2018 Christmas Event Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Here is your 2018 guide to Christmas Events happening in and around the Tampa Bay Area.

Parades, Lights, Santa, and more!

 


 

ChristmasEventGuide

Please verify all information on events website before attending!

Parades.jpg

prade icon12/8 Pinellas Park Christmas Paradeprade icon

prade icon 12/8 Zephyrhills Christmas Parade

Parades.jpg

christmaslights.jpg 11/10 – 12/31 Wiregrass Symphony in Lights

christmaslights.jpg 11/17 – 12/31 Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

christmaslights.jpg 11/22 – 12/29 Wonderland of Lights

  • When: November 22 – December 29
  • Hours: See website
  • Cost: ONLY $20 per vehicle- through November 21! ONLY $25 – after November 21!
  • Location: 215 Sydney Washer Road, Dover, Florida, 33527
  • More Info: https://thewonderlandoflights.com/Default.asp?

christmaslights.jpg 11/23 – 1/03 Oakdale Christmas House

  • When: November 23 – Jan. 3
  • Hours: 6 pm – 10 pm
  • Cost: FREE
  • Location: 2719 Oakdale Street S., St. Petersburg, Florida
  • More Info: http://www.christmasdisplay.org/

christmaslights.jpg 11/23 – 12/24 Christmas Lane

  • When: November 23 – December 24
  • Hours: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Cost:  Tickets are $5 for ages 13 and up, $3 for ages 12 to 4, and free for those 3 and under. Rides are a separate ticket.
  • Location: 2508 W. Oak Ave, Plant City, Florida, 33563
  • More Info: https://christmaslane.com/

christmaslights.jpg 11/23 – 12/30 Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens

christmaslights.jpg 11/28 Centro Ybor Tree Lighting

christmaslights.jpg  11/30 Grinchmas and Christmas Festival

christmaslights.jpg 11/30 Tampa Tree Lighting

christmaslights.jpg 12/1 – 12/31 LIghts of Lake Park Estate

  • When: Dec. 1 to Dec. 31
  • Hours: 6 pm – 10 pm
  • Cost: FREE but donations are appreciated
  • Location: 102nd Ave & 109 Ave N, Seminole, FL, 33777
  • More Info: http://lightsoflakepark.com/

Parades.jpg

satnaicon.jpg11/10 – 12/31 Christmas Card Lane 

satnaicon.jpg11/16 – 1/5 Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park

  • When: November 16 – January 5
  • Hours: See website for hours
  • Cost: Winter Village is free to attend. Additional cost for special events, food/beverages, ice skating, Winter Village Express, Shopping etc
  • Location: 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, Florida, 33602
  • More Info: http://www.wintervillagetampa.com/

satnaicon.jpg11/17 – 1/6 Christmas at Gaylord Palms and Ice Attraction

satnaicon.jpg11/17 – 12/16 Tampa Theatre Winter Classics

  • When: Select Fridays and Saturdays
  • Hours: See Website
  • Cost: free
  • Location: 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, Florida, 33602
  • More Info: http://www.wintervillagetampa.com/
  • Movie Lineup: Friday, Nov. 17 – White Christmas
    Saturday, Nov. 18 – Home Alone
    Friday, Nov. 24 – Miracle on 34th Street
    Saturday, Nov. 25 – A Christmas Story
    Friday, Dec. 1 – The Polar Express
    Friday, Dec. 15 – Elf
    Saturday, Dec. 16 – It’s a Wonderful Life

satnaicon.jpg 11/17 – 12/31 Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

satnaicon.jpg11/17 -12/31 SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

satnaicon.jpg 11/22 – 12/29 Wonderland of Lights

  • When: November 22 – December 29
  • Hours: See website
  • Cost: ONLY $20 per vehicle- through November 21! ONLY $25 – after November 21!
  • Location: 215 Sydney Washer Road, Dover, Florida, 33527
  • More Info: https://thewonderlandoflights.com/Default.asp?

satnaicon.jpg 11/23 – 12/24 Christmas Lane

  • When: November 23 – December 24
  • Hours: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  • Cost:  Tickets are $5 for ages 13 and up, $3 for ages 12 to 4, and free for those 3 and under. Rides are a separate ticket.
  • Location: 2508 W. Oak Ave, Plant City, Florida, 33563
  • More Info: https://christmaslane.com/

satnaicon.jpg 11/24 – 12/30 Christmas in the Wild

 

From all of us here at Everyday Moms, we wish you and your family and Happy and Safe Holiday!

Please verify all information before attending!
Written By: Shineta A

CBD & Motherhood

Motherhood is hard.

I used to be an overly social, happy person before kids. Then the anxiousness, irritability, and an overwhelming sensation took over. Maybe it was lack of sleep, maybe it was hormones, maybe it was because my munchkins would never give me 5 seconds to eat a meal.

Who knows!

I just know that after birthing my two chaotic boys, I needed help. I was drowning in all of these negative emotions, and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I had been on several medications for my mental stability, but nothing seemed to make things better without giving me added issues. This is when I searched for more natural alternatives.

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A friend of mine introduced me to CBD oil, a hemp extract with all the medicinal benefits of cannabis but without the high.

I thought to myself “HA! I’ve never done drugs. I don’t want to start now” Turns out, it’s a dietary supplement that is legal in all 50 states. (Who knew? I felt silly).

This was 6 months ago. I want to tell you how it’s changed not only my life, but my family as well.

Two weeks into using full spectrum CBD oil under my tongue twice a day, I felt like a new person. It balanced my moods completely. I no longer felt anxious, overwhelmed, irritable, etc. I could enjoy my kids without screaming at them for no reason. I felt like I could resume social dates with friends without that last minute “something came up” panic text.

Two months after being on the oil, I realized I hadn’t had any pulsating inflammation in my head in awhile. I couldn’t remember the last time I needed an ice pack, or to sit in the dark.

Once I realized how well this helped me, I started everyone else on the oil. My husband suffers some a traumatic experience which causes him irritability and difficulty sleeping. The first night he used the oil, he slept with no body sweats, screaming fits or any tenseness/twitching.  I couldn’t believe the change I saw in him. My son has a difficult time focusing as he fidgets a lot, and is naturally very impulsive. He struggled in Kindergarten last year due to these traits. After finding a serving size that works for him, it drastically helped him focus and control his impulsive reactions. In his words, CBD makes him “good”. My dogs also use CBD oil in their food, and get beef CBD treats at night to help their anxiousness. They love to bark at strangers and other animals, and would occasionally get nervous during storms. When they get CBD, they are completely mellow.

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Overall, this hemp extract has given all of us a better night’s sleep and more energy.  I can’t recommend this enough. I love it so much, I am now an advocate to help others struggling like I was.

Not all CBD oil is going to be created equally though. DO YOUR RESEARCH!
Ask yourself: 
Where was this grown? 
How was it extracted?   
What are the ingredients?
Is it an Isolate or Full Spectrum?

Do they third party test for purity and potency? Am I able to see those results?
Does it come with a money back guarantee?

If you would like to learn more about the product I use, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via Facebook or Instagram. I absolutely love talking about it.

Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, and Fall Festivals 2018

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Here are your local and worth the drive listings of corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and fall festivals in and around the Tampa Bay Area.

Enjoy and Happy Fall Y’all!

**Event Guide is updated weekly, so check back often for new events added**

Please Note: Time and price may change, please verify all information with event before attending!

Corn Mazes

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Fox Squirrel Corn Maze

  • When: WEEKENDS ONLY Oct. 6 – Oct 28
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm
  • Location: 3002 Charlie Taylor Rd, Plant City, FL 33565
  • Cost: Adults: $11 + tax (18 & older) Youth: $10 + tax (3 – 17) 2 & Under: FREE (cash only, there is no ATM on site)
  • Website: http://futchentertainment.com/

Scott’s Maze Adventures

  • When: Oct. 6 – Dec. 9, Sat and Sun ONLY
  • Hours: Saturdays, 10 am – 5pm, Sundays 12pm – 5 pm
  • Location: 26216 CR 448A, Mount Dora, Florida, 32757
  • Cost: $12.00 Admission, Kids 3 and under – free
  • Website: longandscottfarms.com

Harvest Holler Corn Maze

  • When: Sept. 21 – Nov. 11
  • Hours: Friday: 4pm – 8pm Saturday: Noon – 8 pm and Sunday Noon – 5 pm
    Monday to Thursday: by reservation only
  • Location: 950 Tavares Rd. Polk City, FL 33686
  • Cost: 2 and under is free, Kids 3-12yrs old $8.50, Adults 13 yrs and up $10.50, Sr Adults (65) and military $8.50, Field Trip rate $8.00
  • Website: .harvestholler.com

Timberline Farm’s Annual Corn Maze and Fall Festival

  • When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 4, Weekends ONLY
  • Hours: Friday 4 pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am –9pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 9pm
  • Location: 3200 Southeast 115th Street, Belleview, Florida, 34420
  • Cost: Admission is $8.00 Adults, $6.00 Children, Children 3 and under get in FREE. Active military, firefighters, & law enforcement always FREE!
  • Website: https://timberlinefarm.net/

Harvest Moon Farm

  • When: Sept, 29 – Nov. 5, SAT and SUN ONLY
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm
  • Location: 15990 Stur St, Masaryktown, FL, 34604
  • Cost: Adults & Children (ages 3+) $11.95+tax, Miltary Discount –

    $2.00 off general admission For military personnel only & must have ID present

  • Website: .harvestmoonfl

Sweetfields Farm

  • When: Weekends ONLY Sept. 29 – November 4
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm, last admission sold at 4pm
  • Location: 17250 Benes Roush Rd. Masaryktown, Fl 34604
  • Cost: 12 and older $9.50 each + tax, 3-11 $5.00 each + tax , 2 and under are Free
  • Website: sweetfieldsfarm.com

Hunsander Farms

  • When: Oct. 13-14, 20-21, 27-28
  • Hours: 9am – 5pm
  • Location: 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL, 34211
  • Cost: Admission $10, Parking $5, Children 12 and under free
  • Website: hunsaderfarms.com/pumpkin-festival

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Pumpkin Patches

HorsePower for Kids Farm Fall Festival

  • When: Every Sat & Sunday in October 6 – 28
  • Hours: 11am – 5pm
  • Location: 8005 Race Track Road, Tampa, FL, 33635
  • Cost: $12 admission and $1 Parking
  • Website: horsepowerforkids.com

Timberline Farm’s Annual Corn Maze and Fall Festival

  • When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 4, Weekends ONLY
  • Hours: Friday 4 pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am –9pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 9pm
  • Location: 3200 Southeast 115th Street, Belleview, Florida, 34420
  • Cost: Admission is $8.00 Adults, $6.00 Children, Children 3 and under get in FREE. Active military, firefighters, & law enforcement always FREE!
  • Website: https://timberlinefarm.net/

Florida Railroad Museum Pumpkin Patch Express

  • When: Oct 20, 21, 27, and 28
  • Hours: Trains run at 10am, 1pm and 4pm
  • Location: 12210 83rd St East, Parrish, FL, 34219
  • Cost: see website
  • Website: pumpkinexpress

Harvest Holler Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

  • When: Sept. 21 – Nov. 11
  • Hours: Friday: 4pm – 8pm Saturday: Noon – 8 pm and Sunday Noon – 5 pm
    Monday to Thursday: by reservation only
  • Location: 950 Tavares Rd. Polk City, FL 33686
  • Cost: 2 and under is free, Kids 3-12yrs old $8.50, Adults 13 yrs and up $10.50, Sr Adults (65) and military $8.50, Field Trip rate $8.00
  • Website: .harvestholler.com

Hunsander Farms

  • When: Oct. 13-14, 20-21, 27-28
  • Hours: 9am – 5pm
  • Location: 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL, 34211
  • Cost: Admission $10, Parking $5, Children 12 and under free
  • Website: hunsaderfarms.com/pumpkin-festival

Picking Patch U-Pick pumpkin Patch

  • When: Sept. 29 – Oct. 28
  • Hours: Fridays 3pm -7pm, Saturdays 10am – 7pm, and Sundays 12pm- 7pm
  • Location: 11000 Rolling Hills Road, Dunnellon, Florida, 34432
  • Cost: $5pp and 3 and under FREE
  • Website: dunnellonpumpkinpatch.com/

Sweetfields Farm

  • When: Weekends ONLY Sept. 29 – November 4
  • Hours: 10am – 5pm, last admission sold at 4pm
  • Location: 17250 Benes Roush Rd. Masaryktown, Fl 34604
  • Cost: 12 and older $9.50 each + tax, 3-11 $5.00 each + tax , 2 and under are Free
  • Website: sweetfieldsfarm.com

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Fall Festivals

Timberline Farm’s Annual Corn Maze and Fall Festival

  • When: Oct. 5 – Nov. 4, Weekends ONLY
  • Hours: Friday 4 pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am –9pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 9pm
  • Location: 3200 Southeast 115th Street, Belleview, Florida, 34420
  • Cost: Admission is $8.00 Adults, $6.00 Children, Children 3 and under get in FREE. Active military, firefighters, & law enforcement always FREE!
  • Website: https://timberlinefarm.net/

Oct. 20: Fall Festival at Fellowship Baptist of Valrico

  • When: Oct. 20
  • Hours: 10 am – 1 pm
  • Location: 106 Rolling Hills Blvd, Valrico
  • Cost: FREE
  • Website: facebookevent

Oct. 27 – 28: Fall Festival at the Grove Wesley Chapel

  • When: Oct. 27 – 28
  • Hours: 4 pm
  • Location: Grove At Wesley Chapel, 6105 Wesley Grove Blvd, Wesley Chapel, FL, 33544
  • Cost: FREE
  • Website: www.groveshopping.com/events/

Please always verify all information on each event through their website. Hours may change due to weather.

  • Written By: Shineta A

Must Have Mom Subscriptions

Must Have Mom Subscriptions

There are so many monthly subscriptions out there, from a personalized selection of clothes picked just for you to fishing supplies, depending on what type of water you fish in. (My husband is all about this by the way.)

This list is in no particular order and consist of things I have personally tried or plan to try in the near future.

  1. Amazon Prime – This first is so obvious but should come with a warning label. I love that I can buy anything on this site I need for my family. My most frequent purchases are diapers and Pediasure Grow and Gain but during the last Prime Day I ended up with a 2-pack of Clarisonic brushes and a shirt. I call that a success. But warning, it’s so easy to add things to your cart, check out and have it delivered in 2 days that you may quickly become a “primanista”. That meaning you’ll have packages arriving every few days. Which, doesn’t sound so bad actually. At around $10 a month its a complete and total NEED for moms, who just can’t go to the store one more time that week.
  2. Shipt – Hallelujah! I wish Shipt had been around when I had a newborn in the middle of the Tampa summer years ago. It’s a freaking life saver. Especially when you’re cooking dinner and need a forgotten ingredient or it’s raining, or you just don’t want to go. This subscription is an upfront annual fee of $99 but often run a $49 special when they add a new store or for special holidays. Current stores include Costco, Publix, Target, GFS, Winn Dixie and ABC Wine & Liquor (ummmmm yes!). If you don’t have it, get it. Now. G
  3. Netflix – This is our  most used subscription in my house. They’re always adding movies – whether they’re good or not is not my place to say. It’s less than $15 a month and you can stream it on 2 devices at one time. Yes, I know this for a fact. It’s usually a fight in my house to see who’s going to stop watching. I lose. Every time. So instead of hauling your kids to the movies to watch the newest Disney release, wait 12 weeks after it’s out of box office and save yourself the hassle and money. Unless its an Avengers movie because who doesn’t want to see Chris Hemsworth on the big screen?
  1. Firstleaf (Wine) – How many times have we had to pick up a bottle for friends on the way to a girls night/playdate – this happened to me 3 times last week. Whether you’re a 3 bottles a week gal or 3 bottles a month this could work for you! Firstleaf offers $20/month subscription which includes 3 bottles. The process is super easy, you take the quiz seeing what you’d like white, red, mix and import preference. The last question asks how many bottles you drink a month. So depending on your answers you’re given a suggestion. The wine is delivered to your door. So, you’re never without wine and wouldn’t that be a shame?
  1. FabKids – similar to clothing subscriptions for moms, it’s for the little’s. This is the way I see it. You’re going to spend money on your kids’ school clothes regularly. You see the cute top at Target, oh but does he have a pair of shorts to match? Can’t remember, may as well grab another pair. You’re doing that once a week while there PLUS the pre planned trips for new shoes they’ve outgrown, picture day..you know the drill. Here’s the fine print. Between the 1st and 5th of the month you’re sent an email for action – to shop or skip. If you do choose to skip your card is debited for $29.95 but you’re given that $29.95 as a credit to be used anytime. You’re charged the $29.95 until you cancel. There’s also perks like free shipping (that always gets me) and a rewards program.

This list was composed with you in mind, a little more added convenience to our lives is the way to go. I dread shopping with my kids, even if its a quick trip so you’ll find that all of these eliminate bringing what I’m sure are you wonderfully behaved children in public.

Disclaimer Alert: I haven’t listed all details for everyone of these subscription suggestions. It’s important to conduct your own research. 

36266338_10213004457965528_2216563528326709248_n Written By: Meghan Goodman

Back to school, back to school…

It’s that time of year again, time for back to school shopping and the highly anticipated first day of school. Whether it’s your first year sending your little one off to preschool or it’s your first year sending your child to college, photos are a must. It’s 2018 and documenting important moments are easier than ever. Just snap a few pictures on your smart phone and within minutes you can send pictures to grandparents in other states or post your pictures to Instagram. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love seeing cute kids on your Facebook feed?!?

I searched Pinterest and found several ideas that were quick and easy. I enlisted the help of my older girls (my littlest lady already started preschool) for a little back to school photo shoot. Manned with sidewalk chalk, printable signs (which I found free on Pinterest) and a few props we headed outside for a little fun! I don’t claim to be an award winning photographer and I was only using my iPhone, but I was able to capture several great photos of my girls.

So get out there and start snapping pictures of your adorable kiddos!

 

  • Kimberly Lasher – SAHM to three beautiful girls, reality TV junkie & ISR advocate. 

Teach your kids to pick the perfect Peach (or Blueberry) The best pick your own around!

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Have you ever gone fruit picking? The U-Pick (enter yummy fruit here) is unbelievable here in the Lithia area. Oranges in the winter, Strawberries in the spring, then blueberries and peaches as we head into summer. Living in Florida has some great perks! Do your kids run up and down the rows of fruit with screams of laughter?

 

Peaches

Last year I took my kids to pick peaches and blueberries at two local farms. What a fun time we had! The U Pick (Do you say U Pick, U-pick, You Pick or pick your own?) peaches at Florida Sweeties U Pick Peaches were also the bees knees. So sweet and juicy. It was hard to stop the kids from filling their bellies with such yummy goodness and get them to fill the buckets to take home. Keeping a pocket full of baby wipes was a must! They were so darn juicy!

 

To pick the perfect peach you just use your touch. You want it to be firm to the touch, not rock hard and not squishy. Just a slight give to the flesh! There were lots of low hanging fruit within perfect picking distance for any age!

 

Blueberries

The next morning I woke up and ushered the kids out the door to grab some U Pick blueberries over at Frosty Blue Blueberry Farm here in Lithia.MGS-2815_May 07, 2017_133

The berries are so big and sweet we couldn’t resist eating our fill as we picked. My little one kept saying “just one” over and over as she would pop another juicy berry in her mouth. We picked our fill of over 7lbs in just a short amount of time and headed home full to the brim with fruit.

To pick the perfect berry look for that perfect bluish purple color and you can’t go wrong! If you go early in the morning to beat the heat, plan on getting damp with morning dew. The dew is worth it compared to the midday sun for sure! Evenings are a perfect time too now that the days are long (and think gorgeous golden hour light).

 

A few must haves for fruit picking in Florida

  • Sunscreen is a definite, plus a hat and sunglasses if the kids will tolerate them
  • Sneakers and socks are always good since they will be running through the high grass and the fire ant mounds are everywhere. This is Florida and no matter how hard you try, those buggers are just hard to get rid of.
  • Bring water, You might be picking for an hour or better depending how much you eat versus how much goes into your bucket!
  • You don’t need to bring buckets unless stated at that particular place. Most places provide buckets at no charge and then bag them for you to bring them home.
  • The kids will eat more than their fair share which means sweet sticky goodness all over their faces if they are anything like my kids. Wet wipes go without saying as a mom 😉

The Dessert

What is better than freshly picked fruit? Homemade dessert with said fresh picked fruit!

I knew that cobbler being one of my favorite quick and yummy things to make would be a perfect way to use some of that sweet goodness. I immediately put the kids to work helping in the kitchen to make this incredible dairy free peach and blueberry cobbler. Pair this with some yummy Ben and Jerrys 7 layer coconut ice cream (dairy free as well) and it is a match made in heaven!

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Tell me your favorite fresh fruit dessert in the comments!! I need new ideas for this year’s haul! 

 

Mom and Daughter Selfie

The momma behind Momma Got Soul Photo and Films, Tampa Bay Family Photographer. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am an artistic storyteller. I stay up late, try to sleep late, and drink lots of coffee and beer (usually in that order, but not always). I grew up in sunny (which means really hot) central Florida, never go to the beach or Disney, but try to hike in the woods as much as I can. I remember a time when I said I would never photograph people, now that’s all I do. I think it started with wanting to explore the world and capture that to share with people. Now I just want to tell people that the real stuff outweighs the fake crap every time -Kelly

My world famous secret recipe for Strawberry Jam

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March.

March is now over, our days are longer which means later bedtimes, whiny kids and even grumpier parents. Making the adjustment is often hard around here. While the kids and I don’t have to get up to an alarm clock, the hubby still does and 3:45a comes even earlier when it doesn’t get dark until after 8pm.

In Florida, March is also synonymous with strawberries. You will start to see them everywhere. Every corner will have a stand of someone selling flats, the u-pick places are all over and the Strawberry Festival is celebrated with all things fried, colored lights and retired country stars.

Strawberry season means one big thing in my house, jam time. Every year I try to put away about 12 pints of strawberry jam to give as gifts, make pb&j’s with or just eat with a spoon straight out of the jar. I’m not sure which I love better strawberry or muscadine!

I always have fantasy filled dreams of the kids and I singing in the kitchen canning jam together, but really my anxiety kicks them out about the time I start to put the strawberries on the stove. Sometimes I can’t think and mom at the same time. Besides they usually help with the hard part of squishing the berries. This year was no different!


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/261487132″>60 Second Film Project {March}</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user49150923″>Momma G Soul</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Wanna know my family secret recipe for making jam?

First, you need a giant pot to process your jars for shelf keeping OR lots of freezer space for freezer jam! There are some handy accessories for hot jars like a jar handler, a long-stemmed magnet and a wide mouth funnel that fits the jars perfectly. All easily found in the canning aisle at Walmart!

I start with 2 flats of strawberries of which half of one is promptly eaten while it’s still sitting on the counter. The rest has the tops cut off and the berries cut into chunks. They are then well hidden in the outside fridge to keep them from grubbing little kid hands.

Next, wash in hot soapy water (or rinse on high in the dishwasher) 24 half pint mason jars. I always try to have extra on hand just in case. I usually dunk the lids in the boiling water right before canning starts to clean them.

You will need a 5lb sack of sugar and I always try to use the surejell low sugar pectin. SureJell has always worked the best for me. You need one box per 12 half pint jars in general.

Mash your fruit for jam or use the fruit processor on your kitchen aid for jelly. I like the bits, so I just use my hands or a potato masher to squeeze the berries.

Then just follow the directions in the package. It’s really pretty darn easy. A few lessons I have learned. Read the directions twice. Measure everything out in advance, stir, stir, keep stirring, and don’t walk away.

Then if you are a Pinterest Mom you can put pretty labels on your jam and give them away in nice baskets to your friends. If you are like me I might write the date on the top and an S to indicate strawberry, but I still give them away to friends. Either way they taste the same! Please let me know in the comments if you try to make our own jam this year or if you have any questions!

Mom and Daughter Selfie

The momma behind Momma Got Soul Photo and Films, Tampa Bay Family Photographer. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a storyteller. I stay up late, try to sleep late, and drink lots of coffee and beer (usually in that order, but not always). I grew up in sunny (which means really hot) central Florida, never go to the beach or Disney, but try to hike in the woods as much as I can. I remember a time when I said I would never photograph people, now that’s all I do. I think it started with wanting to explore the world and capture that to share with people. Now I want to capture people to share with the world. -Kelly

Post Partum Depression + Anxiety. Yup, I have it.

Post partum depression and anxiety. Yup, I have it.

It comes in waves…it was here, and then it’s not. I was fine. And now I’m not.

I denied it when it was brought to my attention that I may have it. Of course, I don’t have it… look at me! I’m not doing anything “crazy”, I’m getting out of bed. I feel “fine”.

To me, in my world, i have the perfect little life, so why do I feel this way? I practice mediation, I am spiritual, i am aware of my energy, thoughts and feelings.

Why is this happening to me??

Well it all started when the last time change happened in November. It got darker earlier. Mike is still working and I’m a FTM, in a new house with lots of windows and doors, all myself.

All of a sudden, every dateline, forensic files, and Law & Order episode would flash through my mind and made me so paranoid that something would happen to me and my new baby and I would be helpless.

My mind would race in protection mode. I was HYPER-VIGILANT.

“Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity. Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion”

That and I was a bunch of other things cus now I’m a mom. I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night for months.

It’s affected my eating, my digestion, my water intake. Everything.

And again, it comes in waves.

It pisses me off more than anything because this is HORMONES. This is not me!!! I can not control this!!!

It manifests itself in so many ways… OCD… picking things up around the house just putting them in a specific spot or in order but not putting it away, paralyzing thoughts and fears and unable to make decisions, rage “where the fuck are my keys!!!”, am I doing this mom thing ok?, loss of appetite, intense irritability at times, panic attacks, crying for no reason.

It’s the inability to think or make a grocery list or be able to have complete thoughts and not forget things and have it interfere with your life.

I know this sounds crazy, or that I am crazy, but I know I am not. I know this “normal” and this will pass. I know that other moms go through the same thing, but I really, truly, honestly, thought it wouldn’t happen to me because I am so in tune with myself that I would recognize it and stop it.

It’s important for husbands, partners, friends, family, coworkers, and even yourself as mothers going through this, that it is the hormones it is not you. Please give the mother in your life grace, compassion, understanding, support, love, and reassurance.

But here I am 9 months later and another wave is attacking me when everything was just going so good. It sucks.

I will get thru this but I feel the need to share, because I know I am not alone, And I don’t want any of my mom friends to feel alone if you are secretly going through this. I have been feeling like I don’t want to expose but I can’t hide it and feel guilty any more so maybe sharing will help me and you 💜

Disney FAQs

We took my daughter to Disney for the first time when she was 6 months old.

Five years later, we’ve been around. We’re Annual Passholders so we can go anytime, anywhere.

I’m going to go through some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Disney!

Parks

There are 4 parks that make up Walt Disney World in Orlando (as opposed to Disneyland, which is in California).

  1. Magic Kingdom
  2. Epcot
  3. Hollywood Studios
  4. Animal Kingdom

Plus 2 waterparks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

Where to eat?  

There are several restaurants in each of the 4 parks. Character Meals (meals where you can meet characters, are marked with a *) are also available. Here are some of the most popular:

Magic Kingdom:

  1. *Cinderella’s Royal Table- located inside Cinderella’s Castle. Meet the princesses.
  2. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant- Italian fare based on Lady and the Tramp (no character meet-n-greets)
  3. *Be Our Guest- French fare, including alcohol for dinner, in the Beast’s Castle. Meet the Beast at the end of dinner (Belle does not appear). Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  4. The Plaza- Club sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, plus milkshakes! No characters.
  5. Casey’s Corner- Hot Dogs
  6. *The Crystal Palace- Buffet includes kids favorites like Mac and Cheese, pizza, etc. Characters here are Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet.
  7. Jungle Navigation Skipper Canteen- only place other than Be Our Guest to get alcohol in the Magic Kingdom! Based on the Jungle Cruise ride.
  8. Liberty Tree Tavern- We had Thanksgiving dinner here last year and it was AMAZING! Typical Thanksgiving and New England fare, served family-style. We had the Toffee Cake for dessert. OMG.0C99E717-45BD-4167-BCDA-8EBDC89B6D06.jpeg
  9. The Diamond Horseshoe- family-style American/ BBQ includes salad, plate ‘o’ meat, Mac and Cheese, corn and baked beans. And dessert.
  10. Pinnochio Village Haus- This is where we usually end up if we have no reservations. It’s pizza for the kiddos or Mac and Cheese, flatbreads & salads for the adults.

Epcot:

  1. *Ashkerus- in Norway, near Frozen. Meet the Princesses. Breakfast and dinner. My husband ate his weight in Lox when we went for breakfast.
  2. Le Cellier- Canada. Hubby and I had a date night here and they cut his steak for him!

Hollywood Studios:

  1. Brown Derby-We’ve eaten here a couple of times. It seems really fancy, but is very kid-friendly. I’ve had the Cobb salad, it’s delicious!
  2. *Hollywood & Vine- Buffett-style. We’ve had a Minnie Mouse Holiday-themed dinner here. During breakfast, Disney Junior characters are here.

Animal Kingdom:

  1. Yak & Yeti- We are Landry’s Club members, so this card lets us basically “cut” in line at this restaurant. It’s pan-Asian food!
  2. *Tusker House- African buffet. Characters during breakfast.
  3. Rainforest Cafe- Also a part of the Landry’s Club, so skip the line! (Seriously, if you go to Disney a lot, get this card)

Outside of the Parks 

  1. Tratorria Al Forno- Located at Disney’s Boardwalk. Meet Ariel and Rapunzel, along with Flynn Rider (dreamy) and Prince Eric for breakfast.D1160DF8-C524-4225-9A5D-907321613337.jpeg
  2. O’hana- Ohana means family. Meet Lilo and Stitch and Mickey Mouse while dining on fresh pineapple bread served family style to your table. Also, yummy juice and Mickey waffles! Located inside Disney’s Polynesian Village.338CA39F-6C36-4BAC-9EE1-EEDBB35C809E
  3. 1900 Park Fare- Located in the Grand Floridian meet Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Driscella and Prince Charming while feasting on a buffet featuring kids favorite as well as a carving station.
  4. Chef Mickey’s- meet the Fab Five- Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto & Goofy inside the Contemporary Resort during a buffet-style dinner.

Disney Springs 

More dining! And also, shopping 😉 4DC062F8-4A28-4758-BEE9-B535CAA4DCEF.jpeg

  1. Rainforest Cafe- dine in a rainforest. Skip the line with Landry’s card.
  2. T-Rex Cafe- same as Rainforest, but with dinosaurs! Ask for the ice room if it’s available.
  3. Morimoto Asia
  4. Raglan Road- Irish dancers provide entertainment all night long and invite littles up on stage to dance! Whiskey on tap. Bangers & Mash. Fish & Chips. Need I say more?! My husband’s favorite place!
  5. The LEGO Store- enough said.
  6. Ghiradelli- chocolate!
  7. Amorette’s Patesserie- more chocolate! Plus, coffee! YUM. We went here for my birthday and got a Mickey Mouse.63F0AFD2-45E5-40E2-813F-6D1B1E776CA5.jpeg
  8. I have been DYING to go on the Hot Air Balloon ride at Disney Springs, the Aerophile!
  9. The Art of Shaving- if you have a hubby, take him here! They do hot shaves for men!
  10. Basin- Bath bombs!
  11. Bibbidi Bobbity Boutique- same princess stuff, no park ticket required.

Fast Passes

Magic Kingdom:

  1. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train- if you can get this, GRAB IT. It’s almost always 120+ minute long wait. 38″ to ride.143F9DD1-F08F-4894-ACBC-B9D7DD746BBF.jpeg
  2. “The Mountains”
    1. Space 44″
    2. Splash 40″
    3. Big Thunder 40″
  3. Peter Pan (any height)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean (any height)
  5. Mickey Mouse
  6. Princesses- Tiana & Rapunzel. Cinderella & Elena.

Epcot:

  1. Test Track 40″
  2. Soarin’ 40″
  3. Frozen Ever After (any height)

Hollywood Studios:

tbh, this is our least favorite park (until Toy Story land opens in June!). It’s A LOT of Star Wars and we have two girls and one of them is afraid of Storm Troopers, sooooo….

  1. Toy Story Mania (any height)
  2. Tower of Terror 40″
  3. Rock N Roller Coaster 48″
  4. Frozen Sing-a-long

Animal Kingdom:

  1. Avatar Flight of Passage (FOP) 44″
  2. Nav’i River
  3. Serengeti Safaris (any height)
  4. Expedition Everest 44″
  5. Meet Mickey & Minnie (in safari gear)
  6. Festival of The Lion King- LOVE this show! Seriously, almost like a Broadway show!

xoxo,

your favorite Disney Mom!

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Jennifer Silverstein is a SAHM of two infuriating girls, one husband, one dog, two chickens and a tortoise. She lives on 6 acres in Plant City and her hobbies include: Disney (obvi), hiking & camping, running and gardening. She loves tacos and tea time. Follow along at http://www.growingupsilverstein.com.

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Valentine’s Day- The unfiltered mom version

By: Nicole Leigh Marcellus

As I sat down to write this blog post, I started to think what could I possibly say about Valentine’s Day? I am probably one of the least mushy gushy lovey dovey people I know. I am the last person that has anything to say on the most Hallmark holiday all about love of the year. So if you are expecting a blog about how I have this wonderful relationship where we can barely stand to be apart, have sex multiple times a day and go on romantic date nights every weekend, stop reading now and find another Valentines Day blog post. This isn’t the one for you.

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Heres the nitty gritty truth of the matter. I write about a lot of things. I am not afraid to get personal. I have never ever written about my husband or my relationship. If I am being honest, I don’t mention him very often. The reason is I am a come as you are kind of girl. I like to be honest. I don’t like to give the appearance that everything is sunshine and rainbows when it’s not. That’s not my jam, guys! Social Media has enough people shoving down your throat that their life is perfect. I refuse to be one of them. That being said, my relationship is far from perfect. It’s not all hearts and stars and rainbows. Because of this I have chosen to stay silent about it. I have choosen to almost pretend like it does not exist, to not be fake. I’m choosing this hallmark holiday to lay it all out on the table.

Our relationship has been through the ringer. The short abbreviated version. My husband and I had an instant connection, dated for a few months, and I got knocked up. While this wasn’t a planned pregnancy, it was very much wanted. Unfortunately, we lost our sweet baby. We still went on to get married as planned, and then had two more children in less than two years. Essentially, in less than three years, we had three children with one that unfortunately is in heaven. We had only month’s of dating under our belt. Now we have a home and two precious girl’s and this loss weighing on our still fresh marriage. On top of that, I went from a stay at home mom at the beginning of last year, to opening my own business, and now I am working at the business full-time. We both have endured our struggles. I don’t feel like it’s my place to share his. I, however, will be blunt and say I definitely suffered from post partum depression, and the loss of our first baby. Pair that with my husband working swing shifts, and be starting a business, and its a recipe for disaster. We have really been in a constant season of survival for years. A relationship cant thrive on survival.

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My girl’s have gotten a little bit older now, my business is a year old and more established. I am coming out of this season of just surviving. This season where guys if I am being honest we were ships passing in the night. We were roommates, not husband and wife, and definitely not valentines. I went into 2018 realizing something had to give.

I have committed this year to not just surviving but thriving. To not pushing my relationship to the back-burner for my kids, or my business. To realizing that the two people we were 5 years ago when we began our journey are still in their somewhere. To letting go of five years of built resentments of me feeling like he didn’t change enough diaper’s, wipe enough snotty noses, hold my hair back when I was vomiting for months while pregnant, or most importantly appreciate me enough. He’s learning to cope with me forgetting or misplacing half of our life. He’s learning to love the imperfect person I am. He’s learning to take on more of the responsibility at home since I started working at my business full-time. He’s realizing how this mom gig may not be as easy as he thought. We are learning to prioritize each other, and our relationship.We are both realizing that this marriage thing isn’t always easy. We are both learning to find some middle ground, and be more than just roommates.

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Season’s come and go. Babies grow up; hard time’s get easier. What I have taken away from it all is this: Stick with it, keep on keeping on. Don’t throw in the towel as long as there is still love there. This too shall pass. I have changed a million times since I married this man, he has changed as well. That change doesnt have to be a bad thing, as long as we can grow together. I don’t have this whole marriage thing figured out, guys. My relationship still isn’t sunshine and rainbows everyday. As I said, I am probably the worst person to write a Valentines Day blog post. I wanted to do it though, because I know I’m not alone. I know there are other mama’s just like myself with little babies, and toddlers, and even big kids, in the thick of it. I know that they are to knee deep in diapers, laundry, and homework to look up at your husband. I am you, and I am here to tell you: we will be ok. You are not alone! I too have an imperfect realtionship in a social media world where everyone else is getting a dozen roses, diamond necklaces, and love notes. I will be getting the Fresh Market meal deal for a simple dinner at home. There is nothing wrong with that. This is just a season as long as we can remember though at some point we have to stop surviving, and start growing forward. At some point we need to look up at our husband’s even when we are exhausted and feel like we have nothing left in us, and make our realtionship a priority.

I’m Nicole Leigh Marcellus

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Photographer, Educator, Blogger, and all around life inspirer, with huge dreams. I’m obsessed with all things farmhouse, chai tea lattes, yoga pants, top knots, and my family.