Baby Bonding At Universal Orlando Resort #FamilyForward

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One of the biggest reasons I was sold on Family Forward at Universal Orlando — Seuss Landing.  We are huge Dr. Seuss fans!  The Lorax and The Cat in the Hat play non-stop in our home.  I expected our littlest Omie to enjoy Seuss Landing the most but it appealed to our whole family!  Since babies are brilliant, it was the perfect place to stimulate a thriving baby brain.  It is important for us to explore new surroundings with Omie so he can enjoy different sights, sounds, smells!  It was a real bonding experience for all of us!

5 learning lessons for baby:
Interacting – At this point, your child has probably only interacted with family, friends and pets.  Developing social skills is necessary for forming healthy relationships!  Introduce baby to Sam (of Green Eggs and Ham fame), The Cat in the Hat with Thing One & Thing Two, The Grinch and the Lorax!  They make appearances at Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear!

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#FamilyForward At Universal Orlando Resort

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I get home from trips and just want to marinate in the memories.  

The past 12 months have brought in a lot of new, good memories for me.  Sadly, most of them without my family.  I almost always feel a huge amount of guilt for having to work out of state sometimes.  What weighs hard on my heart and soul is experiencing fun, new things without the people I love the most.  When the invite came in for Family Forward, there was no way I was turning it down.  I wanted to treat my family to a trip they would remember and cherish forever.  (Insert hearts here)  My family loves traveling, the boys have been to more states than I had as a kid.  I think it is vital for them to experience life out of their state.  Family Forward was the window to see we are a Super Hero family and we have to continue working on ourselves and our community.  Family Forward Day 1
At the welcome reception, Jyl and Troy Pattee shared about their family.  I loved their story about the 50 states.  Definitely inspired us to do a family mission statement and create our own wow factor!
Family Forward Day 1
Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” ― Booker T. Washington

Our family loved the Super Hero Family Bingo activity.  The goal was to socialize with the other families and I found out just how social and competitive my teens can be.  Not only did they go for bingo, they went for blackout and filled up their whole card.  I was so proud of them!
Sample questions:
Does your family like sushi?
Does your family go on road trips?
Do you have brothers?
Family Forward Day 1

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5 Surprising Menu Items @ The World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald’s

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Disclosure:  We partnered with McDonald’s.  All thoughts are my own.

McD's Orlando, FL

I do my research when we travel.  I want to find the best places to eat at, if there are any roadside attractions, good thrifting spots… I like to get a good idea of where we’re going.  When I was prepping for Family Forward, I was shocked to find that there are 25 Themed McDonald’s in Orlando, FL.  Yes 25!!!  I knew there was no way we’d be able to check out all 25 so we decided on visiting The World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald’s & PlayPlace.  I had no idea how massive it would be or how extensive the menu is.  My bigs could not decide what they wanted to eat.  I asked them what were the 5 most surprising menu items were and here are their thoughts:

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LAX Parking With The Parking Spot

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Disclosure: We partnered with The Parking Spot.  All thoughts are my own.

Traveling with a family can be stressful so I really look into simplifying everything.  To start off, we always use airport parking.  It’s just easier for our family – what if we forgot something and had to return home?  You really can’t do that if you use a shuttle.  Plus that can be more costly and time consuming.  I was bummed to find out that the airport parking lot we’ve used for the past 5 years was bought by a competitor and after reading reviews, found out it now sucked.  I started asking around and The Parking Spot came highly recommended, mainly by my friend and LA Kings fan Chris.  I had definitely heard about them before and saw the shuttles around LAX.

LAX Parking is as easy as it comes with the Parking Spot.  Their parking structure on Century Blvd. is easy to spot – it is right on the corner of Century and Bellanca.  We pulled in at around 6am, grabbed a ticket from the machine, my husband Chris pulled up to valet (but we didn’t use valet) so we could unload and then went to find a parking space.  While we were waiting for my husband to meet us, we saw two shuttles pick up and were able to catch the third one.  I was impressed!  Our driver was friendly and it took less than 10 minutes to get from the lot to our terminal.

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California Pizza Kitchen Challenge: Feed A Family Of 6 For $75

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Disclosure: We partnered with California Pizza Kitchen.  All thoughts are my own.

Our last day in Orlando was spent indoors because it was stormy.  A little rain never bothered us but at some points it was really pouring down hard with thunder and lightning.  We finally ventured out for dinner at Mall at Millenia – the kids love seeing a little bit of home when we travel.  Familiar restaurants and stores are always appealing to them, it makes them feel comfy.  One thing they did notice is that there are an unusually large number of nods to California, especially at the Orlando Premium Outlets – so many souvenir California shirts, the Vans store… so when they saw California Pizza Kitchen they wanted to eat there.  I was all for it because I wanted to enjoy healthier options and have a sit down dinner on our last night in Florida.  The budget was $75 before tax and tip.  Do you think we made our budget?  

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The Simpsons & Springfield In Real Life #FamilyForward

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I have seen some cool things in my life but The Simpsons very own Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida takes the cake.  It is a work of art.  The thing I love about The Simpsons is that they aren’t a perfect family but they love each other.  The Simpsons (the whole lot of them) are thee epitome of an American family, much like my own.  It takes an involved community to grow and progress. I started a few blog posts (still in perpetual draft status) about the state of some bloggers showing their lives as too perfect, too sanitized…  I am not one of those bloggers.  What you see is what you get with my family – we don’t strive for perfection and in that, it makes us perfect?  No wonder I felt so at home in Springfield.      

  Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Krusty Burger $9.99
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
The Ribwich $11.99
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Clogger Burger $12.99
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida
Chicken & Waffle Sandwich $10.99 (With Maple Syrup Mayo – not too sweet)
Springfield USA at Universal Studios Florida

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We’re Going To Orlando For #FamilyForward

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Family Forward

Two more sleeps and we’ll be heading to Orlando, FL for Family Forward.  Yep, all 6 of us.  It will be our first real family vacation.  We’ve gone on trips before but mainly to visit family and I don’t think our staycations really count.  I can’t express via text how excited we are.  Just take my word for it.  The trip itself was a hard sell to my husband because we were initially planning on going on a road trip to Austin, TX to meet up with our families but I convinced him that our family needed to do this.

We had a general idea of the schedule and sponsors so it was a big leap of faith for us to secure our family pass and book our flights.  And earlier this week, the schedule, speakers and sponsors were finally announced and I am blown away at what’s in store!  But like I said, I had faith.  The ugly truth (& somewhat of a downside) to blogging is that sometimes events aren’t family friendly.  There are some things that should be experienced together as a family.  Most press trips are out of the question for the whole family so for a unique social media influencer conference to be totally geared towards families is dreamy!

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