Our charity spotlight for this month is a relatively new non-profit based here in Tampa, Moms on a Mission. I have had the pleasure of knowing their founder, Natashia, for the past year and I have learned about her passion and calling for this cause. Moms on a Mission focuses on solving a major problem by equipping low income, working single mothers with the tools that they need to improve their lives, increase their earning power and learn essential financial and life skills that will benefit the communities in which they live in the Tampa Bay area.
Natashia and her Moms on a Mission team strive to focus on a few key areas that they have seen to make the largest impact on the lives of these women and their children. By focusing on education, financial literacy and life skills, a single mother living in poverty or pay check to paycheck can improve her life and teach her children so that generational wealth and success is a likely possibility.
According to the US Census Bureau, the second most common household is a single mother household with approximately 17 million single mom households in the United States.
Per the Census Bureau, “During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent. The percentage of children not living with any parent increased slightly from 3 to 4 percent.”
Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness. Among all homeless families nationwide, over three quarters were headed by single women with children; two fifths were African Americans (43%). (Source: Singleparentguide.com)
How You Can Help
Low-income, working mothers need to provide for their children all on their own. Moms on a Mission strives to ease this burden. You can donate directly on their website, and we are also asking for some items at our next event at Cantina Laredo on August 16. It is Back to School time, and moms have reported needing help with not only school supplies, but uniforms. To that end, a gift card in any amount to a store such as Target or Walmart that sells uniforms would be a huge help. Please consider donating if you can!
My family and I spent the morning checking out the newest attraction at ZooTampa at Lowry Park (formerly Lowry Park Zoo), and I am excited to share all the details with you! Situated near the carousel next to the Sweet Shoppe, Roaring Springs is a revamped area that pays homage to Florida with amazing food, a fun family ride, and of course, animals!
Joe’s Diner serves classic Florida favorites with a twist, such as fish tacos, strawberry shortcake, and key lime pie parfait. We sampled many of their menu items, but can't wait to return to try the fried oreos! My husband raved about Joe's fish tacos, and I personally enjoyed the churros with strawberry topping!
The main attraction is of course Roaring Springs itself. The boat ride begins calmly with a gentle drift, followed by a three-story drop that soaks everyone in the boat and on the observation deck! My family loved being able to find a way to cool off from our Tampa heat on this ride, and the little guys followed it up with play time in Wallaroo Station, the family area with a splash zone.
The ride has a 36" height requirement to ride with an adult, and children must be 42" to ride alone. My 8 year old LOVED the ride, while my 5 year old chose to only ride once. He enjoyed it, but he felt the drop was a bit too much for his enjoyment.
Making the Most of the Zoo
Roaring Springs is located in the Florida Life area of the zoo. Along with their name change (from Lowry Park Zoo), ZooTampa has put a lot of care and time into new signage and a modern update. Follow the brightly colored signs to view many animals around the zoo, and keep an eye out for the impending opening of the Florida Life area with many local animals!
Plan Your Visit
ZooTampa is one of my favorite things to do in Tampa! Roaring Springs will open to members on June 7 and 8, then will open to the public on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
For locals or those visiting Tampa often, I recommend the zoo pay-for-a-day ticket option so you can come back all year!
Address: 1101 W. SLIGH AVENUE TAMPA, FL 33604
Video Sneak Peek of Roaring Springs
May brings Mother's Day, and it's a wonderful time to celebrate those special moms in your life - especially if it's you! If you and your family want to celebrate Mother's Day on May 13 at a fantastic restaurant in the Tampa area, check out our favorites below!
Treat Mom to a delicious Spanish inspired Brunch or Dinner on Sunday, May 13th and she'll receive a complimentary glass of our freshening Cava! Reservations are available 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
930 S Howard Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33606
Tampa's famous Columbia Restaurant is offering a special Mother's Day menu. Reservations at each of their restaurants can be made at ColumbiaRestaurant.com.
Golden fried yuca tossed with sea salt and topped with a spicy tomato jam and drizzled with garlic alioli. 8.95
Scallops “Costa Del Sol”
Colossal scallops sautéed with Serrano ham, piquillo peppers
and tomatoes, in a spiced butter sauce. Served over Manchego cheese polenta. 28.00
Adobo spice rubbed Lamb loin medallions served with a black cherry mint sauce spiked with balsamic, sautéed spinach and olive oil mashed potatoes. 31.00
Dulce de leche Chocolate cake
Cuban Espresso chocolate cake , with a dulce de leche mousse and vanilla crème. 8.00
Tradewinds Resort - St. Pete Beach
Show how much you care by treating your mom to our popular Tradewinds Mother's Day brunch. Enjoy a variety of Breakfast Offerings, Carvery Station, Chef's Table "Pho" style, decadent dessert table and more! Mother's Day Brunch will be held in the Grand Palm Colonnade at TradeWinds Island Grand - May 13th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reservations required by calling 727.363.2258 or see Lobby Concierge.
Waterline Resort - Anna Maria Island
Treat mom to coastal cuisine for this Mother's Day! Mom knows best, and mom deserves Crawfish Eggs Benedict. In addition to the already fabulous brunch menu at Eliza Ann's Coastal Kitchen, our chefs have prepared specialty items just for the occasion.
Reservations recommended. Please call (941) 238-6264 or find us on OpenTable!
Mother’s Day Brunch Specials
Blue Point Oysters | Bloody Mary Granita $20
Avocado Toast | Maine Lobster | Breakfast Radish | Poached Eggs $24
1855 6 oz Beef Tenderloin “Steak & Eggs” $32
BBQ Short Rib Potato Hash | Fried Egg | Béarnaise Sauce
5325 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217
For gorgeous views of the Hillsborough River from this Riverwalk hotspot, bring Mom to Ulele on Mother's Day! Visit www.ulele.com/reservations or call for reservations.
Bananas Foster French Toast
Thick cut white bread dipped in custard and cast iron seared, topped with fresh berries, banana rum caramel sauce, fresh whipped cream and maple sausage. 12
14 oz slow roasted rib loin, white cheddar popcorn mashed potatoes, natural au jus, and broccolini. 29
Seared Spring Corvina
Meyer lemon scented fresh Fava beans, roasted spring leek and creamer potatoes, lobster sauce. 24
Golden Beet Carpaccio
Warm Quinoa ,Kale and chick pea saute, heirloom tomato vinaigrette. 14
Vanilla custard, caramelized sugar top and fresh berries. 10
Visit American Social on Harbour Island to enjoy their amazing patio space and views of Tampa Bay! We will be serving a Brunch Buffet to include an Omelette Station, Carving Station, Pastries, Sausage, Bacon, Home Fries and more. Additionally every mom will receive a complimentary Rose glass of wine and chocolate covered strawberry.
Phone: 813 605 3333
Want to Avoid the Brunch Crowds?
Our favorite mattress company, Allswell Home, is running an amazing contest to #BanTheBrunch on Mother's Day this year! Moms everywhere can post their own videos or photos on Instagram sharing their dream Mother's Day plans with the #BanTheBrunch contest. One grand prize winner will receive an Allswell mattress with white glove delivery and two runners-up will receive a $500 gift card to redeem at www.allswellhome.com. To participate, follow @allswellhome on Instagram and to enter, tag @allswellhome and include #BanTheBrunch and #AllswellContest in the caption of your post. The contest runs through 11:59PM EST on May 13, 2018. For all of the rules, visit www.allswellhome.com/banthebrunch-rules.
In celebration of all moms and to make your day in bed luxe and comfortable, Allswell is offering a $100 off the Supreme Queen mattress from May 1 – 13, 2018. Visit www.banthebrunch.com and use discount code BanTheBrunch at checkout.
I received a mattress and bedding through my relationship with Allswell Home. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
As I recently started shopping to upgrade our queen mattress to a king mattress, I realized there were endless options, and few stood out. I could spend hours shopping at multiple stores and being approached by salespeople, or I could brave the Internet and select a mattress based on online reviews. Neither option sounded great, but with our family of five, a king sized mattress has become a necessity.
With our first home purchase resulting in many renovations, I realized I did not have the time to go from store to store to shop for a mattress. I started to shop for a mattress online and reading reviews when I came across a new brand, Allswell Home. I was instantly drawn to their "Supreme Queen" mattress, formerly known as (FKA) the King. Because ladies, who is really in charge of shopping?! Who decorates and makes the bedroom a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of our daily lives? We do!
Luxury Bedding, Perfectly Curated
To add to my excitement about the Allswell brand, I saw that they have even worked with four incredible designers to assemble limited edition bedding collections that will look like they are straight out of a showroom (or Instagram!). With one click, you can add the entire look to your cart! Of course you can later customize, but for the design-impaired like me, this was a phenomenal and easy way to shop!
Luxe Mattresses to Meet Any Need
Allswell Home has two mattress options: softer or firmer. Despite the fact that I love a soft mattress, I went with the firmer because I have been struggling with back pain for the past four years, and keep hearing that a firm mattress is best for your back. I also loved that the Firmer One mattress has both memory foam AND coils!
So, how does ordering a mattress online work? I expected delivery to take a week or so, but I was pleasantly surprised that the box appeared on my doorstep just 3 business days after I ordered!
I didn't want to deal with finding a box-spring (are you sensing a pattern here? I'm all about time-saving!), so I purchased a platform bed frame with wooden slats to support the mattress. All I had to do to set up my new Allswell Supreme Queen mattress was unbox it! Followers of my social media and blog know that I like to keep it real, so you are welcome to check out my Live unboxing of this mattress:
I had NO idea what to expect when unboxing a mattress of this size, and I definitely got a little flustered there at the end. The good news, however, was after one more pass of the included opening tool, I had a beautiful, luxe mattress!
Customer Service That Sets Them Apart
Shopping online can be a bit nerve-wracking if you are making a big purchase like a mattress. What if something goes wrong? What if you don't like it? Allswell Home Allstars have you covered. My original shipment included the mattress, two Euro pillows, and a mattress cover. The mattress cover I received was actually for a Queen bed, so I had to work through an exchange. I emailed their support team, received a personalized response within an hour apologizing profusely for the error, and had my new, correct, Supreme Queen mattress cover within a couple of days. They included the shipping label for my return, and I just had to drop it off at UPS.
In addition to an easy ordering process and painless return, they included some amazing swag with their shipment. Check out that mask!
Sleeping on an Allswell Home Mattress
It has been almost three weeks sleeping on our new mattress, and our entire family loves it! No, we don't all sleep on it every night - my three boys have their own beds, but the struggle is real, friends! Nearly every night, my husband and I have someone sneak in to join us at some point, and the Supreme Queen keeps us all happy! I don't even notice when one of my boys comes in - the mattress doesn't transfer their movement and wake me up.
Florida friends - I was also concerned about memory foam making me hot. If you're looking for a mattress that doesn't make you sweat, I've been comfortable every night so far on my Allswell Home!
Connect with Allswell Home
The Suncoast Credit Union Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) brings the movies to Ybor City‘s Centennial Park. Family Fun Day is a free community event created to expose, inspire and engage children through the art of film!
Family Fun Day will feature a variety of tasty treats from participating local vendors including Zaxby’s, Let Them Eat Cake, the 92.5 ice cream truck and of course… free movie popcorn! Strike a pose at the Suncoast Credit Union photo booth, craft your own puppet with Kids on the Block, experience the Tampa Bay Buccaneers activation and much more! Family-friendly entertainment will be provided by DJ Kitty along with a screening of the movie Sing (2016). The first 300 kids to arrive will receive a "Future Filmmaker" t-shirt!
Find all the details on their Facebook event.
Sunday, March 25th 2018
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM: Family-friendly entertainment & vendor samplings
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM: Sing (2016) Screening
4115 West Spruce Street
Tampa FL, 33607
Take adventure to new heights as Mickey, Minnie and your friends from around the Disney Kingdom come together when Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars comes to Tampa from March 22-25, 2018 at Amalie Arena. Tickets are on sale now!
Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy set the stage for a star-studded talent extravaganza as Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars. Unleash the magic with royal sisters Anna and Elsa and the hilarious snowman, Olaf, as they sing captivating songs like “Let it Go” and “In Summer.” Life is the bubbles when Sebastian strikes up his hot crustacean band and the Daughters of Triton make a splash as they introduce Ariel in an ‘80s pop montage. Get tangled up with a chorus of harmless hooligans when they get a visit from the spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally, Flynn Rider, on their journey to see the floating lights. Relive a “Tale as Old as Time” when Belle opens her heart to new adventures and the Beast’s enchanted objects take center stage for a dazzling skating spectacle inviting audiences to “Be Our Guest.”
Experience unforgettable feats of strength and heart with the whole family when Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars debuts your hometown! Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Reach For The Stars go on sale now! All seats are reserved, and tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000. For group rates and information, call 866-248- 8740.
Performance Schedule at Amalie Arena:
Thursday, March 22 – 7:30pm
Friday, March 23- 7:00pm
Saturday, March 24- 11:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Sunday, March 25- 11:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm
Stay current on the latest developments through social media:
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #ReachForTheStars
We have been waiting to visit Legoland until my oldest son’s birthday in April, but when we saw that they are hosting special LEGO Ninjago Days in January and February, we knew we needed to go now! Legoland has already built a special Ninjago land within the park, but these special event days include everything your Ninjago fans could possibly want! This special event will take place on January 27 and 28, and February 3 and 4.
Special Character Appearances
At special scheduled times, my boys were able to meet and take pictures with Kai, Nya, Lloyd, and for the first time in Legoland, Master Wu! The line was efficient and the characters posed for such fun pictures!
We kicked off our day with the premier showing of the new 10 minute show LEGO Ninjago – Master of the 4th Dimension. This amazing 4D theatrical experience was great for the whole family!
The most exciting entertainment of the day was the Martial Artistry outside of Ninjago world. The real-life ninja were kicking, jumping, and showing off all kinds of exciting skills! The first couple of rows surrounding the show were left for the kids to sit near the action.
I also have to tell you that I had no idea that Legoland is built on the old Cypress Gardens. The botanical gardens remain, as does the ski show! We loved watching the Brickbeard’s Bounty water ski show with skis, boats, and jet skis!! We decided to sit on the adjacent lawn because of my squirmy little guy, and we still had a good view of the show.
There was also a great build competition that was very engaging! The kids were able to choose between building a ninja or a baddie, and they could submit their final creations for a daily prize. My guys didn’t participate but loved checking out everyone else’s creations!
In one of my personal favorite areas of the park, MINILAND USA, you could participate in a Master Wu scavenger hunt. Ballots can be found at LEGO Studio Store, and you keep a tally of the number of Master Wus you find among the models in MINILAND.
Fun for all Lego Fans
My 7 and 5 year old boys are huge LEGO fans right now, so this trip came at the perfect time for us. They brought a supply of mini-figures of home to trade with the “model citizens” (people who work at Legoland), and had a blast checking out everyone’s collection on their name tags. However, I can say that even if you have kids who aren’t obsessed with LEGOs like my boys are, there is plenty to enjoy at Legoland for the whole family! We will definitely return, and I’m hoping to check out their waterpark next!
Find more about Legoland online:
The Florida State Fair – always in Tampa, always in February – will be held on February 8-19, 2018. The Florida State Fair attracts more than 500,000 people over the course of its twelve-day event. Covering fifteen acres, the Florida State Fair boasts the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides. The Florida State Fair was founded 114 years ago in 1904 and was originally housed at the Tampa Hotel, now known as The University of Tampa.
The Florida State Fair employs 65 full-time staff members and nearly 800 seasonal staff to ensure guests have the most fun, educational and entertaining experience possible. In 2018, the Florida State Fair is unveiling thirteen new attractions including meet and greets with Paw Patrol and Rusty Rivets; Teen Stars Live; Florida State Fair Dance Championships featuring stars of Dance Moms; Little Farm Hands presented by Mosaic; BMX/FMX Freestyle Madness, The Ninja Experience, Mini Monster Trucks and so much more. The ever-enticing Fair foods for 2018 include a Surf N Turf Sundae, Southern Catfish Sundae and Barbeque Pulled Pork Ribbon Fries. Musical acts at the Florida State Fair include Country Gold Tour, Kazual, Screaming Orphans, Fuel on Fire, Dennis Lee, Vocal Trash and local Tampa bands including Kenzie Wheeler, Reverend Barry & the Funk, Alex Lopez, Nathan Hager, Taylor Reed and many more.
Tickets can be purchased at any participating Publix Supermarkets in the Tampa Bay area or online at www.floridastatefair.com.
For more information, please visit:
Website | www.floridastatefair.com
Facebook | www.facebook.com/floridastatefairgrounds
Instagram page | www.instagram.com/flstatefair
On January 22, the Florida State Fair launches its Half-Price Hookup featuring one all-you- can-ride armband plus Gold Access, good for any one Fair day for only $25. The all-you- can- ride armband plus Gold Access is valid to ride any ride in the largest Midway in North America with 110 different rides and the largest traveling Ferris wheel – the Midway Sky Eye. Gold Access will enable guests to use special express access at midway rides and 10% off on selected food and beverage – a $15 value (only on Saturdays and Sundays)
We attended our first Monster Jam show on January 13 at Raymond James Stadium, and now we have a family full of monster truck fans! Our boys have always loved vehicles of all kinds, but with our oldest being sensitive to loud noises, we never wanted to bring him to a show. Wow, were we missing out! We all had so much fun!
Pre-show Pit Party
The Pit Party took place in the field adjacent to the stadium (parking area) from 2:30 - 5:30 pm. We had the chance to meet the drivers, and they were so wonderful with their fans! Our boys (ages 7 and 5) were amazed with seeing the trucks up close. They then became ‘experts’ and were familiar with all the drivers. It gave them a real connection to the rest of the show even though we had never seen any of the cars or drivers before this event.
The Pit Party had a ton of ‘extras' such as food, merchandise, build your own monster truck out of wood, ride on a mini Grave Digger (like a Power Wheel), ride in the back of a full sized Grave Digger, a bounce house and a slide. The extras cost extra, but our boys enjoyed just walking around, seeing the drivers, and doing the free things at the different vendors. The free activities included making a pit party sign from Dairy Queen, playing corn hole and winning a free pizza from Papa Johns, free tattoos, and there were many vendors who gave out fun swag.
There were 3 parts to the event. In the first part, the trucks raced each other around the track and one winner was crowned. We loved cheering on our favorites! In the second part, the trucks did tricks on 2 wheels and the crowd did the scoring. I thought this was such a fun, engaging way to get the audience involved! The final part of the show was a freestyle event when the audience was able to provide the scores again.
We were surprised to see how many trucks needed repairs during the show. They show them on the big screen getting fixed and rush them back in from outside like its WWE - so fun!
Tips and Tricks!
As long as you have ear plugs or headphones, it is better to sit closer to the action. The jumps would be amazing to see from the 100 or 200 level. Being higher was better for us because it was not as loud, but it’s a tradeoff. They were also doing some great giveaways in the lower section!
Make sure to bring food to tailgate before/after the pit party. People were partying at this event like it’s a football game! I saw people with grills, tables of foods, pop up tents, and drinking games. Packing your food and drinks is a great way to save a bit of money, but also can ensure you have your kids' favorite foods. I stopped at the store on our way and bought a delicious Publix Cuban Sandwich and my boys' favorite- popcorn chicken. I also let them each pick out a few special treats for the show. It was the first time we have gone somewhere and they didn’t ask for food.
Remember that this event is outdoors. It was an unusually cold Tampa night for our show, and we showed no shame and wore many layers along with our winter coats from our time up north! I saw people with blankets, wool caps, and gloves!
The holiday season has officially begun in the Tampa Bay area! I have been researching fun family activities to celebrate Christmas, and I was thrilled to find Christmas Lane in Plant City. Christmas Lane is an amazing winter wonderland light display with something for everyone to enjoy! We had the pleasure of visiting and I am excited to share our experience with you.
When we entered the Charlie Grimes Family Agricultural Center at the Florida Strawberry Festival® grounds, we were greeted by a massive, beautiful display of over 1.5 million lights and life-sized decorations. From trees to trains, Christmas Lane has it all! There were even characters such as a gingerbread man and Rudolph walking around to pose for pictures with the guests!
Our first stop was to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. It was a perfect way to start our visit to get us in the Christmas mood. They have a beautiful display with fun props to use, just like a photo booth! They took amazing photos for us and we were able to buy them right there. You can also use your own camera to capture the visit.
My boys next wanted to check out the carnival rides. They had about 7-8 carnival attractions, and be advised – there are height restrictions. My older two boys had a blast riding and never had to wait in line (we visited on a Thursday evening). My 18 month old enjoyed the carousel ride the most!
I was worried at this point that we wouldn’t have much more to do before the Living Nativity started, but wow, was I wrong! We made our way over to the other side of the complex where we enjoyed face painting, ornament decorating, and letters to Santa! We indulged in some popcorn and I was impressed with the affordability of all of the snacks. This area of Christmas Lane included the stage where they have nightly performers. We were mesmerized by the performer on a unicycle!
After the stage performance, we enjoyed the Living Nativity outside. The boys loved seeing the animals and the live angel who performed. My favorite part was the live performance of "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night." The Living Nativity is presented by local churches every Thursday and Saturday of the season.
Christmas Lane was the perfect way for us to kick off the holiday season. It was fun for our entire family!
Where: On the grounds of the Florida Strawberry Festival® inside and around the Charlie Grimes Family Agriculture Center at 2508 West Oak Avenue, Plant City, FL 33563.
When: Open November 24 through December 24. Operating hours are Thursday through
Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night.
Price: Tickets are $5 for adults. Children ages 4 to 12 are $3. Children 3 and under receive
free entry. Free admission will also be available on Thursdays for current and former
members of the military. Our Community Night will offer free admission to Teachers,
First Responders and Law Enforcement on Fridays. Saturdays will be Youth Sports
night. Every child who wears his/her league jersey or shirt will receive free popcorn.
Sundays will be Senior night and all Seniors will receive a complimentary cup of coffee.
Parking is free and can be accessed from Lemon St. and Oak St.
More details can be found on the Christmas Lane website at ChristmasLane.com and on
Facebook at facebook.com/visitchristmaslane.
ABOUT CHRISTMAS LANE
In 1984 at his own home, Lane Wetherington founded Christmas Lane for the Dover,
Florida community. Sparked when he was a young boy, Lane’s passion for Christmas
led him to ask for Christmas lights to decorate the family home. Over the last 33 years,
his passion has grown exponentially to become a holiday favorite for people around
Central Florida. Initially an ever-expanding light display at the Lane family home,
Christmas Lane found a new home at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds in 2015
and includes over one hundred Christmas trees ranging from four to forty feet in height.
There are elaborate displays and over 1.5 million lights accompanying its
larger-than-life decorations that use more than 168,000 watts of power. Christmas
Lane is a non-profit organization. Volunteers work more than 1,800 hours to set up the breathtaking winter display.
Thank you to Christmas Lane for hosting our experience in exchange for the blog post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Hi! I'm Diana. I love the beach, my family, chocolate, coffee, and meeting new people. I host monthly events in the Tampa area and cannot wait to meet all of you!