How to celebrate pregnancy-style?

My husband’s birthday is next weekend and I have a dilemma on what to do to celebrate. Sure, we could enjoy a type date night, but I’d really like to do something special since once this baby arrives, I realize we will not have much going-out time nor money anymore.

The few ideas I have come up with have been ruled out by our pocketbook or doctor’s orders. We cannot go to theme parks given the fact I cannot go on any rides and I may fall over from heat stroke in Florida’s 90 degree weather. Plus we’d like to do the Disney thing with our three-year-old and so that’s really not a celebration for my hubby. I thought creatively and booked an airboat ride in Everglades City, but the doctor ruled that out because it was too bumpy. We can’t stay at the beach because of the flesh-eating bacteria swarming our waters, plus it’s not that special.

So, my conclusions: I’ve come up with three alternative ideas.

First, John Pennekamp snorkeling in Key Largo. Although, we probably won’t go with this idea, snorkeling trips are around $30 out of the state park. Hotels in the area are pricey though and the trip down takes a while. It’s a gorgeous reef surrounding a Jesus statute and really something all Floridians should take the time to see.

Second, a ride down the Rainbow River in Dunnelleon. This is north of Tampa and about 3 hours from Charlotte County. The hotels are around $70-80/night. The KP hole is where you launch a tube. Entrance and rental fees are about $15/person and the water is a consistent cool temperature of 72 degrees. The float down the river takes approx. 4 hours. This sounds awesome to a pregnant woman seeking relief from the hot summer days.

Lastly, Weeki Wachee. Same distance of 3 hours. Mermaid shows, animals and a fun little water park for the kids. Hotels are around the same as above and entrance fees are about $15/person and free for younger kids.


Beach-themed Gift Ideas for Mom

It’s mid-week and heading straight toward Mom’s Day. Let her know you appreciate her and give her something that corresponds to her Florida lifestyle. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Sand Dollar Cookies. Make her a batch of these adorable sand dollar cinnamon sugar cookies

bake: Sand Dollar Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

2. Create a beach-themed gift basket. Stock it up with a beach mat, towel, sunscreen, and water bottle. If you want to make it extra special, throw in a SPF 50+ scarf, which can be found at

3. Do something outdoorsy, like paddleboarding. It’s an easy and enjoyable experience where you can enjoy nature and have a great chat with mom. Check out Hooked on SUP in Englewood/Boca GrandeĀ area. Rates start at $20 for an hour rental.

4. Get the lady a nice piece of jewelry that is as unique as she is. That means nothing from Kay’s or other run-of-the-mill jewelry chains. Scour pawn shops and other estate jewelry shops for older pieces. Look at local jewelers’ shops for pieces owners created themselves that are indeed one-of-a-kind. Check out Barbara Anne’s Jewelry on Boca Grande for ocean-themed jewelry such as shipwreck coin necklaces.

5. Beach Photo. Take a photo of the kids and place it in a shadow box. Fill the bottom with sand and shells from the local beach. It will remind mom of all the great memories with the kiddos at one of her favorite places.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. Know that you are appreciated!

Rain, rain, go away. I wanted to go to the beach today.

Saturdays in SW Florida are made for beaching. But what do you do when your weekend is full of rain?

1. Indoor Bounce Houses

Leaping Lizards, Venice, FL

Leaping Lizards, Venice, FL

My top pick for a rainy day and a rambunctious kid(s) is to hit up an indoor bounce house. Remember to bring socks! A few in our area include:
Leaping Lizards – 4411 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293
KidStar located in Port Charlotte at the Flea Market – 18505 Paulson Dr, Port Charlotte, FL 33954
EscapeZone – 4411 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL 34293

2. Indulge

Abbie's Donuts located in North Port and Port Charlotte on 41

Abbie’s Donuts located in North Port and Port Charlotte on 41

Take the family out for a ice cream or donuts. We like Sweet Scoops in Port Charlotte or Abbie’s Donuts in North Port or Port Charlotte (cash only).

3. Ikea or Indoor Malls
Window shop at Tampa’s International Mall, Ikea, or Sarasota Square Mall. We also like Bass Pro Shop in Fort Myers, where the kids can enjoy watching fish feedings.

4. Date Day
Employ a sitter or the grandparents to watch your kids so you and yours can catch a matinee movie. Opt for a PG-13 or R to avoid other kiddos. Hey, it’s dark outside, just like a night date, with the added bonus of a lower price.

5. Start Christmas shopping or Birthday shopping
I realize this is ambitious, but you will thank me once December rolls around and prices are marked up. My favorite places to find bargains include the outside end cap displays at Target and the toy clearance sections a Wal-Mart. For Florida attire, it really is unfortunate to wait until winter to shop for clothing to give since the store limit their inventory more to sweaters and pants, which we rarely wear in Florida. The best time to pick up clearance Florida-appropriate clothing for gifts is right before back-to-school. It’s when all the swimsuits, tank tops and flip flops are marked down.