Must Know Tips For Disney With Kids

Be {In The Know} at Disney

STEAM Summer Camp with Terrific Scientific and Art Adventures

Ignite your child's passion for science and art!

Charlotte Family Photographer - Photography By Larisa

Ok Mom, are you ready for your close up? Why family photos are so important.

Carolina Adventure Camp

An Unforgettable Summer!

Friday, June 26, 2015

All Un Apologies..

think that some mommy blogs must have caught a virus lately. Symptoms include wonderful mothers composing long open letters of apology for being human mothers to human children in the real world. 

I'm truly baffled by, yet perfectly understand many aspects of this mommy self-loathing phenomenon. As a mom of three I often feel like I'm not getting it right, amen to that - been there, done that, probably doing it tomorrow. 

However what I can't stomach, what really eats at me, is when moms who love and care for their children write letters apologizing for things like their first born being raised around too many adults because they hadn't found other mommy friends quite yet. Did the adults hurt them? No you say, oh, it's just that there weren't other kids to play with every second of the day from the moment the cord was cut onward? Total mommy fail. 

Or apologizing for serving home made healthy (probably effing organic to boot) baby foods that were bland, thus robbing their child of an eclectic pallet. ::face palm people, face palm::

Too many mommies are making a career out of apologizing for ridiculousness like this, creating an unrealistic expectation for what raising a child should be like. One thing is for sure, apologizing to them for experiences that are normal and healthy parts of living and growing up will do them no favors in the real world.

I beg of you fellow mommy bloggers - stop the madness. We are human, we are mothers, and the well-intentioned loving and raising of our children does not need to be apologized for.

I will certainly owe my children an apology for something I do at some point, but like my mother before me, I'll save my real apologies for when I do something awful - like letting my daughter leave the house with her hair like this in middle school. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Discount SEA LIFE Aquarium Charlotte/Concord Admission

Looking for a great way to beat the 100+ degree temperatures this week in Charlotte? SEA LIFE Aquarium in Concord is offering adult and child admission for only $11.95 for visits Monday-Friday between 12p-7p until July 17th 2015. Tickets must be purchased online in advance, click here to purchase! 

This is a great chance to check out Ruby the Giant Pacific Octopus during her octopus enrichment at 2:15p each day. Learn more about Ruby here. There's plenty for your little guppies to enjoy and explore in the 26,000 square foot indoor (AIR-CONDITIONED) aquarium, including a touch pool where kids get up close and personal with amazing sea creatures.

My kids enjoy collecting stamps for their guide books as they rove around the aquarium, learning about the importance and beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants. They can show their punches at the end for a special surprise.

Plus there are sharks! My son was amazed as this sharp toothed beauty swam over the top of him and his dad during our last visit.

To honor our country's service men and women this 4th of July weekend, SEA LIFE is offering free admission to military members with a valid military I.D. Accompanying family members will also receive a discounted admission of $18. Walk up tickets only.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kids Keep Creating with YOXO Toys

It's TV trance face. You know - when your kiddo's eyes glaze over and pupils dilate to allow as much TV in as possible. Ugh, I hate TV trance face - but many times it's a necessary evil when looking for a quick fix to keep them entertained while I get dinner ready, or try to - God forbid - go to the bathroom alone. I tried the unique looking YOXO toys in an attempt to avoid TV trance face, but keep the kids entertained and playing independently while using their imaginations.

At first I wasn't sure how much of a hit they would be, they didn't have a power button and seemed relatively simple - but the simplicity of the toy is where it's beauty lies. The toy requires the child to engage with it, not the other way around. We had the two two-year-olds and my six-year-old at the table. I did have to initially show them how the pieces fit together, but after a quick how-to they were off and creating. Before I knew it they were having races to see who could build the tallest, the widest, the one with the most circles - and the google eye stickers were a hit. I liked that the pieces were easy to pick up and that if you did step on one it didn't send you through the roof. That night I was able to get our baked chicken and potatoes on the table without too many interruptions. 

If you're looking for parent-child interaction there are several instructions that can be followed to create the robot, dragon fly and several other creations. YOXO toys are neat because you can use every day items around the house as your expansion pack, string, paper towel rolls, a cereal box - all these items can be incorporated for play. I also loved that they were made in the USA - a badge that can be hard to come across in any form of toy. The two-year-olds (who are closer to three) did quite well with them, but my six-year-old really took off with them. YOXO has won several awards including the 2014 Creative Play of the Year Award from Creative Child Magazine, and was a Gold Winner in the National Parenting Publications Awards.  It's a gift I plan to buy for our next birthday party and you can pick up YOXO at Target, the kits we used cost around $20.

Ruby The Octopus May Be As Smart As Your Five-Year-Old

Meet Ruby. She's the Giant Pacific octopus and resident at the 26,000 square foot indoor aquarium SEA LIFE in Charlotte-Concord that may be as smart as your five-year-old!

That's right, a Giant Pacific octopus can develop the mental capacity of a five-year-old with proper engagement. SEA LIFE has designed an Octopus Enrichment program for Ruby that will include her solving puzzle-type activities with a trained team of SEA LIFE aquarists. Her first enrichment program has her tentacle painting on paper using positive treat reinforcement. Check out her work below -she's a regular eight-tentacled Picasso! 

The SEA LIFE in Aukland New Zealand partnered with Sony and were able to teach their Giant Pacific octopus, Rambo, to take pictures of visitors using a specially mounted camera in her tank. How cool is that? Next thing you know she'll be fighting with her sibling octopi over whose turn it is to play Minecraft on the iPad. 

You can meet Ruby and watch as she engages in SEA LIFE's Octopus Enrichment programs each day at 2:15PM in her tank in the Shipwreck area of the aquarium. To plan your visit or learn more about SEA LIFE you can go to  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

{Giveaway} Free Family Photo Session from

Don't you love the feel of the spring breeze and warmth here in Charlotte? It makes me want to don the kiddos in gauzy shorts and frilly dresses while we sit on a blanket in the sun or jump through the sprinkler. These are memory making times - and there is no better way to capture memories than with a photography session from She has a way of making family photos fun, while capturing the joy of your family on film so you can re-visit these fleeting moments again and again.

Lucky for you, super awesome readers, I'm a convincing woman. I've convinced Larisa at to celebrate the arrival of spring with my readers by giving away a family photo session. What better way to remember that super sweet dress you couldn't say no to buying, or those adorable suspenders that just happened to find their way into your Etsy cart?

Entering is easy, just follow the rafflecopter app below. Like Photography By Larisa on Facebook, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Comment on this blog post what color you would choose to dress your family in if you win! 

In the meanwhile enjoy some of my favorite photos from

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Carolina Adventure Camp: An Unforgettable Summer!

Sun, adventure and warm days filled with fresh air, fun and friends - isn't that what childhood summers should be? If you want your kids ages 7-11 to unplug from the digital realm this summer, sign them up for Carolina Adventure Camp. This dynamic summer camp has your child exploring their world through arts and crafts, hiking, acting and improv, adventure challenges, team games and lots more. 

You'll love the energy and excitement that the counselors at Carolina Adventure Camp bring. Not only are they CPR and first aid certified (a must have for this neurotic mama), but they all have experience working with youth. Plus they enjoy being role models for young campers as they guide them through weeks of exploration and education. 

The camp is centrally located at the beautiful, 98-acre Freedom Park in Uptown Charlotte. Freedom Park offers a seven-acre lake, baseball and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, an outdoor amphitheater, nature museum, a challenge course, nature and walking trails and two playgrounds. 

A call to Moms and Dads! Spots for Carolina Adventure Camp are filling up quickly - don't get locked out of this amazing camp. Dates for camp run from June 22nd - July 30th from 9am - 3pm. Campers can sign up for one week at a time for $175 or can sign up for all six weeks for $595. 

If you sign up before April 15th you can save $50 on registration!

Invest in an unforgettable summer for your child and check out Carolina Adventure Camp online by clicking here and keep up to date with all the fun on their Facebook page

This is a paid blog post for Carolina Adventure Camp.

Easter Egg 400 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame

It's spring and the the perfect time of year to get your engines hopping over to check out the Easter Egg 400 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame! Check out all the spring time fun on Saturday, March 28th from 8:30 - 11:30am for kids ages 12 and under.

Rookie Racer members can enjoy a pancake breakfast with the Easter Bunny (info on how to join Rookie Racers here) from 8:30-9:30. For all attendees there will be face painting and spring craft activities in the Great Hall from 8:30-9:30 with a egg hunt from 9:30-9:45 on the third floor of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Then bounce into the fun as the movie 'Hop' is shown in the High Octane Theater from 10:00-11:30.

The cost for the Easter Egg 400 is $7 for adults and kids 2-12, children under 2 are free. The Easter Bunny pancake breakfast is for Rookie Racer members only. This event does NOT include admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but general admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame can be purchased separately.