Turn Your Space Coast Day Trip into a STAYCATION at Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

We don’t live far from Cocoa Beach — probably about 90 minutes. Far enough that it’s not just a quick pop in place to go during the day, but close enough we could drive up and back the same day if we wanted to.

I didn’t want to.

We planned on visiting Kennedy Space Center for my youngest’s 5th birthday — and instead of a bunch of gifts, we decided to stay the night at Beachside Hotel and Suites. We have become big on gifting experiences and not just “stuff”.

It would be the perfect #staycation location…especially after a long day of exploring, it would be nice to go back to the hotel and hang out at the lazy river. That’s just what we did. I mean… look at it… it’s adorable!

Lazy River at Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

I’m not sure what my boys love more… staying at a hotel, or lazy rivers at a hotel. Either way, this was the perfect way to end our day at Kennedy Space Center and start our stay. Since I knew we were making it a staycation weekend, I made sure to find a location that was pet friendly too. That way we could take our furry family member with us. We requested an early check in, so we could drop off all of our things, let Zero walk around the property a bit and then be on our way.

It was also nice knowing that if we needed to pop in and check on him during the day exploring we could, and he wasn’t far.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, FL

There was plenty of room at Beachside Hotel… and two separate rooms in case we wanted to put the boys to bed a little earlier. My favorite was that we could sit on the porch right outside of our room and enjoy a few adult beverages, while the boys were relaxing inside. It was a mini date night overlooking the pool on a nice Florida evening.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

We were also able to take a walk over to the beach, and I made a mental note to book a stay there the next time there was a weekend rocket launch. It is the perfect location. It’s very near the cruise ship ports too… we were able to see a few Disney cruise ships waiting for us (fingers crossed for 2023???) on our drive to Kennedy from the hotel.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

There was a fun retro “throwback” feel to the property. With their on-site bar and restaurant right next to the sand play area for the boys. We felt right at home, and plenty of room for being socially distant. We had planned on going out for dinner, but once we were there and enjoying the lazy river and sand area… the boys didn’t want to leave. Neither did we. 🙂

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

It occurred to me a few times that evening that we could be driving back home… or we could already be home… but I was so happy that we stayed. It was something we needed and something that felt special. The boys were elated that we were somewhere that felt like a vacation, but it wasn’t too far from home.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach, Florida

Because of Florida weather, you never know what you are going to get. Locals understand this and always have a backup plan. Even if there are afternoon rain showers, stick around… it will change in a matter of minutes. Something I didn’t know until we got there, and I thought was awesome were the complementary bikes to use around the area.

They also had anything else you might want to take for a weekend away at the beach… one less thing to worry about. We hadn’t planned on popping over to the beach because the forecast hadn’t looked all that favorable, but there was a clear spot in the morning we were able to walk over and grabbed boogie boards for the boys. It was a complete surprise for them but made it look like a was a superhero.

Beachside Hotel and Suites – Cocoa Beach Florida

No matter where you might be in Florida… Beachside Hotel and Suites really does offer the perfect weekend away. Wether you are up the street or a few hours away, it feels like you are on vacation. That’s something we could all use right now… a socially distanced get away with your family. Making memories one weekend at a time.

A ‘No Fail’ Cut Out Cookie — Cut Out This Dough After it Bakes

Ingredients for a basic Black and White Cookie

I can’t make a cut out cookie. I gave up ages ago. I blame it on living in Florida, low elevation, humidity, an old oven… a million variables that I can’t change. But as I was eating a black and white cookie, I thought I might be able to actually cut out one that is already baked.

If you’ve ever made these cookies, they are not the type of dough you roll out, its a scoop onto the sheet type situation.

I followed a basic cookie recipe : Sally’s Baking Addiction Black and White Cookies and made a few changes along the way.

I first tried to use the cookie cutter with the cookies upside down but found that having the cookies right side up at the start worked out much better. I don’t think you can use a very detailed cookie cutter, but this one worked perfectly.

I also discovered that my boys were happy to eat the spare cookies that were cut out and they loved dipping them in the icing. So I was able to make smaller icing cups just for them and they were like personal Dunkaroos.

Once I had all of the cookies cut out, I made one color of icing. Following the icing recipe. I was not able to find clear vanilla extract, which was my inspiration for light pink. Depending on the holiday or special occasion – you can choose complimentary colors.

For the first color, I dipped the whole cookie into the icing. I knew I wanted to do it at an angle and found this was the easiest way. I made sure to cover the counter with wax paper because there was quite a bit of icing that dripped off. I in no way wanted to have to clean that off of my counter.

Because I was going from pink to red, I could use the left over pink and the same bowl. I simply added more food coloring when I knew I didn’t need pink anymore.

I waited for the pink on the cookies to dry completely. This is an important step to stay a little more neat and organized.

Grab some sprinkles or candies to add to the “other” side of the cookie. You will want to add these when your second color is still wet. This icing does harden pretty quickly.

Instead of dipping the second side, I used a spatula and was able to spread the red on… that was easier for this portion of the process, then immediately added sprinkles. My youngest son helped with this part and loved that they only stayed on the red part.

Are the cookies perfectly smooth? Nope. Is that OK? Yup. They were darn delicious.

Now that I have found this recipe… it is a perfect addition to any of our holiday gatherings. All I have to do is change the icing color. Everything tastes better if it’s shaped like a Mickey head right??? I’m already planing green and yellow for Easter… red and blue for Fourth of July… you get the picture.

Front Porch Friends – Surprise your favorite neighborhood friends – RAOK- #lovecorn

We have always enjoyed our neighborhood. It’s a very quiet area in Florida to live, although our city is growing quickly. We have lived here for over 10 years now and luckily have had the same neighbors around us the entire time.

They were here when we were married and when we brought both boys home. They sent over treats for the dogs that have since passed, as well as our new furry friend. Even though we have lived so close for many many years, it wasn’t until this year that we really learned more about each other.

For months, the only people we really saw were — each other. On the bike rides, the evening walks or simply checking the mail. Those familiar waves from the front yard became the most exciting part of the day.

So as we thought about our Random Acts of Kindness… for Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year, we wanted to make sure to include our neighbors in that.

We have taken baked treats over the last few months, but as soon as I saw Love Corn, I thought it would be a perfect front porch present.

I printed up simple signs on Canva (which is the best… if you aren’t using it – use it) and let the boys get creative. This way they felt more attached to the project. It also shows that they were part of the process and gave us a great morning activity together, talking about other Random Acts of Kindness.

You can find Love Corn at Target, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens and CVS in Florida. They are awesome to travel with because they don’t melt and don’t make a mess. They are a healthier alternative to chips and pretzels — plus there are different flavors so you can try different varieties or mix and match.

If you are interested in trying Love Corn, use code MOMSLOVE at checkout (until 10/31/21) for a 25% discount on their website.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Stay Where You Play – Wyndham Orlando Resort

I get asked a lot where we stay when we visit Orlando. I always like trying different properties around the city, to see what they offer families, to check their amenities and see what other fun activities might be in the area.

Most of the time Orlando is associated with the larger theme parks, which is absolutely true…but there are plenty of other family activities that aren’t at the parks. Actually at certain times of the year, we AVOID the parks… when everyone else is there. This was the perfect weekend to explore a new area.

We recently stayed at Wyndham Orlando Resort (located on International Drive). International Drive is a main tourist location in Orlando with plenty of restaurants and activities. It is always quite busy and is close to the Orange County Convention Center. Honestly, whatever you might like or want to do… you could find it on International Drive. You can stay where you play.

As you drive on I-4, you see The Wheel at ICON Park. It has become a landmark in Orlando for residents and visitors alike. If you have seen The Wheel, you know exactly where the hotel is located. One amazing feature of the property is its super close location to ICON Park.

Wyndham Orlando Resort has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation to their 613 rooms. With all of the amenities families need while staying for the weekend or longer.

Each room door opens to the outside, which is great when you are traveling with you furry family. I love finding properties that are family and pet friendly. Each room also includes a mini fridge, a 40 inch flat screen tv and Wi-Fi. Can’t leave home without it. I was able to get some work done when we returned from our daily adventures while the boys could rest.

There are also connecting rooms if you are traveling with friends or a larger family. I selected to stay in the new Family Bunk Rooms that have a separate area for the kids (with their own TV). The boys absolutely loved having their own area, and I enjoyed that they weren’t hopping from bed to bed all night. It’s located across from the bathroom, so they were able to leave that light on and feel completely comfortable and a little more independent in their new space at night.

Each morning we took a short drive (totally walkable) to ICON Park for breakfast. Free parking garage by the way!

There was an adorable French inspired cafe – iCafe de Paris – with great coffee and crepes. Along with plenty of outdoor and socially distance seating for the family. we honestly had the place almost completely to ourselves around 9:30am, something to keep in mind.

They call ICON Park a walkable neighborhood because there is so much to do and see. Plenty of restaurants and shops as well as Madam Tussauds Orlando, Sea LIFE Aquarium Orlando, Orlando Starflyer, SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology as well as The Wheel. If you have any hesitations – don’t worry…it goes incredibly slow with no jerking or fast movements. It is relaxing with great views from 400 feet above Orlando.

There are honestly so many options, you could spend the whole day there or depending on the Florida weather you could head back to Wyndham Orlando Resort and enjoy the pool. I have found when we stay at a property so close to all of the activities, it is much easier to take those much needed breaks in the middle of the day that everyone needs. That way we are ready to find new adventures in the afternoon.

Orlando doesn’t have to feel rushed, or busy. If you stay where you play it takes the stress of the roads and traffic away. Slow down…enjoy the moments and create memories.

Take a Break at The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, Hollywood Studios – Disney World

We never slow down at the parks. It’s always quick service and back to the next ride… but honestly I look at the sit down options and always regret not making reservations.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Since the Disney World properties have reopened, I’ve noticed Hollywood Studios seems to be busier than the other parks but wanted to at least take an afternoon to pop in and try out the new Mickey’s Runaway Railroad… I mean honestly it’s not new anymore, but we had not ridden it. I also wanted to try to get on Rise of the Resistance and visit Toy Story Land again. Here is what I have learned about Toy Story Land, check out my previous post here in case you missed it.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

I was able to make a reservation on the My Disney Experience App for Saturday afternoon and planned to have a late lunch, then explore the park for the last few hours before closing.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

When you arrive they have parties wait outside until your table is ready. There is someone who will escort your party into the drive in area. There is one door in and one door out. I’m not sure if that is an after COVID change, or if it has always been that way.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Each table is set up inside 50’s inspired cars. There are different options but we didn’t get to choose which type of car we had. Some have tables on the inside, like a standard table everyone sits around. Others, like the one we had, are almost like counter booths, where you sit behind other people in your party.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

I think the kids liked this style better because it was new and felt a little more fun and special.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

While you are at your table there are sci-fi shows and movie clips from the 50’s playing. All family friendly of course…but I wasn’t expecting my 4 year old to be a little scared of the martians and UFO’s – think Twilight Zone – in black and white with strings attached. There were also some fun Tom and Jerry mixed in with it.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Something I wasn’t expecting was the sense of relaxation. As we sat there eating lunch and soaking everything in… the hustle and bustle of Disney and the parks was completely gone. There wasn’t a line, wasn’t a reason to try to rush away somewhere. It was quite peaceful.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Now, it’s not somewhere that I would say we have to go every time.. much like other Disney sit down dinning options it becomes a little pricy, but if it’s something you haven’t tried or are looking for a nice break in the middle of your day… I think this is a solid choice, especially if you have kids.

Sci-Fi Drive in Theater in Hollywood Studios, Disney World

5 Ways to FEEL BETTER and DO MORE

This mama is tired. I’ve gotten tired of saying I’m tired. I feel like that’s an everyday thing. Anyone else?

I’m not sure if this is what motherhood and adulthood feel like, but I’m fairly sure I wasn’t helping myself out either. I’m edging closer to 40 everyday (I honestly can’t believe that’s a thing) and things weren’t going to magically change on their own. If I didn’t start making small changes, I wasn’t going to be as productive as I needed to be. For some unknown reason, it’s frowned on to have naps during work hours. 🙂

Get Rid Of Things Just Do It

Cleaning out clutter is a fast way to focus on what you have and what you no longer need.

I started watching way to many minimalism YouTube videos over holiday break, and while I will never be what someone would call a minimalist, several things resonated with me.

Think of your items as inventory. Do you know what you have? Do you know where it is? Is it serving a purpose? Most of my answers were no.

“Maybe I have that thing I used to have. Maybe I don’t. I have no idea where it is. It’s easier to just go buy a new one. “

It should take as much energy to put something away as it does to leave it out. *Looking around at piles of clothes I didn’t have the energy to fight with other clothes to put away.

I started peeling away at the onion. Not getting rid of everything at once, but going through each room once. Removing things that are just there with absolutely no purpose. Then when I was ready, peeling back the second onion layer and so on.

It’s not something that has to be done at one time. It really is a process. I have discovered a few things during this process.

  1. I don’t miss anything I have gotten rid of.
  2. I can actually find things I am looking for.
  3. I don’t have to spend as much time and energy completing tasks around the house.

Take Care of You (and your skin)

Tru Skin Serum

Masks are here. I don’t know how long that will be but my face isn’t taking it well. I’ve noticed the older I get, the more sensitive my skin has become. Years of living in Florida haven’t been kind… but I haven’t done the best I can taking care of it either.

I’ve been looking for products for myself that help improve my skin, masks or not and can’t rave enough about Tru Skin Vitamin C Serum. I’ve incorporated it into my weekly skin routine and have already noticed a difference. I honestly believe when you take better care of yourself, you feel better to face the day.

Tru Skin Vitamin C targets dark spots, fine lines, and overall tone of your skin while protecting and feeding it. It’s made without fillers and silicones but has a high concentration of organic aloe that calms and soothe. Use code MOM10 to save 10% on and TruSkin product on their website. Keep an eye out over the next few months they will have new branding, but the formulations won’t change.

Whatever area you are looking to improve, take those small baby steps. A year from now you will be happy you started when you did.

Set Small Goals

Handlettering Practice Books

I’ve been wanting to learn something new for years. Hand lettering. It looks so relaxing and creative. I never made it a priority. I never took those steps to actually learn it. It was something I just always said I wanted to learn how to do someday. Why did I keep waiting? It wasn’t like it was going to magically happen.

What was the first thing I needed to do to get started? Get a practice book? That’s easy enough.

Ordered it. Once step closer. Then what was my next step? Open the first page and start.

I waited almost 5 years for this? WHY???

I made a small step toward something bigger, and it felt great. Now I make a date with myself to sit down and practice. To work on something for ME. Not for my kids, not for my husband, not for my friends. For ME. It’s hard to set that time aside, but since I’ve taken so many other small steps…I can take another small step and just sit down to put in the work.

Drink More Water

Annoying right? You hear everyone say it but it’s true.

I felt terrible yesterday. I was tired, I was cranky and all I wanted to do was letdown and watch a rom-com on Netflix. But something I’ve been paying attention to is why I’m feeling specific ways. As I went through the list of why I was feeling that way – I realized I had no water all day. I had plenty of coffee, but no water.

I made myself get up and get a big glass of ice water and within 20 minutes my mood had changed. I felt better. During the work wee it is easy for me to grab a water as I’m walking out the door for work but difficult for me to remember to drink it when I’m at home. Incorporating it into my routine has made such a difference during the day.

Plan ALL. THE. THINGS.

Vision Board to help set goals.

Something else I have learned about myself. If I don’t have a list to follow, or an end goal in mind I do absolutely nothing to move forward.

I will sit and look around like I have absolutely no idea where to start. Wasting time.

But if I know what I need to do, I can make a list of actionable steps and start working toward that. My kids and I sat down and made a vision board for the year. (Click here to read more about that) Once that was in place I could look at the things I wanted to get done and start incorporating those things into our week. Into my monthly planning. When I see what goals we are working toward and how we are getting closer to them, it gets me more energized to do more to make them happen.

They have become more of a priority instead of something I randomly think about while running errands. It’s funny that even some of the ones that I’m not currently planning seem to be coming together for us. I love the power of positive thinking and have seen a hugh difference in my pattern of thought when I focus on the positive.

No matter what season you are in in life… making these five small changes can dramatically increase your energy level and keep you motivated on those days that you might not feel as much energy as you would like. Small steps toward big goals.

We got this.

Disclaimer: I received TruSkin Vitamin C from Moms Meet to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Making the Best of a NEW YEAR – 10 questions to help your kids create a vision board…

I’m not the only one that had to cancel plans this past year. Cancel, rebook, reschedule and then simply not plan anything. It goes against everything I am as a LIST maker.

Continue reading “Making the Best of a NEW YEAR – 10 questions to help your kids create a vision board…”

Screen Free Minecraft Gift Ideas – Get these before Christmas

Both of my sons are obsessed with Minecraft. I’m not really sure how it started with the oldest, my youngest of course loves what his older brother loves. With that in mind, I wanted to find a few things they would enjoy for Christmas without it actually being more video games.

Continue reading “Screen Free Minecraft Gift Ideas – Get these before Christmas”

Both of my sons are obsessed with Minecraft. I’m not really sure how it started with the oldest, my youngest of course loves what his older brother loves. With that in mind, I wanted to find a few things they would enjoy for Christmas without it actually being more video games.

Continue reading “Screen Free Minecraft Gift Ideas – Get these before Christmas”

I Love Christmas Movies – Gaylord Palms 2020

Christmas tradition.

Quite a few things have changed for us this year, I’m sure in your family too. One thing that was have made a habit of doing each and every year was ICE at Gaylord Palms. (see last year’s post here)

Missing it was actually something that I was worried about as the summer rolled around and things were canceled or postponed.

Once I saw Gaylord Palms announce it’s holiday lineup I knew we had to go.

Continue reading “I Love Christmas Movies – Gaylord Palms 2020”

Egg Nog Blondie Bites – Fun Festive Food

I asked my husband what his favorite holiday flavor was going into the Christmas season… and was a little surprised when he said Egg Nog. Now, I absolutely love Egg Nog — always have–but I try not to buy it because I will non-stop drink it. Do you have any food like that?

So when he mentioned Egg Nog, I was glad I could buy some and use it to bake with.

Continue reading “Egg Nog Blondie Bites – Fun Festive Food”