Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Mardi Gras Game Pack

Did you know I lived in Louisiana for 1 year? It was the year after I graduated from college and it was time for Bruce to finish he bachelor's degree. So off to New Orleans we went!

I'll be honest and tell you there were lots of things about N'Awlins I didn't care for. But I did like going to the family-friendly Mardi Gras parades in Metarie. They were clean and enjoyable and parents didn't have to worry about exposing their children to the various "things" that are typically associated with Mardi Gras celebrations.

Around here, since we don't live in N'Awlins any more, we don't really celebrate Mardi Gras. But I did get a chance to look at some Mardi Gras games and printable activities and think about ways we could celebrate at home.

My favorite was the dress up dolls pack. None of the outfits were offensive or over the top and I could really imagine all the stories my girls could make up with the different dresses and outfits. I think I would put popsicle sticks on the back and let them make up a puppet show or tell us a story about the pirate and the princesses. This is something I could see us using at other times of year as well.

I also really liked the scavenger hunt, but it is for bigger kids who know how to read or who are paired up with an older child who can read for them. The printable masks (jaguar, pig, bird, and a fantasy creature) are also something that could be used year round. There is a set of masks that is already colored in, and then a black and white line drawn set that your kids could color themselves.

You can download the set yourself for $19.95 at Mardi Gras Games.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giveaway Winners - Chalkboard Tee & JBF North Tampa Sale

With all my computer issues recently I did not choose my last 2 giveaway winners as quickly as I would have liked. But I did it. chose comment #15 as the winner of a Chalkboard Tee, Vicki Wurgler wrote,
this would be for my granddaughter chose comment #35 as the winner of the $50 JBF North Tampa gift certificate. Naomie wrote,
I follow you both on twitter and twitted @kidsanddeals!/kidsanddeals/status/3870812... 

I need both of you to contact me at familymusings at gmail (dot) com with your email and mailing addresses!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tomorrow Is Race Day

Tomorrow is the day I prove once again how crazy I am. :)

Tomorrow I will walk 13.1 miles with my friends Alisa and Kelly in the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

I have my bib.

I have my tag on my shoe.

I have my tutu made.

And my pink plastic tiara is sitting on top of my head as I type this.

Though I may wear this pink cowboy hat instead.

It lights up!

You can always leave me a supportive message using the Runtastic app on the left side of my page. Or you can go here ( and sign up to receive emails or text messages with details about my progress or finish times.

So, which hat do you think I should wear???

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taking A Break

My laptop is giving me trouble. It won't hold a charge and the power cable doesn't want to work any more. Fortunately, Bruce came to the rescue and a new laptop is on the way! I'm posting this from my phone and can definitely say this is not something I'll do often.

I'll be back after I walk the Disney Princess Half Marathon next Sunday. You can leave a cheer or note for me in the left side bar. I'll listen to them while I walk next Sunday!

Until then...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 12

Today I am going to show you a picture of something I love - a house full of teenagers!

Something I haven't shared with my blog readers yet is that we have opened our home to host a Chinese exchange student for this school year. She has been with us since August and will be staying until late June. Her name is Yanfei and she is definitely a part of our family. (She was even on our family's photo Christmas card!)

For Chinese New Year earlier this month, she decided to throw a party for her new American friends and give them a taste of her food and culture. We have loved having her in our home and the night of this party was one of my favorite nights in a long, long time. We served dumplings, steamed buns, spring rolls, and a great citrus punch. It was great to see her friends willing to try all of these new to them foods.

I was channeling my own mom all night long - cooking, listening into their teenage conversations, occasionally interjecting to clarify a point about the food, and then finally disappearing so they could sing karaoke and play games.

As the evening progressed my heart was full. Truly full.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 11 (Warning)

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!!

Here is a link to pictures of something I hate: abortion

I am not sharing the actual images on my blog out of respect for those of you with weak stomachs, so do not click that link if you have a weak stomach or do not want to be confronted with with an aborted baby looks like. 

I know some of you will unsubscribe because I posted this, but before you do... you should know, I hate the abortion and but I do not hate the women or the doctor's who perform it. I have compassion for the women who feel this is their only choice. And you should know that forgiveness is available. You do not have to live with the guilt of this decision and you can see your baby again in heaven one day if you believe.

 If you want to learn more about how abortion affects women or how you can begin healing if you have had an abortion, then please visit They are not a counseling center, but they do share the facts about abortion and can point you to counseling resources in your area.

Friday, February 18, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 10

I am at my silliest when no one is looking. Well, when no one over 3 is looking! I have no problem being my silliest self with these two girls.

Silly things we do include dress up, dancing silly dances, making up songs about our cereal, creating silly faces to make each other laugh, and talking in funny voices when we make believe we are someone else.

Its hard though to get pictures of these things myself though because I am so busy enjoying the moment. And that is okay with me. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 9

Today, for the picture challenged that I have been neglecting, I am supposed to share a picture of the person who has gotten you through the most. This question sort of implies that I've been through a lot. And sincerely I say to you, I haven't been through a lot. Overwhelmingly, I have very little to complain about in life.

That doesn't mean it has been perfect, just that it is relatively drama free. I look around and see lots of people who have been put through the wringer, but I am not one of them.

Ultimately, the one "person" who has gotten me through the most is Jesus Christ. I know the kind of person I would be without a personal relationship with him and the Holy Spirit to guide me each day. (By the way,  can I just say i is really hard to find a picture of Jesus that does NOT look European???)

Last night a friend asked on Facebook, "Does the phrase "does not play well with others" mean anything to y'all? How about when talking about thirty and forty-somethings?"

And my honest response, "I would be one of those people if it weren't for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life on a daily basis!"

It is 100% true too. I came into a relationship with Jesus as a middle school student so I was old enough to see for myself what kind of person I had the potential to be without godly intervention. And I'm still human so I live up to that potential every day. But with Jesus to guide me I am able to reign it in a lot more often than most of my real life friends would believe.

Who has helped you the most?

(Image courtesy of 1800SunStar)

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 8

Here is a handful of pictures of things that make me laugh - my girls being silly!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Call Me Morbid

You can call me morbid, but recently I've had a strong desire to take as many pictures of the girls with Bruce as I possibly can. So for Valentine's Day dinner we celebrated with a picnic in the park and the chance to take lots of pictures of them having fun with their daddy.

Here are some of my favorites in no specific order whatsoever.

I suppose I like these pictures for all sorts of different reasons - I can see true joy in Bruce's face when he looks at our daughters. I can see pure adoration in their eyes when they look at him. I can see Bruce just having fun and being on their level.

And before you go... just a story about the car ride on the way to the park. Charlotte knows Bruce teaches Science and we spent a good bit of the afternoon straightening the house up so it would like nice for Bruce when he came home after a hard day teaching Science. So in the car, Charlotte asks Bruce to teach her some science. He goes on to give a simple explanation of hypothesis and inertia to her. I loved listening to their conversation and seeing once again how much she looks up to her daddy.

Giveaway: Just Between Friends North Tampa

I'm doing something a little different today. I'm partnering with a new friend to give away a $50 gift certificate to the Just Between Friends North Tampa children's consignment sale. I'm doing this to help out a mom and a business that I think can help lots of other moms dress their kids in style for less. I've been to consignment sales before and let me tell you... $50 goes a VERY long way!

Here are some details about the Just Between Friends North Tampa sale:
As a part of the Nation's leading children and maternity consignment event, Just Between Friends of Tampa is the Tampa area's largest selection of gently used children's items - everything from clothing and toys to books, games, room decor, baby equipment and more! If kids can use it, we've probably got it.
Consignors make 65% of the selling price of their items. They price their own items prior to the sale and then bring them to the event the day before it starts. All items are inspected to make sure they are in good condition and safe to use (not recalled). Consignors who volunteer their time at the event receive 70% of their final sales. Consignors who volunteer also get to shop before the public at the exclusive presale. 
We are partnered with two local charities - Sunrise of Pasco County and Pregnancy Care Center of Tampa. Consignors can choose to donate their unsold items to help local families in need - a win win for everyone! 
Sale dates and times:
  Thursday, March 3 - 9am to 7pm; $2 admission
  Friday, March 4th - 9am to 5pm
  Saturday, March 5th - 8am to 2pm; 1/2 price; any item without a star on the tag is half off 
  Tampa Bay Baptist Conference Center
  15601 Lake Magdalene Blvd.
  Tampa, FL 33613 
To register as a consignor, volunteer, first time mom or military family, just visit the website at and click on the "online registration" tab. Everyone who is registered through the website (even shoppers!) will receive a free event pass via email the week of the sale for free admission on opening day!

Now that you know just about everything there is to know about the sale, here is what you can do to enter to win a $50 gift certificate:

1. Leave a comment telling me who you'd be shopping for at the JBF consignment sale or what you love about JBF if you've bought or sold there before,
2. 'Like' Family Musings on Facebook and Just Between Friends North Tampa on Facebook and then leave a 2nd comment telling me you did,
3. Post about JBF North Tampa and this giveaway on your FB page.
4. Subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe by email, and leave a 3rd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed,
5. Link to this giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post, or
6. Follow Family Musings on Twitter and JBF Tampa on Twitter then tweet this giveaway and leave a 5th comment with the twitter id or permalink. You can do this daily, just make sure you leave a new comment with each new tweet. Here's your tweet:

Win a $50 GC from @JBFTampa from @FamilyMusings #giveaway

That's it. 6 ways to win and 1 lucky winner. This giveaway will end Friday, February 25th at midnight. Read all contest rules here.

FTC Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post.

Valentine's Day Activities

Here are pictures of a couple of Valentine themed activities I did with the girls. We did them on Friday which I called "Heart Day" because we did so many heart related activties.

First, we made heart collages. This involved painting diluted glue onto wax paper and then layering small pieces of gift wrapping tissue on top. Then we applied another layer of glue before putting another piece of wax paper on top. To finish it off, I cut out a heart shaped piece of the collage and mounted it inside a heart shaped construction paper frame I made by hand. They came out cute even if I didn't take a finished product picture.

I was pretty impressed that Mary was mostly able to do this activity all by herself and she isn't even 18 months old yet. Of course, I helped her some, but she really got into it.

Oh, and it dries clear so it looks really good hanging in a window.

We made pink, heart shaped sugar cookies. Both girls helped here too... Charlotte is getting really good with a cookie cutter. Mary is really good at smooshing the dough with her hands. The most fun part though was mixing in the food coloring to the cookie dough we made. Charlotte worked on it for several minutes and did a very thorough job of making the color as even as possible all the way through.

I gave Charlotte some heart foam stickers and let her decorate these cups for our Saturday night dinner with my parents. They came out cute and made the tablescape look even more festive.

Next up were decorating these white pot holders I picked up on clearance at Ikea forever ago. I think I paid $1.50 for 4 of them. The first one is Charlotte's hand, imprinted to look like a heart.

And here are Mary's hands... getting a heart shape from her didn't work so well, but she did a great job making a clear hand print.

What Valentine's Day crafts are you doing today?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

8 Tips for Occupying Kids in the Car

This morning on their FB page, Momology, by MOPS International, asked:
Getting everyone out the door is one thing. Getting everyone in the car is another. How do you manage the kids during drive time and still keep your eyes on the road?
And I started to answer before realizing I have lots of different strategies for handling our car time. Here they are, in no particular order.
  1. Our day is set up that the time in the car is also usually snack time. Sure, I end up picking up cheerios and goldfish off the van floor more than I'd like, but it keeps them occupied and quiet. I can't say this is perfect as more than once has a sippy cup full of milk been left in the van too long. Those are gross to clean up!
  2. Othertimes, I'll arrange our longer trips to coincide with nap time and multitask that way. It makes for a nice quiet ride where I can easily listen to NPR uninterrupted (the main way I get my news) or make a call to friend.
  3. There is always the portable DVD player too. But our family rule means we don't use it unless we are going to be in the car for at least 30 minutes. And there is only one choice. I don't mess with keeping a well stocked DVD library in the van.
  4. Recently, Charlotte has been playing her DS Lite in the van. Her favorite, and only games are a Wonder Pets game and a Ni Hao! Kai Lan game.
  5. At one point we had an extra large board book that came with a music player. Charlotte could sit quietly for a very long time looking at the book and playing the music. I think it was mostly the fake MP3 player that she liked the most.
  6. We have car games - lots of them. They are I Spy!, Are we there yet?, the ABC game, the Quiet Game (but I always win this one), and maybe more that we make up on the spot just to be silly.
  7. Sometimes we pray in the car. This happens most often when we are passed by an ambulance. Its been a habit of mine for years to pray for the passing ambulance and the injured people it is helping and now it is becoming something Charlotte remembers to do too.
  8. Finally, sometimes I just let the girls play with my cell phone, either sending text messages to their grandparents or pushing random buttons. This of course, is only an option if I am not calling one of my friends first.
What do you do to occupy your children in the car?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 7

I am supposed to show you a picture of my most treasured item today. I assume that means the one thing, that if lost forever, I'd be the most upset about. But the thing is, I don't have a picture of it. It holds my pictures.

That's right, I think the one thing I treasure more than any other is the external hard drive which holds ALL of my pictures. So it isn't just a picture of 1 thing that I am sharing today, it is a picture of every picture I have ever taken.

What is something you treasure more than any other?

Charlotte's Half Birthday

Today Charlotte is officially 3 1/2.

I will treat her to a birthday donut at Starbucks. And probably let her have a waffle with Nutella for all three meals. She likes Nutella.

I will make a big deal about her being another half of a year older.

I will remember that she can have a tender heart towards her sister and children without mommies and daddies.

I will remember that she likes to read books and make sure we do some extra cuddling while she still enjoys sitting snug in my lap. I know these snuggly years can't last much longer.

I will dress her in purple because that is her "new" favorite color. Though pink is still her old favorite color.

I will not be too busy to listen to another song or story that really makes no sense to anyone but her, but into which she pours her whole being.

I will do my best to make sure Mary doesn't pull her hair. Not only is Charlotte tender hearted, but she is tender headed too.

I will give her even more hugs and kisses than normal, if that is even possible.

And if you see her today, she'll probably tell you that it is her half birthday. Charlotte has never met a stranger.

Will you leave a half-birthday message for Charlotte? I'll read them to her tonight before she goes to bed.

Monday, February 07, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 6

Today I am supposed to post a picture of someone I want to trade places with for just one day. I'm having a hard time figuring out who to trade with. I like my life. Really. I do.

The best I can think of is that I want to trade places with someone who doesn't have any responsibilities. And has the money to go to the spa for a massage and pedicure and then the mall to buy a couple of new outfits.

I think I just want to trade places with a person who doesn't exist.

And even if they did exist and I could trade places, I'd still want to come home to my life at the end of the day to kiss my sleepy girls good night.
(Image courtesy of

Guest Post: Education's So-Called "Experts"

My husband is a teacher. I am a former teacher. We talk about the state of education ALL of the time around here. He originally wrote this guest post for his friends on Facebook, but it provides such an excellent insight into the life of a teacher I wanted to share it with a wider audience. Once you've read it, I'd love for you to share your thoughts and to share his post with others. Let's have a conversation!

The field of K-12 education is filled with experts and consultants who will tell you how to accomplish the miracles teachers are expected to accomplish. Unfortunately, most education experts have no expertise other than the ability to market themselves as experts.

I teach at a Title I school. "Title I" means we receive extra federal funding because we serve a student population that is largely poor. And having a population that is largely poor, we have many students who don't speak English well, and/or are designated as special education. Being Title I also means we face all the requirements and sanctions from No Child Left Behind.

So, to help us teachers do what we're supposed to do--which is get students born into a variety of disadvantages to perform at the level of middle class students--we are required to go through professional development programs. One of those programs requires us to watch a series of videos, by experts, on how to teach these students.

The videos feature principals and teachers from schools; and these principals and teachers tell us what works for them and how I can do what they do. Now, as an educational researcher, I like to verify claims. So, I've been looking up testing data on the schools featured in these videos. Video after video has featured schools that have failed to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind. So, people at failing schools were telling me to do what they do so I can be successful like them; but they're really failing.

The problem is that it is almost impossible for a Title I school to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind. And the proof of that is the fact that a decade into No Child Left Behind, there are almost no Title I schools meeting the requirements.

But, I say it's almost impossible. In this last week, I watched two videos that featured two schools that have met the requirements. The first one I found, I knew it was going to meet the requirements before I even looked up the data. It was H.F. NcNeill Elementary School in Texas. And during the video, they discussed how their school faces the tremendous challenge of having a large population of students whose first language is not English. But, they also mentioned that the most common language at their school, other than English, is Vietnamese.

Well, as someone who has previously worked in an educational program that served many Vietnamese students, I knew this school would be successful. I don't care if they're not native English speakers; they have parents who care deeply about their kids' educations and will make sure their kids are successful. And sure enough, the school not only meets No Child Left Behind, but it's ranked as an "exemplary" school in Texas. More than 90% of their students pass the state tests.

There's no mystery to why this school is successful. It has nothing at all to do with the administrators or teachers at the school. I knew the school would be successful the second I saw that Vietnamese was a common language there. It's not only the Chinese who have Tiger moms.

Now on Friday, I found one more successful Title I school featured in a video. It was Frankford Elementary in DE. When I looked up the school, I found it has a very high number of low-income students, a very high number of non-native English speakers, and a fairly high number of special ed students. And it has managed to achieve incredible success. It has more than 90% of students passing the state exam.

So, this got my interest. How had they done this?

In the video, the principal talked about how when she came to the school, she didn't care about any excuses from teachers. She didn't care about how hard it was to get students from these backgrounds to succeed. She just told the teachers there were no excuses for failure.

So, the video made it seem like she just forced the teachers to do their jobs. And that it what many people think is the solution. Failing schools have failing teachers; so kick their butts into gear, or kick their butts onto the streets.

But, I know the research. I know it's not that simple. So, I knew there was more to it. So, I looked into it.

As it turns out, the principal developed an extensive community involvement program. She has business and individuals donating tremendous amounts of money to buy things for students. For example, one couple in the community donates money to buy two books for every student, every year. Beyond that, the principal developed a mentoring system where 150 members of the community come in every week to mentor students.

Basically, this principal has managed to get the community to come in and parent these kids.

And it has worked. I certainly want to applaud that.

But, let's be honest and realize what it took and the difficulty in that. This success is so rare that the principal was a guest of Laura Bush at the 2007 State of the Union Address.

When a principal at a Title I school gets those students to meet No Child Left Behind, even 6 years after No Child Left Behind began, it was rare enough to warrant a personal invitation to the State of the Union.

So, as a teacher working at a Title I school, what am I supposed to learn from this professional development?

I guess I could be like Erin Gruwell, the teacher immortalized in the movie, "Freedom Writers." She worked two part-time jobs just to have enough money to buy things for her students. And she destroyed her marriage because she invested everything she had into being the family of kids who had no family.

But, what many people don't know is that even she only did that once, with a couple dozen students. After that, she left teaching and became an educational expert. She now tells people how to replicate what she never replicated.

Ultimately, anything that presents itself as a real answer for educating students should actually work and be transferable on a large scale for the long term.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 5

I have lots of great memories. And today I'll share pictures with you two of my favorites.

First, when we added Charlotte to our family.

And also first when we added Mary to our family. This is a picture of the first time Charlotte got to meet Mary.

What is your favorite memory of me? (Yeah, that's a vain question. I know it!)

Prayers for Super Bowl Sunday

Christians should be praying today. And I don't mean that their favorite team would win the Super Bowl.

We should be praying for the children and women who have been brought to Dallas this weekend by human traffickers.

We should be praying for the men who will prey on these women and children looking for sexual favors, thinking that since they are in another city their actions aren't important.

We should be praying for justice for the pimps and traffickers who have brought them to Dallas.

Large sporting events are a prime opportunity for pimps and traffickers to market these children and women as a way to satisfy perverse sexual desires. This paste week Newsweek featured an article about this issue and what Texas is doing to help.

More importantly, my friend Ida has shared about this topic on her blog and issued a call to prayer for today. While her 5 am prayer time is long past, it is never too late to petition God for the protection of the vulnerable in Dallas this weekend.

I'm praying for the vulnerable in Dallas. Who will join me?

Saturday, February 05, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 4

A picture of something you wish you could forget:

If only I could forget the way it feels when an icy cold Dr. Pepper slides down my throat! I haven't had soda of any kind since December 30, 2010 and it is a daily battle.

OK! I better end this post before I start getting all worked up and can't control myself from drinking a Dr. Pepper!

Friday, February 04, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 3

A picture of the cast from my favorite show:
 Image Credit:

The theory about why I enjoy House so much is that, on the inside, I'm not a very nice person. Watching House lets me live vicariously through Hugh Laurie's character, Dr. Gregory House, and get all of my mean intentions out! I guess that means bad drivers should be extra cautious around me during non-sweeps months! :)

Giveaway: Chalkboard Tee

Sometimes I come across the cutest idea in kids clothing.And I kick myself because I know I should have thought of it first. Does that ever happen to anyone else?

The most recent example of this happening to me is the Chalkboard Tee. It is a t-shirt with a built in chalkboard and chalk holder to keep your kid entertained where ever you end up - in line at the post office, waiting for friends at a restaurant, or just on the living room couch.

Charlotte really loves to wear her Chalkboard Tee. I can't wash it fast enough to keep up with her requests. We've washed it 3-4 times already and it still looks perfect. The tee shirt comes with a small box of 5 colors of chalk. One piece fits into a small sewn on pocket on the front seam of the shirt.

The five most popular styles offered by Chalkboard Tee are Light Blue Tie, Grass Skyline, Light Pink Heart, Red Apple, and Light Pink Butterfly (the one Charlotte has).

One thing I really appreciated about this company is their resourceful packaging. It's a tube, which is so easy to reuse and can be crafted into many useful things. They also include a "How-to" sheet.  This is basically an instruction manual for your Chalkboard Tee.  It gives you simple instructions on how to use your shirt, as if you needed it.  It also offers suggestions for reusing your tube, and even ideas for reusing your shirt after you've grown out of it!

Chalkboard Tee is offering a special discount code for Family Musings readers. The code is class33809 and gives you $9 off your total order. It expires April 1. 

I also get to giveaway a Chalkboard Tee to one of you!

How to Enter: There are five ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to five entries:

1. Leave a comment telling me who would wear the shirt if you won,
2. 'Like' Family Musings on Facebook and Chalkboard Tee on Facebook and then leave a 2nd comment with your FB name telling me you did,
3. Subscribe to my RSS feed or subscribe by email, and leave a 3rd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed,
4. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post, or
5. Follow Family Musings on Twitter and Chalkboard Tee on Twitter then tweet this giveaway and leave a 5th comment with the twitter id or permalink. Here's your tweet:

Win a @ChalkboardTee from @FamilyMusings #giveaway

That's it. 5 ways to win and 1 lucky winner. This giveaway will end Sunday, February 13th at midnight. Read all contest rules here.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Sponsored by

Thursday, February 03, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day 2

A Photo of the Person I Am Closest To

He's my best friend. Enough said.

Photo Credit: K Barber Photography

New Playground in Lakeland

Living in Lakeland, I feel blessed by the great number of awesome playgrounds we have. I am not aware of many other cities where child hood play is as supported as right here in my new home town. This week we had a chance to explore the newest addition to Lakeland's plethora of playgrounds - The Sunshine Preschool Playground at Barnett Park.

Even though it opened in mid-December, it took us until this week to make it. My friend Bethany called with a last minute invite to play and we took her up on it. My girls were not disappointed either. It is completely fenced in, has age appropriate equipment, bright colors, and even a tricycle course!

And now I'll overshare pictures to show you both the awesomeness of the playground and the adorableness of my daughters! (But really just to show off my girls.)

(This isn't my girl, but she's a friend's daughter. Just precious!)