The other week, my kids and I went on an adventure to Marco Island, Florida, to meet up with some family. I have to say, I was a bit scared to take this trip. Whenever I mentioned to people I was getting on a plane with a 4-year-old and almost 2-year-old, they looked at me like I was bonkers. I started to think, maybe I was. With the help of lots of snacks, coloring books, movies, and the 18 month old baby who was screaming crying behind us, that made my kids look like little angels, the plane ride was surprisingly smooth. I have heard a lot of great things about Marco Island and wanted to share our experiences with you – especially activities for kids on Marco Island. Even though the weather did not cooperate with us, and it was MUCH chillier than I both hoped for and expected, we were outside a ton, and the kids and I had a blast.
This beach is gorgeous. Beautiful white sand (which my CT born son kept saying looked like snow!), beautiful shells, and tons of space made this the perfect place for us to hit. We went one evening to watch the sunset and spent some more afternoons just playing in the sand.
We drove about 25 minutes from Marco Island to Naples to visit the Naples Zoo. We are big animal lovers, and I found that there were so many unique exhibits at the zoo which made it a truly unique zoo experience. We got up close and personal with a lot of animals as you can see in the pictures! To be honest…the closeness freaked my kids out a bit in some cases! Some of my favorite features were having the chance to hand feed giraffes, take a boat tour where you saw primates living on various islands, and a funny, engaging Safari Show, where you saw the animals extremely close up!
The Rookery Bay focuses on sea-life from Southwest Florida. the learning center is great, and my kids had a ton of fun there both learning, and playing. They had a fun pretend boat that the kids could drive, and collect various animals, a reading/dress up center, in addition to lots of fish, a touch tank, and spots where the kids could get a closer look at the animals. You can see my little scientist here…
After visiting the learning center, we took a walk on their path outside. It was a nice little walk, and perfect for burning off some more energy!
This park and community center puts to shame pretty much any park I have ever visited. Adult and kid basketball courts, a lake that hosts remote control sailboat racing competitions, a splash park and wait for it…a playground that is the shape of a massive pirate ship…my kids were in absolute heaven. On our final afternoon when I asked them if they wanted to go to the beach or the playground, they said the playground! There were several concerts, kids classes, etc. offered here as well. Definitely a must hit if you are looking for activities for kids on Marco Island!
What’s vacation without good food, right??? I love visiting restaurants, and heard great things about the food at Mango’s. When I looked up the restaurant menu, I did not see a children’s menu. I was a bit hesitant to go based on that (usually no kids menu = not kid friendly), but I packed some of our plane entertainment, extra snacks, and figured we would try it out. I could not have been more wrong about this place…not only did they have a kids menu, but they immediately brought us crayons, had amazing fish tanks around the restaurant that the kids were captivated by, AND magnetic fishing poles set up for the kids near their gorgeous waterfall, so that they kids could “fish” until their food came. It was an awesome meal, great service (especially loved that the waitress asked me when I would like my kids food to be brought out…biggest pet peeve is when they just bring the kids food early!), and we were all entertained. And while I did not get to indulge in their amazing looking drinks, their Mango Iced Tea was a big hit with me!
On a sidenote…I was fascinated by the many protected habitats for the burrowing owls around Marco Island. Once a burrowing owl hole is found, you cannot build on the property. These owls have some of the best real estate, right on the canals, next to beautiful homes, it’s amazing! We took frequent trips to visit the owls near where we were staying, and here is a glimpse of one of the little guys!
I know that we are always looking to find great kid-friendly vacation spots. I highly recommend Marco Island for your next trip – as you can tell, there are a TON of Activities for kids on Marco Island…and all great for the adults as well!
Have you been to Marco Island? Did I miss any hot spots? What are your favorite family friendly vacation spots??
When my daughter was born, my friend Jen (mom to 3 girls) put a note in a congratulations card, which said – “as a mom to a little girl, your wallet will be lighter, but your heart will be full.”
Well, 2 years later, I can tell you, that card was absolutely correct. Headbands, tutus, American Girls…there are no equivalents for little boys! A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning my FaceBook news feed, and a picture of a friend’s daughter caught my eye..and that saying rang true in my mind once again!
Not only was the little girl in the picture adorable…but the headband she was wearing…well….my daughter had to have it! I quickly found out the name of the company and placed an order. After emailing with the amazingly talented owner and creator of Hops and Hoots, I am thrilled to share these great products and an even better deal with MMB readers. Visit the Hops and Hoots FB page, and select your items – there are several styles, and TONS of fabrics. Every order is handmade/custom-made, so you can design what suits your taste. By mentioning MMB within your order, you will receive 1 item free with the purchase of 2 items.
Here are some of my favorites, but seriously, check out her page…she is always adding new goodies!
Knot Bow Headbands ($5 or 5 for $20)
Boho Braided Headband (Boho Braided Headband $5 each, Boho Braided Headband with little pointed flower $7 each)
Pointed and Rounded Flower Clips ($12)
Are you as in love with these as I am?! So much fun!! Let me know what you think of this find!
On our recent Costco trip, I went a little crazy in the fruit area. Everything looked good, and I could not resist buying a huge variety. Fruit has a limited lifespan, so I was trying to get a little creative in how to use it all up! Of course, I used up some of the mangoes in last week’s chicken recipe, but I was left with a ton of strawberries, apples, bananas, etc. I found this recipe for Strawberry Bread that my aunt had put in our family cookbook, and it was perfect- I had all the ingredients on hand, and it was the perfect recipe for the kids and I to make together. We shared this on a playdate, and then packaged up the rest for the freezer. I have used it both as a snack, or as an easy breakfast item for my kids as we rush off to school in the morning. My son especially loves this strawberry bread recipe. It has reheated perfectly as well, which is my favorite part!
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup skim milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 tbsp flour
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, making a well in the center of the mixture
2. Combine the milk, oil, and eggs; add to the dry ingredients stirring until moistened
3. Dredge the cut strawberries in 1 tablespoon of flour, and then fold into batter.
4. Spoon the batter into a loaf pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 min – 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then remove from the pan, and let cool on a wire rack.
You can either enjoy the strawberry bread right away, or to freeze, slice the bread, place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Transfer to a freezer friendly container.
I have been pretty fortunate that I have received positive comments and emails through MMB (thank you). Last night, I received an email that is by far, the best blog email that I have received.
I found your site while looking for a chili recipe for my wife to make. I noticed you only post recipes once a week. This is why I would never allow my wife to be a “mommy blogger” – she needs to be focused on cooking meals every day for our family and she needs to be focused on our family, not spending her time on the computer.
I didn’t know what to do…kind of flabbergasted here. Shock, laughter, sadness (for his wife, I know my family is pretty darn content with me)…
So instead I went for a game of hashtag associations.
Here are mine…do you have any to add?????
With Easter coming up soon (yes…it is coming….Easter is in MARCH this year), I was hoping to share my three favorite Easter Traditions that have been big hits with the kids over the years. We also have a giveaway with Spots and Ladybugs which I am SO excited about, as I have been loving their products for years! Sneak Preview….(more details at the end of the post!)
Number 1 – Bunny Prints!
Last year, my son kept asking how we would know that the Easter bunny came to our house. With all the questions, what’s a mom to do, but go to Pinterest?! I found this great idea from Four Flights of Fancy, and created Easter bunny prints (all the directions are over at Four Flights of Fancy!. My kids were OBSESSED! I can’t wait to do this again this year.
Number 2 – Easter Bunny Cake
As you all know, I am not a baker. It requires way too much precision, so on most holidays when we arrive at my parents or in-laws, I am armed with some great apps, and a bakery dessert. Easter is the one exception I make, because all you need is a cake mix, some frosting, coconut mixed with green food coloring, and some fun candy. The kids are involved in every step of the process…as you can tell in the picture. Directions to come in coming weeks on this cake!
I heard about Spots and Ladybugs a couple of years ago, with their Sandy Feet. When they came out with their Easter Grass, an alternative to the plastic Easter Grass, they completely won me over. Even better – the brilliant women who came up with these products live in my town. Love supporting local mom owned businesses!
This is my kids absolute favorite thing to do at Easter time– they love planting the grass (and I love how not messy it is!) and they watching the grass grow (it grows amazingly fast!). We put our dyed Easter Eggs in the grass, and the Easter Bunny replaces it with some goodies for the kids! The grass grows fairly quickly – the seeds sprout in as little as 24-36 hours, then grow about 1″ a day (the optimal time to plant is 10 days prior to Easter). I actually planted this grass the day before I went into the hospital to have my daughter, and when I was home from my c-section stay 4 days later, I was in a bit of shock that we had some great looking grass already!
Here is another version of the grass being used as well…
Here is our usual Easter Bunny Spread…It is not Pinterest Perfect, but the kids always have so much fun creating each and every item!
I am so excited to partner with Spots and Ladybugs on an Easter Grass Giveaway, so you can grow your own Easter Grass! Please share your favorite Easter tradition in the comments below for your first giveaway entry. You can follow the various social media sites for MMB and Spots and Ladybugs for additional chances to win. Please enter using the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
If you don’t win, but want to buy this awesome product, you can purchase through Amazon, or you can check out the additional places to purchase on their website, which has a list by state.
No purchase necessary. Winner will receive an Easter Grass Kit from Spots and Ladybugs. Must be 18 years of age or older at the the time of entry. Entries are due at 11:59 on Monday, March 11th at 11:59 pm. If you do not follow the rules of the giveaway, your entry will not be valid. Only residents of the US are eligible to win. Odds of winning depends on the number of entries received.Winners will be chosen by a random number generator through Rafflecopter. Winners will be notified within 72 hours at the e-mail address provided, if we do not receive a response, we will select another winner. This giveaway is sponsored by Mastering Mommy Brain and Spots and Ladybugs. No money was exchanged for this review/giveaway.
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