Category Archives: Family Activities

Our super fun day at Breakfast with the Bunny at the Akron Zoo

What a fun day we had at Breakfast with the Bunny at the Akron Zoo!  We packed up our cooler, packed up our kids, packed up the van and off we went at 7:30 AM to get to the zoo before 8:30 for a super fun day!  And just to clarify… there are 8 of us all together.  So 2 babies, 4 children, and 2 adults.

Welcome to the Zoo

We got there at 8:30 and they started letting people in shortly after that and we headed to Komodo Cafe for a Buffet Breakfast.  The breakfast food was DELICIOUS!  Pancakes, Sausage, Home Fries, fruit, orange juice, coffee… YUM.  The buffet was definitely nice and a GREAT start to our day.  (with full bellies!)

Crafts!  They had a few simple craft options for the little ones to do.  They could choose between a butterfly, an airplane, or coloring a paper egg.  These were all simple enough for the preschool aged children, but also fun for the school aged children.

cohen with the EB 2017

A visit with the Easter Bunny!  What was nice about this event is that you do need a special ticket to attend and they only sell so many.  So there was not a long line to visit the Easter Bunny and when we got up there I didn’t feel rushed like you do at the mall.  We have a few little ones that are afraid of costumed characters (and stuffed animals… Caleb…) so we needed the time to visit with Mr. Easter Bunny.

The Easter Egg Hunt.  This was the highlight for our gang.  Everyone talked about the Easter Egg Hunt ALL day.  First- how cool is it that the Egg Hunt takes place in the zoo, like where you walk to see the animals!  Second- the eggs were not filled with candy, instead the eggs were empty and you turned in the eggs for a goodie bag after the egg hunt.  There were two special Golden Eggs that you got an extra special prize with- I have no idea what that prize was since we did not find any Golden Eggs.  BUT- the goodie bags were very nice and included a cute stuffed animal along with some other small trinkets.  What was nice for this mom was that those stuffed animals doubled as souvenirs from the zoo.

After the egg hunt you had until 10:30 to visit with the Easter Bunny and then we were able to enjoy the Akron Zoo for the rest of the day and the kids had a ball!!

Day at the Akron Zoo

 

Would I recommend Breakfast with the Bunny?  YES!  This was a really fun day for our kids and I feel like everyone should experience a special event at the Akron Zoo at least once– or maybe even a yearly tradition!  This was the first time we had the opportunity to do something like this and I really felt it was worth the price tag (a big question I got when I was telling people that we were going).

Factors into the price:  #1- The breakfast buffet!  This an all you can eat, good quality meal.
#2 The Easter Activities- Visit with the bunny with virtually no line (umm- have you waited more than an hour at the mall– because that was us at Christmas time with Santa!), a personalized-no-rush visit with the bunny, a fun egg hunt IN the zoo, and a craft!
#3 The goodie bag had a stuffed animal so we saved money having to buy souvenirs for 6 kids.  (that is like $10 per kid right there!)
#4 Admission to the Zoo!
#5 – Free Parking too- and we got a close spot!

So yes- take your kids to check out Breakfast with the Bunny at the Akron Zoo.  There is still ONE more day left for you go this year (April 15th), and if you can’t make it to that day, please be on the look out for this event for next year!

Our visit to Castaway Bay in Sandusky Ohio

My family got the opportunity to visit Cedar Point’s Indoor Water Park: Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio last weekend.  We definitely had a ball.  The two older boys kept saying over and over again about how much fun they were having and that really made this mom happy- and when they say it without you asking about it, you know they are having a great time.

First- I have to say the room set up was AWESOME.  We stayed in a Tarpon Suite, I think it was a Bay View because we had a view of the water and that was really nice, especially since the weather was kind of nice so we did enjoy sitting on the balcony a bit.  The best part about the Tarpon Suite is that it has a King Sized bed and then a separate room for the kiddos with 4 bunk beds.  This gave mom and dad a bit of privacy and the kids not only had their own area for play and relaxing, but also their own beds.  So no fighting over bed sharing!!

Castaway Bay Tarpon Suite

Like any family, we quickly unpacked and got into our suites and headed down to the water park.  The kids were excited, parents are excited, and we were ready to go!  The Indoor Water Park is just what we needed during these cold winter months (which actually aren’t THAT cold this year- but still not hot enough that we are enjoying any type of outdoor swimming in Ohio).  It is 80 degrees in the water park, so you have that warm tropical weather and it is nice and warm when going between activities in your wet swimsuit.

There are a variety of activities for all ages too!  The littlest ones and I spent most of our time in the Toddler Tidepool, which is complete with three small slides, and a few other splashing activities for the little ones.  Caleb really enjoyed the slides!!  Things we all enjoyed were the Creature Cove (has basketball hoops, and floating snakes and other creatures to play on), the Wave Pool, and Lookout Lagoon’s Family Funhouse.

Castaway Bay Water Park

The older kids enjoyed the slides!  That is what they spent most of their days doing, going up and down the slides!  There is one cool raft slide that is either one or two person, a set of 3 speed slides, and some other fun slides that are on the Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse.  They also said they liked going in the hot tub, which would be the Grotto.

So the waterpark itself got two thumbs up from the kids and the parents.  BUT Castaway Bay offers other things to do as well, so if you get tired of the water and need a break there are other options.  Club Castaway has crafts offered from 10-2 every day.  And at night they have a dance party and a movie followed by a meet and greet with Snoopy!

My kiddos got to color shirts during our stay in Club Castaway and while they were doing that I chatted with the team member on duty and she told me that they have more activities on Saturdays, where they have a movie playing and the kids can make their own trail mix.  Our stay was a Sunday to Monday, and we did not make it to Club Castaway until Monday morning and they did have a movie playing during the craft when we were there.

 

There are also a variety of restaurants.  We ate at Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner (Tip: Ask to sit at the worst table to get 10% off your total bill!), and got snacks and lunch at Big Daddy’s Snack Shack that is inside the water park.  There is also Mango Mike’s, which is a breakfast buffet, and Ebb and Eddy’s which has coffee, quick breakfast items and lunch (we got Starbuck’s Coffee here in the morning).  There is also an upscale dining restaurant available at Bay Harbor and of course Room Service as well.

 

We also hit up the arcade just before we left on Monday- and honestly had the waterpark and arcade been open longer, we would have stayed longer!!  But we promised the boys that we would do the arcade so we stopped in.  Colton was super excited because I was able to win him an Ocalot (Minecraft) stuffed toy from one of the machines.  (Super Cool Mom Points for me!)

Oh- if you aren’t signed up for Castaway Bay Birthday Club, you definitely need to sign your kids up.  Caleb’s birthday is coming up, so he got to redeem his Birthday Coupon while we were there and it included: A Free slice of Pizza from Big Daddy’s Snack Shack, 16 Free Game credits at the Arcade, and a free craft at Club Castaway.  If you aren’t staying the night, you can redeem the Birthday Club certificate for a free day pass to the water park!

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Castaway Bay is a great resort to get in a bit of a mini vacation close to home.  We definitely needed a little getaway and the smiles on the boys’ faces tells me they had a blast too!  They often run specials, and I have seen special rates on Groupon too, so if you need a deal to be able to go, check out their site and keep an out out on Groupon to get the best rate for a mini vacation for your family!

Thank you to Cedar Point and Castaway Bay for hosting our family, so I can share this experience on Mommy Has A Life

We are going to Castaway Bay! Oh and YOU CAN TOO!! #Giveaway

The one thing I love most as a parent is doing fun things with my family.  I feel like that is the great reward after all the work I put in as a mom on the day to day.  Next week we are making the trip to Sandusky, OH to enjoy the tropical paradise at Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark and Resort.

Please follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I will be using #CastawayBay2017

castaway bay

Guess what?  YOU can go too!  First- Castaway Bay has incredible deals starting at  $99 per night.  And that includes Water park admission for four guests!  BUT I am also giving away one four pack of day passes to Castaway Bay on my Facebook Page: Mommy Has A Life.

Go to THIS POST on my Facebook Page.  And Like, Comment and Share to be entered!

Good Luck!!

Gifts That Your Son Will Absolutely Love

As moms, we spend a lot of our lives picking out gifts for our kids. Christmas is barely over by the time you have to start thinking about and saving for birthday gifts! Here are some tips to help you out for ideas…

Mom and Baby outside

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Go For Creative Play

As mothers of sons, we spend a lot of our lives thinking about how best to help our sons to grow up into the sort of men that we want them to be – and luckily for us, we are their biggest influences and the people who can mould them into who we want them to be. Obviously, every boy and young man is different – but as mothers it’s our responsibility to show them what being a man really is. And a huge part of that is forgetting about traditional masculinity, about guns and competition and violence – and showing them how important it is to be creative and sensitive too. Not only will you be creating fine young men but you’ll also be forming great husbands and fathers one day. Go for gifts that will help with creativity, from art supplies to dressing up clothes and other items that can encourage imaginative play, from bobbleheads to dolls to stuffed animals. Toys that can teach your son gentleness and creativity will produce traits that will be important for the rest of his life.

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What About Experiences?

Of course it’s great to be able to open some gifts on the morning of your birthday – but as a rule, people remember experiences more than they remember objects. Even if your son is young, he’ll be forming memories every day of his life. Think back to when you were a toddler – your memories are probably hazy but they’re still there! You don’t have to take him to Disneyland to have an incredible time – building his own Build A Bear will be something he’ll remember and treasure forever, and going to see the dinosaur exhibit at your local museum is something that’s bound to produce absolutely rapturous delight. Making precious memories for both of you is one of the most important parts of being a parent.

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Sometimes It’s Okay To Be Part Of The In Crowd

We seem to spend half our lives wanting to wean our kids off the TV, off the common path, away from anything that makes them cool and part of the in crowd – but honestly, it’s absolutely okay to pander to that once in a while. If your kid loves animated movies then that’s great – get him some Toy Story or Zootopia toys to play with. If he can’t tear himself away from Paw Patrol then why not get him a stuffed animal version of his favourite character? It’s easy to be snobby about these things but having the same toys as some of his friends isn’t a bad thing – they’ll have things in common on playdates and topics of conversation – in as far as little kids have conversations! – at school. Plus, can you imagine the smile on your kid’s face when he unwraps his Chase doll? Absolutely priceless.

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Incredible Sights In California That The Whole Family Will Love

Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset

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If you want a state that has it all, look no further than California. It has wide, open desert, snow capped mountains, fir forests, and green pastures. There are huge sprawling urban centers where dreams are made of, beautiful wine regions, and, of course, Disneyland. If you’re looking for an area to road trip around, it might as well be California, because it has literally everything a holiday could ever need, for parents and kids alike. If you want a family friendly holiday, look no further than California .

The Golden Gate Bridge

A true marvel of engineering, and an iconic structure of our nation, the Golden Gate Bridge is a must-visit for any American. San Francisco itself is basically the perfect city break destination, with beautiful streets, a harbor full of sea lions that the kids will go mad for, and plenty of amazing independent cafes, bars, and boutiques. A visit to the island of Alcatraz is a must too. Situated in the bay of San Francisco, the ex federal prison can now be reached by ferry, and tours of the prison are seriously interesting for parents and children.

Yosemite National Park

A national wonder, Yosemite National Park spans a large area of northern California, and offers some of the most stunning views of the United States. Stunning granite cliffs, giant sequoia groves, glaciers, and waterfalls leading to crystal clear streams make the Yosemite Valley look more like an oil painting than a real place. Kids love the diverse wildlife of the area – keep an eye out for a moose, or even a bear and its cubs! It’s just awe-inspiring, and has to be seen to be believed.

Desert

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Death Valley

Outside of Africa and the Middle East, Death Valley in eastern California is the hottest place on the entire planet and the lowest point below sea level in the whole United States. In fact, the highest air temperature ever recorded was in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, and hit a whopping 134 degrees. While you can’t spend too long down there, the scenery is utterly breathtaking, and it’s really educational too.

Los Angeles

The City of Angels is a city like no other. Full of famous stars and people full of dreams, it’s a city that’s grown up around Hollywood. With shopping, food, beaches, and beautiful hikes, it’s got everything you need for a great city break, and plenty of fun for the kids too. Be sure to take a Los Angeles taxi from your hotel to Beverly Hills for some star gazing, take a walk down the Walk of Fame, and shop til you drop on Melrose Avenue.

Garden

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Napa Valley

This is one maybe more for the parents than the kids. If you like wine, you’re going to want to visit the Napa Valley. Rich vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see, and produce some of the best wine in the world. The scenery is utterly idyllic, and the sun beats down on scorched earth while you relax with amazing wine, great food, surrounded by really friendly local people. The children will love being outdoors, spending their days horse riding, boating on the lake, or lounging around the pool. You could close your eyes and almost pretend you were in Spain – it’s true bliss.

California is one of those states that you could spend years traveling around, and still not visit everything you’d like to see. With such a range of terrains, stunning cities, and beautiful scenery, it’s no wonder it’s one of the world’s favorite vacation states.

Taking Time Out: Activities That Are Beneficial For Body And Mind

We all have days where we feel like we’re swimming against the tide. Are you juggling work with raising a child? Are you struggling to get everything done? Are you worried about money? Or are you going through tough times with a partner? If so, taking time out can work wonders. Sometimes, we all need a moment to ourselves. Here are some activities to try that will benefit both your body and mind.

Boxing

Boxing may not seem the most obvious choice for moms with things on their mind. But this is a really powerful form of exercise that can help you to vent frustration and anger. You don’t have to punch anything but a bag. The action enables you to release tension, and you can really let fly. If you’ve had a stressful day, or you’re feeling anxious, letting go will help. Boxing training is great for your fitness, and it will help you increase your strength and agility. You’ll also feel a weight lift off your shoulders as you hit the bag or pads. If you like the sound of boxing, you may also be interested in kickboxing and martial arts.

Boxing gloves
Image from
https://pixabay.com/en/box-gloves-blue-training-1198688/

Gardening

Gardening is an excellent way to relax and de-stress. You can appreciate the great outdoors and breathe in fresh air. Tending to flowerbeds will distract your mind, and enable you to focus on something that doesn’t make you feel worried or anxious. You don’t have to be an experienced landscape architect to create a beautiful garden. If you’re a beginner, you’ll find some top tips online. It’s also worth taking a trip to your local garden center to have a look at plants and buy some seeds and bulbs. Gardening may not seem like a strenuous activity, but you can burn up to 400 calories per hour.

Woman Gardening
Image via
http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/16338

Yoga

Yoga is one of the most popular activities for people looking to relax and enjoy some downtime. Yoga is fantastic for increasing flexibility and suppleness. But it also helps to make you feel calm. When you’re moving into different positions, you also focus on deep breathing. This can slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. If you’ve been thinking a lot, or you’re feeling confused, yoga may help to clear your mind.  

Yoga Pose
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/141735806@N08/27664580350

Walking

Walking gets your body moving, but it’s also really good for your mental health. Being outside can make you feel energized. When you’re walking, you have time and space to think. You can enjoy some peace and quiet and take time to just relax. If you’re pushed for time, even a stroll around the block can get you out of the house and provide you with a few precious minutes of alone time.

Walking outside
Image sourced from
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/6990684255

Have you had a bad day? Are you feeling stressed or run down? Do you need a change of scenery or a few moments of peace? If so, why not try these activities? They can help to clear your mind, recharge your batteries and make you feel more relaxed. They’ll also improve your general fitness, and get your muscles working.

Embracing Outdoor Living: Easy Ways You Can Spend More Time In The Fresh Air

It’s no secret that breathing in fresh air and venturing into the great outdoors can do you a world of good. If you’re guilty of spending too much time indoors, maybe it’s time to embrace outdoor living. Here are some easy ways you and your kids can get out more.

Switch up the school run

Do you drive to the school gates or drop your kids off at daycare in the car? Is it only a short drive away? If so, why not ditch your wheels and walk instead? You’ll save yourself money on gas, and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment. You can also enjoy the scenery and get your body moving. You may also be able to walk instead of using public transport or your car to get to the shops or visit friends and family.

Try outdoor pursuits

If you have kids, you may think that outdoor pursuits aren’t the best idea. But there are lots of activities that are suitable for toddlers. You can go on a family bike ride, or go for a walk in the park or by the lake. If you have older kids, you could also give kayaking or climbing a go.

Family Bike Ride

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/s_mestdagh/3657847661

Maximize your time in the garden

Most of us associate spending time in the garden with the spring and summer months. But just because it drops cooler, this doesn’t mean you have to retreat indoors. Wrap up and play out in the snow or collect the colorful fall leaves. Snuggle up in a hammock with a blanket or research outdoor fireplaces. This will enable you to enjoy being out in the open without getting cold.

Give outdoor sports a go

When you hear people talk about exercising, you may immediately think of going to the gym. But there are lots of sports and activities you can do outside. Take a yoga mat to the beach or sign up for a running club. If you’re keen for the kids to exercise more, you could look into local soccer teams, or join a tennis club.

Girl playing soccer
Image source:
https://pixabay.com/en/photos/kid/?cat=sports

Take lessons outside

Are your kids learning about trees or insects at school? If so, why not treat them to some fun, educational lessons in the outdoors? You can follow a nature trail or take some books with you and try and spot birds and bugs. Children often learn better when they find things fun and interesting.

Try camping

Camping is one of the best types of vacation if you want to escape it all on a budget. When you go camping, you get unrivaled access to amazing beauty spots, and you can try all kinds of fun activities. Go hiking or cycling if you have older kids, or enjoy a day at the beach with younger kids. You may miss out on creature comforts for a day or two. But you can spend quality time together in some of the most spectacular settings out there.

Do you spend nearly all your time indoors? Being out in the open can do you a power of good. If you’d like to get out more, take these simple suggestions on board. You’ll be amazed at the difference some fresh air can make.

Use Groupon to find fun things to do! #Groupon #ad

Groupon is a great way to find hidden gems of things to do in your area.  What I love is searching the Groupon site when I am looking for fun things to do, especially when I don’t have a lot of money to spend.  I will go to the Groupon Things to Do page and see what they have.

Things To Do

I have found some really great activities that I did not even know existed!!  When we first moved to Florida, I was on Groupon every week checking out what new and cool things they had to do in Orlando.  We found really unique things like visiting a Citrus Farm where we got on a giant Bus/Truck and got to see the oranges on the trees, and see and feed the animals that lived on the farm, and when we were done, shop at the farm stand and have these delicious orange slushes.  If it hadn’t been for Groupon, I would have never known this place existed!  Oh and not only that- but we saved a ton of money on admission.

If you are wanting to save money on ANYTHING to do, concerts, expos, sporting events, festivals, shows, movies, classes, gym memberships, or even tickets to family activities– check out Groupon Things to do first.  Even if you know what you want to do, you can still save money!

Have MORE fun with your kids using Groupon Coupons!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  I received monetary payment for this post, but all opinions are my own. 

Groupon coupon
As a single mom, money is always tight and when I have a little extra, I want to have the most fun possible with my kids.  If we plan a trip to do anything at all, I am looking for coupons to use so I can save money on that activity.  (More money saved = More fun we can have!)

When we start planning something to do, the very first place I start is Groupon Coupons.  If I know what I want to do, or a round about location we will be visiting I search their site and see what deals and coupons they are offering.  Usually, I can save at least 50% on our outing if I can find a Groupon.

For me, having the Groupon either means one of two things.  Either I am able to spend the extra money on something additional for the kids, like a souvenir or extra snack or a meal out.  OR the activity is now affordable and we can go vs I may not have had the extra money to go without using Groupon to find extra savings.

We have used Groupon for a variety of activities, but now they have additional coupons like through Hotels . com.  Well if you shop through Groupon Coupons you can get an additional 50% coupon for Hotels.com, so in addition to the great deal you would be getting on a hotel, you are also going to get an additional discount too!

If you love to travel, here is a list of what you can save even more on using Groupon:
Hertz
Hotels . com
Hotwire
Travelocity

Also, don’t forget to check your zip code and travel destination for LOCAL Groupons!   Not only to save money, but also for ideas of things to do!  I have found many cool things to do both in my area and on vacation through Groupon.com!

colton at Indians Game

#Back2SchoolGirard Party and Movie Night is THIS FRIDAY!

If you are looking for something fun and FREE to do this Friday, make sure you stop by Arrowhead Stadium in Girard for the #Back2SchoolGirard Party and Movie Night.  The first 150 students will receive a FREE drawstring backpack with school supplies inside and they will also have prizes to giveaway too!

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Gates open at 7:30 on Friday, August 12th, so get there early!  

There will be food available, and fun inflatables for the kiddos to burn off some energy before the movie.  Then, at sunset, find your seat and watch Kung Fu Panda 3 with your family.

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I hope everyone will stop out and enjoy this free family event put on by Liberty Assembly of God.

Check out the Facebook event for more details.

PS- You can also join us in church on Sunday at 10:30.  There is a great kid’s program, and our pastor always has an awesome sermon.  It’s right on Belmont Avenue-  6779 Belmont Ave Girard, OH 44420 :-)