, you can “tagalong” with my girls and me for this tasty race to support the Girl Scouts.

To participate in a virtual Thin Mint Sprint, simply run or walk a 5K distance at your own time and method – road or treadmill, all in one day or split up the miles between days.  Virtual race participants will receive a bib and race shirt.

Whether virtually or locally, don’t miss out on this fun and tasty event! Online registration closes on at 11:59 pm ET on September 19 or when the registration hit the maximum capacity of 1,000 race participants. Register here.

One lucky Run DMT fan can win an entry to the Second Annual Thin Mint and Tagalong Trot. To enter, simply name your favorite flavor of Girl Scout cookies. For additional entries, follow the Rafflecopter prompts.
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Everything’s Included! A Lennar Tampa K-Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lennar Tampa. The opinions shared are my own.

On the rainiest day this summer, five Lennar Tampa #MommyCertified Bloggers and I met at the Lennar K-Bar Ranch Welcome Center at Heron Preserve to discover what differentiates a Lennar home from so many other builders.

LennarTampa MommyCertified 7.16.14 46 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

Calley of The Eco Chic loves all the eco-friendly green features of a Lennar home!

Sipping on hot coffee from our lovely Lennar mugs, we met a Lennar Knowologist, a customer care program that is exclusive to Lennar. A Knowologist works with homeowners to handle any issues with their home and helps homeowners adjust to their new neighborhood by helping them locate points of interest in their community.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

We began our K-Bar Ranch tour with the Harwich home, one of their largest floorplans in the community. What I loved the most about the Harwich floorplan is the little study nook right at the end of the foyer.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

Unlike many other Florida families, my family never enters the house from the garage. We always stumble through the front door with our arms full of handbags, shopping bags and backpacks and scramble to the kitchen to dump it on the counter. With a little study area in the kitchen, it’s the perfect landing spot for school projects and books.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

I also loved the open kitchen overlooking the family room. It gave such a spacious feeling, perfect for entertaining.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

When we moved upstairs, we were blown away by the game room. My kids (and my husband) would love to hide away up there to play video games.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

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From the gorgeous conservation homesites to the spindled staircase, we learned it was all included in a K-Bar Ranch home.  Like icing on the cake, granite counter tops and 42-inch maple kitchen cabinets are also included, as well as modern conveniences such as USB ports and LED lightning features. Even the 2” slotted blinds window treatments are part of the Everything’s Included Lennar package.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

Blown away by all the details that sets a Lennar home apart from other homes, we ventured next door to learn more about the quality details that are simply part of the Lennar design and construction.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

Inside the Lennar’s Quality Home, we glanced into the attic and peeked through walls to admire the mountains of R-30 insulation and care behind every Lennar home. My husband would be impressed!

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified After exploring a Lennar Quality Home, we took a short road trip to Meadow Pointe to learn more about Lennar’s townhomes. 

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

LennarTampa MommyCertified 7.16.14 51 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

Surprisingly large floor plans with cement filled, shared walls give a Lennar townhome a homey and yet very private feel.  Although the average floorplan of these models were 2,000 square feet, the townhomes are perfect for families who want to downsize but don’t want to lose the benefits of a home.  With full-sized bedrooms and baths and an open dining plan, the Lennar townhomes felt very spacious.

LennarTampa MommyCertified 7.16.14 54%2520%25281%2529 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

For me, my Mommy Certified home includes a home with three car garage, five bedrooms, an oversized kitchen, a family room for entertaining and lots of storage. You can read more about my criteria for a perfect home here. Thankfully, with a Lennar home, I don’t have to think about all the nitty gritty quality details, because everything’s included.

 Everythings Included! A Lennar Tampa K Bar Ranch Tour #MommyCertified

LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a Prime Time Party Pack from LongHorn Steakhouse and gift cards to host a Girls Night Out to review the Longhorn Steakhouse Prime Time menu. The opinions shared are my own. 

What do you get when you mix a girls night out with great prices on delicious starters and specialty drinks? 

A Prime Time evening of affordable fun provided by LongHorn Steakhouse! After all, when you are longing for a happy hour with your girlfriends, a few drinks and appetizers should not break the bank.

My friends, Marisa of Adventures of a Tampa Mama and Chrissy of Loving Life joined me at LongHorn Steakhouse in Citrus Park, Tampa to sample the newest menu items featured on LongHorn’s Prime Time Menu, which was created to showcase some of LongHorn’s coolest cocktails and hottest bites on its bar menu.

LHPrimeTime menu LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

This LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time bar menu is offered at select LongHorn Steakhouse locations Monday through Friday from 4pm to 7 pm. The menu includes a variety of $3, $4 and $5 spicy small plates and specialty cocktails to  wash it all down.

LHPrimeTime drinks LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

Chrissy, Marisa and I sampled all of the menu items offered during the Prime Time Happy Hour to demonstrate how incredibly affordable the LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time menu can be for a Girls Night Out.  My girlfriends and I ordered one of every starter and two cocktails each. Our bill totaled under $60 with tax and tip. That’s less than $20 per person. 

IMAG5342 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

For the sake of this Prime Time experience, we over indulged and shared the starters family style. One appetizer was more than filling for one person. Obviously, if I was simply ordering for myself, the Prime Time specials would be even more affordable if I only ordered one starter and two drinks.

 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

For my first cocktail, I started with the PrimeTime Margarita, which is always refreshing and a perfect summer drink.

 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

Chrissy ordered the Angry Buck. When it arrived, I coveted her drink.

IMG 20140623 182059 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

Made with Angry Orchard and 8 year old Buck Bourbon Whiskey, the drink paired nicely with the spicy spread before us. Of course, I had to order my own once I finished my Margarita.

 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

As much as I enjoyed all the Prime Time starters, my favorite appetizer was the Shrimp and Avocado Stack. I loved the presentation. Although it was served with tortilla strips, the dish easily becomes a light meal with just the shrimp, avocado, lettuce and tomato and it tastes great as a salad.

 LongHorn Steakhouse Prime Time Menu #Review #Giveaway

With over 400 locations nationwide,  LongHorn Steakhouse wants you to experience its Prime Time Happy Hour Menu and has provided a $25 gift card so that one lucky Run DMT winner can sample this affordable and tasty Prime Time Menu in their neck of the woods on the house. To enter, leave a comment telling me which appetizer appealed to you. For additional entries, follow Rafflecopter prompts.

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Five Things That Make a House a Home

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lennar Tampa. The opinions shared are my own.

When my husband and I bought our first home, we were singletons making the transition into life as a couple. As a young couple, we didn’t think about building a family and how a growing family would fit, or not fit in our modest, quaint home.

After one child (never mind the three we now have fifteen years later), we quickly learned some valuable lessons which led to essential features that we now look for in a home.  Office space, functional living space, reasonably-sized bedrooms and a large kitchen that offers space for two amateur chefs who regularly entertain guests, are all basic features we now expect in a home to fit our family of five and extended family and friends.

For me, this breaks down into a nice little list.

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Five Things That Make a House a Home

 LN LS Lake1 1024x682 Five Things That Make a House a Home

1.  Location, Location, Location!

Deciding where to hang your hat starts with selecting the right homesite. Before you decide on a homesite, drive through the adjacent communities at different times of the day and on different days of the week. If you commute, time the distance to work and notice traffic patterns on the major roads to understand how it will impact your drive to work.

Also, research the schools nearby. Even if you don’t have kids at the moment, check out the neighborhood schools for when you decide to build your family. Utilize online tools such as GreatSchools.com and FL DOE to learn how the schools perform. Thankfully, the schools in our area are excellent.

We love our neighborhood, but we always toy with the idea of buying a new home.  For our next home, I would love a slightly larger floor plan and to live on a caudle sac with a conservation view relatively close to where we currently reside.

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2. Community Amenities 

As much as I would love a home with a pool, the reality of building a pool just isn’t in the cards for us financially. However, we are an active family and we love to be outdoors.  Therefore, it is important that the community we live in offers a playground, trails, tennis courts, pool and a clubhouse.

LN TPA Wolcott Floorplan1 Five Things That Make a House a Home

3. Selecting the Right Floor Plan

Confession: I have no spatial awareness. I will look at a floor plan and the measurements mean nothing to me. Although online virtual tours help, I still need to walk through the home to visualize how my couch would look in the family room. Can I picture my family noshing on meals in this breakfast nook?

Having lived in two homes now, I pay close attention to how the rooms are decorated in model homes.  Is there a twin bed or full in the bedroom?  How much furniture is in the room? Can you move around in the room? Unless you can afford buying all new bedroom sets for your entire family, you need to make sure that the furniture you will move in will fit the rooms.

To help take the guesswork out of visualizing how you and your furniture will fit in a home, Lennar offers an interactive tool, the Interactive Room Planner. With a large assortment of furniture options that can adjust to specific measurements, the Interactive Room Planner beautifully helps illustrate how all your furniture and family will fit in a home.

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4. Storage

As your family grows, so will your belongings. It’s amazing how much stuff one family will accumulate.  Not to mention, there are a ridiculous amount of holiday items like Christmas trees (Yes, we have more than one.) and other miscellaneous decorations. My family and I declutter only to make more room for more stuff.

For us, a two-car garage just doesn’t fit two cars and all our storage bins, bikes a second fridge and my husband’s carpentry and automotive workshop. We need a three-car garage just to store stuff and then maybe we could actually park a car in the garage.

But three kids also means three times as many things and a family of five means five mouths to feed. Storage space inside the house is also a must! We have bundles of board games, piles of shoes and stacks of jackets and clothes.  Each child needs their own place to store their belongings. As for my husband and I, we don’t share well. Therefore, his and hers closets are a necessity in the Master Suite.

Also, with two cooks in the kitchen, we need plenty of large cabinets. For years, I have longed for a walk-in pantry to store our dry-goods, entertaining dishes, platters and small kitchen appliances.

As for the laundry room, it should have a set of cabinets to hide detergent. The laundry room should also provide plenty of space to sort dirty laundry, fold clothes as they come out of the dryer and room to hang drip-dry clothing, as well as discarded shoes and backpacks.

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5. What’s Included?

It’s the next natural question when looking for a home. Upgrades are expensive. Once you start adding in granite counters, large maple cabinets, fixtures and flooring the basic price of the home quickly starts to climb. When you start to factor in window treatments such as blinds, it can be an unforeseen cost. When upgrades and even functional items like window treatments are included, you are offered a more realistic price for a home and can avoid newspaper shades.

As a Mommy Certified Blogger for Lennar, follow me as I discover how a Lennar Tampa community fits my criteria for making a house a home.

mommy certified Lennar Five Things That Make a House a Home 

Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

IN TAMPA!

IMAG5404 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5427 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

Marvel Universe Live! kicked off its tour in Tampa on Tuesday night with a dress rehearsal. My family and I were fortunate enough to experience this never seen before living comic book.

This action-packed superhero ensemble includes 25 of Marvel fans favorite characters from superheroes  to super villains. With fireworks and an amazing light display, Thor begins the show with a mighty blow of his hammer shattering the Cosmic Cube before it enters the hands of evil, his brother Loki.

IMAG5405 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

To Thor’s dismay, Loki harnesses the power of the fractured pieces to embark on world domination and the ultimate destruction of Earth.  Other super villians enter the scene as the Marvel super good-doers stop Loki’s evil plan.

IMAG5410 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

The super team combs the dessert, climbs the Himalayans and battles on top of the statue of Liberty to protect Earth and defeat the villains. With high-flying acrobatics and motorcycle stunts, the audience follows along on a high-speed, high-stakes adventure.

IMAG5439 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5450 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5451 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5455 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5460 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5473 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

From the fight scenes to the fireworks, my children were captivated by incredible action scenes. Even my husband and I enjoyed the show, despite the corny 1980s Saturday morning dialogue. Be prepared for sad puns and over used super speeches, however, you will look past the bad puns when you witness the pyrostunts. Marvel Universe Live! has turned up the heat on family entertainment and live performances. This is no Princess on Ice performance!

IMAG5434 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

Marvel Universe Live! will be fighting evil in Tampa until Sunday, July 13. For tickets, visit the TampaBayTimesForum.com.

IMAG5492 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

Win tickets to the Friday, July 11 evening performance in this flash giveaway.  One lucky winner will four tickets to the 7pm Friday evening performance. To enter, name your favorite Marvel Superhero.  Follow the Rafflepcopter prompts for additional entries. Flash giveaway ends Thursday, July 10 at 11:59 pm.

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Visit TampaMama and DadScribe for additional chances to win Marvel Universe Live tickets.

Experience a SeaWorld Summer

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

I know the word “SeaWorld” may cause some people to squirm, cringe or even whisper the word like a politically incorrect slur. Even mentioning the word in a hashtag or tweet makes you a target for anti-SeaWorld cyberbullying.

SeaWorld Pelican tweet Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Pelican tweets Experience a SeaWorld Summer

I have not watched Blackfish. I simply refuse based on my continued partnership with SeaWorld.

I belong to PETA. I buy animal cruelty-free products and yet, I eat meat, wear leather shoes and enjoy zoos but I don’t like circuses. Yep, I’m a walking contradiction.

So let’s take this all for what is. I enjoy affordable Florida entertainment and basically, that’s what SeaWorld offers while educating its guests about marine life and conversation.  As I’ve said before, even if SeaWorld removed its star attraction, we would still visit the park for its message of conversation, animal rescue and rehabilitation and the incredible roller coasters and if you include, Aquatica, its outstanding water slides.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Thanks to my ongoing SeaWorld partnership, my family and I started our SeaWorld summer adventure with Aquatica .  With the recent addition of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, we had to experience this horrifying 80 foot drop for ourselves.

IMG 20140620 152713 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

After feeling the overwhelming height of the Ihu’s Breakway Falls looming over me like a skyscraper, I decided to stick with the smaller slides at Kata’s Kookaburra Cove.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Sadly, we were just starting to get our feet wet when a typical Florida afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and we had to cut our visit short.  Though the park would reamin open, all the waterslides and pools would close due to inclement weather.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Later that evening, we popped over to SeaWorld to experience a whole new exhibit Generation Nature LIVE. With the help of Bindi Irwin (daughter of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter), guests discover how they can protect wildlife and their habitats.  Bindi encourages kids to be Game Changers for nature and learn now how we can help wildife.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

For the launch of this show, we came face to face with a sloth, an America Bald Eagle and a pelican.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

After the show, we had the chance to meet a few animals up close and a few of their friends in the SEA Garden.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

My youngest daughter loved the ponies.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

After our animal encounter, we enjoyed the new Shamu experience, Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night. While we waited for the show to begin, we enjoyed the music and watching random guests dance on the large monitors positioned throughout the stadium.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

This all-new high-energy show features original music and production elements, as well as new killer whale behaviors.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

With stylistic lighting and colorful backdrops, Shamu Stadium transforms into a celebratory atmosphere that ends with the most amazing a fireworks finale.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

The best way to experience a SeaWorld Summer and these amazing new shows this summer is with an all-new ticket offer, Your Day, Priced Your Way, where guests can save $15 on a ticket valid any day of the week. 

If you have a flexible schedule, you can save $30 on a weekday ticket.  Plus, planning in advance and buying tickets online allows guests the convenience of printing at home and going straight through the turnstiles. This special ticket offer is available to U.S. residents for advance purchase only at SeaWorldOrlando.com.

For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. Follow SeaWorld on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube

Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

On July 27, I turn 43 and to celebrate the occasion, I decided to share 43 gifts before my 43rd birthday. You may remember that I shared 42 gifts last year as part of a #birthdayproject, which included hosting giveaways and a variety of random acts of kindness. Like last year, I plan to complete another  #birthdayproject with #43gifts by hosting giveaways and performing small gestures to pay it forward during my birthday month.

43gifts Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

Also during the month of July leading up to my birthday, I plan to run 43 miles. With training for a marathon, it should be relatively easy to achieve. On my birthday, I plan to host a virtual run. Last year, I loved seeing all the photos of my friends from all over the globe running some miles with me and taking selfies of their sweaty smiles to celebrate my birthday. It was the best gift ever! So let’s do it all again! Who’s with me?

RSVP for my Virtual Birthday Run for Run DMT here. Run whatever you can, wherever you can on Sunday, July 27 and then upload a sweaty selfie to the event page. If you are on Instagram or Twitter, share it with the #RunDMTbdayrun.

On Saturday, I ran 12 miles with Daffodil. It’s so stinking hot here and we just want to finish the miles and not push ourselves. We just took it easy and walked about every mile for about 30 seconds. Who knew 12 miles would go so well?!

12mile 6 29 Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

On Sunday, I ran an easy 3 miles followed by a ½ mile swim. It felt good to be back in the pool and I couldn’t believe how quickly I finished the swim (under 6 minutes) even with months off. Since my Garmin is off being refurbished, my times are estimates based on the time I leave my house.

3.1 miles
Time 35:00
Ave Pace 11:17

Yesterday, Allana joined me at spin class. There were a lot of climbs yesterday. My legs were toast. Even Allan was sore.

IMAG5376 Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

Today, started day one of my 43 miles and I just wanted to run. No sprints, I just wanted run a fast 4.3 miles, but I did throw in some ½ mile sprints for good measure.

4.3 miles
Time 42:00
Ave Pace 9:18

I had planned to do a #sexylegs workout but I ran short on time and promised to take my kids to Adventure Island, which offered me another type of #sexylegs workout climbing the Splash Attack ropes to keep up with my Little Lion Man.

Last week, I had my final evaluation for Session 1 of Body Back. I was really surprised my results. I lost 3 pounds. I dropped about 2 inches off my waist and an inch and a half off my hips. That is INCREDIBLE! Even my overall strength improved! It’s yet another example of how small changes can bring big results.

BodyBack finalevaluation Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

Tomorrow is our final Body Back class. I know Regina is going to really push us hard as a good-bye gift.

Speaking of gifts, as I mentioned before, I’m sharing 43 gifts for my birthday. So, let’s kick-off the giving with a Knuckle Lights giveaway!

These bright LED lights have been a godsend while training for marathons! You may recall me boasting about these before when I borrowed Mica’s light.

IMAG4207 Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

These lights are so bright, I only use one. Even on the lowest setting (There are three settings:  high, low and blinking.), one Knuckle Light shines bright enough to illuminate a pitch black path. The light fits conformably and ergonomically across my hand and honestly, I often forget I’m wearing it. I seriously love them and I want you to enjoy them too.

IMAG5381 Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

I’m giving away a pair of blue Knucke Lights. To enter, simply tell me how you will plan to use them. Will you use your blue Knuckle Lights during the wee dark early morning hours or for a night time run?

Blue KnuckleLights Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

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