Family Time vs. Screen Time – End the Battle

Online school, Zoom meetings, Facetime calls… this past year has been filled with screens. By all of us. It became a new normal.

One thing I’ve noticed though is that as the world has started to open up a bit, my kids are still attached to the screens. More than I would like. Has anyone else noticed this struggle. I hate being the bad guy, and most days I just don’t have the energy along with everything else that needs to be done.

My goal this year is to spend more quality time together and that means more intention in what we do and where we spend our time.

Using Circle Home Plus takes the struggle out of disagreeing about screen time. I also love that I am able to control what the boys are able to access on the devices they use. I can cut out certain websites they can access and add parental controls.

There are time limits and bedtime cutoffs, that let me worry about making plans for the next day and not have the screen battle. There are so many benefits and features to use with Circle Home Plus – find them all here.

Any screen in your house can be managed with this – Smart TV’s, gaming consoles, tablets — any internet connected device. I love that it helps keeps my family safe from the strangers online.

Save 20% on your purchase of Circle Home Plus with promo code MOMSMEET2021 – valid until 10/15/21

Because there are limits to our screens (mine too) we can focus on more family activities and things we have been wanting to do around the house. I love that one the bedtime feature is set, it gives our eyes a rest and cuts the blue light that can make it so difficult to fall asleep.

Arts and Crafts – Create Screen Bugs — see how we make screen bugs for our porch every summer and how its a great activity for the entire family.

Get your kids in the kitchen. My favorite thing to do with the boys each weekend is get in the kitchen and make a mess. The messier the better, right?

Get the perfect, and kid friendly recipe for Sourdough Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins — they honestly could be made with any of your favorite berries and your kids can customize the add-ins.

Where is your favorite outdoor location? The beach, a trail, the mountains, a park… whatever is close to you. Spend the day there. Be mindful of no screens… and honestly when you get back home there is a good chance your kids will be so exhausted from the day, they won’t remember them either.

Get outside and garden…or paint rocks…or do both! You don’t have to go far from home to find plenty of outdoor fun. We started growing our Yoda Chia Garden inside of our Rock Garden. Every time we walk by it, it gives us a quick smile and a story to tell.

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

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.

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.

Something small that made a HUGE difference… (Dia&Co.)

I have not been out of my house in almost a month. Seriously, they said STAY HOME… I stayed home, aside from the casual trip to the Emergency Room for a broken arm of course.

This month was crazy busy for us. Well, it was supposed to be. Two different trips planned to Disney, a trip to North Florida to visit my parents farm, a parenting TV segment in West Palm, Orlando and Miami.

Continue reading “Something small that made a HUGE difference… (Dia&Co.)”

Add this to your weekend plans – We Rock the Spectrum – Port St Lucie

Birthdays are stressful. I’m absolutely the one that puts all the pressure on myself. I completely know that. I love all of the planning and Pinterest-ing.. but as the day gets closer and the RSVP list gets longer… the fun disappears and I’m a sweaty messy mom who is ready for the day to be over.

I couldn’t do it again this year, and turned over all of the fun and entertainment to We Rock the Spectrum in Port St Lucie. What a complete difference it made.

Continue reading “Add this to your weekend plans – We Rock the Spectrum – Port St Lucie”

Jurassic World Live Tour – For the Dino Lover In Us All

I was in 5th grade when the first Jurassic Park came out. I still remember the excitement and buzz around that movie and actually remember going to the theatre to see it.

I still call Jurassic World – Jurassic Park… I’m sure all of us 80’s babies do that too. Continue reading “Jurassic World Live Tour – For the Dino Lover In Us All”

Olive The Things You Must Have In Your Disney Bag

I feel like I’m almost a pro at what to take to Disney. We have gone at least a dozen times in the past few months and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

Because we go so often, I keep a Disney bag packed and ready to go. Honestly our plans were cancelled yesterday so instead we just loaded up and drove to Disney. The bag was already ready. Continue reading “Olive The Things You Must Have In Your Disney Bag”

Literati – Premiere Book Club for Children

I have seen my fair share of children’s books. Working in an elementary school for almost 10 years, you can imagine how many books I have gone through and recommended for little ones.

When Literati wanted to send a kit for me to try out with my 7 year old of course I said yes. I mean… I do have a love affair with all books. Especially #kidlit. But I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

What do you look for when shopping for your kids? What books do you look for shopping for your classroom? Continue reading “Literati – Premiere Book Club for Children”

Back to School Teacher Gifts – Start the Year with a Thank You

Am I the only one who can’t believe the school year is here!?!

Teachers report back to school next week in South Florida, and the students the week after that.

Meet the Teacher happens next week and it can be nerve racking on multiple levels. Parents are nervous, kids are nervous and YES… teachers are nervous too.

Continue reading “Back to School Teacher Gifts – Start the Year with a Thank You”