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.
I can not tell you my level of excitement this year for trick or treating. Last year I wasn’t sure if the boys would ever have a “normal” Halloween, but as I’ve started making plans and looking for Halloween costumes – I’ve partnered up with Palm Beach Children’s Hospital to help make sure our night of trick or treating is safe and not scary.
Halloween Safety Tips from the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital
Choosing Your Costume
Make sure you can see. Masks and hoods can make it hard to see. Non-toxic face paints are a much better choice.
Wear something that reflects light. You can add reflective tape to your costume and treat bag so that drivers can see you. Carry a flashlight to light your way. You can even find one to match your costume!
Fun With Friends
Younger children should always have a responsible adult or older teenager with them while they trick or treat.
Take some friends along. A group of three or more is much safer than one.
Plan your route and decide with your parents what time you should be home.
Only visit the houses of people you know and where an outside light is on. If the light is off, they are probably away from home or not giving out candy.
Don’t go inside a house to accept candy.
Don’t stand too close to a lighted candle – especially in a jack o’lantern. Your costume might catch fire.
Whether walking, using your super powers or flying a broom, watch out for traffic. Stay on the sidewalks. Cross only at intersections. Don’t cross or hide between parked cars. Look both ways before crossing the street.
Don’t cut across yards.
Have one of your parents or a responsible adult check your candy before eating it. Throw any open packages or homemade treats away. If you have younger brothers, sisters, cousins or friends, don’t give them small or hard candies that can choke them.
Tips for Parents
Children often want to help carve the pumpkin, but little fingers and sharp objects don’t mix. Let your children draw the face on the pumpkin while you handle the carving. Your children may enjoy cleaning out the pumpkin and saving the seeds to bake for a snack.
Make sure your children understand the rules of Halloween safety. Develop a game plan and agree on the rules ahead of time. If older children are going out without an adult, make sure they understand the difference between vandalism and tricks.
When shopping for costumes, check to make certain the material is flame retardant and that your child’s vision won’t be obscured by any part of the costume. Make sure the costume isn’t too long to prevent tripping. If your child is wearing a hat, check to see that it won’t slip down over the eyes.
If your child is carrying props like a sword, knife or scythe, check to see that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury.
You may want to find an alternative to door-to-door trick or treating such as going to a mall or community event. You also may want to host a special Halloween party for your children and their friends.
Make your home safe for those little treaters. There are special lights that mimic a candle for jack o’lanterns. If you do use a candle, keep the pumpkin on a sturdy surface away from where the children are likely to stand. Don’t leave a burning candle unattended.
Teach your children that Halloween is about fun. Throwing eggs at a house or car or even toilet-papering trees can be considered acts of vandalism.
In case of an emergency, the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is here for all of your child’s emergent needs. When an emergency occurs you want the best treatment possible for your child as fast as you can get it. Palm Beach Children’s Hospital can provide your family access to some of the best emergency care treatment around, designed specifically for the needs of children.
In fact, their pediatric emergency room has been voted as Best Pediatric ER in Palm Beach County by readers of South Florida Parenting Magazine for three years.
I have found one of the best times to visit Orlando is during the school year. Why? Because most of the travelers and families to that area come when school is out. September to November is usually a little more quiet and restful for Florida families.
Fall in Florida is my absolute favorite time.
If you have never planned a fall weekend away, I promise it will become something you look forward to every year. Fantasy World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida has practically everything you need right on property. No matter what your family interests are, it is the perfect place to plan your getaway.
I’m not sure what you might look for in a family getaway, but for us it’s all about comfort, convenience and plenty of things to do to keep the boys active and away from screens.
The lazy river and pool area at Fantasy World Resort is the first thing my boys want to do, even before we take our bags in the house. That’s exactly what it feels like too! A private family townhouse. With a full kitchen, living and dining room. Two bedrooms, two full baths and the lifesaver of a washer and dryer. Heading home with no laundry to do is a different type of happiness. Plus they are pet friendly, so the whole family can stay together.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever blogged about a hotel bed being comfortable. I’m actually quite used to waking up with aches and pains from sleeping in a new place.
I don’t know what kind of magic was in this, but I woke up after the best night of sleep I’ve had in years knowing I need to buy everything on this bed. Pillows, sheets, bedding. It was that amazing. Not what you would expect to hear right?
They have started upgrading all of their units on property and even the smallest detail hasn’t been overlooked.
The boys had their own room too. That’s probably why I had such a great night of sleep. They didn’t have to share the same space with us like at a normal hotel. If you are looking for a resort to stay for an extended time…this is a huge perk. Separate spaces for family members.
Something amazing that the resort does is find special ways to celebrate the holidays. We checked out their haunted house last year, and the one they put together this year is longer and scarier. Yes, we all did it…
I’m not a fan of jump scares, but watching Billiam and Haven jump was well worth it. If you are a member of their Free Rewards Program, you can go through the Haunted Manor as many times as you’d like.
The amount of activities they have poolside is awesome. When you check in make sure to get a list with times throughout the day. Sno-cones and cotton candy, tie-dye shirts, Teddy Bear building, Bingo, as well as children’s trivia. Billiam and I were able to lounge poolside and the boys were entertained for hours.
Like other properties Fantasy World Resort has a rewards program that is completely free to join. But unlike others, there are no points that need to be accumulated to use. It doesn’t matter if you just joined or if you’ve been a member for a while… everyone gets the perks.
Some of the perks are:
Arrival Gift – (this changes month to month) Key shaped 16GB Flash Drive
Two complimentary welcome drinks at Oreo’s Poolside Cafe
Grab’n Go Complimentary daily Continental Breakfast
Discounts for local restaurants and entertainment venues
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I feel like I know so many families that are preparing to have their first baby or adding on to their growing family and I can’t be more excited about it. There is something so fun and special about the last trimester. Honestly it was my favorite part of pregnancy.
Knowing how close I was to meeting someone I would love forever. Knowing how quickly my life would change. When it was my first time delivering, I had so many questions about pregnancy, I didn’t know what to ask about my actual hospital stay or what it would be like.
The excitement of pregnancy and growth of a new little being can take the attention from the hospital stay away until last minute.
I like to bring this fact up to my pregnant friends so they can start thinking about what it is they will want before and after birth, what they want that experience to feel like and as silly as it sounds, the comfort of their spouse.
Something I had never considered until it was too late and my husband was complaining how uncomfortable he was on the plastic hospital couch.
One of the things I never considered before giving birth is that I was going to have to switch rooms after delivery. No one told me that!
When I saw the Birthing Suites that have been redesigned by Lilly Pulitzer at Good Samaritan Medical Center I was completely blown away and semi-jealous that I didn’t have this set up. New moms and families are able to stay in the same room for labor, delivery and recovery.
This feels more like a resort stay than hospital stay. New moms can have a true Palm Beach-style birthing experience in a VIP Suite.
The rooms have been fully renovated with bedding and window coverings in Lilly Pulitzer print fabrics along with coordinating decor.
Between the waterfront views, concierge service and VIP food and beverage menu this truly is a completely unique and special experience. The stress and pressure of a standard hospital stay are taken away and families are at the center of the whole experience. Mom and baby also receive matching Lilly Pulitzer swaddle sets – how sweet is that!
To schedule a tour or to make a reservation, please visit
Even though school is already back in session for most Florida kids, you can still celebrate the summer with a weekend away. An amazing weekend away your family will talk about for quite a while. I know because everyone in my family absolutely loves it.
By far the atrium view completely changes a typical hotel stay. This is such a sensory experience. The trees, the waterfall, the porch to sit and people watch. Early in the morning, the middle of the night, and as a great way to end your day around the resort. Check to see when their atrium light shows are. You can watch from your room or grab an ice cream and watch right below.
One of the amazing thing about Gaylord Palms is that they have awesome family events throughout the year. This summer we going in on the Explores Club.
It is a small socially distant tour throughout the atrium with a tour guide. As your family walks and explores, the guide points out native plants and trees to Florida, as well as fun facts about the turtles and alligators there.
Our tour guide was able to answer even random questions about the property and history of Florida, that it felt like a truly inclusive experience.
There is a travelers guide that the boys traveled with and marked off each location as well as gathered small Polaroid pictures from our guide. Give anyone in our family any type of scavenger hunt list, and we accept the challenge.
Hear about the true Florida ghost story of Colonel Garcia Marti and his young wife Dolores in 1794. Read more here. Just the right amount of spooky and strange.
This was our first time to actually feed the fish too! My little one could have stayed here for an hour and he would have been happy.
Once you finish the tour there is also an Explorer’s Bar with refreshments and a themed lounge to enjoy. It for sure gives off Halloween vibes and I loved every minute of it. They have non-alcoholic drinks for the little explorers too.
Something that we can’t wait to do is take advantage of their on property waterpark. They by far have the best children’s splash pad area. Grown ups and join in on the slides and fun there too.
Take a minute to see more in our vlog of the Gaylord Palms Water Park here. They have really considered everything a family would enjoy on a getaway… including their brand new “lazy” river… Crystal River Rapids. It’s not really your classic lazy river, and the next day I could feel it everywhere in my body.
Take your family away, or take a girls trip for the weekend. What are you waiting for? The holiday season will be here before you know it and these days of summer are flying away so quickly. Take time to make more summer memories.
Last summer I absolutely fell in love with Emily in Paris on Netflix and this amazing Van Gogh exhibit she visited in her travels. It was something that as soon as I saw it, knew that I had to go. I started researching the cities the exhibit was in, where I needed to go. Nothing (darn COVID). There was nothing in my area and so I put that on. My list of things to keep checking back on.
I’m glad I did. Beyond Van Gogh is now in Miami with other locations around the state and region too.
I will admit, I didn’t know too much about the artist. Other than the basics that I think everyone knows. I loved Starry, Starry Night when I was in high school and felt very grown up and artsy when I had that image on my first credit card.
When you first enter the exhibit there are rows and rows of artist back story and his history. This area can give a snapshot into the world of Van Gogh and some of his struggles and inspiration. Once inside, you can take as much time as you’d like to walk through and read. To be immersed in his life and feel a little more connected to him.
I was amazed to learn that he signed all of his artwork Vincent, because he thought his last name would be too difficult for people. That broke my heart.
There are only two rooms in the exhibit. The first hall that has the hanging frames about Van Gogh and then the larger main room. They average 20-25 minutes for the first room , and 35 minutes for the second. Although there is no one that actually makes you leave at an hour – it is up to you how long you want the experience to last.
A lot of times I venture out to experiences like this, other parents ask if it’s kid friendly. Absolutely. Although it is different, and something your kids might not have done before…it is an amazing experience for them to go, sit and pause. To take it all in. The colors, the art, the music.
There were plenty of families with kid (including strollers) and if a baby gets fussy, you could easily step out side for a moment. Honestly though, the music was loud enough that it could cover most fussy kid concerns. Once I was in there I was able to block most everything else out.
Both of my sons loved that the art work wasn’t just on the walls. It was everywhere. To watch the paint stretch across the walls and floors along with the music. The art was alive and they could be a part of it. There was something special about that.
There were certain areas that were more congested than others but they still have a limited admission (June 2021) to make sure not too many people are inside at once. I would recommend buying all of the tickets together, because once the time slot is sold out it is difficult to add anyone else one.
Once you exit the exhibit there are awesome picnic tables and hammocks to relax in and grab a snack or drink from the refreshment stand/ cafe. There were actually free range chickens roaming around and the boys loved being able to sit and relax. I loved being able to swing and talk about everything we had just seen instead of just getting in the car and heading home. It was something I wasn’t expecting
No matter what part of the country you are in, I highly recommend looking into the Beyond Van Gogh Experience. Either as a family day (special Sunday rates) or a romantic afternoon date. It’s something I’m glad we were able to experience together and honestly hope other artists can find a spotlight like this as well.
Know Your Numbers — The Best Way to Stay Heart Healthy
My family (both sides) has a terrible heart history. A majority of my family members have died from stroke and heart attack. It’s something that honestly, I have never paid attention to even though I have known it will be a problem I encounter in the future.
I know I’m not alone in that. Once we become parents our focus becomes primairly on day to day activities and events. Making sure our kids have what they need, planning vacations, working on homework. Heart health is not something I think about daily.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Jenna Hallquist BSN, RN – the Neuroscience Manager from St.Mary’s Medical Center to talk about my family heart history and go through a quick Stroke Screening with her.
The name is way more intense than what it actually is. You can see some of the questions we reviewed together (above picture). I must admit some of the questions she was asking I couldn’t answer, and I should be able to. It’s something that I know I need to pay more attention to. I’m sure if any mom was asked, we could tell you our weight numbers. It’s something that we are hyper focused on as we work on our health. But more importantly we should be focused on our blood pressure numbers and cholesterol.
I was slightly embarrassed I didn’t know mine. Couldn’t even begin to take a guess.
Jenna was also kind enough to answer a few questions about stroke while I was there.
How can busy moms and parents be aware of the signs of a stroke?
It is quick and easy to identify signs and symptoms of stroke if you remember BEFAST! And Call 911. (see above image)
E – Eyes
F – Face
As she was going over these, I honestly thought I had experienced all of these with the classic cloudy mom brain. Too much multitasking and memory loss. But the difference is huge. This would be something immediately noticeable. Not some one losing their keys, but having absolutely no idea where they are. Think of a dramatic change.
I will say, moms are the worst about putting off doctors appointments for themselves until it is the last minute. When it comes to strokes time matters. If something looks wrong or feels wrong, don’t wait.
What age or factors increase the risk of strokes?
Anyone at any age can experience a stroke. People older than 65 years are at the highest risk of stroke.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, Smoking, poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle are some of the risk factors you can control as you age to reduce risk.
Moms of child baring age are at higher risk for stroke if they smoke, take birth control and even higher if they smoke and take birth control. Sedentary lifestyles put you at risk too.
If my family has a history of strokes… what are the chances I might have one?
Your chances increase if you have a family history of stroke. If you have family history of stroke you should be diligent about diet, exercise and blood pressure control.
Because with me, I need to know my next steps. Simple ways to make changes that aren’t going to put too much strain on my mom brain.
I’m also hoping these will become the norm for my boys too.
Limit my cheese (heartbreaking but doable)
Know my blood pressure numbers – I’ll make sure to check every time I go to the grocery store.
Alternate my caffeinated drinks with water. Hopefully this will help me cut back.
More fresh fruits and veggies to meals — with the kids too. (maybe explore local farmers markets for this)
Be brave with the foods we eat. Break out of the routine and try at least one new meal/ healthy choice each week.
Here are the ones I am working toward. Once these become routine, I can incorporate a few more.
I am also going to find my cholesterol numbers from the last time they were checked, and should probably just make an appointment to get updated numbers. The most important thing I can do for myself and my family right now is to KNOW MY NUMBERS. This is the number one way I can make sure I keep my heart in good working order for myself and my family.
For more information on how you can stay heart healthy, book a stroke screening or more ways to stay healthy please visit St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Sometimes I feel bad for smaller towns in Florida. The larger cities seem to get most of the attention and unless you’re a local there are tones of spots you may miss.
I actually worked in Vero for a brief time, and never really took the time to explore or get to know the area.
Now that Disney has its reservation system, there are weekends that we aren’t able to go to the parks. I’ve decided to use those weekends to get to know more about where we are.
As I started my research I discovered that the Vero Beach Museum of Art is free the last weekend of every month. As our family travels more and more, finding things that are fun and affordable has climbed high on my list.
Located in a beautiful part of town, this museum is very family friendly. Sometimes I get a little nervous taking young children to places known to be adult oriented, but this was very different. Unfortunately because of COVID their children’s area was not open when we visited (we will make sure to go back later on in the year). But there was a nice outdoor are that we could use relax a bit and get to know more of the art and structures.
Just like other museums, they have exhibits that rotate out seasonally. We were lucky enough to experience a light exhibit that the boys absolutely loved and still talk about.
I have driven by here honestly hundreds of times, but never stopped. I’m so glad we added this to our day. It was open and airy with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. There was a large grassy area that the kids were able to run around and let out energy while we enjoyed drinks and large outdoor games to play.
We get asked ALL.THE.TIME. if we are comfortable taking our kids to breweries. Most of the time it is from people who don’t really understand that during the daylight hours…breweries are great for families. The staff is friendly, they know their menu and the pace is casual.
I highly recommend finding a local brewery with a restaurant and starting there.
American Icon Brewery had an extensive menu that the entire family was happy with. Anytime I can order local flights (variety of beers) I do. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to try out new drinks and maybe find a new favorite.
I always ask my server the most popular, as well as what their favorite selection is too. It let’s me add drinks that I might not choose otherwise and I have found some that were amazing.
There was a fun atmosphere here too. So many new things to see and the boys weren’t in a rush to leave. I call that a win.
Of course we wanted to finish out our day with a drive by the beach and fun dessert treat. A local friend of mine recommended Countryside Ice Cream located on Ocean Drive. It’s actually located inside El Sid Taqueria and has a very limited menu — but it was exactly what we were looking for.
I had to order the popular orange and vanilla swirl, it’s their most popular and for good reason. The boys went with classic chocolate sugar cones. There is outdoor seating beside the shop but for the best view…
Make sure to walk behind the building to the beach to enjoy your treats and people watch. This was the perfect way to end the day and would recommend this small spot to anyone in the area.
As we were out exploring there were tons of other small businesses I want to add to our next adventure and can’t wait to get to know Vero Beach a little bit better. Do you have any favorite places in Indian River County?
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.
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.
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.”
I’ve lived in Florida for 20 years, and honestly still can’t believe this was our first trip to Kennedy Space Center. Every time a rocket launch happens (that luckily we can watch from our yard) I tell myself we need to head up. It’s less than a two hour drive from the Treasure Coast.
I knew with a birthday celebration weekend (and no Covid birthday party) it was the perfect time for my five year old who is currently obsessed with planets.
The first question I get about most places we visit is now about social distancing guidelines and if they are enforced. I have found with most larger places or companies, there are more guidelines.
There were plenty of outdoor spaces and distance markers throughout buildings. Masks were required while we were there and I honestly didn’t see too many people trying to get around that. People did remove their masks for pictures, but that can be said for most places.
Because we had never been there I wasn’t sure what to expect. Something I didn’t realize is that the entire complex is made up of different buildings. It’s not just one big place. Make sure you grab a map when you get there so you know where everything is located. There are also different showtimes that you will need to pay attention to, so you don’t miss a program you might be interested in.
I recommend planning your day or a general idea of your day before you get there.
As you can see there are still a lot of different hands on interactive activities, completely up to you if you are comfortable toughing them…but there are sanitizing stations very close to all of them.
One of the kids favorite places was the Planet Play playground. Before we went I wasn’t sure if I would even show it to the kids because of germs, but once we were there and saw the cleaning procedures in place and was able to chat with the staff members about when and how they clean, I was fine letting the boys play. They could have stayed in that location all day if I would have let them.
While there we of course saw the huge rocket booster leading the way to the Atlantis exhibit. Whatever you do, don’t miss this one. Hands down this was my favorite. Before you get to the actual shuttle, there is a short movie to give a backstory, so even if you don’t have much back story — or any — you can get caught up quickly and feel how awesome this moment is.
Spoiler: once the movie is over the screen lifts up to reveal the actual Atlantis shuttle. It’s there and massive. I stood there imagining its journey and the fact that it had been to OUTER SPACE. I might have “nerded” out but I loved every minute of it.
In typical Florida fashion, it started raining while we were there. Just plan on that. But unlike other parks you may visit…a majority of the exhibits and experiences are inside minus a few. The weather didn’t impact the events of the day. In face when we walked out of Atlantis we honestly didn’t realize it had stormed as much as it did.
There are even some fun pop up experiences — like a photo op with an astronaut — keep your eyes open.
There are a few places to eat, if your kids start to get hangry, but pay attention to the times they are open. When we were there, one location wasn’t open and the other closed before the park did. There are also plenty of places to sit outside and eat if that’s something you enjoy doing. We always make sure to take a selection of snacks and bottled water for when we need to take a little break.
Forever Remembered was beautiful tribute to the Challenger and Columbia crews. Each member that was lost has a tribute to them and who they were outside of the space program. Even the boys were drawn in and wanted to learn more about each crew member.
If you haven’t visited Kennedy Space center recently, whether you live in Florida or are just coming in for a getaway, make sure to plan a day here.