Spring Break Staycation Family Fun Ideas For Raleigh,NC |#Travel #Raleigh #NC #FamilyFun

It’s Spring Break for my 2nd Grader and we are kicking it off by playing tourist in our own backyard! Our staycation in Raleigh,NC ..where ALL ARE WELCOME..will be filled with simple pleasures, plus mother and daughter bonding time. We’ll be having fun while hanging in Downtown Raleigh in the Glenwood South neighborhood, and some other favorite ‘Random Raleigh‘ spots. I am excited to share these Spring Break Staycation Family Fun Ideas For Raleigh,NC with you! Enjoy!

Downtown Raleigh/Glenwood South

Raleigh,NC consistently ranks in the top 5 in quality of life index of American Cities and since living here for the last 4 years, it is easy to see why! There is access to so much and the cost of living is pretty good. Downtown Raleigh puts locals and visitors in the center of it all. One of Raleigh’s Downtown neighborhoods, Glenwood South, is known locally as the premier entertainment district where restaurants of every budget and cuisine coexist with nightclubs. However if you arrive on a Sunday like we did, you’ll find a quieter side of Glenwood South with locals walking their dogs and offerings for the entire family. Check out my photo gallery from our stay in Downtown Raleigh/Glenwood South full photo gallery >>here.

EAT | La Santa Modern Mexican Food

My idea of a great staycation involves having time to siesta, fiesta and enjoy good food! We found that we could do all that just blocks away from our hotel at La Santa Modern Mexican Food, located at 222 Glenwood Avenue #107. From their house made guacomole, tasty dishes created using recipes from the owner’s mother, margaritas featuring fresh juices and craft cocktails, everything here is done so deliciously! The décor is eclectic with a laid back upscale cantina vibe. Their carnitas tacos are incredible and they have a great ninos {kids} menu also. Great service, fresh food and amazing drinks is why families would enjoy dining at La Santa.

STAY | Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown

In a previous post about Hampton Inn & Suites Raleigh Downtown, located at 600 Glenwood Ave, I shared a list of my favorite features about this hotel property, which included convenient location, clean and spacious rooms, free breakfast, fitness center/pool. During that stay with my husband, we did not get a chance to use the pool due to maintanence. However, I learned that the indoor pool was heated and getting new patio furniture for the Spring. So here we are back with our daughter, who came ready to to get her mermaid on! The pool area was clean, intimate, and relaxing enough for me to sit poolside and read while they had fun in the pool! This hotel is ideal for families looking to enjoy some poolside fun no matter what season it is!

PLAY | North Carolina Museum of History

Did you know that Raleigh is often called the “Smithsonian of The South”? We have world class museums downtown, one of them being the North Carolina Museum Of History, located at 5 E. Edenton St.! Admission is FREE and it offers so much for the entire family to enjoy! Our favorites were the special art exhibition by Durham, NC native Ernie Barnes and a gallery dedicated to children that allows them to have interactive fun learning and listening from the oral history of North Carolinians.There were also lots of hands on areas so my daughter could actually touch some things in a normally hands off kind of place! We even made a souvenir penny in the shape of North Carolina.

EAT | Demo’s Pizzeria and Deli

Strolling the shops of Glenwood Ave can work up an appetite and we knew just the place to stop for a casual bite! DeMos Pizzeria and Deli, located at 222 Glenwood #121, offers NY style thin crust pizza and also a full service deli offering Boars Head Products. My husband/daughter shared a cheese pizza [read my full review of DeMo’s >>here] and I had a specialty sandwich called the San Fran, made with turkey, avocado, bacon, tomato and pepper jack cheese. It was so good! Great family-friendly environment and attentive staff makes DeMo’s Pizzeria and Deli one of our local favorites.

Random Raleigh

The City of Raleigh has earned the reputation of being one of the best places to live in the USA. There is a celebrated food scene, we have the largest research park [RTP] in the nation, and the diversity of culture and art that I can expose my child to is why we are happy to be here in the state capital. During Spring Break, we had the opportunity to visit a dairy farm

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My daughter and I had the opportunity to visit Randleigh Dairy Heritage Museum and got a private tour of NC State Dairy Farm. This unique agritourism experience allowed us to have some educational fun while learning how a typical North Carolina dairy farm operates. Some of what we learned: *how milk is made *what cows eat *how they raise the cows *what kind of cows are there ———— We loved seeing the baby cows and how they are cared for. We left knowing that milk is obtained in a clean, safe environment and that is is good for you. Especially in the form of Howliing Cow ice cream, which we got to enjoy at the end of the tour! ————— ***Interested in going on a GROUP Tour? To get more info, contact Alex Ives at awives@ncsu.edu

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and enjoyed admiring art around town, like the Raleigh ArtBeats Sidewalk Murals

..plus, had fun discovering many of the IG worthy murals we have in Raleigh!

Our main goal for this Spring Break Staycation was to simply have family fun with each other outdoors and teach our girl how to ride her bike without training wheels. Mission complete! We have many biking trails and beautiful parks here. We utilized Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department as a guide for fun and free things to do like the Pop-Up Studio Free Art for Kids Program and where to go for outdoor recreation like bike riding or simply blowing bubbles in the park!

I hope you enjoyed reading my Spring Break Staycation Family Fun Ideas For Raleigh,NC and will consider visiting if you are a tourist or revisiting some places like a tourist if you are a local. Whether your kid is on Spring Break, Track Out or you are curious what to do on a weekend, take the time this Spring to get outside and explore Raleigh, NC ….where all are welcome!

3 Easy Easter Basket and Gift Ideas for Ages 7 and Up #easter #easterbasket #eastergifts #eastergiftguide

Do you like to make, create or buy Easter Baskets for your child? I still do! But I will say this year, with my 7 year old, I found myself needing to think out [and inside] the box for Easter Basket/Gift Ideas. My daughter is no longer into what she calls a “baby” basket filled with a plush bunny, toys, and candy. So I came up with 3 Easy Easter Basket and Gift Ideas for Ages 7 and Up to share with you!

For The Aspiring Chef/Kid Foodie

Does your son or daughter love to help you cook? Or maybe you have an aspiring Chef or young food critic in your home then do what I did, fill a basket filled with items any kid cook would love! I went to the Dollar Tree and got one of those stackable bins and filled it up with kitchen tools like a timer, veggie brush, portatoe masher, a pizza pan, ingredients like olives, pepperoni, chocolate chips for making homeade cookies and a fun Easter egg towel. My daughter is going to love this and she can keep all her new kitchen tools in the bin!

This basket was inspired by this book I recently was gifted, a new title from Prestel Junior that is perfect for spring break/summer activities: 20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn and photographer Calista Washburn (ISBN: 978-3791385075; Hardcover $16.95). The perfect book for children, this fun and engaging cookbook is written and photographed by a pair of young sisters for budding chefs.

Whether they’re helping stir cake batter or producing their own YouTube cooking channel, kids of all ages are getting increasingly busy in the kitchen. This cookbook features twenty classic recipes that are fun, healthy, adaptable and easy to prepare. From banana bread and the perfect grilled cheese to breaded chicken and apple pie, each recipe is written in a clear, accessible style that young cooks of every level will be able to follow. The author is a young chef whose love of cooking developed from her own family’s food traditions like baking popovers with her grandmother and Sunday-night pizza making. By teaching kids basic recipes that can be adapted in endless ways, this book is the perfect launching pad to finding their way around the kitchen–or launching their own cooking careers.

For The Kid Who Loves Unboxing

Looking for something stunning, affordable for many budgets, and very different than a traditional basket for Easter? Check out the brand new Easter Care Package from GourmetGiftBaskets.com, a leading online gifting site, which has released its 2019 collection of new Easter baskets and other treats.

This very colorful care package has blue bunny Peeps, jelly beans, a chocolate bunny, gourmet popcorn, cookies, and even carrot-shaped chocolates to match the bunny theme. Super fun, this package will really make recipients “HOPPY.” 🙂 Lol! To see the rest of the Easter offerings at GourmetGiftBaskets.com, go here.

👀WATCH #outandaboutAva Unboxing Video of this Easter Care Package from GourmetGiftBaskets.com

For The Kid Who Would Enjoy A Customized Basket Filled With Their Favorite Things

I customized my daughter’s Easter Basket based on her current likes and faves. One of the things that she enjoys doing is doodling/journaling. I recently was gifted a new journal by Jess Volinski that Quiet Fox Designs has released titled Notebook Doodles Peace Love. This journal is fun, positive and perfect for tween girls! The pages are filled with inspirational writing prompts designed to build confidence and self-esteem. I can’t wait to give this to my girl!

I recycled her Easter Basket that I got from Ross last year and filled it with items found at Dollar Tree, Tuesday Morning, and Walmart. Because she likes bright colors, I got glossy plastic eggs and filled it with polish, lip balm, bath bomb and a lil cash was put in her Golden Egg! I found some slime, sunglasses, a windchime craft and cilantro herb growing kit just in time for Spring! I got the cello wrap from Dollar Tree and voila, a customized Easter Basket tailored to her likes!

SobeSavvy Tip: Add some of your child’s favorite snacks in their customized basket as an extra special treat! Check out these 4 Easter Treats for your child :

1. Welch’s Easter Fruit Snacks

The limited-edition Welch’s Easter Fruit Snacks box and pouch have custom Easter-themed graphics with festive egg, bunny, and chick shaped pieces – perfect for egg stuffing, egg hunts or to simply snack on all season long! Welch’s Mixed Fruit Easter Fruit Snacks are available online at welchsfruitsnacks.com as well as in-store at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Dollar General, Family Dollar, BJ’s, and other local retailers.

Here is what we like about this treat:

•Made with REAL Fruit
•Fruit is our first ingredient
•Gluten-free
•No preservatives
•Fat-free

2. OREO THINS BITES

OREO THINS BITES cookies, a 2019 Product of the Year award winner, are thin and crispy bite-sized OREO THINS cookies made with OREO cookie’s distinctive rich cocoa and signature crème that are covered in a smooth, thin coating of fudge. The delicious combination of a thin crispy cookie, signature OREO crème and a thin coating of fudge make OREO THINS BITES cookies the perfect bite-sized treat to munch on and enjoy. They are available on Amazon.com in delicious varieties like fudge dipped Original and Mint. I must admit these are my favorite to snack on too!

3. Kinder Joy

KINDER JOY™, a 2019 Product of the Year award winner, is all about creating special bonding moments between parents and children through the elements of surprise and joyful play. Their mission is to inspire parents to spark, share, and celebrate the simple joys of childhood with their kids, every day. KINDER JOY™ is a two-in-one treat: half smooth cocoa and sweet cream topped with crispy wafer bites, half mystery toy. To enjoy, simply pop, peel, scoop, and play!

4. Butterfinger

You’ve gotta get your fingers on the better Butterfinger – a 2019 Product of the Year award-winner! The recipe for one of America’s most iconic candy brands, Butterfinger, has been improved and it’s BETTER! A richer, chocolatey coating with more real milk provides a creamier mouth feel, better quality Georgia Jumbo peanuts deliver robust flavor, and new packaging to provide improved freshness. It’s the crispety, crunchety, peanut-buttery Butterfinger beloved by consumers, now even better!

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I hope you enjoyed reading my Easter Gift Guide and found my ideas for basket stuffers to be helpful. My final suggestion is to have fun,get creative, keep it simple and save those baskets and plastic eggs to remix/refill next year! ARE YOU GIFTING OR MAKING A BASKET FOR A CHILD THIS EASTER? Tell me something that is going in your basket!

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#FamilyFun | 5 Reasons To See UniverSoul Circus @UniverSoulCirc | March 20-31,2019 in #RaleighNC

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend opening night as a blogger in the Raleigh/Durham area. All opinions are 100% my own.

Hey Raleigh, NC, Get ready for the triumphant return of America’s No. 1 Circus! Universoul Circus is back, now in its 26th year, to give you live family entertainment extravaganza! If you have never been before, or maybe you are a returning fan like me, I am here to share 5 Reasons To See Universoul Circus with your family and friends!

1. DIVERSITY

FACT: There are 13+ Countries Represented at UniverSoul Circus! Enjoy one-of-a-kind performances from around the world – all coming together as one under a single ring big top. Led by Ringmaster Lucky from South Africa and his long time Sidekick Zeke, the 2019 edition of UniverSoul Circus features contortionists from Guinea, Skaters from Cuba, Daredevil Motorcyclists from the United States, a High Wire Act from Colombia and Gabon, Trampoline Acrobats from Cuba and Ethiopia, Teeterboard Drillers from Mongolia, Solo Trapeze from Brazil, Trick Rescue Pooches from Colombia and Russia, a Cossack Horse Act from Kazakhstan, Cuba, Guinea and Mexico, Fresh the Clownsss from the United States, and many more surprises!

Teeterboard Drillers from Mongolia | Photo Credit: UniverSoul Circus

2. SIGHTS

UniverSoul Circus is rated as one of the top two circuses in America along with Cirque du Soleil and one of the reasons is because of all the exciting and electrifying acts! This once in a lifetime thrill-a-minute spectacle comes at you like a high-speed rollercoaster! If you like thrills and live entertainment, UniverSoul Circus has all of that!

Daredevil Motorcyclists from the United States | Photo Credit: UniverSoul Circus

3. SOUNDS

Celebrating 26 amazing years in 2019, UniverSoul Circus is a highly interactive combination of circus arts, theater, and music that spans genres including Pop, Classic R&B, Latin, Hip Hop, Jazz and Gospel. It embraces and celebrates the unique and familiar aspects of pop culture globally by bringing them center stage with a cast of international performers. FACT: There are over 11+ Performing Acts!

Photo Credit | UniverSoul Circus

4. SOUL

Celebrated around the world for spreading a soulful dose of unity, inclusion and diversity under its red and yellow striped big top, UniverSoul Circus was created in 1994 by a man named Cedric Walker who had a vision of creating a circus with an inclusive, jovial and soulful atmosphere. Participants are immersed into a global dimension, drawing multicultural, multinational, and multigenerational bonding through performance art for all people to enjoy and be entertained.

5. FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN

The last time my family and I attended was the Summer of 2017 and we had so much fun! [You can read my 2017 recap>>>here]. UniverSoul’s fresh approach to family friendly live entertainment has garnered it a coveted spot as one of Ticketmaster’s top ten most requested family events. When people ask me how is it? I simply say it’s a good time for all ages and encourage them to see for themselves why UniverSoul Circus is the #BestCircusEver!

Me and my family at UniverSoul Circus, 2017

*SobeSavvyGiveaway: I hosted a flash giveaway on Instagram and the winner(s) are…drum roll..Congrats to Meka H. and Kiara R. of Raleigh,NC

GET TICKETS on sale now via: www.ticketmaster.com

CONNECT:

@universoulcircus (Instagram)

@universoulcirc (Twitter)

www.facebook.com/universoulcir

www.youtube.com/universoulcircus

*Be sure to visit website to signup and become an insider and get updates for your city tour stop/dates at: www.universoulcircus.com

FOLLOW my highlights from opening night on Instagram @SobeSavvy and check out my video recap on YouTube! >> https://youtu.be/iZ_6pQQdtkU

RALEIGH:

Wednesday, March 20 thru Sunday March 31, 2019

Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

3801 Rock Quarry Rd

Raleigh, NC 27610

* Next City >>Newark,NJ on 4/3/19

HAVE YOU BEEN TO UNIVERSOUL CIRCUS BEFORE? WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT? Let me know in the comments below! See you under the Big Top!🎪

5 #FamilyFun Tips For Your Visit To SEA LIFE Charlotte – Concord Aquarium @SEALIFECC

Disclaimer: Although complimentary tickets were provided to facilitate this review, the opinions are 100% my own.

Family Fun Visit to SEA LIFE | SobeSavvy.com


SEA LIFE is the international aquarium chain that has over 50 locations throughout America, Europe, Australia and Asia. It is literally the world’s biggest aquarium brand. Lucky for us they have one right here in North Carolina. We recently enjoyed a Sunday Funday visit to their Charlotte/Concord, NC location and had a blast! Planning to go to this must see attraction soon?

Here are my 5 Family Fun Tips For Your Visit To SEA LIFE Charlotte – Concord Aquarium:

1. It’s GREAT LOCATION allows you to plan a day at SEA LIFE and surrounding activities. SEA LIFE is located at the popular Concord Mills shopping complex. This makes it very easy to start or end your day here prior or post seeing a movie at AMC theatres, dining or shopping at this huge mall! The best entrance is at entry 7 next to The Speedpark at Concord Mills.
2. SEA LIFE is FUN-SIZED and perfect for kids. Some aquariums are so vast that it is impossible to actually see or do everything in one visit. The layout of this aquarium allows parents to enjoy it without feeling overwhelmed. Kids can explore the entire place in one visit and stay excited for the entire time. There are cool spaces for kids to crawl under to get a closer look at the marine life.  The whole family can walk thru the 180 degree Ocean Tunnel for an even closer look. It’s a great way to feel like you are underwater without getting wet!
3. Everyone will LEARN MORE when they explore SEA LIFE. Conservation & Education is important and SEA LIFE’s mission is to Breed, Rescue and Protect. This attraction wants visitors to be amazed at the natural marine world and protect it for future generations to enjoy! There are fun facts and reminders all around the aquarium to teach us more about the sea animals and the many ways we can help.
4. There is plenty of HANDS-ON FUN! SEA LIFE has all sorts of interactive things for kids to participate in. Every child gets a free explorer book to log stamps in for a chance to win a “fin-tastic” prize!  Our daughter had fun hunting for the dive stations to find her stamps and she really enjoyed seeing what a real starfish feels like at the Touchpool.
5. Ever wondered how they keep the sharks from eating the other fish in the tank? Want to know how they get an aquarium to fit in a mall? Find that out and more when you take the SEA LIFE’s Behind The Scenes tour. We had a chance to see what it takes to maintain the animals health and keep the water clean and purified at all times. We got to admire the beauty of the marine life by looking at the tanks from up above with exclusive access to another level inside SEA LIFE. There is just something mesmorizing about how these sea creatures effortlessly glide in the water. Our tour guide Stacy did a fantasric job at sharing his knowledge with us during the tour.

So many of my Mom friends did not know that there was an aquarium so close to Charlotte. From Raleigh,NC it was aprox 2+ hours away. It is directly off of 85, so it’s easily accessible coming or going from the Queen City. Be sure to add SEA LIFE on your family fun itinerary during your next  visit! WATCH my video for an inside look at SEA LIFE and more from our fun-filled experience. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdjkCi4rrks&feature=youtu.be

•HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO SEA LIFE ?

@CarolinaBallet Presents The Nutcracker Review + Giveaway! Win 2 Tix 12/29 @DPAC #NC #FamilyFun #Arts

On Sunday December 16, SobeSavvy.com celebrated the 18th annual performance of Carolina Ballet’s The Nutcracker presented by PNC with magic sponsored by WRAL-TV. This family friendly show, performed at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium has become a Mommy & Me tradition for us. We both love performing arts and enjoyed seeing magic combined with ballet in this wonderful show featuring Tchaikovsky’s incredible music. Choreographed by Robert Weiss, Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker is not only “Magical.Magnificent.Mysterious”, but Unique because it features grand illusions by world renowned magician Rick Thomas as well as a live music by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle!

My daughter, fondly referred to as #outandaboutAva, first saw this perfomance in 2016 when she was 5 years old. Now that she is 7 and has read The Nutcracker story, seen the Disney movie: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and learned the music in school, she was so excited to see this holiday classic! Carolina Ballet does an outstanding job working with the children from ballet schools across the Triangle as well as their own, The School of Carolina Ballet to perform this magical tale of holiday adventure based on a novel by E.T.A. Hoffman. The Nutcracker is one of the most recognizable scores in the ballet repertoire and definitely a performance the whole family should see because it appeals to the child in everyone!

What is The Nutcracker about?

This enchanting tale, in which toys come to life and treats dance with delight, follows young Clara and her prince as they journey to the Land Of Sweets. It begins when young Clara receives a nutcracker from her godfather, a wizardly toymaker named Drosselmeyer. Sneaking downstairs to see the toy after everyone else has gone to bed, she suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a pitched battle between the toys and an army of mice. After saving the nutcracker with a well-thrown shoe to the Mouse King’s head, Clara and her now-living prince venture into the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets to celebrate. Throughout their adventures, Tchaikovsky’s dazzling inventiveness propels the dances of nimble flowers and regal fairy queens. The “Waltz of the Snowflakes” floats weightlessly whereas the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” tiptoes to the haunting, music-box chimes of a celesta. A medley of exotic national dances—including a Spanish bolero and Russian Trepak—add to the phantasmagoric celebration before the whole dream ends, as all dreams must.

When and Where is it playing?

Dates: December 14, 2018 – December 23, 2018 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Raleigh at 3401 Atlantic Ave., Raleigh, NC 27604

Dates: December 29, 2018 – December 30, 2018 at DPAC- Durham Performing Arts Center in Downtown Durham at 123 Vivian St., Durhan, NC 27701

*See website>> CarolinaBallet.com or call 919.719.0900 for dates/times/prices

SobeSavvy Tip: Before/After the show or during intermission, you can get some holiday shopping done at The Nutcracker Boutique. You’ll find a variety of things like ornaments, socks or even a nutcracker of your very home to take home to be apart of your family traditions for years to come!

Enter to WIN 2 Tickets !!

Carolina Ballet presents The Nutcracker and SobeSavvy.com have teamed up to share a #SobeSavvygiveaway with you and give one winner a holiday memory that you will never forget!

Enter for a chance to be awed by the magic and choreography of Carolina Ballet and win (2) tickets to Carolina Ballet: The Nutcracker at DPAC on Sat 12/29 at 7pm.

To Enter:

💥 Like this post

💥 Leave comment below why you’d like to go

💥💥 Bonus entry if you leave comment on the Instagram post below + Follow @SobeSavvy

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❄GIVEAWAY❄ How about a #SobeSavvyGiveaway to go with this #NCsnowday !! Enter to win (2) tickets to @carolinaballet : The Nutcracker at @dpacnc on Sat 12/29 at 7pm. . Enjoy this holiday classic story set to Tchaikovsky's score, featuring a live symphony orchestra, magical illusions, magnificent sets & costumes. It is a family tradition of ours that I am happy to share with one lucky winner! ❄ . . To Enter: 💥 Like this post + 💥 Follow @SobeSavvy +💥 Tag a friend who would enjoy a journey to the Land of Sweets = (1) entry ….tag more friends for more entries 💥💥 Bonus entry if you leave comment on upcoming 12/17 blog post of recap of The Nutcracker ..stay tuned! Winner will be chosen at random on Dec.19, 2018 at 12pm EST. Good Luck! ———————– #SobeSavvy #CarolinaBallet #TheNutcracker #Giveaway #DPAC #Wralsnow #ncwx #winterfun #snowfun #snow #snowday #ncsnow #ncsnow2018 #ballet #performingarts #RaleighNC #DurhamNC #RaleighBlogger #NCBlogger #LifestyleBlogger

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Winner will be chosen by random.org on Dec.19, 2018 at noon.

Good Luck!

Update: Contest Closed. Congrats to Valerie Contreras, @hellominimama ! Have a wonderful time!

Orlando 3 Day Vacation- Day 2|Enjoy #FamilyFun at @SEALIFEOrlando @TussaudsOrlando

After a fun filled DAY 1 in Orlando at LEGOLAND and a good dinner/rest at Embassy Suites, it was time to get my #HeighPartyof3 crew ready for DAY 2. When we travel as a family, we love attractions that are located all under one roof. Saves time and just makes traveling with a young child more manageable. Within walking distance from our hotel was the ICON Orlando 360, which has 3 awesome attractions in one complex! Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the huge observation wheel, ICON Orlando are all located at this outdoor entertainment complex. We could actually see the 400 ft tall wheel from our hotel balcony!

Just seeing the ICON Orlando from our hotel room had us ready to explore!

Located on International Drive, ICON Orlando 360 is also home to numerous restaurants and shops in the immediate vicinity. Although we walked there, parking is free inside the garage. It was a great idea to spend our #SundayFunday there and check out the following attractions during our visit:

SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium

SEA LIFE is a unique aquatic attraction in Orlando, Fl. Their mission statement includes their goal to “Rescue, Breed and Protect“. They take in injured sea animals and nurse them back to health to be released if possible. If not, they care for them or find a suitable home at other facilities.

This aquarium is what I like to call “friendly size”. Not too large or two small. Most viewing areas are made into “immersive” experiences. For example, plexiglass is built INWARDS into the tanks where guests can literally almost feel like they are in the water with them. SEA LIFE also has periscope type viewing areas where you crawl under and pop your head up into the middle of the tanks. That was so much fun to do!

Seahorses, Sea Turtles, Sharks..oh my! There was so much to see, discover and learn. Did you know that turtles can live for 50 years or more and take an average of 30 years to reach maturity? Being able to see one up close was amazing! My daughter’s favorite thing was being able to touch a starfish.

I really appreciated reading the educational notes that were found throughout the aquarium. All the major oceans and the Florida Everglades had their own dedicated areas highlighting the sea life in those specific places. We learned about simple ways in which we all can get involved in protecting out oceans. SEA LIFE raises awareness and supports their partner charities in their efforts to protect marine wildlife and habitats across the world. For more info, visit sealifetrust.org.

Watch video of our visit to SEALIFE here:

WHERE TO EAT | We took a meal break between attractions. Lucky for us, both SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds are just steps away from many restaurant choices. We decided to stroll across the lawn and dine outside on the patio at Uncle Julio’s Mexican.

My family loves mexican food and had our fingers crossed that this was a good decision. BOY WAS IT! Great service, great food and great atmosphere. They make their tortillas on the premise. You can order fresh guacamole tableside. The chips and salsa are homemade. We ordered fajitas and everything was so flavorful,fresh and tasty!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for their signature dessert..a chocolate lovers pinata! It is unique and so good. Check it out⤵️

MADAME TUSSAUDS Orlando

Madame Tussauds wax figures are known around the world. My family and I have been to quite a few of their museums. There is always something/someone new to see so we loved getting a chance to go to their location at ICON Orlando 360. Since we are in Florida, welcoming us was Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull!

The figures are so life like that you will want to take a #MTSelfie with these famous entertainers, politicians and heros in the flesh! My daughter got a kick out of posing with her favorite stars like Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, and Michael Jackson.

My husband enjoyed challenging sporting legends like Tiger Woods, Shaq and Ali.

Madame Tussauds Orlando has a new “Heroes Unite” section featuring some of the most popular Justice League characters. We loved Wonder Woman and Batman. All 3 of us had a chance to join Superman and actually “lift” a helicopter from crashing!

We accepted the fun challenge of taking the #BestSelfieEver with President Obama, MLK, Beyonce and even danced with Justin Beiber before exiting this wonderful museum. Adults love it, kids love it, EVERYONE loves Madame Tussauds! Here’s an inside look from our visit to this must see attraction⤵️

After a full day at ICON Orlando 360, we walked back to the hotel where our daughter enjoyed both the indoor/outdoor pool before going to our 5:30p dinner reservation. More about our Orlando Day 2, part 2 coming soon!

Thanks to SEA LIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds Orlando for providing complimentary tickets to review both attractions and share my honest opinion with you.

Orlando 3 Day Vacation-Day 1 |Recap @LEGOLANDFlorida + @KidzBop #KBweekend #KBLegoland

Disclaimer: Thanks to LEGOLAND Florida for providing complimentary park passes to facilitate my recap and provide insight to my readers of a day at LEGOLAND Florida!

Long weekends are a great opportunity for families to travel. We decided to get out of town for Veteran’s Day weekend and explore Orlando “minus the Mouse”. That is what my husband called our non-Disney amusement park vacation, but seriously can you visit Orlando with a child and have fun without going to Disney? The answer is YES.

I knew just the theme park to visit to kick off our three day vacation. LEGOLAND Florida! Lucky for us our visit coincided with their “Kidz Bop Weekend”. The very popular tween music band sing and dance to popular hits and our daughter is a big fan!

#outandaboutAva at the Kidz Bop Meet & Greet at LEGOLAND Florida #KBWeekend #KBLegoland

During the Kidz Bop Weekend there were lots of awesome events like a scavenger hunt for music notes, a chance to meet/greet the band and attend their live concert all with the price of admission to Legoland! But before we got started on jamming out with the Kidz Bop Kids at their 5pm show, we got started on our LEGOLAND Florida adventure!

Upon arriving to LEGOLAND Florida, be sure to get a family photo at the entrance!

LEGOLAND ….What is it?

Believe it or not some people have never heard of LEGOLAND. It is a popular vacation destination with 145 acres dedicated to everything LEGO, which is derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well“. This amusement park is #BuiltForKids under age 12 and has over 50 rides, shows and attractions. With locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Japan and in California, the theme park that is located west of Orlando in Lakeland, Florida is closest to us. Although we have visited the Legoland Discovery Center attraction in Atlanta, this was our first trip to the amusement park. We grabbed a map and was on our way to a fun -filled day!

SobeSavvy Tip: In addition to having a map, we downloaded the LEGOLAND FLORIDA official app which proved to be a helpful tool because it saved us time in trying to figure out where something was and when shows started!

LEGOLAND Eats

We came straight from the Orlando’s airport [about 45 mins to an hour drive] to the theme park, so needless to say we were hungry. We decided to fuel up for a fun day at LEGOLAND at Pepper and Roni’s Pizza Stop. You can’t miss it because the pizzamaker made of Lego’s invites you in for some pizza in a semi-authentic Italian accent. My daughter is always in the mood for pizza,but even if you weren’t this guy is so convincing!

#outandaboutAva ‘Say Cheese’ at Pepper and Roni’s Pizza Stop

As for me, I got a turkey and cheese panini kids meal from Panini Grill. The panini sandwiches are made fresh to order and was so yummy. For a sweet cool treat, I recommend Kingdom Cones. Both Panini Grill and Kingdom Cones are near play areas so that we parents can eat while the kids play!

Walking into the Imagination Zone ,where kids can enjoy creative play and families can eat at Panini Grill

LEGOLAND Explore

With so many fun things to do and places to explore like Duplo Valley,

The DUPLO Valley is where kids ages 2-5 yrs old can enjoy the DUPLO Farm,Tractor,Train and Tot Spot. My daughter said she enjoyed reliving her childhood 😂

LEGO Ninjago World,

Great place to hone your Ninja skills!

Miniland USA,

New York,New York, San Francisco,California, Washington DC, Miami Beach,Florida..visit your favorite cities all at once at MINILAND USA

STAR WARS Miniland,

If you are a STAR WARS fan, this is a must see! My hubby loved it!

Heartlake City,

#outandaboutAva loved posing with her favorite characters from Lego friends

Needless to say our 7 yr old daughter was elated to be at this unique amusement park and so were we!

LEGOLAND Events

For the second year in a row, The KIDZ BOP Kids brought their national concert tour to the place #BuiltForKids during KIDZ BOP Weekend, a music-filled event set for Nov. 10-12 at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort.“KIDZ BOP Live 2018” is the ultimate family concert experience, “sung by kids for kids.” The KIDZ BOP Kids – Billboard Magazine’s No. 1 Kids’ Artist for eight consecutive years (2010-2017) – will headline the new show, performing some of today’s biggest hit songs. After seeing the all-new North American Tour, KIDZ BOP Live 2018, in Raleigh,NC it was such a special treat to be here during the three-day KIDZ BOP Weekend! The KIDZ BOP Kids performed two live concerts each day at LEGOLAND Florida’s KIDZ BOP Stadium, an outdoor venue on the picturesque shore of Lake Eloise.

All activities during KIDZ BOP Weekend, including the concerts and exclusive meet-and-greets with the performers, were included with all forms of theme park admission. No extra ticket required!

Awesome Awaits at LEGOLAND! The Kidz Bop weekend is one she will never forget!

Watch more of our LEGOLAND Florida /Kidz Bop Weekend experience here⤵️

Sometimes we as parents rush along with our daily kids lives and don’t take enough time to just celebrate them being a kid. LEGOLAND is THE place to celebrate your kids and embrace your inner child too! Make plans to visit LEGOLAND Florida because the memories are priceless!

My #HeighPartyof3 at Legoland Florida

WHERE TO STAY |While LEGOLAND does have a resort/hotel accomodations as part of its amusement park, it was sold out for our travel dates. At the end of our long day of travel and play, it was great to check into Embassy Suites by Hilton International Drive-Convention Center. Reasons to stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando International Drive Convention Center /Convention Center when traveling to Orlando: ✔Two-Room Newly Renovated Suites ✔Complimentary Drinks/Snacks at Evening Reception ✔Free Made To Order Breakfast ✔Walking Distance to Dining, Shopping and Entertainment ✔Onsite Full Service Dining at Bar Meets Grill.

My family and I enjoyed the convenience of having a delicious dinner at Bar Meets Grill At Embassy Suites after a full day at the amusement park. This restaurant offers an extensive list of craft beers, cocktails, shareable plates and more! It was all very good and definitely a place I would recommend even if you were not staying at hotel! Just feast your eyes on these pics from our stay.

Thanks again to Legoland and Bar Meets Grill restaurant for hosting us!

#FoodieFriday | Family Dining at FIREBIRDS Wood Fired Grill #NorthHills @FirebirdsGrill #Raleigh

Happy Friday! Time for another drool-worthy Foodie Friday Feature. This time I am highlighting Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. Have you ever been? We have three locations here in the Triangle [Durham/Southpoint Mall, Morrisville and Raleigh/North Hills]. I had gone before to enjoy their Happy Hour but I did not know about their amazing Kids Menu! I learned more about the restaurant at the North Hills Block Party event and was interested in dining there with my family. We went there for lunch on Sunday prior to seeing The Nutcracker and The Four Realms and had an enjoyable experience. From the great service to the tastiness of the food and the welcoming atmosphere, I would definitely recommend dining at Firebirds!

Drinks/Appetizer

With a full bar featuring an extensive wine list and creative cocktails, there are so many beverage choices to choose from. Our waiter kindly suggested we try a few of their non-alcoholic craft beverages. I am so glad he did because the Strawberry Basil Cooler and Wild Berry Ginger Craft Soda were both refreshing.

Firebirds partners with an organization called “Alex’s Lemondade Stand“. They contribute a portion of every lemonade sale to this pediatric cancer foundation. So naturally we ordered a lemonade for our daughter!

We had the Lobster Spinach Queso as a shareable appetizer. Chunks of lobster and fresh spinach in delicious high quality queso cheese with bell peppers. Tri-colored tortilla chips came with it. Simply one of the best quesos I have ever had! Three words of advice: ORDER.THIS.APPETIZER.

Recommended: Lobster Spinach Queso

Kids Menu

I was very happy to see that the food offered to little ones are from a KidsLiveWell approved menu. Not many restaurants have this healthy recognition for most of the items on their kids menu, so I am pleased to see this and spread the word to other parents!

The Kids Live Well program verifies that certain kids dishes meets or exceed child nutritional standards. They have 5 entrees and 3 sides that meet this standard. Their kids menu has everything from shrimp tacos and wood grilled mahi to ribs. My daughter wanted the ribs. They came fall- off -the -bone tender with a honey barbeque sauce. She chose fresh fruit and brocolli for healthy sides. Fries came out in error so it was a bonus side for her.

Speaking of bonus, the Kids Menu itself is a mini activity book unlike anothet focusing on important values and interviews from Kid Heros. For more Kids Fun Visit FIREBIRDSKIDS.COM

Entreés

If I had to describe their entrees with one word it would be delicious. Firebirds offers so many yummy options on their menu and what we each ordered was tasty, flavorful, and satisfying!

My husband went with their Filet Mignon which was cooked to a perfect medium at his request. It came tender with a side of mashed potatoes and port mushrooms. Every steak they serve is aged a minimum of 21 days.Top quality and great taste.

Recommended: Filet Mignon is a staple on the menu. Their kitchen is a scratch kitchen and all of their steaks and seafood are hand-cut in house.

I went with the wood grilled salmon. It was basted with key lime butter and veggies. At my waiter’s suggestion, I got it chile rubbed style. In fact he advised that you can request anything on the menu to be chile rubbed. I added a skewer of shrimp and a side of Southwest Au Gratin Potatoes. We all enjoyed the gooey baked goodness of that side dish!

Dessert

Four Words.: SAVE.ROOM.FOR.DESSERT ! Firebirds offers an array of terrific desserts like Warm Chocolate Brownies, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Cake and a White Chocolate Mousse. But me and my sweet tooth are here to testify that their Creme Brulee Cheesecake will knock your socks off ! Such a fantasic sweet ending to a fantastic meal!

Recommended: Crème Brulee Cheesecake

SobeSavvy Tip: Firebirds offers dishes featuring ingredients for that season. The next seasonal feature is not until their Winter Features which will launch on November 28th. Be sure to mark your calenders and make reservations [on OpenTable] today! Plus, join the Firebirds Inner Circle for updates. Check out more from Firebirds on their website.

Also Firebirds is honoring our Veterans on Monday with this awesome deal⤵️

Firebirds is an excellent choice for a date night, meeting with friends, celebrating a special occassion or simply dining with family in a nice casual setting. Adults and kids can find alot to love about Firebirds. I know we enjoyed everything about our meal and look forward to dining here again!

Thank you to Firebirds for hosting SobeSavvy.com at your Raleigh North Hills location for Lunch. My opinions of the dining experience are 100% my own!

FIREBIRDS Wood Fired Grill

North Hills

4350 Lassiter At NORTH HILLS Ave. Ste 118, Raleigh,NC 27609

919.788.8778

Raleigh.FirebirdsRestaurants.com

5 Lessons For My Daughter thanks to THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS +Recipes #DisneysNutcracker @DisneyStudios

When was the last time you cried at the movies? Well thanks to Disney’s new film, THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, I shed a few tears while watching the mystery and magic unfold. It made me think about my role as a Mother and what important lessons I would want my daughter to know, especially when it comes time for me to go.

In the film, which opened in theatres everywhere on Nov. 2, 2018, Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is dealing with the death of her Mother who has left her a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.

Watch the Trailer here⤵️

Check out ‘Family Traditions’ Featurette here⤵️

Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy and featuring a special performance by Misty Copeland, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” directed by Lasse Hallström and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale is a must see! But I’m telling you..HAVE. YOUR. TISSUES. READY!

We have seen the Nutcracker ballet [see past posts here] and even the Hip Hop Nutcracker and I have never had this reaction before. Maybe I cried because I am 45 years old, my daughter is 7 and I know one day she will have to deal with the loss of me. How can I prepare her for my death? More importantly am I doing enough to prepare her for life? Will she be angry, feel abandoned or perhaps lost like Clara?

There are 5 Lessons For My Daughter thanks to THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS that I want her to know:

  1. Who you are is not determined by others. You decide who you are for youself. You hold the key to unlocking the magic, your unique gifts, inside you.
  2. What do you do when you miss someone? REMEMBER them.
  3. When choosing friends, may they be loyal ,reliable, trustworthy, respectful, caring and fair. A great example of loyalty is shown by Captain Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight)
  4. Where ever you go walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
  5. How you love your life and the people in it will be your legacy. So live with passion, conviction, character, confidence and don’t forget to DANCE!

And here are 2 delicious Nutcracker themed recipes created in honor of the film:

Nutcracker Cookies: https://family.disney.com/recipe/nutcracker-cookies/

Nutcracker Gingerbread House:https://family.disney.com/recipe/nutcracker-gingerbread-house/

Take a look at our Sunday Funday at the movies here ⤵️

Like THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Follow Disney Studios on Twitter:https://twitter.com/DisneyStudios

Follow THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS on Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/disneysnutcracker/

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is now playing in theatres everywhere!

Do you plan to see The Nutcracker And The Four Realms?

Top 25 Ways to have Fall #FamilyFun at @HubbsCornMaze #VisitNCFarms

Disclaimer: Although I received complimentary admission tickets from Hubb’s Farm to share my review with you, the opinions are 100% my own.

Looking for some great family fun to enjoy this season? Check out Hubb’s Farm for the Largest Fall Festival in Eastern NC & 10-Acre Corn Maze! Now open thru Nov.10, a visit to Hubb’s Farm should be on your to do list for Fall traditions that is fun for the whole family!

Last year I went to the 2017 Media Day at Hubb’s Farm and got a taste of what they had to offer. This year, Hubb’s is celebrating 11 years of growing crops of fun! They have added some new attractions like Tin Roof Rally Ball Toss and Themed Character Traits Trail to their amazing list of fun things to enjoy.


Hubb’s Farm is open to the public on weekends but offers educational tours Tues-Fri. Fall tour options include: the Pumpkin Power Tour, Golden Harvest Tour, and Gem Dandy Tour. Fall Home School and Small Group Tours are also available. Parents, teachers and students can enjoy classroom lessons and hands-on learning activities at Hubb’s Farm.

I went during opening weekend and had a blast with my hubby and our 7 yr old daughter #outandaboutAva. Check out YouTube Video here⤵️

There are so many ways to spend a fun filled day there but here is my list!

Top 25 Ways to have Fall Family Fun at Hubb’s Farm

1. Feed the farm animals at Animal Acres (Sat. & Sun., Daytime Only)

2. Make your way thru the Giant “Corn” Maze

3. Enjoy Unlimited Hay Rides

4. Try your skills at Human Foosball

5. Be a sport star at Ball Toss (New)

6. Cool off with tasty Cider Slushies

7. Embrace your inner child at Luke’s House of Corn (Corn Crib)

8. Learn a new joke at the Singing Chicken Show

9. Fun Weekend Themes (like a chance to meet/thank First Responders!)

10. Go up high on the Hubb’s Mountain Rope Climb

11. Go Pumpkin Shopping at the Farm Store

12. Find your way thru the Straw Bale Maze

13. Got a child under age of 3? Head to Toddler Town

14. Play Corn Hole Games

-15. Pick your own pumpkin in the Field of Pumpkins

17. Crawl and Climb your way thru Tire Mountain (Sat. & Sun., Daytime)

18. Say Cheese for the Fun Photo Ops

19. Show off your Steer Roping skills

20. Jump for Joy on the Jump Pillow

21. So fun going down the Giant Slide

22. All aboard the Barrel Train

23. Fly thru the sky on the Mini Zip Lines (up to 100 lbs.)

24. Enjoy a game of Laser Tag

25. Enjoy a ride on Cranky Combine (Sat. and Sun., Daytime Only)

Fall Festival Fun awaits for everyone at Hubb’s Farm. It’s a great place to go and begin to check off everything on your Fall Bucket List! Make plans now to visit the Field of Dreams and see why they are the 2018 Top 25 Corn Mazes in the U.S. and so much more !!!For more info, visit www.hubbsfarmnc.com

Have you ever been to Hubb’s Farm? What’s on your 2018 Fall Bucket List?