EPIC News: Krispy Kreme Honors GKTW

In superhero fashion, Krispy Kreme will honor Give Kids the World families and the volunteers and supporters who serve them on Tuesday, April 22 with fun of EPIC proportions.

National Superhero Day is the following week, but Krispy Kreme is getting the jump on the celebration (able to leap tall buildings, you know!) by visiting the Give Kids The World. Superheroes and trusty sidekicks will be on hand to share sweet treats and the joy that is Krispy Kreme with the families.Krispy Kreme #HeroAppreciationDay.

You can honor the unheralded heroes in your community (police officers, fire fighters, military, teachers, doctors, volunteers, and more) by sharing a dozen with them!

Krispy Kreme #HeroAppreciationDayTo participate:

On April 28, National Superhero Day, visit any of Krispy Kreme in Central Florida including Kissimmee, Millenia, and Winter Park to buy a dozen doughnuts and get a FREE dozen Original Glazed® doughnuts to share with the unsung heroes in your life. No coupon necessary. (Offer not valid at grocery or convenience stores.)

 Join in the conversation with @KrispyKreme on Twitter #HeroAppreciationDay.

Mayor Clayton is a superhero in my book!

Mayor Clayton is a superhero in my book!


Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen… Not Just Coffee, But Dining

latte art BarniesWhen I first heard “Coffee Kitchen,” my first thought was “oh, my mom would like this.” She and my step-dad are coffee NUTS. They must drink a pot a day. I, on the other hand, like coffee as a special occasion (or black and mixed with local honey for a cough, but that’s another topic). I wasn’t sure what would be “on tap” at the Eat, Meet, and Tweet-up, but as a food lover and “adventure eater” I looked forward to sampling all they had in store and expected mainly… coffee. Boy were my expectations limited!

Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen is a new concept. It’s not “just” a coffee shop, nor is it like most restaurants. The Winter Park location has alley-way seating (perfect for Florida’s lovely summer evenings) and is a great place to unwind while enjoying Farm-to-Table creations. Don’t expect coffee and a pastry or ready-made sandwich, either. Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen is a place to leisurely dine. Breakfast and Sunday brunch offerings include quiche that’s been described as “best ever” by a loyal customer, and specialty organic egg dishes like the Israeli Shakshuka, featuring one of my favorites: feta cheese.BarneysCoffeeKitchencollage

For lunch, enjoy one of their “shared plates.” I’m partial to the Avocado Mash (because, let’s be honest, avocados are just plain awesome). The Caprese Tartine is has wonderful heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella with a balsamic glaze. Also quite lovely is the Fig & Brie Tartine with Duck Prosciutto.

For dinner, served Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Barnie’s offers mouthwatering seasonal choices like Scallops with Spring Alliums paired with perfect wine selections (in this case, Au Bon Climat – Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc).

I’m a soup person, so it’s no surprise that the Carrot Soup with Ginger and Coriander is a stand-out in my book. Chef Camilo Velasco generously shared his recipe which is perfect for Spring! (Easter dinner, anyone?)

Carrot Soup with Ginger and Coriander
2 1/2 lbs of carrots, sliced
1/4 oz ginger
1 small onion, diced
1 QT vegetable broth
4 oz butter
Heavy cream
Sauté the carrots and onions in butter until onions are translucent. Add the vegetable stock. Incorporate ginger to taste and simmer until the carrots are tender. Blend in a blender and then strain. Add additional seasoning to taste.

To finish: add heavy cream while hot until desired consistency is reached.

Florida’s “original coffee company” offers over 40 hand-selected coffees, many of which are single origin, Fair Trade, Organic or Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Check out their two Florida locations:

Park Avenue – Winter Park
118 South Park Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789
Tel: (407) 629-0042

City Arts Factory
29 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

Tel: (407) 722-8363

Breakaway Falls is Coming Soon to Aquatica Orlando

The Final Slide Section is Installed at Ihu’s Breakaway Falls at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark™

The Final Slide Section is Installed at Ihu’s Breakaway Falls at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark™

Most summers (and, well, it’s Florida… so most DAYS, LOL) you can find us at Aquatica, Orlando. I’m normally a Roa’s Rapids kind of girl, but I’ve gotta admit the Ihu’s Breakaway Falls sounds pretty amazing!

Riders will step into clear “breakaway boxes” to watch each other… drop first, drop second?! You don’t know! There are four 360-degree spirals on the way down from the tallest ride around (80 feet!).

I need to find out the height requirement on this (I have a feeling my son is too small), but I’m pretty sure I’d make the cut. (OK, I’d be allowed. That’s a totally different thing from whether or not I’ll really DO it.) Who’s got odds on my taking the plunge?!

Ice Cream For Breakfast Contest #icecreamwakeup

06-26-12-icfb-global-contestWhat could be more fun than having ice cream for breakfast? I’m not sure there ARE more fun things than that, but I know waking up your kid(s) or loved one WITH ice cream would be tons of fun… for all involved.

Give Kids the World Village is hosting a contest for an Ice Cream Wakeup (hashtag #icecreamwakeup). To participate, get out your camera or phone and film someone waking up with ice cream… in bed, at the breakfast table, wherever! Keep your videos to about 30 seconds. Post your video on YouTube (or mail in CD*) and share it on social media to be entered for the random drawing April 18, 2014. Enter the link to your video(s) here. Emily Ellyn Ice Cream For Breakfast

Celebrity chef and Retro Rad Food Network Star Finalist, Emily Ellyn is the Official Spokesperson for Ice Cream For Breakfast 2014 and she’s giving out some great prizes, in addition to infusing her special brand of fun into the mix. Wouldn’t you enjoy winning a party-starter-pack featuring Emily Ellyn’s Signature Pink Zebra Safari aprorad prizesn from her apron line?! (I knew you would!)

Says Emily Ellyn, “I’ll be sharing the scoop with moms everywhere on how to bring neighborhoods, communities and families together over summer break. We’ll top it off with a sense of Retro Rad nostalgia and a touch of that Leave It To Beaver feel. And of course, the support of the Give Kids The World Mission will be the cherry on top!”

Have fun with the #icecreamwakeup and spread the word about Give Kids the World Village. Your support makes it possible to host children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacation. With the help of many generous individuals, corporations and partnering wish-granting organizations, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 127,000 families from all 50 states and 75 countries.

*Participants may also mail in a 3×5 card with name, email address, zip code and a CD of videos (up to three video submission per CD) to: Give Kids The World, 210 SouthBass Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746 ATTN: Ice Cream Wake Up Contest.
Full contest rules can be found here.

Wine, Women and Shoes at SeaWorld Ports of Call

WWSCollage01SeaWorld Ports of Call is the place to be Sole (Soul!) Sisters for Wine, Women and Shoes Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 2–6 p.m. WFTV’s Jorge Estevez will emcee the event for the second year in a row.

More than 350 local women will be treated to heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine tastings (of course!) and shopping from national and local boutiques (shoes, purses, make-up, and more) with 20 percent of those sales going to Second Harvest. Guests will also enjoy a live and silent auction (I want the chocolate shoe!) plus a fashion show featuring designer Diana Simaan.

WWSCollage2Wine Women & Shoes is the only event of its kind where 100 percent of the ticket proceeds go toward fighting hunger in Central Florida. All said, the event will raise over $85,000 to Feed Hope Now! For every $1.00 donated, Second Harvest can provide $9.00 in food value to those in need.

SeaWorld Orlando is once again donating the Ports of Call special events venue, in addition to providing Chef Hector Colon’s food creations*. Also provided are live and silent auction items**, parking, and special guest appearances by Animal Ambassadors and their feathered and furry friends.

To purchase your ticket (general admission is $75), Call (407) 514-1017 or email Jennifer Landress, jlandress@feedhopenow.org.

See you there!

Special thanks to the Wineries involved and all the amazing sponsors:

  • Justin
  • Landmark
  • Sequin
  • Handcraft
  • One Hope
  • New Age
  • Cannonball
  • Raymond
  • JCB

*What’s on the menu?

  • A variety of flat breads and pita breads with assorted hummus and Tabouli Salad
  • Imported and domestic cheese and fruit display with
    an assortment of gourmet crackers
  • Cinnamon Sweet Potato Puffs
  • Macaroni and Cheese Bar with an assortment of toppings, including: Broccoli, Roasted Red Peppers, Crispy Pancetta and Truffle Oil
  • Smoked Tenderloin Sliders with Caramelized Sweet Onions, Red Wine Reduction and a Horseradish Mayonnaise
  • Dessert Assortment of mini pastries and fruit tarts

**What is SeaWorld putting up for auction?

For the Live Auction: SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove V-VIP package for six!
For the Silent Auction: 4 SeaWorld and Aquatica combination tickets with a gift basket, 2 Discovery Cove Dolphin Swims with VIP basket, Sharks Underwater Grill gift cards for 4, Marine Mammal Keeper Experience for 2



Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores Giveaway

LBFO logoIf you know me at all, you know I’m not much of a shopper. I’m a HUNTer. I know I want a flowered dress, capped sleeves, size (none-ya), below-the-knee, on sale…. OH, and it has to be purchased at a store that’s easy to get in and out of. (I know. I’m picky.)

Good for me the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores mall is having their 17th Annual Spring Festival on Saturday, April 12th where I can park easily, get in and out easily, and hunt for that perfect Easter dress (or shoes, and…).

Give Kids the World Village Ms. Merry and Mayor ClaytonI’m especially excited that two of my favorite bunnies in the whole world, Mayor Clayton and Ms. Merry from Give Kids the World Village (GKTW) will be visiting at the Festival and superheroes from Heroes Alliance. The center is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win more than $6,000 in prizes including attraction tickets, hotels stays, store gifts and gift cards. One hundred percent of raffle ticket sales benefit Give Kids the World. (Thank you LBVFS!)

We’re huge GKTW supporters (you can read about one of our adventures here).

In addition, there will be a farmers market, crafts, face painting, balloon sculpting, games and an awesome sidewalk sale.

The Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores mall boasts 50 outlet shops including:

  • the area’s only Old Navy outlet store
  • U.S. Polo Assn.
  • Lindt Chocolate,
  • Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh
  • Tommy Hilfiger Stores
  • G by GUESS
  • Justice
  • Carter’s
  • Crocs
  • Calvin Klein
  • Levi’s®
  • Aeropostale
  • Converse
  • Famous Footwear Outlet
  • Fossil
  • Gap
  • Izod
  • Rack Room ShoesLoft Outlet image
  • and many more including one of my favorites:
    The Ann Taylor Loft store.


If you would like a chance to win a $50 gift certificate toshop at the LBVFS mall, click on the Rafflecopter image at left.Rafflecopter logo link

Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Many stores offer additional savings from 20-40% off to “Friends & Family.”  Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook and Twitter, as well as visiting www.lbvfs.com. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S. Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535), Orlando, FL 32821-6316, and two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Stores are open Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday. 

4/8/2014 update: Contest has ended. Congratulations to Mary Edwards, winner of the $50 gift card.

Just for Kids Saturdays at SeaWorld

Jellyfish welcome visitors to SeaWorld Orlando's Just for Kids FestivalThis year SeaWorld’s Just for Kids Festival will be held Saturdays through April 12, 2014. Kids will enjoy up-close animal interactions, dance parties, interactive experiences and more. New this year is the Rockin’ Rockhopper Party in Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin where kids can groove with a DJ and meet SeaWorld’s coolest star: Puck!

D with puck no csxWe always enjoy the Ocean Adventures educational treasure hunt! Sea Star icons can be found throughout the park to mark activity locations. Once completed, kids collect a stamp and a limited edition Explorer’s card. After stopping by all four, they receive a coupon to redeem for a special SeaWorld prize at select gift shops.

We’re also enjoying getting up closeER than usual to animal friends at SEA Garden including an opossum, and an Olive Crested Cara Cara.

JFK gamesOur personal favorite part of Just for Kids is the roll out of The Hydro-Jet X-Stream 3000! The Longshoremen Comedy Troupe (found most days “Along the Shore”) have a little something bubbly for the kids (and I don’t mean champagne!). Find them Saturdays by the boat at 2:10 and 4:05. They also can be seen on Just for Kids nights at the Village Square “Shamu Dance Party” (by the front gate). You’ll know them by their bright yellow pants and goofy smiles! (Boss sometimes has a scowl, but it’s just because Chester and Lester occasionally get things a bit… convoluted!)


At the party, which begins one hour prior to park closing and ends a half hour after park closing, features a stilt walker emcee, line dancing and party faves.

Throughout Just for Kids, and during the entire 18-month-long 50th Anniversary Celebration, keep an eye out for the SeaWorld “Surprise Squad.” You could win hats, shirts, and some special BIG prizes, too!

See you there! (We big kids have just as much fun as the littles.)

Nuclear Cowboyz — Freestyle Motocross Show Heads for Amway

Nuclear Cowboyz LogoThe Nuclear Cowboyz freestyle motocross show will hit the Amway Center for the first time ever March 8-9, 2014.

My first introduction to the show was at the Monster Jams show last month. I spent most of the brief preview covering my eyes, wondering if their moms knew how dangerous the tricks are that their sons are performing! Little did I know that it was going to be more than exhibition jumping… WAY more. (Thanks Feld Entertainment, by the way, for inviting us to attend so we could review this explosive event!)

Shaolin WarriorsNuclear Cowboyz is a motocross stunt show infused with pyrotechnics, heart-pounding music, laser lights and more. There are martial artists, dancers, heart-pounding music and a good-v-evil plot-line woven to create a motocross Production featuring the Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors. In its 5th year, is like no other freestyle motocross event you’ve ever seen. Instead of being a “Circus of the Sun,” Nuclear Cowboyz is what I’d like to call a Cirque du Nuit Moto  (Circus of the Night Motorcycle). If you’re expecting to watch “just” a parade of Superman seat grabs and whips (although those are exciting, too!), you’ll have expectations that are way off!

2014-02-23 14.14.27This arena-based show features the world’s top freestyle motocross performers, including multi-time X Games medalists Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, Taka Higashino, Mike Mason, Matt Buyten, Ronnie Faisst and Colten Moore as well as world-class freestylers such as Derek Garland, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Nick Dunne, Brody Wilson, Marco Picado and more. Stenberg says he is “amped to throw down [his] trick arsenal…”.

Check out Mike Mason’s “No Handed Back Flip,” one of the 1,000 tricks you’ll see at the show:

Showtimes are Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 p.m.
Doors Open Saturday 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices
VIP Fallout Zone + Meet & Greet  - $100 All Seats
VIP  Lower Sides – $75 All Seats
Gold Lower, Lodge, Club – $50 All Seats
Lower Ends- $40 Adults / $20 Teens (ages 2 – 15)
200 Level Center- $30 Adults / $15 Teens (ages 2 – 15)
Super Value – $20 Adults / $10 Teens (ages 2 – 15)

All tickets $5 more day of show. A Facility Fee from $0.50 – $2 will be applied to the price of each ticket. Additional fees may apply.

Ticket Information
Tickets are available at the Amway Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000. Use offer code Backflip online at Ticketmaster.com to SAVE up to $10 on Nuclear Cowboyz tickets*!*Fallout Zone Tickets are very limited.*Valid on advance purchases and while supplies last.  Not valid on $100 Fallout Zone VIP Meet & Greet tickets, and not valid on Teen priced tickets.
I think my oldest “kid” (husband!) had the most fun at this event, thanks to beautiful dancers and heavy metal music in addition to skilled martial artists and world-class X Games and Moto X athletes. My little guy was a bit overwhelmed (especially by the pyrotechnics), but every other kid in the place seemed to be having a blast from beginning to end. I would have turned down the soundtrack more so the announcer could be understood clearly, but all-in-all it was an exciting production. I’ve never seen anything like it—can you imagine an ATV doing flips while the driver is on fire?! (And yes, I did uncover my eyes for MOST of the show when I wasn’t imagining my kid up there defying gravity!)Disclosure: Our family received tickets to the event in exchange for this honest review.

Dolphin Born at Discovery Cove

Congratulations to Rose, the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin who lives at Discovery Cove, SeaWorld’s all-inclusive day resort. Her female calf was welcomed into the world Wednesday, February 12, at 5:35 a.m.

Congratulations Rose! Your calf is beautiful.

Congratulations Rose! Your calf is beautiful.

The yet-to-be-named little girl is nursing and bonding with her mother, which is a good indicator that she’s doing well. This is Rose’s second birth, and the 27th dolphin born at Discovery Cove since the park opened in 2000.

Monster Jam Coming to Orlando Next!

This past weekend our family on an exciting adventure: Our first Monster Jam® event. We received complimentary tickets courtesy of Feld Motor Sports in exchange for an honest review.  It was my husband’s birthday, and both he and my son were “beyond” thrilled that THIS would be how we’d celebrate. Having never even seen even a Monster Jam video prior, I was a little less excited. I should have been!


On left: Two Grave Digger trucks wowed the crowd with a little off-book freestyle-a-deux; In center: Iron Man flies through the air; Iron Man driver Dustin Brown; Captain America mid flip; Far right: Marc McDonald and El Toro Loco doing a “head” stand.

Hooked driver signs shirt at Monster Jam event

Hooked driver Bryan Wright signs his autograph on my kiddo’s shirt.

Before the main event, we got to meet and greet lots of drivers and see the trucks up close at the “Party in the Pits” (a separate event with tickets distributed at area sponsors or on race day, if available, for a fee).

I knew the trucks would be huge, but seeing my child (who’s tall for his age) come up “short” next to just the tires was quite amazing. The festival-like atmosphere was great fun and tons of families waited in lines to either get autographs, experience truck rides or bounce in a bounce house (the kids, not the grownups!).

parade of monster trucksWe caught the parade of trucks as they rumbled past us into the stadium. My son grinned from ear to ear as he reported how his chest “felt” them go by.

After the Monster Jam Party in the Pits we went into the stadium. The excitement was palpable, and fans eagerly awaited the racing and freestyle.

The 16 Monster Truck racers paired off two at a time, with the winner going to the next round. Newby here did not quite follow who was doing what, but it was fun to watch and in the end Dennis Anderson drove Grave Digger to win his third straight racing championship on the Road to Monster Jam World Finals XV in Las Vegas, March 20-22, 2014. (Now THAT’s a competition I’d love to see!)

The BEST part was the freestyle. I kid you not, I was holding my hand over my mouth at half the stunts, a worried look in my eyes. (Hey, I put the “mommy” in SeaWorld Mommy and I thought for sure someone was going to get hurt!) Amazingly, though, all drivers triumphantly exited their bashed in, banged up, and crushed down trucks. Can you believe THIS guy driving the Phantom truck remained unscathed.


The Phantom FLIPS at Monster Jam! Photos courtesy SeaWorld Daddy!

This Saturday, January 25, MONSTER JAM® will be in Orlando at the  Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Advance purchase SuperValue Tickets are $15. $35 VIP / $25 Sideline. Tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Amway Center Box Office, or charge by phone
at 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available day of show at the Citrus Bowl. All seats reserved. Subject to facility fee, plus convenience and handling charges. Don’t wait – buy tickets in advance as prices go up $5 more the week of show. Get more show information at http://www.MonsterJam.com (click on “Tickets” and search for Orlando January 25th).

Special Free Events:

Many of the trucks appearing in Monster Jam will be on display around Central Florida on Friday, January 24th, free and open to the public.

Mohawk Warrior will be on display from 10 am to 2 pm at  Universal Technical Institute, 2202 West Taft-Vineland Road, Orlando, 32837.

See War Wizard from 3 pm to 7 pm at Kangaroo Express, 17503 W State Road 50, Oakland, 34787.

Monster Mutt Rottweiler will visit Metro PCS, 1453 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 32809 from 3 pm to 7 pm.

And Stone Crusher will be at Tropical Ford, 9900 South Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, 32837 from 3 pm -7 pm.

My boys are already talking about making Monster Jam a yearly pilgrimage. Although usually a “girly girl,” I, too, have caught the monster truck bug and can’t wait to see another show. From the Party in the Pits fun and all through to the last crushed vehicle, we had a roaring good time!