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Motherhood Reviews/Recaps

All You Can Play at Chuck E. Cheese This Summer

all you can play chuck e. cheese

Summertime means a few different things for parents.

It means trips out of the state to visit family, it means family vacations, it means relaxation from the day-to-day routine, but most of all it means fun. A lot of fun.

As a mom of three, I need my fun to be BIG but as inexpensive as possible. This August will be two years since we’ve moved to Florida and it’s been great exploring our new city. We’re experiencing places and things we’ve never done before. 

This summer my children didn’t go to a summer camp that lasted all summer. Instead, we signed them up for different weekly camps which means, when they aren’t in a hula hoop, computer camp or soccer camp – they are at Camp Knighten (our home).

I am in charge of the fun experience, and believe me they are asking me every day, “What are we doing today?”

all you can play chuck e. cheese 4Recently, I learned Chuck E. Cheese introduced All You Can Play and this was quickly added to our calendar under Summer Fun that Won’t Break the Bank.

What is All You Can Play?

Normally, when you visit Chuck E. Cheese you purchase a Play Pass with a certain amount of money on the card. Each game you play ranges in cost which gives you a certain amount of games. Your child has to pick and choose which games they want to play based on how much they have left on their card. If you run out of money before the fun ends, you can either purchase more on your card or risk real tears from your child.

all you can play chuck e. cheese 5With all you can play, you pay one price for a certain time frame and you can play every single game. It’s unlimited gameplay that starts at $9 for 30 minutes! Now, the only thing you have to worry about is which game you’re going to enjoy next.

all you can play chuck e. cheese 1

My children were able to play their favorite games as many times as they wanted. The All You Can Play pass allowed them the chance to play new games without worrying about running out of tokens.

A cool benefit is that if you want to take a break to eat, you can pause your time up to two times. all you can play chuck e. cheese 6Since it looks like we will be here quite a few times this summer, I believe it’s a good idea for me to join the Chuck E. Cheese loyalty program, More Cheese Rewards. The more we visit, the more rewards we can earn to use on food, drinks, games, and prizes.

Here are 3 Quick Reasons I Enjoyed All You Can Play

  • Fewer fights – My kids weren’t fighting over tokens anymore.
  • Less Bargaining – My children were no longer making game deals. Now they all can do what they want.
  • More smiles – My kids smiled like they won the Chuck E. Cheese lottery. All I saw were smiles and laughs as they ran into the play area.

If you’re looking for some summer fun that won’t break the bank, visit Chuck E. Cheese. It was inexpensive big fun for my 5 and 10-year-old. They’re already asking to go back.

Follow Chuck E. Cheese on their social channels to stay up to date on what’s new! 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chuck E. Cheese’s. The opinions and text are all mine.


Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

Motherhood

6 Things My Husband Taught Me About Fatherhood

Fathers Day foot golf disney

I’ve always known who my dad was, but I didn’t always have a relationship with him. However, my mom and dad were together until I was 5 years old when he physically hurt her almost beyond recognition.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see my dad for 10 years after that. 

At the age of 15, he came back into my life and started spending time with me. Furthermore, when I left for college at 17 that further complicated our relationship. After I received my degree, I moved to Atlanta and never moved back home to Chicago. As a result, my father-daughter relationship developed over the phone, with the occasional visit, for a couple of hours when I went back home.

My Husband

Outside from what I saw on television when I got married, I had no real outline of how a marriage was supposed to work. My mother did eventually get married to my brother’s father, but that wasn’t a relationship I wanted to emulate either. 

My husband came from a two parent home and they have been married for over 44 years. Once I got to know his parents and their family dynamic, I can see how having them as an example shaped who my husband is today.

fatherhoodWe have three children and watching my husband be a father not only makes me excited for my children but gives me a tinge of the unease of what I missed out on.

It’s crazy that I’m excited about something that they are supposed to have. 

6 Lessons my Husband Taught me about Fatherhood

  • Quality Time. He loves spending time with his children. Whether it’s watching a family movie in our bed, or going to pick strawberries. He loves having his children around him. 
  • Genuine Attention. Children can tell when you’re not really listening. It’s so important to my husband that he gives his undivided attention to each of our children. Sometimes its hard when 3 kids are trying to talk over each other, but he makes it work. 
  • Teaching & Nurturing. Not only does he lead by example, he takes the time to make sure they are learning the lesson. If one of our children makes a mistake at school or on their sports team, he’s ready to share what will work better next time. He knows when they need hugs or tough love.
  • Hands-on Raising. Many times, fathers are just looked at as being the provider. However, my husband equally raises these children with me. We make decisions and bring down the hammer together! 
  • Prayer & Worship. Having a relationship with God is very important to my husband and he wants the same for his children. He prays with and teaches them how to pray. He has full-blown discussions about the lessons they learn at church. Making sure God is a major part of their lives is a top priority.
  • Someone to Look Up to. Children have all types of role models, however, their first hero should be their parents. Not because you make or tell them, but because of your actions. Last week I asked them why do they love their dad, the list was endless. 

Another Great Father, Marlon

My husband and I love a good laugh and have made time to cuddle up and watch good TV. Last season, after we watched the first episode of Marlon, it became our summer show. Marlon premieres Thursday, June 14th at 9 pm on NBC.

Marlon on NBCMarlon Wayans created Marlon, a hilarious show on NBC about a social media sensation and divorced father of two who actively co-parents with his ex-wife, Ashley (Essence Atkins).

Although they are divorced, he’s a great father and shows all of the characteristics that my husband exhibits but with a ton more humor! 

I love that Marlon, as a dad himself said the show is “eighty-seven percent” based on his actual life. He was quoted saying, “I always wanted to be on a show where I could be me,” he said. “I think it’s a different kind of TV dad, and it’s a different kind of TV family and [the character] has kind of a different approach to things. ”

Marlon’s character is hilariously present for everything his children need and makes it his priority to teach them life lessons.

Season 2 of Marlon is back on NBC, June 14th at 9:00 pm. If you want to catch up, season 1 will debut on Netflix on June 14th as well. You can always watch clips now on NBC.com

Check out the preview for the upcoming season below:

Fatherhood

Watching my kids with their dad makes me wonder how my life would have been different if I had an active father in my life. 

I believe I would be a different person. I’m not saying that I’m not a good person now. My mother and grandmother did the best they could do, but children need their fathers for many reasons. Mothers and Fathers have a purpose and bring different benefits to the table.

father daughterWhen I see my own daughter wrapped in her daddy’s arms, I get a front row seat to what I missed growing up.

Whether you’re married or co-parenting like Marlon, fatherhood is a priority.

What has your husband taught you about fatherhood? Are you a Marlon fan? Will you be watching this summer? 

I’m excited to be partnered up with some great ladies who are sharing their perspective on fatherhood as well. 

Brandi | How you can identify a good dad (her journey from single parenting to marriage)
LaShawnDifferences in parenting styles between her and her husband
AmiryahHow they parent differently, and that’s OK
Michelle | Knowing your communication styles as co-parents and in blended families

Marlon premieres Thursday, June 14th at 9 pm on NBC.

Check out Marlon on all of his social media channels:
Facebook: @NBCMarlon
Twitter: @NBCMarlon
Instagram: @NBCMarlon
Official hashtag: #Marlon

 

Motherhood

How to Make Your Child a Birthday Hero with Evite

 “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” 
― Mother Teresa

A few years ago, I started a non-profit with the sole purpose to give someone ONE BIG Dream. I would get chills when I saw people receiving unexpected answers to prayers and wishes and/or their dreams coming true. 

If it’s truly in your heart to give, there is no greater feeling than to bless someone without expecting anything in return but seeing the genuine joy on their faces. 

Over the years, I would include my children in my giving efforts in attempts to show them the power of volunteering, giving back, and just helping someone without the thought of reciprocity. What I’m learning is, many times children mimic what their parents do and believe.

My children would often see and hear me talk about giving back, volunteering, gratitude. and would want to do their own acts of kindness. Although noble, I couldn’t always fund their acts of kindness. I wanted them to know, you want to do it – sometimes you have to pay for it. 

Last year a few months before my son’s 12th birthday, we went to a volunteer expo. It was a room full of different organizations young students could select to volunteer and donate their time.

Well, we passed by one particular table and it really resonated with my son.

He pulled out the last $5 he had in his wallet and donated it to this organization. The lady was so moved by his selfless gesture, she asked him to ride on the 4th of July float as a thank you and birthday gift. His birthday is the 4th of July. 

I love that he gave because he felt compelled to, and received a surprise when he wasn’t expecting to. This Summer my oldest son has a big birthday coming up soon. He will be the lucky number 13! A full fledged teenager.

*Sidenote: Please message me all the tips that come with parenting a teenager.*

As I am preparing for his birthday events, I learned about Olivia. A 13-year-old girl who created Girls Giving for Good and Evite’s first Birthday Hero. As an Evite Influencer, this makes me so excited.

 

Girls Giving for Good is a non-profit aimed at teaching youth about community service and providing unique opportunities for them to give back.

Olivia C. AllenAt the age of 9, Olivia found her purpose in life. After seeing the same homeless man panhandling near her school she told her mom she wanted to raise money to build him a house. Knowing that was likely far too great a task, her mom asked her what else she could do to help. That year she held a toy drive, a food drive, and participated in the local community service week sponsored by the Mayor. She was determined to make the world a better place and that’s how Girls Giving for Good was started.

Olivia is Evite’s first Birthday Hero! She’s donating her birthday to other children who have never had a birthday celebration or experienced just the joy she has felt during her birthday parties while growing up.

Olivia AllenFor her birthday party, Olivia has gathered her friend’s together and put together birthday in bag kits for children. The expression on their face is priceless.

Evite is celebrating their 20th birthday and all things birthday. They believe every child deserves a birthday and they’re teaming up with super kids like, Olivia, who are contributing to their community in a big way by donating their birthday to kids in need.

While we’re still in planning mode for my son’s 13th birthday party, my son is excited about the opportunity to donate his birthday.

evite donationsWhat’s great about Evite is that you don’t have to be a child to donate your birthday or raise money for your charity of choice. In its first year, Evite Donations has been part of 20,000+ Evite events, and guests have helped raised over $5 million to-date for charities nationwide.

Now, Evite Donations empowers those celebrations to be more meaningful.

If you’re having a birthday party, when you send out an Evite invitation, you can add the donation option and become a Birthday Hero.

5 Easy Steps to Add Donations to Your Evite:

  1. Add the feature. Select the free option to ‘Add Donations’ to any invitation.
  2. Choose a Charity. Choose from thousands of nonprofits or recommend a new one.
  3. Set a Goal. Set a fundraising goal to encourage your guest to give.
  4. Accept donations. Guest can easily donate without leaving Evite. Fees are never charged to make a donation.
  5. Get Notified. Get notified when you guests donate & support your cause!
  6. See how it works HERE

About Evite Donations: 
Evite Donations, powered by Pledgeling, is a free tool that turns every Evite event into an opportunity to give back. Hosts can easily add donations to their invitations by selecting their favorite nonprofit from 10,000+ choices or recommending a new nonprofit. Guests can donate without leaving Evite.com, and Evite never charges a fee to make donations.

I personally don’t know too many people that don’t enjoy a good birthday celebration. What’s great is that you can give back while celebrating at the same time.

Will you be a Birthday Hero”? What charity will you donate to? Please check out the site and see how your child can be Birthday Hero!

“Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.” 
― Brian Tracy

This post is part of the Evite Influencer Program.



www.evite.com/birthday#heroes&utm_source=influencerpost&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=BirthdayHeroes_March_2018&utm_content=bernettastyle

Motherhood

A Car 4 Carlotta & a 2 Hour One Way Commute, HELP!

Car 4 Carlotta

I will be the first person to admit that sometimes going for your dream is scary. It’s scary because your dream is usually bigger than you could ask or think. It’s so “out there” that making it a reality is sometimes daunting. 

However, the same energy it takes to give up because it seems out of our reach can be reversed. We can use that energy to never give up and make our dream so real, that we blow our own mind. 

My dream is The Knighten Project. I desire to travel the world making dreams come true for everyday moms, like myself and many of you.

Why moms?

I’ve met so many moms over the years that have put their dreams on the backburner (sometimes until their children are grown) or decide to forgo dreaming altogether for their family’s needs.

Moms put themselves last so many times and they deserve to know that their children need to see them not only following their dream but seeing a few of your dreams come true. 

My Car 4 Carlotta Campaign

Carlotta is a married mom of 2 children. She lives in Boston and has commuted 2 hours (in one direction, sometimes 3 hours) for over 5 years. I asked her when was the last time she had a car, her response was, “8 years.”

8 years!

She expressed that of course she wanted a car, but financially things didn’t add up for her to purchase one. Have you gone 8 years without a car?

Her situation really tugged at my heartstrings, because I know all of the things I have done in my car over the last 8 years. 

  • Taken my children to doctors visits.
  • Back and forth to work.
  • Many family vacations 
  • All forms of shopping
  • Just anywhere I want to go, quickly!

Sometimes we take the simplest things for granted and when I think of Carlotta having to do everyday things we take for granted without a car, it really did sting. 

Through my non-profit, for passion organization, The Knighten Project – my goal is to raise $5,000 to purchase Carlotta a car. Can you help me, please?

Car 4 CarlottaHow can you help the Car for Carlotta fundraiser?

  • Donate funds at http://bit.ly/Car4CarlottaNow
  • Donate a car (if you have one to give).
  • Contact me (if you have a great car to sell).
  • Share this story. You never know who will see it and help.

Our goal is $5,000 and everything raised will go towards a Car for Carlotta. Anything we have left after buying her car, we will give her to her in the form of Gas Cards and money for car maintenance.

Once we raise the money, we plan to deliver Carlotta her new car and put the keys in her hand. I’m too excited about that moment!! 

Thanks for all you can do in advance!

Motherhood

Who Motivates the Motivators of Disney Dreamers Academy? #ddaDisney

Disney Dreamers Academy 2018 _ bernetatstyle

I am a dreamer. 

That is one thing I can truly say about myself. Living my dream has always been important to me. It’s just as important for me to see the people I come in contact with to live their dream as well.

I remember when I graduated college and worked for companies like IBM and JPMorgan Chase, I would still ask my co-workers, “What is your dream? What do you really want to do?”

Although we were working for great companies, I knew sitting in a cubicle for 40 hours a week was not the life I wanted to lead. Which means I knew my co-workers had to have bigger dreams too. 

Fast forward to 2018. I’m still asking people, “What’s your dream?” The great thing is, I meet more people that are working for their dream life than ever before.

People are really choosing happiness.

What I am learning is that even though we all have a dream, we still need the motivation to pursue it sometimes. 

I recently (March 8th-11th) attended the 11th annual Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World in Orlando with Steve Harvey & Essence Magazine. Although this event was created for 100 teens to experience a weekend of possibilities of what their life could look like if they do not give up, it’s also a huge push for the parents to know that it’s not too late for their dream.

Sometimes, you just need motivation. 

Over the weekend, I was given the opportunity to speak with many of the Disney Dreamer Academy speakers, including Steve Harvey. Although these speakers are successful in many areas of their lives, they too still need to be motivated.

If these powerhouses need to be motivated and they have in our eyes, “made it” why don’t you have to be motivated to make your dreams still happen. 

Dreams don’t have a deadline. 

Steve Harvey Disney Dreamers 2018

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World

Here’s what Steve said when I asked him if he still needs motivation: 

Steve: Everyone needs motivation. I need a lot of reminders. I get backed up. I have Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Oprah, and Tyler’s numbers in my phone. I don’t really need motivation. I need guidance sometimes. 

Check out my facebook live with Steve Harvey (I ask my question around 4:16) but the whole interview is good.

Who doesn’t love Lisa Nichols? I’ve been following her for years and she always motivates me to keep walking in my purpose and live my dreams. I had the honor of first interviewing her at Essence in 2014. It’s so cool that 4 years later, I get to speak with her again. (I just had an AHA moment after that sentence, that’s another blog post). 

Lisa Nichols dda 2018lisa nichols and bernettaHere’s what Lisa said when I asked her if she still needs motivation: 

Lisa: I think everyone needs motivation and I don’t tap into one person. I really keep tapping into my purpose. Who motivates me are you guys. When I see someone take the message, run with it and say “look at what I did”.

That’s everything. It’s far more important than me listening to another motivational speaker. I’m motivated by evidence. I’m an evidence girl. I don’t want to be the only person that has this hook up. I didn’t get a hookup. So when I see people coming through and they have transformed their lives, that keeps me going. 

Dr. Steve Perry Disney dreamers

Dr. Steve Perry is a force in education and been fighting for disadvantaged children and families for over 30 years. He is the educator Oprah Winfrey, Sean Combs, Bishop TD Jakes and Steve Harvey call on to offer insight to parents and children.

I love his no-nonsense approach when it comes to education and parenting our children. It’s always a pleasure to be in his presence and listen to him speak. You can tell educating children are his passion. 

Here’s what Dr. Perry said when I asked him if he still needs motivation: 

I don’t understand who can look at the children that I see in Harlem and Bridgeport, whose lives are in danger from going to school. Who can die just going to school? I don’t know who isn’t inspired by that. When I see other teachers who… I don’t understand how you’re not motivated.

I don’t know what it means to be in that space and be in their air and not be inspired. I can’t believe God put me on this earth and live among them! How do you not want to give them everything and fight anybody, anywhere, at any time – in some cases them and their parents to get them to where they need to be. Sometimes the hardest part of what I do is trying to convince them that they are dope and special. These kids are so talented and so young, it must be tough. 

Yolanda Adams and BernettaYolanda Adams brought down the house when she sang on the commencement day for the Disney Dreamers ceremony. I don’t remember seeing anyone sitting in their chair when the words rang out, “God is saving the best for last!”

Again, another reminder that your dreams are always a possibility if you believe, act and do! 

Here’s what Yolanda Adams said when I asked her who motivated her as she was growing up to follow her dreams?

My first level of extreme motivation was my family. My mom, dad, and grandparents. They pushed us to be our best and to be individuals. I’m the oldest of six children.

I’m the big sister and because I was doing a lot of things, like tennis and track, my siblings were not to required to do the same thing I was doing but they supported me. I think that was my first push of huge motivation, my family. 

Do you still need to be motived and how?

You have to be motivated every day! People who have accomplished a lot of things, still have other things they want to do. I want to do more television, more movies, more things with my production company that impact people.

I think what tends to happen is people think you don’t have to have this motivation once you graduate college and get this nice job and you’re settled. But no, there is always something more to reach for.

You must be self-motivated too. Self-motivation is the best motivation because you’re not looking for someone else to say, it’s time to do it, it’s time to get up. 

Wow. I left this amazing 4 day weekend recharged and yes more motivated to walk in my purpose and make destiny happen. It’s great to show your children, you have dreams too!

Read: 21 Real Women Reveal Why Mothers Must DREAM Big!

There were so many things to share that I couldn’t add it all in one post. I’ll soon be sharing more about Disney Dreamers and why your child needs to experience this once in a lifetime event in person and not just read about it.

I was a part of the media team selected to attend and cover the Disney Dreamers Academy. The thoughts and opinions of this experience are 100% my own. 

Motherhood

15 Simple Life Lessons Our Mom Taught Us as Children that Still Work Today

What is one little (but big) nugget your mom or dad gave you as a youngster, that you still use today? I find myself doing so many things that my mother and grandmother told me when I was a child and teenager.

For example:

  • Drink water – I hated water growing up as a child & teenager. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that power in water that I added a lime to it and it became my drink of choice.
  • Eat your greens – I hated greens too (mustard, collards, turnips – you name it). I still don’t love them but now I eat them with no problems. Also, developing a love for Kale and Spinach has helped me get my daily dose of healthy greens too. 
  • Watch your back – My mom always taught me to watch my surroundings. Watch and see if someone is following you, under your car or walking behind you. That came in handy on at least 3 occasions where I was being followed and almost snatched (once in middle school, high school and college).

Now that I’m a mother, I find myself repeating these same lessons to my own children. 

Over the years, I am grateful for these simple life lessons that I still use today. I wrote a fun FB post asking my FB friends to share something their mother (father or grandparents) taught them, and the responses were cool (answers are below).

Not only did I learn a few things, but I welcome you to please share your own lessons at the end of this post.  #MotherKnowsBest

1.When I was a teenager, my mom told me to use a washcloth or spoon and hold it under the hottest water I could stand and apply it to a pimple or when I feel it coming under the skin on my face. It will immediately go away. I’m 41, and I still do this and keeping my skin clear. I’ve only ever received a scar when I’ve tried to pop it myself. – Bernetta

2.She said to never trust a man who wears red shoes. – Stacey  
Now I did ask Stacey why, but she didn’t know! 

3. Don’t bathe in really hot water. Over time it will make the skin look broken and old. She never lied about that. Even my dermatologist had to continually warn me against doing this (I love hot showers, and so do my kids). We’ve definitely stopped doing this and I see the difference in my skin too. – April

4.Put vaseline on your face every night, keeps wrinkles away. Works by locking in moisture, without clogging pores. – Tangula

5.One thing my grandma said to me, that I went totally against was sleeping in a bra. No thank you. I have to take that bondage off every evening! – Tan

6.Listen to understand not respond. – Tawanda

7.Take care of my feet! Soak them weekly, keep them moisturized by using a little Vaseline and tube socks! – Yulunda

8.Pretty is as pretty does! She ingrained this in me and my daughters. – Jennifer

9.Bend over at the waist and drink at least 6 oz of water to get rid of hiccups. It works! – Tiffany

10.Stand up straight. It’s so simple but my mom and aunties were always telling me to stand up straight and they’d get on my nerves. But now I’m grateful cause when I see women with bad posture I’m like, “Yuck!” – Roni

11.Oh! The best thing is to use Vaseline and lotion as a paste on my skin every night. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and my skin is super smooth. – Roni 

12.When encountering a food you have never eaten, try it and then if you don’t like it, you can then say I have tried and I don’t like it. – Lori

13.Never let your right hand know what the left is doing. – Kita

14.She taught me so many things! To this day, I keep my onions in the fridge so they won’t make me cry when I cut them. – Rochelle

15. Don’t do what other people do, make your own way. – Micheal 

Which ones above were your favorite? What are some life lessons or nuggets your mother told you that you still use today?  Help me add some to this list. 
Motherhood

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration #WaltDisneyWednesdays #DisneySMMC Preview

#DisneySMMC

Have you ever heard of the term, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” That’s how I felt on Monday when we returned from the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. 

It was 6 full days of Disney. Let that set in. 6. Full. Days of Disney.

During the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, we stayed three days at Walt Disney Coronado Springs Resort, then boarded the Disney Dream Cruise Ship for 3 full nights. While we were at Walt Disney World, we visited Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. 

What is the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration? It’s an amazing invitation-only conference that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s new projects and more. I’ve never been to a conference like this before, which is why we’re always excited to attend. In addition to networking with other influencers, our families are welcome and get treated like VIP. Attending this conference is not free, although it is deeply discounted.

#DisneySMMCIt was an amazing work and play situation. When we worked, we were in conference mode learning what’s new at Disney which included seminars with lessons on how to be a better digital influencer, content creator, and businesswomen (and men).  

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration SponsorsOur sponsors made sure our experience was top notch, which included luggage delivered to our home before the trip to surprise room drops at the resort.

Thank you, sponsors!

When we played, it was an incredible family time affair which created memories that will last forever. I’m looking forward to sharing more details about our DisneySMMC Land & Sea experience with you in future post. 

Over the next few weeks, I’m collaborating with 5 amazing digital influencers to bring you content on all things Disney in our series #WaltDisneyWednesdays.  

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Bernetta Knighten – Blog:  Bernetta Style 
Twitter: Bernetta Style   –  Instagram: Bernetta Style

Choya Porter – Blog: JustASplashOfDiva
Twitter: SplashOfDiva  –  Instagram: SplashOfDiva

Latoyia Dennis – Blog:  Motivated Mom 
Twitter: Latoyia Dennis  –  Instagram:  Latoyia Dennis

Ari Adams –  Blog: Love, Peace & Tiny Feet 
Twitter: LovePeaceMommy  –   Instagram: LovePeaceMommy

Vashti Patrick-Joseph – Blog:  VeePeeJay
Twitter: VeePeeJay1  –  Instagram: VeePeeJay

Christine St. Vil – Blog: MomsNCharge
Twitter: MomsNCharge  –  Instagram: MomsNCharge

We will be sharing our personal #DisneySMMC experience which includes preparation tips, new attractions, and so much more. See you on March 14! Follow the hashtag on social media to see what other great experiences other invitees had. Pure fun!

Motherhood Reviews/Recaps

Our First Star Wars Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy Experience

Star Wars Day at Sea_Disney Fantasy

Are you a Jedi or not? My children went through the Jedi Training Academy on the Disney Fantasy Cruise during our Star Wars Day at Sea a few weeks ago. 

20180203_091202Are you the Ultimate Star Wars fan? Well, Disney has a treat just for you. Starting in January 2019 to early March 2019, Disney is bringing back Star Wars Day at Sea on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.51.17 PMMy family was lucky enough to get a sneak peek a few weeks ago and spend the day on the Disney Fantasy during a media review. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.51.53 PMWe had no idea what kind of an experience we were in for. When you arrive on the ship, be careful because Darth Vader is coming with a message for you. It’s scary (in a good way) and fun! 

Star Wars Day at SeaI love going on cruises. It’s nothing better than sailing away watching the water, while relaxing on the deck. What I’ve haven’t done yet is experienced a themed cruise. On the Star Wars day-long celebration at sea, you will be immersed in all things Star Wars. It’s one full day of Star Wars surprises, but the entire trip will still leave an impact on your experiences with Star Wars imprints all over the ship.

We were walking to the show and a Wookies ran up to us. Stormtroopers are always right around the corner who will make sure you’re at the deck party appropriately themed ” Summon the Force” along with fireworks, and Star Wars-themed food and beverages. 

During our experience, I mentioned earlier my children went through Jedi Academy. It’s a show in the Buena Vista Theatre where children ages 4-12 act as padawans and use light sabers to battle Darth Vader. I was nervous about my youngest son, but he did a great job. I was worried he wouldn’t fight, but he held his own. If we actually stayed on this cruise, my children would have received their certificates delivered to our staterooms afterward. 

Star Wars Day at SeaThe Oceaneer’s Club was also a big hit with my 3 children. It is for children ages 3-12, so all of mine are covered. When we walked in, we noticed the Star Wars Command center and activities that let them design, create and train.

Star war day at sea

20180203_121345I learned that the Oceaneer Club has an open house for all passengers on embarkation day. It’s a great way to experience all the fun your children will be having when you’re not around.

20180203_123306 Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.55.57 PMTo end our experience, we had lunch in the Animator’s Palate. And yes, you guessed it – it was Star Wars themed. My children tried Caviar for the first time, but that didn’t go over to well. Also, if your children are like mine – Disney always has chicken tenders and fries in the back! My husband and I both enjoyed the Kit Frisco’s Crisp Chicken for our entree. If if you’re vegan, Disney has a menu for you as well. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.56.09 PMWe didn’t get to experience the final part of the Star Wars Day at Sea, Summon the Force party because you would need to experience the fireworks during the actual cruise. However, we were able to hobnob with some pretty amazing people like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and C-3PO and R2-D2.

20180203_113138 20180203_115007Are you ready to book your next cruise with Disney? The event was focused on Star Wars, so we didn’t get to see the entire ship. However, on our way to different activities, we were able to see parts of the ship that made my children yell, “Can we just stay on?” 

Here’s a peak at our Star Wars Day at Sea experience:

The new dates for 2019 are January 5, 12, 19, 26, February 2, 9, 16, 24 and March 2, 2019, on the Disney Fantasy. Get more information here. 

Disclaminer: We (my family) were invited out to preview this Star Was Day at sea for a media event. My experience and thoughts are 100% my own. 

Event Recap Motherhood

Our Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes Experience and Review

Marvel Universal Live

Who is your favorite superhero? When we were children it was probably Superman. Over the years there have been explosions of superheroes to protect us from the evil villains of the modern day. Marvel Comics gave us the best display of good vs. evil last night as they brought to life their Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes show at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf9Oi-YayQwLet me just say, my family really enjoyed the show. When we left my children were quick to share how amazing it was. When I was invited to Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes, I didn’t know what to expect and thought it would be a great show for the kids, but my husband and I ended up being just as into the show. 

Check out the trailer here:

The show has a storyline that brings together all of their superheroes. Initially, the show starts out with the Guardians of the Galaxy trying to get an enchanted magic staff back from Nebula who was hired by Asgardian supervillain Loki. Meanwhile, on Earth Superman and his crew of super friends teams up to find Loki to save the world from destruction. 

The show is a fast-paced experience filled with fantastic sequences involving stunts, pyrotechnics, laser lights, and fight choreography. Many scenes feature aerial acrobatics, such as a scene set in the mystical city of K’un L’un, where acrobats perform a wonderful surprise routine of aerial silk. 

Marvel Universal LiveWith a cast featuring over twenty-five Marvel characters, you never know who will be coming in to help, or harm, the mission of the superheroes. Some of the characters you will see:

  • Spiderman
  • Captain American
  • Black Panther
  • The Hulk
  • Black Widow
  • Dr. Strange
  • Avengers
  • Thor
  • Nebula
  • Loki
  • Chitauri
  • and more

Marvel Universal LiveBehind the scenes

Early this week my family was invited to a behind the scenes experience of this show. We were able to meet some the cast, learn how they do some of the amazing flips, try on their actual costumes and play with Thor’s hammer!

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Marvel Universal LiveI was able to speak with a few of the cast members, including the man who plays Dr. Strange and learned that in order to get a part in this show they had to audition. The show is traveling the country for 1 year and they’ve already been on the road 7 months. Their favorite part of this experience is traveling to new cities meeting the fans. 

20180103_142946This is a fun and energetic show for the family. If you can catch a show, your kids will love it. 

It will be in Tampa through January 7th and then off to Orlando from 1/12 – 1/25. Check out their full schedule here and full details about the show and characters here. 

Motherhood Travel

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas in Pictures

Very Merry Christmas_Bernettastyle

One thing that I love about Disney is that they change with the seasons. It’s a great reason to come back multiple times a year (if you can) because it’s never the same. The week before Thanksgiving my family was invited to Magic Kingdom to experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas.

When you arrive, it’s so easy to feel the Christmas spirit all over the park.

This visit was special because we took our nephew who had never been to Disney World. At first he thought the park would be closed because we were going at night. I told him not only would Disney World be open, but that’s when all the magic happens. 

Never been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas? Here’s a video guide on what to expect. (I didn’t make this video)

Here’s our experience in pictures! 

This is how Magic Kingdom is lit up when you enter the park. 

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20171117_193536We rode every ride we could. Although there are alot of people there, the crowd is much lighter which allows for shorter lines. I love that I was able to experience 3 rides that I’ve never rode before, because we were able to just walk right on. 

20171117_225808 20171117_235658My nephew had a blast! He wanted to ride everything twice! The picture below is of Thunder Mountain. I must say that this might be the best roller coaster I’ve rode in a while. The older I get, the less I am about the roller coaster life. Being that my son (4yrs old) and my 5 year old nephew were able to ride this roller coaster means it was just my speed. It was fast, but enjoyable. We didn’t go upside down and no dramatic drops. 

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas runs November 09 – December 22:

  • November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26 and 28
  • December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22

Tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party start at $89 per adult and $84 per child (plus tax). 

What to expect at Very Merry Christmas:

  • Magical appearances by Mickey, Minnie and Santa of course
  • Parade with all of the Disney characters
  • On stage Christmas musical in front of Magic Kingdom with Queen Elsa
  • Special holiday food & drink treats through out the park
    • Snowman Soft Pretzel and Sno-Cone
    • Ginger Molasses Cookie and Eggnog
    •  Silky Smooth DOVE®Chocolate and Sparkling Apple Cider 
    • Peppermint Crunch Cookie and Nestle® Nesquik®
    • Snickerdoodle Cookie and Hot Chocolate
    •  Santa Claus Cookie and Sno-Cone
  • Fireworks!

Visit the Disney Website for more information and to purchase tickets for your family.

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Motherhood

4 Tips for a Great Family Holiday Photo Session & Full Session Giveaway

I don’t know who started the family holiday portrait trend, but I honestly think it’s here to stay. I love the holiday season on social media, because my timeline is filled with my friends and family showcasing their holiday spirit through their photos. 

It’s even better when I open up my mailbox and a friend has thought enough of my family to send us a holiday photo. 

My family hasn’t taken professional family portraits in almost 3 years. I think being a blogger makes me sometimes think I’m a photographer because I have hundreds of photos of my family in my phone. 

My husband reminded me, “We need new family pictures!” as if my family selfies don’t qualify.  

0002C_11I couldn’t have been more excited to partner with Portrait Innovations for our 2017 holiday and family pictures. They were prepared for our family’s session and we were done in under 1 hour. 

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0002C_1Here are 4 Tips for a Great Family Holiday Photo Session:

  1. Decide if you want to do a family theme. Even though your pictures may be for Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas or the New Year, you should decide if your family is going to dress for the occasion or is it a free for all. Are you going to match, look similar in color and style, or grab whatever is in your closet. Whatever you choose, you want everyone to be comfortable. 
  2. Get prepared a day early. We’ve never dressed alike, but we’ve always had a theme or similar color palette. Once we decided that we were going for a cute casual look this year, we got everyone’s clothes out the day before to try things on (make sure they still fit), iron clothes, wash and style hair, etc. It’s also important to get a good nights sleep. If you’re tired, it will show in the pictures. 
  3. Decide where are you going to take your pictures. We’ve taken pictures in the park, in a community center, and a portrait center. You decide what works best for your family depending on the look you’re going for this year. We took our holiday photos at Portrait Innovations this year because they had multiple holiday backgrounds.  
  4. Pick the best time for your children. Although many photographers are skilled to work with children, you can make their job (and your experience) easier if you plan your photo shoot when your children are the happiest and most alert. Our appointment was at 9:20am. They were wide awake, fed and ready to smile big for the camera. 

0002C_5Portrait Innovations has locations all over the nation, so I’m giving away the same package my family had:

·      Six (6) pose collection with 2 sheets of each pose

·      Two (2) 10×13 special effects Decorator Portraits

·      One (1) high resolution CD of all of your portrait images

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering the contest! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you’re able to relax and enjoy your family. Which one is your favorite picture?




Motherhood Reviews/Recaps

Disney Pixar’s COCO Reinforces Life Lessons for My Children

COCO Pixar

The first thing I noticed about the Disney Pixar movie COCO, is that there is a boy lead, Miguel. I immediately like that because I have 2 sons, and it’s good to have a Disney movie that they could easily see themselves in. 

Whenever we see a movie as a family, I always use our time driving home from the theatre as a way to see what lessons or takeaways my children have. Here are a few we talked about after seeing COCO:

  1. Everything is not what it seems. There are times when something is right in front of you and you learn that you’ve been looking at something different the entire time. Friendships, relationships, and situations are not always what they look like. The unfortunate part is you might actually have to experience pain to learn that lesson. If you can pay attention to your gut when it’s pushing you to go this way, or watch out for the red flags that continue to show up, you can save yourself a lot of heartache. 
  2. Work hard for what you want in life. There are very rare circumstances when everything you want out of life is just given to you on a silver platter, with no work or effort involved. For the other 98% of us, we need to work for it. We need to work hard. We love our children and want them to have more than we did, and we give them more than we had. They still need to know the importance of working for what they want. There is no greater pleasure than getting something yourself with your own elbow grease. You cherish it more. 
  3. Family is important. My husband actually liked this part the most. He’s from a huge family, and both of his parents are 1 of 10. He expressed how the movie showed no matter what you’re going through, your family should want the best for you. Family matters. Right now my two oldest children are in the bickering phase. I often wonder when it will end. They love each other one minute and are fighting the next minute. We want to make sure our children know that family always sticks together. 

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What is CoCo about?

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

Trailer

COCO is fun family film and will make you appreciate your family, motivate you to never give up on your dreams, and the truth. Here’s a fun family tree that you could print out and fill in with your children. 

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COCO opens in theaters everywhere on November 22nd, check it out and share with me what your thoughts were. 

Like COCO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarCoco 
Follow COCO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pixarcoco
Follow COCO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pixarcoco/
Visit the official COCO website here: http://movies.disney.com/coco