Friday, August 18, 2017

Around The Edge: Tampa To Miami Via The Coast

Written by a contributing writer 

 

They don't call it the Sunshine State for nothing! Florida has some fantastic attractions and not just the major theme parks we all think of! If you're looking for a way to enjoy the sunshine while also seeing what the state has to offer then why don't you take a trip from Tampa and follow the coast around to Miami stopping at a few places on the way? Here are just a few hidden gems you may want to stop at along the way.


Tampa


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Tampa is a thriving city and the area has many fantastic shopping outlets, museums, an aquarium, and large zoo. But if you really want to enjoy some fantastic views, then you need to go to a restaurant with views of Tampa Bay. Taste of Boston serves up a lot of deep fried seafood including scallops, shrimp, and oysters, as well as the famous New England clam chowder. And the view is spectacular.


Sarasota


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If you're traveling with the family in tow, there are some fantastic, peaceful county beaches where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. But if you looking for something a bit more adventurous Seashore Eco Tours offers kayaking lessons as well as guided kayak tours through the mangroves. If your young ones aren’t thrilled with kayaking there are plenty of paddle boarding lessons available too.

Cape Coral

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If you have an interest in the wildlife of Florida, you could venture down to the Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden based in Rotary Park which preserves butterfly species. Once these butterflies have hatched safely away from the hunt of predators, they are released back into the wild, and you can see the life stages of the butterfly on guided tours. You can also learn about the specific characteristics of each butterfly species.


The Everglades National Park


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Right at the South of Florida, this National Park is truly a great natural treasure. But apart from the swamps and unique wildlife, there are plenty of other things you can do in this beautiful park. You could go to the Ernest Coe Visitor Center which educates visitors on the varied species of the Everglades. Or, if you wanted to experience the Everglades up close, you could go camping. There are plenty of front country and backcountry camping sites available.

Miami


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Once you have made the trek around southwest Florida, you will end up at the party capital of the state. But while many choose to kick back with some cocktails, there are still plenty of other things for you to do in Miami. You could go to the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science which houses an aquarium, a planetarium, and two wings that feature interactive exhibits for all the family. But if you are looking for a little less education on your trip to Miami, you could frequent the many eateries and drinking establishments, such as the Versailles restaurant. Here you can indulge in traditional Cuban food. Or you could go for ice cream at the Azucar ice cream company!


As far as a road trip around Florida is concerned you've got plenty to keep you busy, so take in the sunshine and enjoy the sunshine state!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Birthday Planning: How to Make Your Child's Big Day One to Remember

Written by a contributing writer

Every parent wants their child’s next birthday to be one that they will remember for a long time to come. But actually making that happen can often be more difficult to do that many people imagine. If you don’t have children, the stress of an upcoming birthday is hard to imagine. So, for parents out there, here’s how to start birthday planning and make that day one that will stick in their mind.

Organize a Group Activity All Their Friends Can Enjoy

Birthday parties need to have some kind of structure. If there is nothing much for the kids to do, things can get pretty chaotic and difficult for you to control. There are all kinds of birthday party places out there. You need one that offers a group activity that your child and all of their friends can enjoy.  If your child is doing something that they genuinely enjoy, they will remember the day for a long time to come. And it will mean that they never get bored or have nothing to do at the party, which matters a lot too.

Prepare Goody Bags

Next, you should prepare some goody bags for all the kids to take home with them. These are fun ways to finish the day and they ensure that everyone leaves on a good note and in a good mood. This will make the day better for your child and all of their friends. Everyone should have goodies to take home that you feel are appropriate. You don’t need to spend a fortune on these things but they should be memorable in some way.


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Send Out the Invites Early

It’s essential to making your life easier by sending out the invitations early. But first of all, you need to make sure that you invite the appropriate people. Remember, this is your child’s party and if you forget to invite one of their best friends, this party will not be as great as it can be.  So, talk to your child about who they want to be there and make sure you make their best friends priorities. Send out the invites early and request that parents RSVP so you can organize everything smoothly and accurately.

Have a Bespoke Cake Professionally Designed and Made

The cake is often the big centrepiece of the whole birthday. Therefore, you need to find a way of making it stand out. If you’re not much of a baker yourself, it makes sense to call in the professionals to take care of this matter for you. That’s usually the best way to go about things. They’ll be able to make sure that the bespoke cake that your child gets is professionally designed and tastes great too. Those are the things that matter and professionals can offer them. The photos will be looked back on for many years to come, so you want the cake to look great. Of course, you don't have to spend a fortune on a cake or any part of the party. If you or family members are great at DIY, you may not need to hire anyone. The importance is the thought behind the birthday and creating a day that is all about your child doing things they love with the people they love.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back To School Survival Tips Every Mom Should Read

Written by a contributing writer



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It doesn’t seem too long ago that our kids were running out of the school doors excited for summer break. Now we are in the middle of August and pretty soon the school gates will be opening again (if they haven't already) to welcome our children back for another school year. To help you get ready for the new academic year, here are some back to school survival tips you may find useful.

Order classroom essentials online
Save yourself a lot of time and head online for the supplies your child needs for school. We recommend you take a look at the special offers at DontPayFull.com and go to the Walmart section for some great opportunities to save on classroom essentials. Having everything delivered to your door will cut down on legwork from going from store to store trying to find everything and will save you a lot of last minute stress.

Check the school uniform

Remember, your children grow up fast, so make sure their uniform/clothing still fit. You may still decide to buy some new gear, especially if there are holes in the knees of their trousers or nasty scuff marks on their shoes. While you could buy the clothing online, you may prefer to head to the local store for this one so your kids can try on clothes before you buy. Better to be safe than sorry and you will save them a lot of discomfort to boot!

Sort out the paperwork


Schools tend to send us a lot of paperwork, so make sure you are up to date with everything. Keep everything in one folder, from the school calendar to a copy of the classroom rules, and sign any consent forms needed for the year ahead. Keep a backup of important dates and information with the app from Evernote.com, which is especially useful for those of us prone to forgetfulness.

Ready the body clock

There is nothing wrong with you letting your kids stay up an extra hour or so during the holidays. However, in the run up to the new school year, get back into a routine early. Your kids will need time to adjust to early mornings again, and so will you. Therefore, you won't run the risk of your kids being late on the first day of school and you'll ensure you all have time to prepare yourselves.

Get back into school mode

When you’re young, school holidays seem to last forever. Many will be looking forward to getting back to school and seeing their friends and some will be trying to hold onto the last clutches of freedom they have before they return. In either case, prepare your kids for the inevitable. Get them back into ‘school mode’ and practice their reading and writing with them and encourage them to think positively about the return to school. Younger children especially will need your reassurance, so offer plenty of love and support. Follow the advice we gave you here at Floridamommydiaries.com, and remember to care for mental well-being during the preparation for the new school year.

Good luck for the year ahead!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Secret To Looking Great - No Matter Your Age

Written by a contributing writer


Our culture sometimes seems to have a lot of hang-ups surrounding the concept of age. The truth is that your age doesn’t need to matter all that much, as long as you know the approach to take. When it comes to looking your best, age is not some kind of hurdle which needs to be overcome. No matter how old or young you are, you can look fantastic regardless, so long as you know what you are doing. In this post, we are going to discuss some of the things you can do to ensure that you look your absolute best, no matter what age you happen to be.


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Invest In Your Body While You’re Young

Funnily enough, the world of investment can actually teach us something interesting about the idea of looking our very best. The best time to put money aside is when you’re young, as this gives you the most amount of time possible to gain interest and widen your portfolio. Well, the exact same happens to be true for your appearance. As it turns out, investing in your appearance when you are young is also going to be a great idea. And it’s one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself later in life. So how exactly do you go about investing in your appearance when you are young?

The first thing is to make sure that you get enough exercise while you are young, as this will having a profound and positive lasting effect. People often make the mistake of thinking that exercise is just a temporary solution to look better now. But the more you exercise and keep yourself in shape, the longer you will carry on feeling and looking amazing, so this is one investment you should definitely make. On top of that, you might want to think about eating as healthy as you can from the youngest age possible. This will work wonders in terms of keeping you healthy and vibrant, which can affect how your skin looks even years later.

On top of all that, it is also true that when you set up these healthy habits, you are much more likely to continue them in later life as well. Clearly, starting young will often mean that you carry on being healthy for longer as well.


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Change Your Fashion As You Age

If there is one major faux pas which makes older people seem considerably less fashionable, it is trying to hold on to the fashions of the past. Although you might well have looked great in a particular type of clothing or outfit in your twenties, you might not look quite the same in your fifties. And the style may give a dated appearance. Instead, consider gradually changing your fashion to suit not just your age, but your changing tastes in life as well. If you know where to look and you have the patience, there is always fantastic clothing to be found for people of all ages, so you don’t need to worry about being short of items. You might even want to specifically look into finding dresses for women over the age of 50, as this can help you to fill out your wardrobe with the kind of items which you will look great in. Having a wardrobe that suits your age and your tastes is most of the hard work, so get that right first and foremost and you should be fine.



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Catch Up On Your Sleep

As you grow older, you need less and less sleep, until eventually, you will probably get by on only around four to five hours. However, just because you feel you need less doesn’t mean you won’t function better on more. The truth is that sleep helps your body repair and generally look its best, no matter what your age might be. So if you are serious about looking great at any age, you will definitely find it beneficial to get a little more sleep than you might be used to. This alone can make a huge difference to how you look - and how you feel.

Done right, your age does not necessarily have to make that much of a difference to your appearance. The important thing is to remember that there are always things you can do if you want to look a little better. As long as you are taking steps, you can look your very best, regardless of what age you happen to be.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The One And Only: Nurturing The Individual In Our Children

Written by a contributing writer


It's a tough balance to get right as a parent. We want to do everything we can for them and we need to be sure that we are addressing the difference between nurturing our children and having to tell them what to do. But you want your child to grow up to be someone where their individual personality shines through and not just someone who follows the pack. So where is it best to begin to make sure that your kids are not only well-rounded human beings but also people with their own thoughts, opinions, and personality?


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Leave the Controlling Aspect Within Yourself Behind

It's always much easier as a parent to tell your child to not do something rather than debating the issue. But it's important to support your child in a way that helps them develop properly. Your child's development during the first three to five years of their life is very important. This is when their personality that governs the rest of their life forms. So embedding habits in your own parenting methods are also important. This means stopping and thinking before you bark orders. Instead, think about working with your child to help them realize the error of their ways. For example, if you don't want them to touch something because it's unsafe, it's better for you to assert that it is off limits rather than putting it out of their reach without explaining because children will need to learn why certain actions are "wrong" as well.

Developing Their Personality

While to an extent their personality will start to shine through after 6 months or so, you can help to nurture it in certain ways. It's a cliche that we tend to become our parents as we age, and it can be true to an extent, so it's important for you to think about what attitudes and judgments you will bring to the table. Remember that your outlook may rub off on them.  As humans, we grow to emulate what's around us, which can be evidenced in many ways, even our accents are borne from a subconscious mimicking of our environment. As you are the biggest influence on your child during those early years, it's important for you to reassess your own beliefs and ask yourself if you want to pass them on to your child.



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Style And Substance

A lot has been spoken about the fact that we are dressing our children in clothes that aren't suitable for their age. And every parent has their own reasons why they're dressing their child in clothes that are deemed "inappropriate." However, dressing for comfort, the weather, and the activities at hand is most important. Something that is appropriate for their age is also preferable. For example, just because dirty jokes written on baby/toddler clothes exist, doesn't mean they will be well received. Quirky baby tops are a great option for something unique, comfortable, and appropriate.

Encourage Independence Early On

This is a step that can be difficult to do. If you are a parent that worries a lot, it can be quite difficult to allow your child, in essence, "free reign." But it's very important to give them that opportunity to play by themselves (but within view) when they can, especially during that clingy stage every child has, which is difficult for both of you. That's not to say that you should abandon them, but if you can maintain a little distance and stay where they can see you, it will help to lessen their anxiety while also developing self-resilience, which every child will need, especially as they get older.


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The Topic Of Encouragement

There are two schools of thought when it comes to encouraging your child. While a lot of people are very quick to give a ton of praise for performing small tasks, this can be perceived as "over encouragement" by others. This means they will later become discouraged if they don't receive praise from others and base the value of their accomplishments on what others express rather than their own inner voice. Instead, if you ask them to do something, it's better to respond with graciousness as opposed to praise. The same applies if they've done something of a high standard, it's not enough to say "good job" or "well done" as it doesn't give much information on why it was good. Instead, refine your praise to give them the power to evaluate themselves. At the same time, the effort is as important as the final result. You don't want them to be resting on their laurels throughout their life, you most likely want to instill tenacity and a mindset in which to work hard to achieve their goals.

Nurturing the individual in our child as opposed to someone who is just towing the line is a big challenge for any parents. Any parent would like an easy life and while we all have our own sets of values that we like to communicate to our children we realize that they will grow up to be their own entity. So, helping them to think for themselves is a very good thing.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Making A Mini Mark Twain: How To Encourage Creativity In Your Kids

Written by a contributing writer


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We all know that raising kids can be tough. With feeding and sleeping, changing and helping them through their developmental milestones, being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. But not only have you got the day to day care to provide for them, but as they start to grow and show off a little more of their personality, you have their emotional, educational, and social development to think about too. When you start out, you can often find yourself sticking to some of the basics like sports, but there’s definitely more interests you can introduce to your kids.

No matter their age, whether they’re a toddler, child, or teen, you can always work on their creativity. School often covers the bulk of their academic development and it’s very natural to get them into sports, but you will often find that nurturing your kids in a creative sense can be great for their futures. Not only may they develop a passion or maybe even a life calling, but working on your kid's creativity can help them become well-rounded. So if you think you’ve got a future writer, artist, singer, actor, designer, or creator on your hands, here are a few ideas on how to encourage them.


Education


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Although education often gets a wrap for focusing on the more scientific or academic areas, there’s no reason why your children’s education can’t nurture their creative sides too. Regardless of what they enjoy the most, here are a few ways in which education can increase creativity in your kid.

Literature

English classes are great for your kids for a bunch of different reasons. Not only are they compulsory and help to aid with reading and writing in small children, but they can also really open up your children creatively. As they get older, the reading lists that they’ll tackle will broaden their knowledge of literature and creative writing, but that’s not all. They will be encouraged to think about literature and writing in different ways, which can also inspire their imagination and the way they look at the world.

Art

Then there are also art classes. Although your kids may not elect to take art as they get older, starting out with art in school will help to encourage their creative pursuits. If your child shows a talent for any form of art, you may want to guide them towards taking elective classes in high school too.

Drama

With drama, most children will experience their first formal introduction to the art in middle or high school, but some elementary schools will put on plays and pageants that they can get involved in. If your children love to sing and dance and act at home, be sure to encourage their dramatic involvement in school in any way that you can, particularly when it comes to taking classes in high school.

Music

Next, there’s also music to consider. Even if your child doesn’t show a passion for music when they’re young, you can still encourage it in school. There are lots of different instruments for kids to learn, some suitable for kids as young as 7 or 8. Taking up guitar, violin, clarinet, or even trumpet can be good for your kids when they’re in elementary or middle school.


Extracurricular



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School can offer more to your child’s creative encouragement than what’s on the syllabus. You can often find that their choice of extracurricular activities can also work wonders at developing their creative side.

Camp

Although not all summer camps are connected to educational facilities, they can still offer incredible extracurricular activities for your kids. You can even find camps that are creative specific that specialize in performing arts or general camps that will look to provide them with well-rounded fun. Either way, camp can offer your child another developmental perspective on their creativity.

Glee Club

Next, if you have a child that loves to sing, you’re definitely going to want to enroll them in glee club. Not every school will have a glee club/choir, but most do. When you want to nurture a talent like singing, a professional teacher can be the next step. Not only will your child be able to have a lot of fun as a member of the glee club, but they will learn how to train and control their voice as they develop their talent too.

The Paper

When your children love to read and write, it’s often a really beneficial idea to get them involved in their school paper. With a faculty member there to help out, they can work on their creative writing and get an insight into what the working world of a writer is like. Whether your child is twelve or 18, it can be a nurturing experience for them.

Poetry Club

If you’ve started to notice that your child's interest in writing is a lot more creative than writing fact or fiction, you may want to think about encouraging them to join the poetry club. Writing and reading poetry is a sure fire way to deepen creativity. It won’t be for every kid, but it’s definitely one way to work on building a passionate, creative outlet.

At Home


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With school and extracurriculars, you don’t have an awful lot of control over the creative encouragement. However, when you’re at home, it’s your domain, so you’re free to encourage creativity in any way that you see fit, through parties, activities, and of course, family time.

Painting

It’s not every parent's favorite activity because things can get a little messy, but it’s definitely an activity that can help develop your kids creatively. Painting can encourage artistic expression, help with visualization and imagination, and of course develop and passion for art in your children too. Whether you choose to use watercolors or kiddy paints, it’s an activity you can do with toddlers and grown children alike.

Crafts

Following on from the idea of painting at home is trying out a few different crafts. Crafting with your kids is a great way to engage them in a fun activity and bring out their creativity. Plus, there are so many different crafts that you could consider doing. Making things, creating jewelry, and even playing with textures can be fun, but as your kids get older, you may find that something like sewing can unearth a budding creative passion in them.

Talent Shows

Another firm favorite that kids always seem to love is being able to put on a talent show. When you want to bring out confidence in your kids or encourage them with performing arts, shows are a fun way to do that. They can sing, dance, act, tell jokes, put on a magic trick, or anything else they like to do to bring out their creative side in a non-competitive way.

Games

Then there are also games that you can play as a family. Aside from some of the more obvious activities, you’ll always be able to find a range of toys and baby or children accessories that can encourage their creativity. Some of these you can even play as a family, including imagination games that can really encourage them to be creative.


Hobbies



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Then you’ve also got your children’s hobbies to work with. Hobbies can often blend with extracurriculars, but they’re also things that your kids can do outside of school independently or in their own time.

Dance

If your child has a natural rhythm, you may want to think about enlisting your child in a dance class. There are lots of different dance classes that you can pick from. With ballet, tap, or hip hop, you should be able to find a style of dance that your kid will love and that can encourage them creatively. It may also be great for educational scholarships later on down the line.

Reading

If it’s reading and writing that your children are interested in the most, you may want to think about encouraging them to read more in their spare time. Sometimes, it’s enough for them to read on their own. But, you can also find that encouraging them to join a local book club or even start their own is a fun way for them to indulge in their passion and develop their interest further.

Design

When your child shows an interest in art, you don’t always have to assume that they’re going to become an artist. In fact, there is a range of ways that you can encourage them creativity when it comes to art and design. First of all, there’s fashion design to think about, and the drawing and sewing that goes along with it. But there’s also game design or graphic design if they’re interested in tech too.

AmDram

Finally, when you think you may have the next Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts on your hands, you may want to look into any amateur dramatics that you have in your local area. Drama classes for kids outside of school can be great for developing their confidence and personality, as well as their passion for acting and social skills too.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Children's Shows Can Be Valuable Sources Of Learning Life Skills

Written by a contributing writer


For many, television is a big part of growing up. Educational television helps children to develop emotional skills, understand plot lines, and differentiate between right and wrong. At a young age, the minds of children are still being formed and their outlook on life is yet to be molded. T.V. in moderation can aid their psychological growth, by allowing them to meet different characters and explore their nature and personalities. Too much television can be bad for kids, so a balanced active lifestyle is something parents should aim for. However, what children view when they’re young, also impacts their health, but it's mental health rather than physical. Programming has changed a lot since its conception, and now, even children's shows have complex plot lines and complicated questions. But, what kind of shows are best for children, and why?



Image credit - Julian Tysoe

Learning

Many early morning kid’s shows are great to help aid the process of learning. Allowing kids to watch learning shows as they eat their cereal is a great way to make the absorption of information a normal part of their lives. It also helps kids who have special learning disabilities because, often, shows have friendly and warm characters for them to relate to. You could find a particular series, that specializes in certain aspects of education, such as mathematics or English, and make it part of your morning routine with the kids. They may end up building a relationship with the show and becoming motivated to participate.

Finding modern shows

As society has evolved so have the children’s shows, this makes keeping up-to-date is important and can help your children talk and relate to the other kids at their school. Coming to Netflix this August, are shows like ‘A Cinderella Story,' ‘My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’, and  ‘Arthur and the Invisibles.' All of which have characters which can teach children about respect, being a reliable, being an understanding friend to other children, and doing what is morally correct. These types of shows also have authority figures in them, who the other characters learn to respect and honor, which is great to teach children to obey their teachers at school and listen to your advice.


Photo source - guilherme jofili

Complex interactions

Education is very important, but cognitive and human interaction skills are sometimes overlooked by parents. It’s just as important to teach children how to deal with stress, be patient, be respectful of others, and to empathize with other children, as it is to teach them addition and subtraction. Children will often want to be cool and try and emulate their favorite character in a show or movie they like. If the character is respectful, kind, and thoughtful, this should be encouraged. Children wanting to emulate their heroes can be utilized as a mental state to keep them out of conflicts with other kids because they’ll want to stay out of trouble and lead by example.

Sometimes it can be difficult to teach children about the all of the aspects of life that they may experience. Television shows that are geared towards learning, teaching, and emotionally connecting with children are great additions to their development. Although not to be totally relied upon, certain shows are great to reinforce your values in your children.