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?

A Family Guide to Happy Thrills at #Carowinds | #AmazingLooksLike @Carowinds #FamilyFun

Thanks to Carowinds for hosting SobeSavvy.com to a day of summer fun and “happy thrills”! Complimentary media passes were received in exchange for marketing purposes. Opinions and photos used in this review of my experience are 100% my own.

Recently my #HeighPartyof3 which consists of my husband, daughter and me, traveled from Raleigh,NC for a short 2.5 hour drive to Carowinds. This 400 acre amusement park, with 13 roller coasters, seven water rides and the new Camp Snoopy, was the perfect place to enjoy some end of summer fun and to celebrate #outandaboutAva turning 7 years old!

#outandaboutAva gets a birthday hug from Sally and Schroeder from Peanuts at Camp Snoopy in Carowinds

I asked my daughter to give me two words to describe our family fun day at Carowinds to which she replied: “Happy and Thrilling”. So from the mouth of babes, I present to you “A FAMILY GUIDE TO HAPPY THRILLS AT CAROWINDS”. While this was not our first visit as a family to the amusement park, this was our first time experiencing the Carolina Harbor Water Park, checking out the new County Fair rides and seeing what’s new at Camp Snoopy. I have some mom friends who have children 7 and under who have not visited Carowinds yet, so my hope is that they will read this and be inspired to go and learn from our family experience.

Arriving at CAROWINDS

Upon arrival the first decision to be made is where to park. One thing folks like to complain about is parking. Yes Carowinds is a huge park that has thousands of daily visitors. These visitors also need thousands of parking spots. Parking is plentiful and visitors have two parking choices , General and VIP. VIP sections tend to be closer to the entrance than general.

Entrance in the water park is also entrance into the main park. You can purchase all the same tickets and passes there that can be bought at the main entrance. It is also smart to start here if you want to purchase a cabana for the day because they usually sell out in the first hour or two also.
We started our day at the Water park first and then enjoyed the main park.
The order you choose needs to only make sense to you !

SobeSavvy Tip:

For this trip, we found that if you drive around to the Carolina Harbor Waterpark entrance in the first hour or two of opening parking spots can be found that do not require a long walk.

Waterpark Fun in the Sun at CAROLINA HARBOR

Nestled right between the two states of North and South Carolina is Carolina Harbor Waterpark at Carowinds. There are so many splash adventures to be had at this 27 acre waterpark, including Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six story water slide, two wave pools and a two-acre family area. We are water lovers and really enjoyed staying cool by the pool, soaking up sun and relaxing on the lazy river ride. It’s no wonder Carolina Harbor Waterpark was one of the top winners of USA TODAY “Best Outdoor Waterpark” because of it’s themed water rides and one of a kind attractions for all ages.

SobeSavvy Tip: Now that you know that Carolina Harbor is the coolest place to slide,splash,chill and dine (BTW…the pulled pork Carolina BBQ sandwich is so good!), you should definitely consider renting a cabana. Cabana Life is the way to go to have your own private shaded haven. It comes with a flat screen tv, a mini fridge with half of dozen cold waters waiting for you, a table with 4 chairs, 2 lounge chairs, and menu service. It fits up to six people. So if you come with another small family, you can split the costs!

Love, Peace and Water Tubes at Tidal Wave Bay | Carolina Harbor

Happy Days Are Here Again at the COUNTY FAIR

The all-new County Fair themed area features 3 acres of timeless fun for all ages. There are 4 retro rides like the Zephyr swing ride, go round in a circular motion while enjoying music and spectacular lighting on the Rock ‘N’ Roller, flip upside down 63 ft above the ground on the Electro-Spin and don’t miss the twists and turns of Do-Si-Do, which glides guests up, down and around on three giant arms!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for some traditional fair food to eat! Here is wherr you can find hot dogs, cotton candy and my favorite..funnel cake!

Go back in time to 1959 County Fair and ride the Do-Si-Do Ride

Enjoy Kid Sized Thrills at the New CAMP SNOOPY

The former kids’ area known as Planet Snoopy has been completely transformed to the newly expanded Camp Snoopy, which includes six new attractions, a new wilderness theme and parent-friendly enhancements. There were lots of fun photo ops especially for fans of The PEANUTS and you may even get a chance to see your favorite characters. There is so much for young children to see and do here and great memories to be made at Camp Snoopy!

SobeSavvy Tip: Ride the Woodstock Express rollercoaster and choose a FunPix souvenir photo to take home. FunPix is a way to capture and share your memories of Carowinds with unlimited digital photo downloads! Its just one of the many great amenities at Carowinds.

This photo magnet of my daughter with her Dad on her first roller coaster ride at Carowinds is priceless!

Be sure to download the Carowinds mobile app from the App Store or Google Play and Follow Carowinds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or head to Carowinds.com for more information.

Check out more ‘happy and thrilling’ moments at #Carowinds, plus WATCH my video recap of our family fun experience here ⤵️

What “Happy Thrills” did you experience this summer? Have you ever been to Carowinds? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

#HeighPartyof3 at Carowinds Aug. ’18

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TRAVEL | Top Family #SundayFunday Activities To Do In @BaltimoreMD #MyBmore

Dear Baltimore, I ❤ You. You may be misunderstood sometimes but anyone who has ever visited will discover that you have a whole lot of heart.

Recently, I was there to cover the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival and spent a ‘Sunday Funday‘ in the heart of Charm City at The Inner Harbor/Downtown Baltimore. It is a one stop place for family fun and a great city to travel this summer. Growing up here always makes it so surreal to return with my daughter and its beautiful to see her learn more about the city where her Mom and Dad where born.

Today, I am sharing my Top Family Sunday Funday Activities To Do In Baltimore,MD ! I am grateful to Visit Baltimore who provided passes to these attractions which allowed for me to review the experiences to be shared with you. Special thanks to BRIO Tuscan Grille for hosting my #HeighPartyof3. Hope you are inspired to visit this family friendly city soon! ❤

1. MARYLAND SCIENCE CENTER

We started our Sunday Funday skipping up the steps of the Maryland Science Center yelling, “Let’s Science!” Science is fun,factual and actual! If you agree, then check out the Maryland Science Center where there are so many cool things to do,learn and see! This attraction is known for its major exhibits that focus on dinosaurs, earth science,the human body and space exploration. With three floors of hands-on exhibits, the Davis Planetarium and IMAX Theater, families really could spend a whole day here.

2. INNER HARBOR

One of my fondest memories growing up in BMORE is strolling and hanging out at the Inner Harbor. Now I get to do it with my daughter and show her the beauty of Baltimore’s waterfront. The Inner Harbor is the heart of downtown and many of the top attractions, as well as hotels and restaurants, are located here.

3. SUNDAY BRUNCH AT BRIO

Baltimore was voted America’s Hottest Food Cities on the Coast and has so many great dining options. We chose to experience the flavor of tuscany at a restaurant conveniently across the street from the Inner Harbor. Page 66 of the Visit Baltimore Summer-Fall 2018 guide led us to BRIO tuscan grille. It’s a delicious family-friendly restaurant that offers weekend brunch,lunch & dinner. We started off with two refreshing Brunch Beverages: White Peach Sangria & Italian Mule and for Starters: Bruschetta Sampler. I absolutley loved the presentation of the sampler as well as the fresh ingredients used and combination of flavors. My daughter ordered pasta of the kids menu, my husband customized a veggie omelette and I enjoyed a Strawberry and Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinegarette. Save room for dessert and get the BRIO TRIO. You won’t be disappointed by the food or the great service here!

4. RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Baltimore

So our daughter has a love/hate relationship with Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Sometimes she is freaked out by the weird displays, other times she finds the unusual items funny. We had a really good time going thru the Mirror Maze as a family and finding our way out to enjoy more of Baltimore. Our daughter left saying “I love Ripley’s now, I’m not afraid anymore. It’s so much fun!”

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium offers unique fun!

5.PORT DISCOVERY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

My cousin and I are both in our 40’s with young girls under the age of 7. We wanted to meet up at a place where the girls could play and our families could catch up. Port Discovery Children’s Museum, voted one of the ten best childrem’s museum, proved to be a fun spot for us all! Make sure you get your kiddos to see the Dinosaurs Land of Fire and Ice exhibit before it ends on September 9th. Port Discovery is a great place for kids to enjoy interactive exhibits and creative play!

There is really a diverse array of attractions for you to enjoy with family and friends in Baltimore. I would recommend a long weekend up to a week to enjoy Baltimore’s attractions museums, tours and historical sites. The next time you are looking for a city with things to do and places to enjoy a ‘Sunday Funday’, consider planning a vacation to Baltimore for the entire family! Read more of my family fun ideas to enjoy this summer in Charm City>>>here and watch this video to see more ways to have fun and explore BALTIMORE!

Have you ever visited Baltimore? What was your favorite family friendly attraction?

3 Summer Break Books to Intrigue, Inform, Inspire Your K-2nd Grader #outandaboutAvareads #books

Disclosure: This content uses some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more info: here

Can you believe Summer’s here? I have been asking myself where has this year gone and what shall I do to keep my child from being bored during Summer Break? While my daughter is ready for some time off, I know the importance of keeping her mind active. Ever heard of the “summer slide” where kids lose some of their academic gains from the school year? Well, I plan to avoid that by encouraging my child to read. However, because my daughter loves to read, I really don’t have to do much encouraging. In fact, you may have seen her #outandaboutAvareads series on my Instagram!

Recently, some authors/publishers have contributed to her summer reading list and she is excited to read these books at home, by the pool, or in the car during our family roadtrips!If you are looking for things for your child to do this summer, remember reading is a great way to keep kids engaged over summer break!

Today on the blog, SobeSavvy.com, I am sharing some new children’s books to add to your child’s summer reading list that will Intrigue, Inform and Inspire! Take a look at these three books:

*INTRIGUE | THE CASE OF THE PINCHED STRADUVARIUS by Elaine Loeser

#outandaboutAvareads

The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius is a unique whodunit – a mix of television script and comic book presented in a fun way! This picture book shows kids how using their brains and working together can solve problems. Miles and Fargo are your average turtles. They swim, lounge around and fight over the one rock in their tank. But Miles and Fargo are different in one major way: like Jimmy Stewart’s character in the iconic 1954 film “Rear Window” or Dr. Anna Fox in “The Woman in the Window,” they witness a crime from the window of their NYC apartment and manage to solve it – without leaving their tank.

The story is told in an all-dialogue format, with icons representing the characters in the story so kids can identify with them more closely. It’s written by Elaine Loeser – former writer for the long-running NBC drama “Law & Order” – with wonderfully vibrant illustrations by Greg Arvanitakis. Elaine’s husband acquired the real-life turtles while they were living in Los Angeles and they spent their first months living in their tank in Pasadena, overlooking Dodger Stadium.

In The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius, while looking out the window one day, Miles and Fargo witness a little girl’s violin stolen by a bad man, who snatches the instrument and runs away. After watching carefully, the turtles enlist the services of Bogie and Bandit, the dogs who live in the apartment with them, to do the investigative legwork during their walks. The dogs get all the credit when the violin is found. But that’s ok with Miles and Fargo. They did the thinking. The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius is the story of how they manage to solve the crime and bring the thief to justice, thus becoming: Miles and Fargo, Turtle Detectives!

For kids, parents and teachers alike, it’s a fun story that introduces readers to Miles and Fargo, their background and how they become the Holmes and Watson of the reptile world. It also teaches kids about introverts (the turtles) and extroverts (the dogs.) The Case of the Pinched Stradivarius is ideal for readers ages 3-10 and is available on Amazon.* Learn more about the book on turtledetectives.com, Facebook and Instagram.

*INFORM | LIKTOON’S BOAT by Radha Rai

Liktoon’s Boat is an endearing and educational book to help promote financial literacy among children. Written by North Jersey financial expert, blogger, mom and author, Radha Rai, this book provides introduction to basic mathematical and financial concepts. Liktoon’s Boat takes children of all ages to a make-believe world of adventure, entrepreneurship and challenges, where dreams are accessible with the right financial planning.

For more information on Liktoon’s Boat visit Liktoon.com, or visit Rai’s blog at Missfingy.com/. Liktoon’s Boat is available at Amazon* as well as other fine booksellers.

*INSPIRE | JUST BE YOURSELF by Karen Stone

Just Be Yourself: A Ladybug’s Journey is a new children’s book written by Karen Stone to inspire kids to be happy with who they are and build a positive perception of self. As children grow up, they will face various challenges and struggles, author Karen Stone wants to make sure a negative self-image will not be one of those issues.

In “Just Be Yourself,” Stone introduces readers to a unique story that follows an unsure ladybug in the Happy Peaceful Forest. The ladybug questions why she is the only one in her family without a special crown and sets out to reach the shiny purple castle to find her answers.

Along the way she meets various animals that impart lessons of self-assurance and empowerment. At the end of her journey, she realizes that to receive her crown, she simply needs to find confidence and happiness in her own heart.

“I want to enable children to build a foundation to be happy with who they are for the rest of their lives,” Stone said. “Just Be Yourselfteaches children to be confident with their own attributes, skills and appearance so they can build a positive self-image.”

For more information, please visit www.kstone11.com. “Just Be Yourself: A Ladybug’s Journey” by Karen Stone is available at Balboa Press, Barnes and Noble and Amazon*.

📚What Books Are You or Your Child Reading This Summer?📚

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