Florida Mushroom Festival at Ravine Gardens State Park

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

 

Last weekend we took the kids to the  Florida Mushroom Festival at  Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, Florida. The park is absolutely beautiful! We got there just in time for a wild identification walk throughout the park to spot different mushrooms growing in the wild.

 

There were two of these suspension bridges.

Oyster Mushrooms

Cats on the trail!!

 

My daughter and I.

It was an absolute beautiful day!

For upcoming events check out Florida Mushroom Festival on Facebook and Ravine Gardens State Park

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Australian Ambitions – A Guide to Getting the True Down Under Experience

 

 

It only takes travelling abroad to understand that most non-Australians? Don’t have much of a clue what the deal is Down Under. But it’s not totally uncommon to meet people from another state who have no idea of the wonder and excitement to be found in your state. If you’re weighing up which country to hop to this holidays, pause those plans and look in your backyard for inspiration. Here’s our guide on what the true Down Under experience should be.

Road trips

Australia is a huge country, which means it takes a while to discover it all on the road. This presents a great opportunity to take out a few weeks driving to all destinations and checking out each unique Australian state. There are many roads and recommended paths you can take, but many start in South Australia by visiting the wineries and enjoying the high life in serviced apartments in Adelaide CBD. From there you can take Nullabor Plain and head to Western Australia, and then on to the rest of this Great Southern Land.

Diving

Diving in Australia needs to be seen to be believed, and Finding Nemo was only a hint of what is waiting out there. Cairns (Queensland) is the logical place to dive in Australia, but you may be surprised to learn that other pockets in Australia also have great clarity and unique sea life beneath the water. Byron Bay (New South Wales) is another great place to explore on the diving front. If you wanted to make a trip of it, you can hire a charter boat and visit a few hot spots in a weekend or week. If you are unqualified, you may need to have a dive master on board to make sure the dive is safe and above board.

Beach hopping

So many people think all Australians spend their weekends surfing, like something out of Summer Bay. For many this is true, and it can be for you if you spend a couple of weeks beach hopping along the coastal line. Each state in Australia will claim they have the most pristine beaches, and the truth? They are all unique and perfect in their own way. Perth (Western Australia) is quite renowned for their beaches, and Melbourne and Sydney have beaches that are built into the city hotspots (Bondi and St Kilda).

Landmarks

It wouldn’t be a true Down Under experience without a visit to those quintessential Aussies landmarks. If you think they are too touristy for you, remember that they are famous for a reason, and quite breathtaking when you are standing in front of them. To name just a few, the obvious callouts have to be:

Adelaide: Adelaide Central Market, Glenelg and Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Sydney: Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach

Melbourne: Queen Victoria Markets, the Laneways, Federation Square and the MCG

Brisbane: South Bank and  GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art)

National and animal parks

The wildlife and natural beauty of Australia makes up the full picture of Down Under. Whether you live in Australia or not, chances are you have not visited and seen all the famous Aussie animals. We’re not just talking about koalas and kangaroos either. There is also Quokkas (Western Australia) and Tasmanian Devils (Tasmania) to be seen. If an active holiday sounds right up your alley, you’ll find a stunning collection of National Parks like Kakadu, Uluru and Litchfield (Northern Territory).

There is so much to be discovered in the Great Southern Land, and can be accessed and enjoyed all year around. Adelaide is a great destination to kick off your adventures, before setting off to see it all.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Looking for a Condo in Thailand? Go to Hua Hin

Thailand is known for lovely beaches and amazing food. You can find everything amazing in Thailand in in one spot: Hua Hin.

If you’re looking for a place to get away in Thailand, look no more. Hua Hin will leave you stunned with its beautiful blue water and delectable food. It’s no wonder people want to purchase property here, and the beach house you’ve always dreamed of could finally be yours in this paradise town.

Why Hua Hin?

Hua Hin attracts tourists but also folks who want to settle down. It’s a nice place for family life, having a second home, or retirement.

Hua Hin offers condominiums with modern amenities for many budgets. Whether it’s a family getaway or a friend escape, it’s one of the most striking places on the planet to purchase property. You won’t be able to resist the magnificent sunrise and sunsets. They’ll simply take your breath away.

There’s really nowhere else like this for the affordability. You’ll have to rent a condo here and experience it yourself to agree.

Where is Hua Hin?

Hua Hin is just about two hours away from Bangkok, and its known for its calm atmosphere away from the city hustle. Because of its mostly quiet reputation, families and expats head there for weekend getaways. Many end up living there because of its proximity to both Bangkok and the amazing blue beach waters.

In this town, you’ll get the full “Thai” experience, meaning the beaches, hospitality, food and fun. Because many of the locals are Thai, you’ll be immersed in the culture, language, and lifestyle.

What Are Some of the Modern Amenities in Hua Hin?  

Depending on the condo you choose, some of the modern amenities are:

  • WiFi
  • Beach-front balconies
  • Air conditioning
  • Parking
  • Pool
  • Modern kitchen
  • Fully furnished

You can rent condos for a certain amount of time in Hua Hin, or purchase property. Either way, you’ll find something for every budget in this city.

Things to Do in Hua Hin

People in Hua Hin often enjoy:

  • Visiting the Tamarind Market
  • Going to the beach
  • Kite surfing
  • Golfing
  • Visiting various nearby monasteries
  • Dining at various (amazing) restaurants
  • Visiting museums

If this is your first time in Thailand, know that the locals are nice to foreigners and although they keep to themselves, they’re happy to help you settle and find things to do.

What Is the Weather Like in Hua Hin?

The weather is a bit drier than in other parts of Thailand. This is great especially during the monsoon season, as the season tends to bring rain and humidity all around. Because of this drier climate, tourists and locals can enjoy the outdoors more. Less humidity and precipitation equal more outdoor activities.

What Nationalities are Represented in Hua Hin?

In Hua Hin, you’ll find people from North America, Europe, and Australia among other nationalities. Because the Thai Baht is less expensive than the exchange of the coin from the places above, people from around the world have chosen Thailand as their home away from home.

Why Do Expats Purchase Property in Hua Hin?

Precisely because of all the reasons mentioned above. The story goes something like this:

  1. They visited for a couple of days, or maybe they were here for work and wanted to stay longer.
  2. Then they tasted the food, which they couldn’t get enough of.
  3. At the same time, they realized their dollar went way farther in Hua Hin than at home.
  4. All while appreciating the locals, who are kind and helpful.
  5. All leading to their decision to buy property and live here.

The combination of these factors continues to make Hua Hin an ideal destination for expats looking for a little bit of heaven on Earth.

See Hua Hin For Yourself

So, go ahead. Give yourself a gift. Thailand is amazing and inexpensive. Rent a condo in and experience the thriving mix of local hospitality and tourism.

Just be aware: You may want to stay there for longer than you planned. It’s that good.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Top 7 Cities In Mexico For Families On Vacation To Visit

Mexico as a country features some of the world’s premier vacation destinations. The first thing that comes to mind might be Cancun and spring breakers or a honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas. Yet many of Mexico’s cities are also great for family vacations. When you are planning to travel abroad to Mexico, consider these top 7 cities to visit with your family.

Cancun

Cancun isn’t just for spring breakers. In fact, you don’t even have to plan your trip over spring break. While there, you can swim with the whale sharks, visit an underwater museum, snorkel a shipwreck site and coral reef and much more. The top-ranked place of interest in Cancun is Parroquia de Cristo Resucitado. This church is great to visit on vacation to enjoy a service with your family.

Tres Rios Ecopark, Playa Delfines and Zcacel Beach are the next three places of interest that are on many people’s vacation itineraries. What would you and your family be looking to do in Cancun? The Mayan Museum of Cancun would be an interesting place to explore. You can find The Mayan Museum on Quintana Roo Boulevard, and you get to take a nature walk among the ruins. Now that’s a museum experience, wouldn’t you say?

Cabo San Lucas

Just like Cancun isn’t just for spring breakers, Cabo San Lucas isn’t just for honeymooners. It can also make for a nice family vacation destination. The #1 thing to do in Cabo San Lucas is to enjoy what’s known as Lands End or el Arco de Cabo San Lucas. There is a landmark rock formation to mark the spot, and it’s said to be a very popular place for both snorkeling and whale watching. The scene there at Lands End in general is said to be quite breathtaking, too.

As for beaches in Cabo San Lucas, one of the best to visit is Chileno Beach. It’s also a great place to go snorkeling, and people enjoy swimming there as well. There is no shortage of beaches and natural attractions to visit in Cabo San Lucas. Another popular destination is a natural landmark formation known as Pelican Rock. This is another are like Lands End that is known for being great for both snorkeling and whale watching. Socorro Island and Puerto Paraiso Mall are two other places of interest.

Mexico City

What would a list of cities in Mexico for families to visit be without Mexico City? Mexico City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, and it is of course the capital city. The top attraction to consider visiting there is the National Museum of Anthropology. The museum is enormous and features quite the comprehensive collection. Are museums your cup of tea? Let’s look at what else you can do in Mexico City.

You can visit Chapultepec Castle, go shopping at Coyoacan, check out the National Palace and more. Mexico City has a rich history, so you’re going to find many landmark sites there, too. These historical places of interest would be great to visit to get to know more about the city’s culture. Some of them you want might to visit include Palacio Postal, Cineteca Nacional and the Paseo de la Reforma.

Cozumel

The next popular family vacation destination in Mexico to explore is Cozumel. The #1 attraction in Cozumel is the Pearl Farm. The Cozumel Pearl Farm is in a protected area, and you access this attraction by boat. A visit there is said to be unique, educational and relaxing. Snorkeling is one of the popular activities to enjoy in Cozumel in general, and some other places you might want to check out include Santa Rosa Wall, Palancar Reef and Columbia Reef.

That’s not all either, so if you have even more time, check out San Francisco reef, El Paso del Cedral Reef and Playa El Cielo. Now this next place of interest is really going to be the icing on the cake. How does a visit to The Mayan Cacao Company sound? This interactive experience is educational, fun and of course going to result in getting to eat some delicious chocolates. In fact, the place has 13 chocolate flavors and features other cacao products for sale, too.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is the next top family vacation destination to discuss. Its #1 ranked attraction is the El Malecon Boardwalk. You will find places to shop and great restaurants there, as well as entertainment. El Malecon Boardwalk is also said to be a great place to simply enjoy taking a walk and looking out at the ocean.

Galleria Dante is a great art gallery to check out. You have the opportunity to purchase art there as well, so it’s not just an art museum type of gallery to browse. While in Puerto Vallarta, you might also want to check out Old Vallarts, Caballito, Act II Entertainment Stages and more.

Acapulco

Acapulco Mexico is up next, and just like Cancun, the city’s top-ranked place of interest is a church. Capilla de la Paz, which translates to Chapel of Peace is on a seaside cliff. There is also a 130 foot cross in front of the chapel, which is a sight to see for sure. People don’t talk about enjoying services there, so it’s about the tour and the views. Other great places of interest in Acapulco include El Fuerte de San Diego, Punta Diamente, Barra Vieja Beach and Costera.

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres is known for its beautiful Playa Norte, and there is a sea turtle sanctuary there, too. Check out Punta Sur, Captain Dulche’s Museum, take a dolphin discovery tour, stop by El Farito and more. Isla Mujeres would make for a nice relaxing family vacation that is a little different from some of the other places mentioned.

Where are you and your family going to be headed? There are quite a few more top family vacation destinations in Mexico that you might want to consider. These are some of the more popular cities, however, and they would certainly make for some great adventures.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Seaworld Orlando’s 2018 Halloween Spooktacular is Happening Now!

SEAWORLD ORLANDO’S 2018 HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR RETURNS

Popular Daytime Halloween Celebration Returns Weekends September 22 – October 28

 Halloween Spooktacular returns to SeaWorld Orlando this fall on September 22. Guests of all ages can join everyone’s favorite furry friends from Sesame Street as The Count, Elmo, Abby and others take the stage in “Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween.” Families will also enjoy a Halloween Dance Party and meet whimsical characters inspired by the sea. For this special event, children can dress in their Halloween costumes and take part in fun-filled trick-or-treating in the park.

The daytime Halloween fun takes place every Saturday and Sunday starting September 22 through October 28, 2018 and is included with park admission. Event hours are 11 a.m. to park close.

Halloween Spooktacular Highlights Include:

·        Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween

Celebrate a Spooktacular Halloween at SeaWorld with The Count, Elmo, Abby, and the rest of your Sesame Street friends!  The Count is feeling lonely this Halloween, and it’s up to you and the loveable monsters from Sesame Street to get him into the Halloween spirit.  Batty bats and spooky skeletons join the fun in a song-filled stage show that invites you and your family to dance, play and sing along.

·        Trick-or-Treating

Costumed youngsters can trick-or-treat for ghoulish goodies. Each sea-themed, trick-or-treat station features an assortment of candy favorites. Please join us in our efforts to protect our seas by bringing a reusable bag or Halloween bucket from home for treats. We will have an assortment of reusable bags, for $0.99 and up, at select locations.

·        Pets Ahoy Halloween

Guests can enjoy a special Halloween version of this side-splitting show with surprise twists, and a cast of unlikely characters that will have the whole family laughing from beginning to end.

 

·       Halloween Dance Party

Children join under-the-sea friends for a Halloween Dance Party where they can participate in line-dancing favorites as clouds of bubbles fill the evening air.

·        Mermaid Grotto

Meet a mystical mermaid from an underwater world of fantasy. Capture the amazing moment with a Mermaid Photo Package, available for purchase at the park.

Upgrades to Your Spooktacular Day at Seaworld

 

·        Count von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast

Count von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast features a delicious buffet enjoyed with the furriest characters in town. This breakfast is a fun-filled experience sure to delight kids and parents alike. Starting at $14.99 for kids and $29.99 for adults, reservations can be made online, at the Information Counter or by calling (407) 545-5550.

·        Reserved Show Seating: Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween

Enjoy a reserved seat at a showtime of your choice for Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween show at SeaWorld Orlando. Priced at $10 per person, guarantee a seat for a showtime of your choice.

Best Way to Play:

 

For Spooktacular event days on Saturdays and Sundays through October 28, children between the ages of 3 and 9 will receive a free ticket when a full-paid adult single-day ticket is purchased.

Just Around the Corner:

 

·        SeaWorld Orlando’s Praise Wave

Praise Wave, the popular Christian music event, returns for a second time in 2018 offering guests a day of fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. The live concert events will take place on Saturday, September 15 featuring Michael W. Smith and Saturday, September 22 featuring Newsboys.

·        SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is where holiday traditions are made, with delicious food, stunning live shows, delightful holiday shopping and joyous entertainment. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration brings together family fun and holiday traditions on select nights, November 17 – December 31, 2018 and is included with park admission.

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets and passes, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. Events and times are subject to change. Follow SeaWorld Orlando on Facebook,Instagram and the SeaWorld Orlando Blog for the latest park updates and information.

Marijean

My name is MJ. I have two wonderful children and work part time as well as volunteer at my children's school.

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