Category Archives: Family

Carlucci’s Waterfront: Fine Dining for Families

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation
~I received a Carlucci’s Waterfront gift card to help facilitate my review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

To end our family’s staycation in Mt. Laurel, NJ this past weekend, we decided to have a nice sit down dinner after checking out of the hotel and before heading home. I searched around online to see what restaurants were in the Mt. Laurel area and came across an Italian fare, Carlucci’s Waterfront.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

Carlucci’s Waterfront is just one of six of Carlucci’s family of restaurants, and is owned and operated by the Capuano family. When the Capuano’s came to the US from Italy in ‘83, they brought along with them some amazing family recipes and are sharing those recipes in their restaurants.

As adults we enjoy the food, atmosphere and overall experience of fine dining, but as parents, kid-friendly dining is imperative. Carlucci’s Waterfront is the perfect combination of the two – fine dining for families – and was a perfect way to end our family weekend.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

Upon pulling into the parking lot, which is fairly large by the way, you see the restaurant sitting in the distance. At the moment, Carlucci’s is doing some renovations, but luckily is still open for dining.

As we walked in, we were immediately greeted by the hostess who sat us right away. We arrived just after Carlucci’s opened at 11:00 am on Sunday, so the restaurant was pretty empty. But it didn’t take long before guests started rolling in.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

And lucky for us, we were seated at a great table right next to a set of sliding doors, and had an amazing view of the outdoor seating and the waterfront. While it was a very nice day out, it was still a bit too nippy to eat outside on the terrace which I would have loved, but I’m glad we were still able to enjoy the view.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

After being seated, we were each poured a glass of water, and brought out a plate of bruschetta and basket of bread. You’d think my family hadn’t eaten in a week because the bread was gone before I could blink. The bruschetta was delicious and I could have eaten the whole plate, but I was generous enough to share with everyone else even though they hoarded the bread.

We then ordered some additional beverages and our meals. I want to add that Carlucci’s Waterfront offers a lunch menu on Sunday’s, which in my experience is rare, so that was a nice little surprise. And before we knew it our dishes had arrived.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

I started with a Caesar Salad and then moved on to my Seafood Duette. The Seafood Duette is a combo of scallops and shrimp tossed with spinach, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil with a touch of lemon, white wine and zafferano, all served over a plate of linguine.

Ooohhh maaan, my taste buds were in heaven! My daughter even had a few bites. I’ve had “Italian food” before, but this was real and it was love at first bite.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

My other half started with some Lentil Soup, one of the soups of the day, and then enjoyed some Broccoli and Shrimp Pappardelle. This dish consists of homemade pappardelle sautéed with broccoli, shrimp and cherry tomatoes, in garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

It looked very appetizing on my end and his favorite part of the dish was the shrimp and sauce. He didn’t much care for the pappardelle, but simply because it is a larger sized pasta. Any other pasta and he probably would have cleaned his plate, so it’s just a personal preference. But he enjoyed trying something new!

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

The kids enjoyed some typical children’s menu favorites. My son, the picker eater, had his usual Chicken Fingers and French Fries, and my daughter had some Penne Alfredo.

I tasted the Penne Alfredo and I have to say, I would be very surprised if the alfredo sauce was not homemade. It was like no alfredo sauce I have ever eaten before. It had a bit of a sweet taste to it and was very distinctive. If my daughter didn’t eat it, I certainly would have had no problem finishing it for her.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

The food was absolutely delectable and the overall ambience was delightful. Carlucci’s Waterfront also features a fully stocked bar for any type of adult beverage you may want.

While we were dining, a group of guests strolled in, ordered some drinks from the bar and then enjoyed some conversation on the terrace before coming back inside to dine. Carlucci’s really is a great place to just come and hang out, and enjoy some amazing food.

Carlucci's Waterfront was a great way to end our fun family weekend in Mt. Laurel, NJ! There's nothing like a fine dining restaurant that caters to families! Head over to the blog to check it out! #CarluccisWaterfront #finedining #staycation

Carlucci’s Waterfront also offers banquet and event dining, including wedding events. The restaurant itself is beautiful and then open up the sliding doors that lead to the outdoor terrace, and you’re all set for your next large event.

It just so happens that while we were there, a group of guests were preparing to host a baby shower and I was thinking to myself Carlucci’s was a great choice. I would love to hold a party there!

I can say with confidence that if we are ever in the Mt. Laurel area again, we will definitely be dining at Carlucci’s Waterfront. Quite frankly, I can’t wait to go back!

Do you have a restaurant in your area that offers fine dining for famlies?

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*I received a Carlucci’s Waterfront gift card to help facilitate my review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the restaurant. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the restaurant.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

A Splashing Good Time at CoCo Key Water Resort

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

~Thank you to CoCo Key Water Resort for providing complimentary passes to facilitate this review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

This past weekend my family enjoyed a short staycation in the Mt. Laurel, NJ area. It was nice to get out of the house and explore what the state has to offer and there were different things about the weekend that each of us enjoyed, from shopping, to dining, to a little indoor water park fun.

Yeap, you read that right. We had water park fun in NJ, in April! It was cold and rainy ALL weekend, but it didn’t stop us from splashing around at CoCo Key Water Resort like it was summer.

CoCo Key is an indoor water park that offers family fun for all ages. Guests of The Hotel ML can purchase passes to visit anytime during their stay, or the general public can purchase a daily pass and just spend the day splashing around.

My kids absolutely love playing in the water and since moving from FL to NJ, the only water play they’ve gotten is during bath time. So I knew CoCo Key would be the perfect getaway for them and they ended up having a splashing good time! The water park was their favorite part of our staycation and my son is already asking to go back.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

We ventured over to the water park, which is accessible via the hotel and also has its own entrance, sometime early Saturday afternoon. As you walk in, there’s a counter for purchasing your passes and another counter for cashing in your arcade tickets.

Not only does CoCo Key offer an indoor water park, but also has a nice little arcade. If it weren’t for my son wanting so badly to play in the water park, he could have spent all day in the arcade.

Just beyond the entrance area are doors that lead you into the water park, which is two levels. You enter on the upper level and can either walk down a flight of stairs or take the elevator down to the lower level.

Upper Level

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Dip-In: This is a kiddie play area that’s perfect for the littlest swimmers. A one foot deep wading pool, Dip-In features a pirate ship in the center with double slides, as well as a baby bungee corner, and is lots of fun for toddlers and smaller kids.

The weekend we were visiting, the hotel was offering special movie nights that took place at the water park at 9:30 pm. This was after the water park closed at 9:00 pm, so it was only available to hotel guests. Friday night we went to check it out and the movie, Shrek the Third, was actually playing on the sail of the pirate ship! I thought that was pretty fun and a little added perk for the kids.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Lower Level

Coral Cove’s Slam Dunk: A three foot deep circular pool where you can enjoy a little water basketball.

Coconut Grove Lazy River: A three foot deep lazy river where you can hop in a float and take a relaxing 300 foot ride, but be sure to watch out for the splashy surprises along the way.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Lily Pad Adventure: A fun water activity that tests your balance and strength, the Lily Pad Adventure is like something you’d see in an obstacle course. With the help of an overhead rope to hang onto, do you think you could keep your balance long enough to cross the pool on floating “lily pads” without falling in?

Palm Grotto Indoor/Outdoor Spa: This one is for adults only. While the kids splash around, sit back and enjoy a hot, relaxing dip in the whirlpools of the hot tub spa.

Parrot’s Perch: In the center of it all is Parrot’s Perch. It’s like a big water playground and jungle gym that everyone can climb on, shoot water cannons, slip down the slides and get drenched when the 300 gallon water bucket at the top fills up and tips over.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Large Water Slides: If you’re looking for a real thrill, take a ride on one of the three large water slides – Pelican Plunge, Barracuda Blast, and Shark Slam. Grab a raft and make your way to the top by climbing the indoor stairway. The slides themselves twist, turn and wind outdoors, but they’re all completely covered and protected from the elements. The entrance and all three slide exits are indoors so you never actually step foot outside.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Food

If you plan to spend the whole day at CoCo Key, I can guarantee you’re going to get hungry. But never fear because you can pick up pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets and more at Gator’s Grab & Go, or grab a cocktail at Wet Rooster’s, a full service bar.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Safety

There are lifeguards, on lifeguards, on lifeguards at CoCo Key. They’re everywhere and they actually pay attention to ensure everyone stays safe. There was a lot of whistle blowing during our visit, haha.

If something were to happen though, there’s also a first aid station. And if you need a life jacket for your little swimmer, they’re on hand too.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

What to Bring

For a day at CoCo Key you’ll definitely need to bring your own towels. We just used our hotel bathroom towels since we didn’t bring any from home.

And since I know you’ll want to preserve some family memories, I’m sure you’ll bring along a camera or take photos with your cell phone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any photos of my kids playing around, for fear of dropping my phone in the water and the shear fact of having to wrangle two small kids, I really needed both of my hands available. I did see a lot of people who were wearing waterproof cell phone holders around their neck, so I would recommend bringing something like that along so your phone isn’t far out of reach, but is still protected.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

And for anything else you bring along, lockers can be rented ($10) to keep those items safe. There is plenty of space on both the upper and lower levels to sit, but if everyone in your party is enjoying the fun, you will not want to leave your belongings just sitting around. So the lockers are plus and you can access them at any time you need to.

Our Experience

Since we were visiting on a Saturday, I think the water park was a little more crowded than if we had visited another day. The kids had a really great time and we did too, but there are a few things I want to note.

The first thing is the smell of chlorine is pretty overpowering, which I totally understand given it’s a water park, but it kind of smells like a dirty chlorine. Not that fresh, super clean, dive right in kind of smell. And for as strong as the chlorine smell is and as much as they must be using, the water was pretty murky. I don’t know if this is just a result of all the traffic that comes in and out, or if it was intentional to give kind of like a natural outdoor look to the water.

The thing that really bummed us out was that Dip-In, the kiddie area on the upper level, was closed off and reserved for a birthday party. Birthday parties are a great feature that CoCo Key Water Resort offers, and there are a handful of private rooms near the resort entrance for facilitating them, as well as a large sitting area on the upper level where these parties can also be held.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

But at the same time, this really hindered how much freedom we could give our one year old. Since we couldn’t access the kiddie area, we were forced to stay on the lower level.

Let me preface this a little bit so it makes more sense as to why this bummed us out. So once you get wet, you better stay in the water because – You. Will. Freeze. After getting wet our daughter was literally shivering in our arms so it was either keep her in the water or wrap her in a towel, which she was not about to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else having fun.

The water in the Parrot’s Perch area is very shallow. We sat her down and it barely covered her legs, so this wasn’t going to work for us. The only other option was to sit in the water that was at the entrance to the lazy river. The water was warmer there and it was deep enough to keep our daughter decently submerged so that she wasn’t shivering. The problem is that this was not a very safe place for us to be, or anyone else for that matter.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
This is where we were sitting at the entrance to the lazy river.

There was traffic coming in and out for those visitors who wanted to ride around the lazy river, and not only that but there were bigger kids hanging out in that area as well and their splashing around and rough housing was not safe for our kids. So not having access to the kiddie area on the upper level was a bit of an issue for us and we actually only stayed for a little over an hour.

The other thing I want to note is that the day we checked out (Sunday), the water park was only open until 3:00 pm due to a private event (normally open until 6:00 pm). Since we had our passes, we could have stayed after checking out of our room and enjoyed the water park until it closed, but we chose not to. And I’m all for private events like this, but as a visitor who’s paying to enjoy a full day of water park fun, this would upset me. I’d hate to show up promising my kids a full day of fun, only to find out that’s not going to happen.

So I suggest calling ahead of time to ensure there are no special events taking place that could hinder your family’s fun. So long as there’s nothing going on that would have certain areas closed off, or affecting the park hours, I think you’ll have a good time.

Overall, my kids didn’t know any different and they had a ton of fun playing in the water. At CoCo Key Water Resort you won’t have to worry about sunscreen, but it’ll still wear you out like a day in the sun. Just the little amount of time we spent at the water park wore me out and I was ready for a nap as soon as we returned to our hotel room.

Have you ever visited an indoor water park?

Connect with Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel: Website | Facebook | TwitterInstagram

*Complimentary CoCo Key Water Resort passes were provided for purposes of facilitating this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Our Weekend Stay at The Hotel ML

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
~Thank you to The Hotel ML for hosting the Making Time family at a discounted rate. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

It’s been a while since my family has taken a vacation, so it was time I took action and planned something fun for us. Rather than going all out and traveling far, I decided to find something that was a little closer to home.

Since moving to NJ last November we haven’t really ventured out of our immediate area, so I thought a short staycation would be a great way to get out of the house, explore the state and enjoy some time together.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

So where did we go? We spent the weekend at The Hotel ML!

Hotel

Just about an hour and a half drive from our home, The Hotel ML is situated in Mt. Laurel, NJ. The hotel itself is very beautiful. The entrance is gorgeous and very inviting. As soon as we stepped foot into the hotel lobby, I was blown away.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There’s obviously the front desk, two sitting areas and a lounge where you can enjoy some beverages and watch a little TV. Everything appeared to be new and modern, and if it’s not new, then they’re doing a good job of keeping it up.

To the right of the lobby area there are meeting rooms for private events, such as conferences, wedding activities and other social events. In fact, I believe someone was hosting wedding activities the evening we checked in. I overheard their party talking about it while passing through the lobby the next day.

Our Room

To the left of the lobby area is the elevator and rooms. Our third floor room at The Hotel ML was a very nice size. It was probably the largest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and the kids were able to run around to let out a little of their excitement. With two double beds, a lounge chair and ottoman, office desk, dresser with TV and mini fridge, and full bathroom, it was a home away from home.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

After arriving we headed to the closest store to pick up a few snacks and drinks to stock our mini fridge. This was great because the kids are always wanting something, so having the mini fridge helped save us some money on food and drinks throughout the weekend.

While it was a spacious room, there were a few things that could use some improvement and it’s mostly all aesthetic. I was told the room was newly renovated, but the only thing that looked new was the bathroom sink and counter.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There were marker lines on the window curtains, most likely caused by kids during a previous stay. But it’s a kid-friendly hotel, so things like this are to be expected now and then. The furniture and mini fridge were also pretty dinged up. Again, this is something that can be expected with the traffic that comes in and out, but it was very obvious and immediately noticeable.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
This was the view from our large room window. Since it was 50 degrees out the pool was closed, hence the pool cover.

 

Another issue was the mattress or bed springs on one of the beds was broken, I think. I didn’t even notice it until the day we left because I had been sleeping on the other bed, but I sat on it while getting ready to leave and drastically sunk down.

So again, nothing in the room really stood out to me as being renovated besides the bathroom sink. While I’m on the topic of the bathroom, I also want to note the toilet was lower to the ground than an average toilet. Not a complaint, but just something to mention. This is actually great for the kids, but as an adult you better make sure you have your squat game on point.

After being blown away at the entry and lobby area, I was expecting a bit of a nicer room. Overall, the room was okay and I’d consider it pretty average. Nothing too over the top and fancy, but it was suitable for our weekend stay.

Dining

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

If you get a little hungry, you can always order room service or head down to Talia’s. Situated just behind the lobby lounge is Talia’s Restaurant and Bar. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to dine at Talia’s, but they serve up-scale comfort food all day.

In the morning you can enjoy a breakfast buffet, and for lunch and dinner you can order dishes like Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Portobello Sandwich, half pound Black Angus burger or Cajun Seared Salmon, just to name a few.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

If you’re just looking for a snack, sweet treat or cup of coffee, I suggest heading to The Little Shop of Coffee, located between the elevators and front desk. You can find snacks, ice cream treats, a variety of coffees and a table or two to just sit and enjoy some conversation.

There’s also PLENTY of off-site dining options, too. Starbucks, Ale House and Bob Evans are just across the street from the hotel. And in the general area, a short ride will take you to any restaurant you can imagine. It would take me a while to list them all, but during our stay we dined at Don Pablos, Cracker Barrel and Grand Lux Cafe.

Attractions

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

So, you’re probably wondering what’s so great about The Hotel ML that we chose to spend our weekend family staycation there. The answer is simple – CoCo Key Water Resort! The kids had a blast and I can’t wait to tell you all about it – tomorrow, haha.

Sounds like fun, right? I’ll give you a little info now, just to be fair. CoCo Key Water Resort is on the same premises as The Hotel ML. It’s housed in a separate building towards the back of the property, but can easily be accessed from the hotel.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
One of the CoCo Key wristbands is missing because my son just couldn’t wait to get his weekend fun started.

 

As soon as we left the lobby area and walked to the elevators, we could smell the chlorine so there’s no missing the fact it’s there, even if you’re not visiting the hotel for purposes of the water park. To get there, just take the elevator down to the first floor (the lobby is on the second floor) and walk your way through the halls.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There are rooms on the first floor, so I would assume if you’re staying on the first floor, you’re probably going to hear a lot more noise and traffic as hotel guests utilizing the water park make their way through the halls. But just a short one to two minute walk and you’re ready to enjoy some indoor water park fun!

Aside from the on-site fun of CoCo Key Water Resort, there are also some fun things in the general area to do. Want to do some shopping? Head to Moorestown Mall or Cherry Hill Mall. Want to do something fun with the family? There’s a bowling alley right down the road or spend a few hours at Sky Zone Trampoline Park. Still not enough? Make your way to The Funplex for bumper cars, laser tag and more!

I had no idea there was so much to do in the Mt. Laurel area. It was nice to get out of the house and have a mini family vacation, while exploring what our new home state has to offer. I can’t wait until our next staycation!

When and where was your last staycation?

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*This hotel stay was provided at a discounted rate for purposes of this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Regal $1 Summer Movie Express

Check out the schedule for the Regal Summer Movie Express and enjoy $1 family movies all summer long! #summerfun #SummerMovieExpress

“Schoooooooools out for the summer!” Okay, maybe not quite yet, but summer will be here before we know it. And it’s never too soon to start planning fun activities, right?

One of my favorite (and cheap) activities to enjoy with my kids is the Summer Movie Express by Regal Cinemas. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, various movie theaters show some of the year’s best family movies. The best part is admission is just $1/person! Now that’s something I can afford.

Check out the schedule for the Regal Summer Movie Express and enjoy $1 family movies all summer long! #summerfun #SummerMovieExpress

Some of this summer’s features include Trolls, Kung Fu Panda 3, Storks, SING, The Secret Life of Pets, Monster Trucks and many more.

Week 1

  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Ice Age: Collision Course

Week 2

  • Trolls
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Week 3

  • Monster Trucks
  • Penguins of Madagascar

Week 4

  • Rio 2
  • The Boxtrolls

Week 5

  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • SING

Week 6

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Ratchet and Clank

Week 7

  • The Spongebob Square Pants Movie: Sponge Out of Water
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin

Week 8

  • Happy Feet 2
  • Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Week 9

  • Storks
  • The LEGO Batman Movie

Check out the schedule for the Regal Summer Movie Express and enjoy $1 family movies all summer long! #summerfun #SummerMovieExpress

You’ll need to check your theater’s schedule because the dates vary by state and region, all depending on when school is officially out for summer and when it starts back up next year.

As if the cheap admission wasn’t great enough, a portion of all ticket sales goes to the Will Rogers Institute, too!

What movie are you most excited to see with your kids?

*This is not a sponsored post nor did I receive any samples. I am only sharing my own experiences and opinions are 100% my own.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

#TBT with Pocoyo & Sonic {Giveaway}

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway
~Thank you to NCircle Entertainment for providing DVDs for review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

This week has been a total throwback for me. NCircle Entertainment has some pretty amazing releases this month. Last week I shared with you the new Dino Dan: Dino Go Seek release, but this week I’ve really had fun reliving some childhood memories with Pocoyo and Sonic the Hedgehog.

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

While Pocoyo wasn’t around when I was a kid, that doesn’t mean he can’t offer a little inspiration from my childhood. The new Pocoyo: Playtime! release is filled with over an hour of nothing but playtime fun. One of the activities Pocoyo and his friends partake in is a short camp out, complete with a tent, hammock and flashlight.

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

This inspired me to help my kids build an indoor tent and have a little camp out of our own. This is something I did all the time as a child. We turned our entire living room into one big tent (this was a good way to get my kids to clean up too, haha) and loaded it up with pillows and blankets, and just hung out for a while. We got a little hungry so my son did a little fishing and quickly caught us something to eat!

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

I love Pocoyo for my toddler because it introduces children to simple and basic vocabulary, and even starts teaching concepts like location. In one particular part of this DVD, Pocoyo’s ducky friend Pato teaches what it means for a ball to be outside, inside, behind and in front of a box. The simple, but fun and colorful graphics and playtime adventures are a wonderful learning tool for youngsters.

Pocoyo: Playtime! Stories

  • Playtime
  • Camping
  • Hide and Seek
  • Wheels
  • The Amazing Tower
  • Pocoyo’s New Toys
  • Painting with Pocoyo
  • Playing Dress Up
  • Pocoyo’s Restaurant
  • Ahoy, Pocoyo!
  • Traffic Jam

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

And the real blast from the past this week? Sonic the Hedgehog! Let me first start off by telling you that in second grade, I dressed up as Sonic for Halloween. It was all blue everything, including a foam-like mask that had Sonic’s signature spikey hair. I have no idea why I remember that other than it was pretty awesome!

So to be completely honest, when I saw NCircle Entertainment was releasing Sonic Underground Vol. 2, I knew I had to have it. Not for the kids, but for me! Although my son has enjoyed watching the three disc set with me.

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

If you’re not familiar with Sonic Underground, it’s a series of stories that tell how Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manic search for their mother, Queen Aleena. And it just wouldn’t be Sonic without Dr. Robotnik, so of course he’s the villain still working against Sonic. Both are trying to find Queen Aleena’s crown jewel, which will help them locate Queen Aleena herself. Who do you think will succeed in finding it first?

Volume 2 happens to be the last and final stories of the Sonic Underground tale and has a run time of about 7 hours. It even includes 20 bonus music videos because did I mention Sonic and his siblings have a rock band? Their name is Sonic Underground! Duh!

Sonic Underground Vol. 2 Stories

  • The Jewel of the Crown
  • Three Hedgehogs and a Baby
  • Dunes Day
  • Mummy, Dearest
  • The Hedgehog in an Iron Mask
  • Six is a Crowd
  • Wedding Bell Blues
  • Flying Fortress
  • No Hedgehog is an Island
  • New Echidna in Town
  • Country Crisis
  • Haircraft in Space
  • Healer
  • Sonia’s Choice
  • The Big Melt
  • Sleepers
  • Bartleby the Prisoner
  • The Art of Destruction
  • The Pendant
  • Virtual Danger

Does any of this bring up any of your childhood memories? You can have your own throwback week because I have a chance for you to win a copy of both of these fun DVDs! Just enter using the giveaway form below!

When was the last time you had an indoor camp out or built a fort?

Connect with In this new DVD, Autumn Journey: Guess How Much I Love You, your children will follow Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends on 6 autumn adventures. Enter now for a chance to win your very own copy! #giveawayWebsite / Facebook / Twitter

The new Pocoyo and Sonic DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment this month really have me reliving my childhood. It's been a real blast from the past! #TBT #Pocoyo #SonictheHedgehog #SonicUnderground #NCircleEntertainment #Giveaway

One lucky Making Time reader will win a copy of Pocoyo: Playtime! and Sonic Underground Vol. 2! GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on May 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm est.  Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

*I received samples free of charge from NCircle Entertainment as part of their Brand Ambassadorship. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Stylishly & Affordably Set Your Easter Dinner Table with Kmart + $100 Gift Card Giveaway

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway
~This post is sponsored by coupons.com. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.~

If you have a Kmart in your area and you’re not taking advantage of its grocery selections, you are truly missing out. Most people tend not to think of groceries when they think of Kmart, but I oftentimes shop there for household supplies and yes, general groceries. You know I love saving a buck or two anywhere I can and Kmart happens to be one of the places I can do that!

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

Easter is just two weeks away and is one of the holidays that my family gathers together for a big family feast. This year I’m helping prepare for my family’s big Easter dinner and have been tasked with table settings and centerpieces. Can you guess where I’ll be shopping? Kmart, of course! And I’ll be saving along the way!

Before I head to the store, I decided to do a little browsing online. I know they’ll have everything I need, but I wanted to get a head start because I tend to be a bit indecisive. I’m one of those people who picks something out, puts it in the cart, does some other shopping and then loops back around because I’ve changed my mind. By looking online, I can at least see what I might be able to expect in-store and ponder my final decisions beforehand. Otherwise, I might be in the store ALL day.

I’m starting with the centerpieces and the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Easter, is Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. How can I incorporate these into cool centerpieces that are more than just pleasing to the eye? I want centerpieces that people can really enjoy and won’t just be stored or trashed after the holiday.

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

I think it would be cool to make them tasty! In the spirit of Easter, why not have some centerpieces that feature candy shaped like Easter eggs and Easter bunnies? My family loves chocolate, so I certainly know a centerpiece with chocolate will not go to waste. This week, Kmart has Easter 6-pack candies and Lindt Gold Bunnies on sale for just $2.50 (ends 4/8)! And next week Easter Packaged Chocolates will be just $1.50 (4/9 to 4/15). These deals are totally worth two trips to the store!

The candies will all be perfect for my centerpieces (and a snack while I’m putting them together, just saying). If I arrange them all in cute little baskets, with some grass filling (that can be reused next year, I might add), nothing will go to waste and my family will get a little extra surprise at Easter dinner this year!

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

So with the centerpieces all planned out, I need to decide on coordinating table settings – plates, utensils, cups, etc. Since I’m going to Kmart, I want to look at the store’s own Smart Sense brand.

I already buy Smart Sense products on a regular basis so I know they’re worthy of my family’s Easter dinner, but a special little added bonus is that when I spend $10+ on Smart Sense items, I’ll earn 25% back in Shop Your Way Rewards Points (ends 5/1). It’s a win-win!

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

Look at these cute and decorative plates and cups I came across! The design and colors are great for an Easter celebration, and I love that they match. I’ll be getting dinner plates, salad bowls, dessert plates, cups, napkins and utensils. Lots of utensils! My family likes to eat, toss their dishes, take a break and then come back for more before hitting the dessert table.

On top of the centerpieces and table settings, I think I’m going to put together a host gift for my mom, since she’s hosting everyone this year. I know after having all of us crazies in her house, she’ll need a little something special for herself. She loves snacking so I’m thinking a few Smart Sense snacking nuts and trail mixes will do the trick!

Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

So you see? Kmart’s grocery selections are worth visiting! All the candy and tableware for my family’s big Easter dinner are going to be perfect and I think my mom will be overjoyed at her host gift. On top of that, this is one holiday my wallet won’t feel the wrath!

What will you buy at Kmart in preparation for Easter?


Preparing for a big Easter family dinner? Kmart can help you with all your needs, from tableware to Easter candies. And your wallet will thank you for shopping at Kmart, too! Head over to the blog to find out how you can save at Kmart this Easter holiday and enter to win a $100 Kmart gift card! #LifeisRidiculouslyAwesome #Easter #savingmoney #Kmart #ShopYourWay #giveaway

Need to do a little Easter prep yourself? One lucky Making Time reader will win a $100 Kmart gift card! So get those entries in and start planning your next trip to Kmart!

This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on April 16, 2017 at midnight.  Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This post is sponsored by coupons.com. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Easter Looks for Less

Easter is about a month away and that means it's time to start planning Easter baskets, activities and outfits! Luckily, Gymboree has you covered when it comes to kids' outfits. March 17-19 Gymboree even has 50% off sitewide, so now is the perfect time to get those Easter looks for less! Head over to the blog to check out the looks I pieced together for my kids and let me know which ones you think I should get! #Gymboree #Easter #EasterOutfit #EasterDress

~This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for any purchase made through such links.~

Easter is just about a month away, so it’s time to start thinking activities and outfits. When I was a child, my mom made all of my Easter dresses. I’m talking my mom went all out, from tulle underneath the dress, to the apron that was worn over the top of the dress.

I kind of wish I had the time and skill to do the same for my own daughter. Well, in all honesty, I could make the time to do it and while I’m certainly no professional seamstress, I do have a little skill.

But since I’m being honest here, on the other hand, there are so many cute and affordable options in stores these day, too. The time it would take to make one and the cost of the materials just isn’t much worth it.

Stores like Gymboree or Janie and Jack have some of the most adorable clothing options for kids, including Easter outfits. In fact, Gymboree has 50% off sitewide today (3/17) through Sunday (3/19). It’s the perfect time to get my kids their Easter outfits!

I’ve been browsing the website and pieced together two options for both my son and daughter. Take a look and tell me which one’s you think I should get!


Son Option 1

Easter is about a month away and that means it's time to start planning Easter baskets, activities and outfits! Luckily, Gymboree has you covered when it comes to kids' outfits. March 17-19 Gymboree even has 50% off sitewide, so now is the perfect time to get those Easter looks for less! Head over to the blog to check out the looks I pieced together for my kids and let me know which ones you think I should get! #Gymboree #Easter #EasterOutfit #EasterDress

Shop the look: Linen Vest – $18.48 | Plaid Shirt – $14.98 | Linen Pants – $16.48 | Dressy Tie – $6.48 | Wingtip Shoes – $18.48


Son Option 2

Easter is about a month away and that means it's time to start planning Easter baskets, activities and outfits! Luckily, Gymboree has you covered when it comes to kids' outfits. March 17-19 Gymboree even has 50% off sitewide, so now is the perfect time to get those Easter looks for less! Head over to the blog to check out the looks I pieced together for my kids and let me know which ones you think I should get! #Gymboree #Easter #EasterOutfit #EasterDress

Shop the look: Linen Shirt – $14.98 | Belted Twill Shorts – $14.98 | Bow Tie – $6.48 | Chambray Suspenders – $9.98 | Seersucker Cap – $9.98


Daughter Option 1

Easter is about a month away and that means it's time to start planning Easter baskets, activities and outfits! Luckily, Gymboree has you covered when it comes to kids' outfits. March 17-19 Gymboree even has 50% off sitewide, so now is the perfect time to get those Easter looks for less! Head over to the blog to check out the looks I pieced together for my kids and let me know which ones you think I should get! #Gymboree #Easter #EasterOutfit #EasterDress

Shop the look: Floral Eyelet Dress – $27.48 | Cropped Cardigan – $16.48 | Flower Sandals – $16.48 | Floral Eyelet Headband – $6.48


Daughter Option 2

Easter is about a month away and that means it's time to start planning Easter baskets, activities and outfits! Luckily, Gymboree has you covered when it comes to kids' outfits. March 17-19 Gymboree even has 50% off sitewide, so now is the perfect time to get those Easter looks for less! Head over to the blog to check out the looks I pieced together for my kids and let me know which ones you think I should get! #Gymboree #Easter #EasterOutfit #EasterDress

Shop the look: Rosette Headband – $4.48 | 1-Shoulder Floral Dress – $27.48 | Cropped Cardigan – $16.48 | Scalloped Sandals – $18.48 | Eyelet Purse – $12.48


Which outfits do you like the best?

*This post contains affiliate links, in which I will receive compensation for any purchase made through such links.  My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand.  Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Ecocentric Mom Mystery Bonus Box

I love monthly subscription boxes and Ecocentric Mom happens to be one of my favs! This time around, though, I'm showing you an extra bonus box, the Mom & Baby Mystery Bonus Box. You won't believe all of the full-size products included! #EcocentricMom #allnatural #parenting #healthybaby #healthyfamily #MysteryBonusBox #subscriptionbox

~Thank you to Ecocentric Mom for providing a Mystery Bonus Box for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase.~

I’m sure you already know how much I love monthly subscription boxes. From storybooks and activities for my kids, to men’s clothing for my boyfriend, to beauty products for myself and even general home products for the whole family, there is no shortage of subscription boxes delivered to our house every month.

One of my favorite subscription boxes is Ecocentric Mom, which offers all-natural products that promote healthy living for mom and baby, and even during pregnancy. I’ve actually shared with you a Mom & Baby Box and a Mom Box from Ecocentric Mom in the past. But today I want to share an extra special box from Ecocentric Mom, the Mystery Bonus Box.

There are two Mystery Bonus Box types available – Mom/Woman or Mom & Baby. In the video below, I’m unboxing one of the Mom & Baby Mystery Bonus Boxes. Take a look!

What’s in my Mom & Baby Mystery Bonus Box?

  • Silimap Folding Silicone Map (for baby)
  • Oilogic Stuffy Nose & Cough Essential Oil Roll-On (for baby)
  • Kala Coconut Oil (for mom & baby)
  • Hevea Natural Rubber Pacifier (for baby)
  • Soft Chick Rattle (for baby)
  • EcoLips PoGo Organic Lip Balm (for mom)
  • Manna Kadar Gloss Stain (for mom)
  • Hyperbiotics Pro-Moms (for mom)
  • Patel’s Milk Water Tea (for mom)
  • Weleda Baby Derma Diaper Rash Cream (for baby)
  • Shea Moisture Lotion and Baby Wash/Shampoo Samples (for baby)
  • Fizz Wizz Cleaning Tablets Sample (for baby)
  • Fizz Wizz Pacifier/Nipple/Bottle Wipes (for baby)
  • Dapple Dish Detergent Sample (for mom)
  • Zabana Essentials Balancing & Calming Face + Body Tonic (for mom)
  • Wrap-N-Mat Snack Pouch (for baby)

I love monthly subscription boxes and Ecocentric Mom happens to be one of my favs! This time around, though, I'm showing you an extra bonus box, the Mom & Baby Mystery Bonus Box. You won't believe all of the full-size products included! #EcocentricMom #allnatural #parenting #healthybaby #healthyfamily #MysteryBonusBox #subscriptionbox

Oh my goodness! Just look at ALL of these amazing products! Again, everything is all-natural, organic and promotes a healthy home and body. Some of these products I’m familiar with because I received them in previous Ecocentric Mom boxes, but the majority of these products and brands are new to me. That’s one of the things I love about boxes like this. I get to try new products and brands that I otherwise probably wouldn’t even know about!

And don’t let me forget to mention that all but three or four products in this box are full-sized! Just so you know, I took the time to research every one of these products just to see what everything would retail for and you’re not going to believe this – $169 (minus the samples)! Holy moly!

Guess how much the Mystery Bonus Box is! Just $44.99! Living an all-natural lifestyle can be expensive. I’m not here to tell you that my family lives a completely all-natural and organic lifestyle because that’s far from the truth, but when I come across good deals like this and know the products are better for me and my family, it would be insane not to take advantage!

Get your Ecocentric Mom Mystery Bonus Box here!

Have you ever tried Ecocentric Mom?

Connect with ecomom-logoShop / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram /Pinterest

*This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase.  I also received a sample free of charge.  My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand.  Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Tackle Picky Eating with a Mealtime Treasure Hunt #GotrovoFun

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

~Thank you to Gotrovo for providing a Mealtime Treasure Hunt for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase.~

I used to sarcastically brag that my 5 year old son had quite the food palette, with a diet that consisted mostly of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and hot dogs. So sophisticated, right? But now I can do some real bragging and I owe all my thanks to Gotrovo.

I’ve tried a few different tactics to get my son eating new and different foods. I’ve tried hidden veggie recipes, letting him help prepare his meals, cute food creations and even the eat it or do without method (most of the time he’d choose to go hungry, which broke my heart). After all of these fails, I knew I needed a different tactic and that’s what Gotrovo’s Mealtime Treasure Hunt offers.

Concept & Setup

The whole concept behind the Mealtime Treasure Hunt is that kids get rewarded in a fun way (getting to the treasure) for trying new foods. The set, which includes a washable double-sided treasure map, a plate, bowl, cup, fork and shovel (spoon), navigation coin and reward cards, all have a treasure theme.

The map features things like treasure chests, pirate ships, castles, fairies, mermaids and waterfalls. My son absolutely loves everything pirates and treasure, so I knew for sure this was exactly what he needed.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

To get started with the Mealtime Treasure Hunt, you simply set up the place setting. Put the map down (either side), choose the treasure and place the appropriate reward card on top of the treasure chest in the middle of the map. Then set the plate of food on top of that and add the fork and shovel, which is just too cute by the way. It’s a spoon, but looks like a shovel for digging up the treasure. And don’t forget the cup or drink to wash the dirt off any treasures found.

Treasure Hunt Rules

One of the things about the Mealtime Treasure Hunt that I really like, is that you’re in control of the foods offered. You get to choose the rules of the hunt, too.

For my son, I decided that each bite he took would get him one step closer to the treasure. So after every bite he moves the coin to the next spot on the map until he gets all the way around and to the treasure. Ten bites of food and he’s treasure bound!

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

As a kid who has a limited taste for food, I feel like this is suitable for him, but you can change the rules depending on what you’re trying to get out of your child. I just wanted the boy to take a bite of something he wouldn’t normally eat. Once he starts eating more foods on a regular basis without using the Mealtime Treasure Hunt, I’ll change the rules to continue challenging him.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

You’re also in control of the treasure. Just think of anything you know your child would enjoy and pick one as the treasure for that particular meal. And any meal at that – breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s great for all meals and even dinner’s out. Just take the map and navigation coin along with you.

As for the treasure, there’s even a reward card that lets your child choose his own treasure once he reaches it. But again, it’s all up to you how you set it up and let it play out.

Treasure Ideas:

  • Child’s favorite candy
  • FaceTime with grandparent(s)
  • Hour at the park
  • New toy
  • Money
  • Weekend at grandma’s (this is a win-win for parent and child, haha)
  • Favorite food for lunch tomorrow
  • Stickers
  • New crayons
  • Trip to the library
  • Outing to a matinee movie
  • Skip a chore

In my opinion, the more involved the treasure, the more involved getting to the treasure should be. For example, if the treasure is an outing to a matinee movie, I would make the treasure hunt a little more challenging, meaning the meal is a little more challenging for your child. I might require my son to take more bites of veggies to get to the treasure.

Does it work?

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

So how did my son do? Let’s just say he’s a challenge himself. The first night was a complete failure. He didn’t even take one bite! But I think I know why. I was so excited to give the Mealtime Treasure Hunt a go, that I went into it a little too strong. I gave him a plate with all foods that he wouldn’t normally eat and I think that was a mistake on my part.

I offered meatloaf, roasted potatoes and cabbage. I knew for sure he wouldn’t eat the cabbage, but I still wanted it on his plate for exposure. I thought for sure he’d at least take a bite of the potatoes because I even put ketchup on them. He eats ketchup on everything! But no. Not. One. Single. Bite.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

I realized that I needed to ease him into it and couldn’t expect him to dive right in, even though that would have been great. So the next time we tried the Mealtime Treasure Hunt (must have been wild hair day too, haha) I made it a little easier for him. I gave him chicken, which I knew he’d eat, but only gave him enough bites of it to get him eight steps closer to the treasure.

This left him with two more bites to X marks the spot. And to my surprise he took a bite of rice and then ate a piece of carrot. I almost cried! He never eats rice or carrots, and he ate both bites like it was nothing.

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

He reached the treasure and claimed his prize of M&M’s (his favorite candy). He was so excited that he got the treasure. I think giving him that initial push of being so close to the treasure helped a lot and knowing it would only take two more bites to reach his destination, it was a breeze for him and a victory for me.

Since then we’ve had some failures, but we’ve also had some victories. In my book, no victory is too small. Just the other day, he took a few bites out of a burrito, which is another food he would have never even looked twice at. I let him help me put it together and it was nothing but a little rice, ground beef and shredded cheese, but this was huge for him!

Have a picky eater at home? Me too! The Mealtime Treasure Hunt by Gotrovo has been helping my picky eater try new foods and I couldn't be happier! Head over to the blog to check it out! #Gotrovo #MealtimeTreasureHunt #pickyeater #GotrovoFun

That particular night I let him take the shortcut to the treasure, which is another cool feature of the Mealtime Treasure Hunt. If your child is struggling, is eating a smaller meal, or as in this case, eating multiple bites of the same thing, the map offers a shortcut that only takes seven bites to get to the treasure.

Now my son asks about his treasure map when it’s time to eat. He knows all of the great treasures that could be in store for him and it makes mealtime fun. When I tell him that he gets to use his treasure map, he always says “Okay, I’m going to eat chicken and rice and carrots.” As I mentioned above, that was the first meal he ate and successfully found the treasure. I just melt when he says he wants to eat rice and carrots. Hopefully soon he’ll start eating them without needing a reward for doing so.

Do you have a picky eater who would benefit from the Mealtime Treasure Hunt?

Get the Gotrovo Mealtime Treasure Hunt on Amazon for just $21 (Amazon prices change all the time so act fast)!

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*Thank you to Gotrovo for providing a Mealtime Treasure Hunt for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Exploring Outer Space with The Cat in the Hat {Giveaway}

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

~Thank you to NCircle Entertainment for providing me with a Cat in the Hat DVD and book for review. This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase.~

As you probably already know, last week was Dr. Seuss week and the Read Across America event took place on March 2nd, in light of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Not only did we have fun with Dr. Seuss activities last week and participate in Read Across America, but we also spent the week exploring outer space.

Each day my son did a different activity, all of which were space related. And everything he did led up to a special Friday movie. It’s just like when I was in school and the big box TV was rolled into the classroom. I knew right then my school day was taking a turn for the better. It was the same thing here. With a little help from NCircle Entertainment, he took an adventure through outer space with The Cat in the Hat! The Cat in the Hat knows a lot about all kinds of things, even outer space.

Monday

You can’t really learn about outer space without visiting, and you can’t really visit without becoming an astronaut, so that’s how my son started the week. On Monday he created his very own astronaut and started learning about the different things he might see way out of this world.

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

I found a large array of outer space printables just from searching on Pinterest, so that’s where all of the outer space activities and ideas for the week came from. His astronaut printable was a color by letter activity and the other coloring printable was a color by sight word. Both of these were perfect for his age!

Tuesday

Now that my son was an official astronaut, he had to figure out how to actually get to outer space. His solution was to build his own rocket ship. On Tuesday, we took to his painting easel so he could create one!

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

We actually started by painting his foot blue and orange, and then he stepped on his easel paper. The blue part would be the body of his rocket and the orange part, the fire coming out the engines. It was a nice starting point to get his creative juices flowing. After that, I let him do his own thing.

I did tell him his rocket needed some triangular wings (thinking of those at the base of the rocket) and he took it literally, giving his rocket green wings. They look like bird wings to me, but that’s the beauty of a child’s creativity. Besides, it’s his rocket ship and he can do whatever he wants to it.

Wednesday

Wednesday he did a little more research as to what he should expect to see when he gets to outer space. You know, just so he’s prepared once he gets there. With a couple of connect the dots activities, he realized there was a lot to see and explore – stars, planets, passing rocket ships and more!

Thursday

Now we’re getting somewhere. My son is an official astronaut, has is own rocket ship and is ready for exploration. Outer space here he comes! 5-4-3-2-1, BLAST OFF!

Thursday he started with four maze activities – exploring through his rocket ship, the moon, a star and finally, Saturn.

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

After he finished those, we participated in the Read Across America event by reading his new Cat in the Hat book, There’s No Place Like Space! It couldn’t be more perfect for celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and keeping with our outer space theme for the week.

Friday

Friday arrived and it was finally time to debut his new DVD, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Space. Following a robotic dog that came to earth, the Cat in the Hat took him on an out of this world adventure in the Space-ama-racer.

They meet Astronaut Audrey at her space station, at which time she introduces them to Space Rover (the robotic dog) who is helping her explore outer space. Before they know it, Space Rover gets tangled in some space junk while exploring and it’s up to Cat, Nick and Sally to save him. This is just the start of the adventure, as they follow Space Rover from planet to planet, through asteroids and so much more!

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

After watching the movie, I helped him cut out all of the activities he’d been working on during the week and using push-pin magnets, we placed them all on our dishwasher.

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

This allowed him to move the pieces around how he wanted and maneuver his astronaut through outer space. Along with the movie, it was a simple, but fun way to end his week exploring and learning about outer space. 

Want to have your own outer space week with the Cat in the Hat? Enter using the giveaway form below and you could win copies of the DVD and book to get you started!

Are you ready to venture to outer space with The Cat in the Hat?

Connect with In this new DVD, Autumn Journey: Guess How Much I Love You, your children will follow Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends on 6 autumn adventures. Enter now for a chance to win your very own copy! #giveawayWebsite / Facebook / Twitter

Ready to explore outer space with The Cat in the Hat? Take a look at our outer space week activities and enter to win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle (DVD and book)! #DrSeuss #TheCatintheHat #NCircleEntertainment #outerspace

One lucky Making Time reader will win a Cat in the Hat outer space bundle that includes the DVD and book shown here! GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway is open to US Residents, ages 18+ and ends on March 20, 2017 at 11:59 pm est.  Random winner will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or prize will be forfeited. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.
*This post contains affiliate links, in which I may receive compensation for your purchase. I received samples free of charge from NCircle Entertainment as part of their Brand Ambassadorship. My opinions are 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.