Category Archives: Experiences & Reviews

An Amazing Trip to Seaworld, Busch Gardens & Discovery Cove

Last Thursday, I drove to Orlando, which is about an hour north of me. I knew while I was there I’d be going to Seaworld, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove on a sponsored press junket but that’s all I really knew. Honestly, I figured we’d ride the rides, see the animals and do all the things you normally do on such a trip.

I was wrong.

We did do those things but even more so, I spent time getting an education…

Without knowing all the facts, it’s easy to assume that a place like Seaworld keeps all these cool animals, makes them entertain us and gets rich off of them.

The fact is, Seaworld does some wonderful things for animals—one of them being treating injured animals from the wild.

Thousands of manatees, dolphins, seabirds, turtles and more are brought to Seaworld each year and they use their own resources and incredibly knowledgeable staff to nurse them back to health and then release them back into their habitat.

If they’re injured in such a way that they can’t be returned to the wild, they sometimes stay at Seaworld or are placed somewhere in which they can continue to live as normal a life as possible.

Seaworld does this because they have the staff and facilities available but also because, from my observations, they truly do care about animals.

I also learned about the training methods they use for all their animals.

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Potluck Favorites

I’m one of those people who likes the idea of cooking more than I like the actual execution of it, which is to say…I do it somewhat begrudgingly. My husband, who I suspect is just happy to have something to eat, insists that I’m actually not a bad cook and everything I cook is awesome. God bless him for his ability to embellish…

The fact is I’m not a fancy foodie type AT ALL—I enjoy occasionally straying over to Thai or Indian but primarily, I like comfort foods, casseroles, sandwiches and things that are not terribly time consuming to prepare.

Enter Potluck Favorites, a recipe bookazine that recently appeared in the grocery line. I’d looked at it and was intrigued by the variety of yummy comfort foods so when I was offered a review copy of the same, I of course said “Yes, please” because I already knew it had some recipes in which I was interested.

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Pins on a Map Book Review

As someone who has taken very few trips with their children and none of any note, I found Pins on a Map to be thoroughly engaging.

Author David Boesch’s detailed retelling of how his family (children ages 7, 10 and 13), meticulously planned and executed their yearlong travel odyssey was not only inspiring and envy-inducing but also very informative.

Boesch and his wife considered things that would never have occurred to me and their respect for safety and travel rules is something that I will always keep in mind if we ever manage to get off this limestone rock.

I appreciated the personal and sometimes humorous feeling of the book and as a mom, even with our limited travel experiences, I could relate to all the ups and downs of parenting on the go. These details made this book much more interesting and compelling than some generic, impersonal guide of family travel do’s and don’ts.

Most of all, however, I loved how a yearlong travel adventure across 6 continents and 17 countries changed the perspectives of the entire family.

Goosebumps on DVD

I vaguely remember the Goosebumps books and the TV show from well before I had kids but I was pretty unfamiliar with them until recently when I received two DVD’s to review.

We got “Go Eat Worms” and “The Blob That Ate Everyone” and upon opening the envelope, my kids, ages ten and five, were chomping at the bit to watch them (there are three episodes on each DVD).

As soon as we had one opened, they immediately popped it in the DVD player and started watching. I was a little concerned that they would be too scary for my five year old but he insisted that he knew it was just pretend so I sat and watched both DVD’s with them and they were completely glued to the TV the entire time. Since then, we’ve probably watched both DVD’s five more times and even I enjoyed watching them.

From an adult point of view, the stories are mildly scary and not too graphically gruesome but the suggested age for these DVD’s is 8-12 years old so I recommend watching them first to decide if your younger kids are ready for them.

The Verdict: Goosebumps on DVD were a huge hit with my kids and I plan on getting them some more episodes for Christmas.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (DVD)

I’m going to keep this short and sweet: I LOVED Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as did my 10 yr old AND the five girls we had over for a slumber party the other night.

It’s a hilarious movie that stays very close to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and the young actors give great performances. I found myself wishing the movie would continue when it was over because it was so engaging.

If you have kids in the 7-13 age range, this movie will definitely make them laugh their heads off, as well as learn a valuable lesson about being yourself and respecting your friends. Older kids will likely also enjoy it although they may outwardly dismiss it as a little kid movie because you know, that’s how teens are… *insert motherly eyeroll*

Anyway, this moms gives Diary of a Wimpy Kid (DVD) two enthusiastic thumbs UP!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief DVD

We recently received a review copy of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on DVD. I watched it with my husband and my ten year old daughter and overall, it was pretty entertaining. I’m not going to rehash the whole film—there are plenty of summaries about it all over the internet—but I did want to point out some of the things I personally liked about it.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a modern take on Greek mythology, based on a series of juvenile fiction books, that might come off as a bit hokey for older teens but if you can get past the fact that Pierce Brosnan is a centaur (half man, half horse) and that one of the teens is a satyr, complete with furry legs and hooves, it’s actually an engaging adventure/fantasy flick.
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iFrogz EarPollution CS-40 Headphones

I’ll tell you right now that I don’t like ear buds that much. They fall out a lot when I’m wearing my iPod and moving around and I can never fully relax when I have them in.

That said, when the chance to review EarPollution CS-40’s headphones from iFrogz presented itself, I jumped at it. Truth? I’ve had to steal them back to use them because my husband, a musician who is constantly listening to things via headphones has taken them over.

We both came to the same conclusion—for the money, iFrogz CS-40’s are a great investment. They’re comfortable, the sound is good and for me…they don’t feel like they’re falling off my ears every ten seconds like ear buds do. Two thumbs up!

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