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Summer Reading Programs 2014

Summer Reading Programs 2014

 Here are some great opportunities to make reading fun this summer for your family and win some prizes as well. Click the links and sign up.  Make sure to check your local libraries for their summer reading programs. Our family once won tickets to a baseball game. Click Here to download the pdf.

 Happy Summer Schooling!


BJU Press Summer Reading Program

Make reading a part of your summer! Explore new places, meet new people, and experience amazing adventures—all while sitting in a lawn chair or on your couch at home! Once readers submit the completion form, they will receive a free surprise and will be eligible for the prize drawings!


Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Challenge 2014

Kids who read 8 books from any Pottery Barn Kids recommended reading list by July 31 can earn a FREE book at participating retail stores, while supplies last. Join staff at your local Pottery Barn Kids store to complete the challenge together at their Weekly Story Time and enjoy healthy snacks from Happy Family, activities and more.


Scholastic Reading Challenge 2014 The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge™ is a FREE online reading program for children. Kids can read and log minutes all summer, take weekly challenges and earn rewards, and help set a new reading world record! (May 5-September 5, 2014)


Sylvan Book Adventure 2014 Kids in grades K-8 can find a book, take quizzes on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.


 Half Price Books “Feed Your Brain” 2013 Summer Reading Program Kids ages 14 and younger can participate and earn Half Price Books® Bookworm Bucks. Read for at least 15 minutes each day of June and July (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning), add up your minutes, and once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed log to earn HPB Bookworm Bucks for each month. One top reader per age group each month will receive a Top reader prize — a $20 HPB Gift Card. (Promotion valid for June and July, 2014.)


Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Kids Earn a Free Book, Summer Reading Kit and More! Activities and Teaching Tips in our Exclusive Kit


Pizza Hut’s Book It Summer Reading Challenge

The challenge incorporates reading with fun activities, exciting games and a chance for your kids to win some impressive prizes.


 TD Bank: Read 10 books this summer and log then on the free summer reading log. Take the completed form in to your nearest TD Bank and get $10 deposited into your new orexisting young savers account.


 Chuck E Cheese Reading Rewards

Earn 10 FREE tokens each time your child reads for 2 weeks in a row. Complete the form to claim the free tokens. A food purchase is required though.  They also offer other reward calendars. Check them out HERE.

 Florida Public Libraries  Check your local library for more free reading programs with activities and incentives for kids of all ages. Most libraries also have story times and other reading themed activities.

Here is a small sampling of what’s going on around Florida Libraries this summer in my neck of the woods:



Reading with the Rays: Read Your Way to the Ballpark

By reading books this summer, elementary school students in grades three through five in Charlotte, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties can circle the bases – first, second, third and home – and collect prizes as they go. Make it all the way around to home and the ultimate reward is a ticket to a Rays game at Tropicana Field this season to see my teammates and me in action.

Go to your local library to get your game card. As you read, track your hours by rounding the bases on your game card and collect Rays rewards along the way. Round the bases by reading a total of 24 hours this summer and receive a ticket to a Rays game!


Orange County Library Summer Reading Program 2014!

Fizz, Boom, Read! Join us this summer with weekly special events featuring science, animals, arts and storytelling at all Orange County Library System locations. Complete the reading and activity calendar and enter the drawing to win prizes such as free stuff, a hotel stay for your family or tickets to WonderWorks, Orlando Putting Edge, Central Florida Zoo and lots more! Teens can win Blue Man Group, a brand new wake board and bindings, iFly gift certificate and more! They even have a program for adults.


June 16, 2014 Posted by | G-Force Academy | , , | Leave a comment

Florida Family Fun 411_Christmas 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Here are some sweet memory making events to enjoy with your family this Christmas season. Visit Our Homespun Holidays where we will be posting more holiday family fun to share with your family.




North Pole Express

North Pole Express

All Aboard for an express trip to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole! Christmas Carolers will be entertaining the passengers with festive songs throughout the journey. Santa will be available to greet every child upon arrival at the North Pole and present each one with a special gift. The round-trip ride with stop at the North Pole will last approximately 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Santa Claus Special

The Santa Claus Special is a day-time excursion that lasts approximately 1.5 hours round-trip. Guests do not get off the train as Santa will be onboard to greet every child and present them with a small gift.

For available dates and pricing visit The Florida Railroad Museum

Universal Orlando Christmas
Holiday Celebrations

Christmas at Universal Studios Orlando 

December 4th, 2010 through January 1st, 2011

No need to travel to New York City for the holiday season! Universal Orlando brings a touch of New York City to Orlando during this holiday celebrations.

Experience a Musical Celebration of Holiday Fun & Excitement at Universal Orlando Resort.

Bring your family and enjoy the Universal Christmas Celebrations from December 4th, 2010 through January 1st, 2011.

Enjoy the Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios, with authentic balloons, floats, and performers direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Meet the Grinch in Islands of Adventure, presenting the one and only "How The Grinch Stole Christmas Live." And experience some of your all time holiday favorite performers in the Universal Holiday Concert Series.

Universal Holiday Celebrations Highlights

  • The KidZone Holiday Show: Join the fun with your character friends as they dance to holiday hits in this live show.
  • Barney’s Christmas Show: Sing along and clap along with Barney and friends in A Day In The Park Show. A show your little ones will never forget!
  • Blues Brothers Christmas Show: See the Blues Brothers live performing holiday favorites like "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" and "Blue Christmas" with snow on Delancey Street at the end of each show.
  • Wrap up your day at Universal Studios with the big Hollywood finish of Universal 360–A Cinesphere Spectacular. Through the unique "Cinesphere" technology you’ll experience the sights and sounds of some of Hollywood’s biggest films projected onto huge spheres in the Universal Studios lagoon, plus one of the largest laser displays in Florida, dazzling pyrotechnics and more. It’s the most explosive, jaw-dropping cinematic adventure you’ve ever seen!

Christmas Family Fun in St. Petersburg, FL

Annual Santa Holiday Parade.

Sat, December 3, 10:00am – 12:30pm

St. Petersburg’s 84th Annual Lions Club Santa Parade is Saturday, December 3, beginning at 10 a.m. from Central Ave. and 5th St. NOTE NEW ROUTE THIS YEAR: the parade travels east on Central to 2nd St. then turns left to 1st Ave. N., turns right and goes east along 1st Ave. N. for two blocks to Beach Drive, then turns north to 5th Ave. NE, disbanding near the Vinoy Resort. Free family fun, bands, floats, costumed characters, dancers and much more. Followed by Snowfest in N. Straub Park, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 727-893-7441.


A Real Snow Event – 65 Tons of Snow!.

Sat, December 3, 11am – 3pm

North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg expects sixty-five tons of snow to fall Saturday, December 3 at Snowfest, a "real" snow event in North Straub Park, 5th Ave. and Beach Drive NE. from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Activities include toboggan slides, climbing wall, art tent, moonwalk, reindeer races, giant slide, glice ice skating, and KiddyLand — an area designed especially for pre-schoolers with inflatable games, cookie decorating, snowball toss, and more. Wristbands cost $5 and include all activities. Call 727-893-7441.

Holiday Lights and Illuminated Park Displays
N. Straub Park and S. Straub Park, Beach Dr. area. Come out to celebrate with the lights the holiday tree and the illuminated displays across the waterfront. Holiday lights and illuminated displays on nightly through Dec. 31. 727-893-7441.


Saturday, December 3, 2011
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed into a winter wonderland
with activities and amusements for the entire family.

  • Visit with Santa Claus
  • Enjoy continuous holiday entertainment
  • Make-n-take holiday crafts
  • Hands-on games and activities
  • Ice skating
  • Fun for the young and the young at heart!

Holiday Parade
At 11 a.m. the will begin at Morgan Street and Kennedy Boulevard,
travel west on Kennedy Boulevard to Ashley Drive,
turn north and end at Ashley Drive and Cass Street
Download a parade application.

For parade and festival information, please call
(813) 251-3378


SeaWorld Orlando special annual event: Sea World Christmas Holiday Celebration

Sea World Christmas Celebration

See fantastic Christmas holiday lights and shows at SeaWorld’s Christmas Holiday Celebration. Watch a special Shamu show, ride the polar express train, see colored water fountains dance and fireworks explode. SeaWorld’s Christmas Holiday Celebration is lots of fun for everyone!

December 31st 2011 and January 1st, 2012

SeaWorld Orlando special annual event: SeaWorld New Years Eve party

SeaWorld New Years Eve party
Put on your party hats and ring in the new year with SeaWorld’s New Years Eve party! See all the special shows that have been going on during the holidays. Then watch a special new years eve show and fireworks at the Bayside stadium.


Trees & Traditions – A Centennial Celebration
December 3, 2011 – Flyer
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Suggested $2 donation

The Pinellas County Historical Society will sponsor an open house with refreshments, children’s activities and crafts, holiday music and carols, tours offering a look back at how Pinellas residents celebrated the holidays from the mid-1800s through the 1950s, and a special visit from Santa Claus! Visitors can also find those one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at the Beach Cottage Gift Shop.




American Victory Ship Mariners Memorial Museum
705 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602

Come aboard the American Victory Ship for the best seats in Channelside to view the Boat Parade of Lights. It’s fun for the whole family and will become a favorite holiday tradition!

2011 Christmas Shows – Begin Thursday, November 10, 2011

The mission of the Holy Land Experience is to communicate the gospel truth of God’s word through our exciting and moving presentations which range from the theatrical and musical to dramatic historical recreations. Performed daily on a wide range of stages these original Christmas presentations can only be seen at the Holy Land Experience! And as always our powerful "The Passion of the Christ – We Shall Behold Him" will be a highlight of your day and should not be missed. And in addition there will be touches of Christmas in some of our popular year-round shows such as "Legna" and the "Women Who Loved Jesus. Make your plans to join in the celebration today at the Holy Land Experience where the Bible comes to life.

Please note, show schedule is subject to change and not all presentations are performed daily.


What is Legna?
A hilarious comedy that features clever retellings of classic Bible stories such as “Daniel and the Lion’s Den” and “Peter and Rhoda.” A thought provoking look at God’s messengers and how they are still at work in the world today. One of the most popular shows from the Holy Land Experience that is unlike anything you have ever seen before.
Come and experience Legna; where lions talk, prison doors are opened and nothing is exactly as it seems. Legna is a dramatic presentation that stirs your heart and soul and offers a powerful reminder of God’s love. Experience the story of Legna and discover the secret for yourself.

Bethlehem’s Miracle Night

The town of Bethlehem comes alive in the Holy Land original musical "Bethlehem’s Miracle Night". Experience the hustle and bustle of a town turned upside down. Follow Mary and Joseph to the lowly stable where God gave His greatest gift of all. Feel the amazement of the shepherds as they hear the angel’s charge to find their Messiah. Join the Magi as they worship and adore the newborn King! Watch as the lives of the innkeeper and his wife are changed forever because of their encounter with the newborn Messiah. All the wonder and beauty of the season as you have never seen before, "Bethlehem’s Miracle Night" is a joyful and exciting celebration of our Savior’s birth!

The True Story of St. Nicholas

Laughs and surprises wait for you in this hilarious show, "The True Story of St. Nicholas". You will visit the tiny village of Patara and discover the amazing story of a 3rd Century bishop who learned it was better to give than receive. Hear the myths that became legends and sit on the first church council (complete with boxing gloves). This may not be exactly how you remember it but you will never forget "The True Story of St. Nicholas!"

Women Who Loved Jesus

Experience for yourself the story of four women who each share a deep bond of love for the Lord Jesus. As their stories unfold you will see the pages of the Bible come to life in this original, Holy Land Experience drama. Gain valuable insight and depth into the Scriptures as you explore their lives and learn how each one has been forever changed by their loving Savior. Their love is their testimony, poured out like fine perfume at the feet of Jesus – "Why I love Him" is the expression of that love as you’ve never seen before!

Christmas Time is Here

A brand new musical production for our 2011 Christmas Season will have you coming along with us on a Christmas Journey. Christmas Time is Here will stir memories from the past as well as putting you in that unmistakable Christmas mood for this wonderful season. From old standards, to moving ballads and songs that make you want to get up out of your seat and join in the fun – Christmas is Time Here is sure to have something for everyone. A combination of concert, drama and fun.

The Passion of the Christ – We Shall Behold Him

Experience the Passion of the Christ – We Shall Behold Him in a way that will change your life forever. New music, new scenes and new drama have been designed to put you right in the middle of the action and make you feel as if you are really a witness to the most important event in all of history! Then be witness to Jesus; returning in all His glory for His bride. See for yourself as His train fills the Temple. Come and see why this incredible Drama is our longest running and most powerful presentation. It is our prayer that once you’ve seen it you will never be the same!

Remember Me – Communion with Christ

Join us for a presentation like no other. You will be ushered to the Lord’s Table where a Disciple of Jesus will transform you back in time to that moment when Jesus and his followers shared their last meal together. You will be given the bread and the cup and allowed to partake as Jesus leads you through the significance of his sacrifice. This service is a special and precious time that you are sure to remember.!

The Great American Christmas

We cordially invite you to join the residents of Pickashaw Parish in celebrating a very special Christmas with a touch of patriotic nostalgia. The time is 1945. The war has just ended and this town is ready to welcome back the troops and start the holiday season all at the same time. So, come and join this cast of unique characters as they spend the day celebrating the many things they have to be thankful for.

Celebrate Jesus – Karaoke

Come and share your love for singing and Praise and Worship with guests from around the world. You select the song, let our MC introduce you and then wow us with your talent. A wonderful time of singing, laughter and lifting up praises to our God.


Santa Parade.

When Sat, December 3, 10:00am – 12:30pm

Where St. Petersburg, FL (map)

Description Dec. 3 – Annual Santa Holiday Parade. Parade travels through the downtown to the waterfront. Beginning at 5th St. and Central Ave. traveling to the waterfront ending at North Straub Park. Begins 10 a.m. The St. Petersburg Lions Club, The Exchange Club of Northeast St. Petersburg, Florida Central Credit Union, The Suncoasters of St. Petersburg and the City of St. Petersburg invite you to celebrate the holiday season with the sounds of marching bands, beautiful floats and most of all to welcome Santa to sunny St. Petersburg. 727-893-7441. Participation Inquiries call: Monday – Friday (8:00 – 5:00 pm) 727/525-5950. Weekends or after 5:00 pm 727/528-7763.


Christmas Jamboree

We attended this event a couple of years ago and had a blast. You can read about it at Our Homespun Holidays.

When Sat, December 10, 10am – 4pm

Where The Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 3130 31st St. S., St. Petersburg, FL

Description Dec. 10 – Christmas Jamboree. The Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, 3130 31st St. S., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Old Time Christmas decorations, food & crafts. Free admission. 727-866-6401.


Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort

November 16, 2011 – Jan 2, 2012

Ice slide at Gaylord Palms


ICE! will return to the Gaylord Palms Resort again this year to chill and thrill guests as part of the resort’s holiday celebration. The holiday attraction is one of the coolest and most spectacular in the nation… and it happens in sunny Orlando, Florida.

Hand-carved from nearly two-million pounds of ice, the Christmas attraction has garnered national recognition from USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Southern Living magazine, and Travel + Leisure magazine.

In its ninth year, the popular family experience gives guests a chance to visit a whimsical winter wonderland of interactive environments and larger-than-life, three-dimensional ice monuments and sculptures. The enormous structure used to house ICE! — dubbed "The Florida Fridge" — is cooled to a chilly nine degrees, making it necessary for the resort to provide over-sized parkas for visitors to wear.

After freezing your "noses and toeses," you’ll be ready to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in the ICE! Cavern, a pre- and post-show area, where the ICE! experience continues. Here additional "Best of Florida Christmas" activities, such as family shows, atmosphere entertainment, special meals and visits with Santa take place.

Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW

A brand new "Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW" will have guests crawling through underground snow tunnels and sliding down rolling hills on the all-new 64-foot pagoda slide. Kids will be able to throw snowballs at Tai Lung from Kung Fu Panda and Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2 and some of their evil henchmen.

"Kung Fu Panda Awesome SNOW" features real snow — 130-tons of it made fresh daily — where guests can make snowmen and forts and play in over three-feet of the cold stuff in a 55-degree atmosphere.

Holiday Hoopla

December 10, 2011

Beach & Shore Blvds.
Gulfport, FL 33707

Holiday Hoopla is a celebration of arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights, and Santa & Mrs. Claus. Stroll the decorated streets filled with up to 200 talented exhibitors and unique shops from 10am-6pm. The festival will provide shoppers with one-of-a-kind gifts that cannot be found anywhere else, and all of your holiday shopping can be done in one place!

Visitors will be enchanted by a variety of festive and fun holiday-themed music, holiday carolers, dance performances, and roving street performers. Many types of entertainment will perform during the Hoopla, from local school bands & Choral groups and local musicians to area performing arts groups. Roving performers include Dickens characters and carolers, Your Total Entertainment street artists and Spotlight Amusements will be on site with children’s amusement rides and games. Oh, yeah, and the big guy in the red suit and Mrs. Claus will be there, too, from 1-6pm, and will be available for photos with children adults and pets!

Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s, 26th Annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade takes place following the festival. Members spend many hours planning and then decorating their boats in hopes of sharing the holiday spirit with the surrounding communities. The parade will begin by entering the Gulfport Municipal Marina at approximately 6:00pm. It will then travel past the William’s Pier in Gulfport and into the canals of Town Shores Condominiums and Pasadena Yacht Club Estates.


Holidays Around The World

Christmas at Walt Disney World 2011


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event held each winter on select nights at Magic Kingdom theme park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This festive celebration is filled with live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and an oh-so-jolly holiday parade.



One of the highlights of Christmas at Disney are the Holiday Storytellers. Each country represented around the World Showcase at Epcot has a special presentation of the original of the holiday in their country and how they celebrate. We enjoyed spinning dreidels after learning about Hanukah and playing along with the Norwegians. In Norwegian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘God Jul’ (pronounced goo-you).

A Children's Choir Performs at the Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional

Dates: November 25, 2011 – December 30, 2011

During the holidays, Epcot theme park is transformed into an international celebration of Yuletide traditions filled with festive decorations and live entertainment. From Holidays Around The World to Candlelight Processional, delight in the sights and sounds of the season.

Candlelight Processional is a special holiday event held nightly at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot theme park as part of Holidays Around The World. The event retells the stirring story of Christmas with a special celebrity narrator † accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.


The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Special Event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

November 10, 2011–December 7, 2011 and
December 9, 2011–January 7, 2012

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park is a breathtaking seasonal display featuring millions of glittering lights perfectly synchronized to holiday music.

The lights are so extensive you may find it hard to comprehend their magnitude. Entire buildings are blanketed in sheets of multi-colored lights, and thousands more lights form twirling carousels, heavenly angels, and even Santa and his reindeer. Approximately every 10 minutes, the lights dim and then dramatically spring to life — dynamically choreographed to traditional holiday music. You have to see the effect to believe it!

Some nights, if you truly believe in holiday magic, the show is capped off with an enchanted flurry of snow.


Snowing in Celebration, Florida


Snowfall and Events EVERY Night through December 31st *
(including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)

Nightly Snow Falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 PM. Photos with Santa, Strolling Holiday Carolers, an Ice Rink, Entertainment and more!!!

A Celebration tradition! Join Celebration Town Center as they kick off 13th Annual Now Snowing event with a Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 26th from 5:30-9 PM. This special tree lighting event will feature live music, a special entrance by Santa Claus himself, and family fun for everyone.

Now Snowing, Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event, offers an all new ice rink and a schedule filled with surprises. Now Snowing is a month long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens Carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, the Celebration Express train, and nightly snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 PM.

The ice rink will be open daily from 4:00-10:00 PM through January 2nd – Make sure to ask about Resident Skate Passes or multiple-day skate passes for guests.

In addition to the everyday fun at Now Snowing Nightly, join us for the Orlando Sentinel Celebration of Voices on December 3rd and you can catch a special Radio Disney Holiday concert and filled with surprise performances on December 10th.

Largo Train Rides

February 05, 2011 – February 04, 2012

101 Central Park Dr.
Largo, FL 33771

This is the little miniature railroad that could. Kids and adults can experience rides aboard 1/16th-scale replicas of trains on the 1 1/3-mile track through Largo Central Park, site of the old Pinellas County Fairgrounds and one of the city’s most popular gathering spots. Take a trip on a 1927 Amtrak F40Ph passenger train, a 1960s CSX MP15AC freight engine and a Seaboard freight engine. Public runs are held on the first full weekend of each month. "Birthday runs" can be arranged on other weekends.

Holiday Stroll

Holiday Stroll

Stroll through Storyland!

5:00 – 9:00 pm
Largo Central Park

FREE to Attend!

Come to beautiful Largo Central Park to delight in the extravagant light display as you Stroll Through Storyland.

A million LED lights (85% more energy efficient) brighten the path. The playful scenes they depict will surely dazzle you.

Ooh and ahh when we light up the tree at 7:00 pm.

Take pause at each of the picnic shelters to experience some of your favorite holiday stories.
Treat yourself with a variety of delicious festival foods and desserts.

New this year – take a photo with Santa in the life sized snow globe for $5.

Enjoy live performances on the mobile stage and other special places around the park. Entertainment will feature aerial acrobatics, dancing, singing, and puppets! Performers will include Dance & Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, LHS Madrigal Singers, LHS Band of Gold, Tutterow Dancers, Late Night Brass, Largo Smuppets and more!


All on-site parking is $5:
– Lot One (pass only)
– Lot Two (handicap only)
– Lot Three (opens at 4:45pm)
– Lot Four (opens at 4:45pm)
– Lot Five (Library staff only)
Free shuttle available to/from:
– Largo High School
Wait times vary. Average 10-20 minutes.
Last shuttle leaves Largo Central Park at 9:15 p m
Off-site parking is free:
– Largo High School
– Largo Middle School

This is a free event open to the public

Winter Wonderland

December 2nd, 2011 at 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM

This is a family friendly event.

Event Location:

George C. McGough Nature Park
11901 146th Street N
Largo , FL 33774

Winter Wonderland
Join us and the amazing Southwest Recreation staff as we
have a blast throwing snow balls with real ice shavings,
making winter crafts, going on night hikes, and roasting
s’mores by the campfire-we’re talking some serious fun
for the whole family! Come out for a night of fun, memories,
and a good old snowball toss! Call (727)518-3047 to

Cost: $5 per person, children 2 and under free.


Sunsets At Pier 60

Pier 60
10 Pier 60 Dr.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

The Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival is a nightly sunset celebration that takes place in Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach, Florida. This free family event features artisans, crafters, street performers and live musical entertainment, weather permitting.


Merry Christmas!

November 27, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, Holidays | , , , | 1 Comment




Through a tunnel or through a mountain down a bumpy slide you have to go in order to get lost in a corn maze at Mount Dora’s Scott’s Maze Adventure’s.


Fishing pond and zip line for kids along with a truck tire playground and large traditional playground.


We had a blast! We all took turns leading the family around the maze. It was quite interesting seeing how the kids handled leading each other. We had lots of chiefs in that maze including momWinking smile.

The weather was great. It was cool and sunny. One of the things that made the maze extra fun was the games they include throughout. Our first maze was the small one it was a “fortune maze”. There were five places within the maze where you chose a finger to put the found color on. Once you get out of the maze you can look at a chart and match your fingers to a chart and find your “fortune”. Fun!


After a nice break laying on the grass soaking in the warm sun we GOT LOST, AGAIN! This time we did the large maze. It took us about two hours to get out. This maze gave us a unique  “family bonding experience”. It helped us to work better as a team. Zack started using our flagpole to mark arrows on the ground. Mike took pics of the maze map and studied it with Seth as we took turns left and right trying strategize our next turn. Dad held up the rear and Alexa and I had fun taking pictures along the way. We can’t wait to go again next year and try it in teams.



November 19, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, Once Upon A Family | , , , , | 5 Comments

Florida Family Fun 411-November 2011

There are lots and lots of great events for families to enjoy this month. I might have to split it this 411 into a few posts it’s so big. As always I post what tickles my fancy, is family and budget friendly.

If you have any other events like this please post it by leaving a comment at the end of this post. I would also like to hear about it if you attended any of these events especially if you blogged about it.

*These are not listed in chronological order because that is time consuming and I want to get out and have some fun with my peeps!



November 2011

Free Museum Admission Weekend for Bank of America Customers

Saturday Nov. 5, Dec. 3 & Sunday Nov. 6, Dec. 4

Free admission to participating museums for Bank of America Customers! (includes science centers, zoos, botanical gardens, etc.) and more on the first weekend of every month (Check with your local Museum for available days and times)

Dania Beach

IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum


Young At Art Children’s Museum

Fort Lauderdale

Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale

Museum of Discovery & Science


Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Science and History



Miami Art Museum

Miami Children’s Museum

Miami Science Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art


Miami Beach

Bass Museum of Art


Orange County Regional

History Center

Orlando Museum of Art

The Mennello Museum

of American Art

St. Petersburg

Florida Holocaust Museum

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg


Tampa Museum of Art

West Palm Beach

South Florida Science Museum

Here are some neat Amazon Kindle FREEBIES. I don’t own a Kindle but I save these on my Kindle for PC.


Circle of Friends Cookbook – 25 Savory Pie Recipes [Kindle Edition]

Gooseberry Patch (Author)


Holy Bible, GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) (with direct verse lookup and book and chapter navigation) [Kindle Edition]

Baker Publishing Group (Author)


Nov. 8 – 13, 2011Carol Morsani Hall

Watch Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby soar in a timeless production that takes flight at Carol Morsani Hall in the Straz Center. Tickets start at $38.50. Nov. 9 is Broadway Family Night; buy one adult ticket, get one free child’s ticket (12 and younger). Also enjoy pre-show family activities. www.strazcenter.org

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

America’s Best Idea – the national parks – gets even better with several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees.*

Canaveral National Seashore
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Dry Tortugas National Park
Everglades National Park
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Mark your calendar for the final fee-free days in 2011:

November 11-13
Veterans Day weekend


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Martha Stewart Living™: Holiday Small Projects

Get holiday ready with help from Martha Stewart Living

· Discover how to choose the correct paint, tools and accessories for your home small projects

· Learn more about our selection of MSL project paints and stencils

· Decorate a frame and tile coaster using MSL project paints and stencils – FREE to take home!


19th Annual Downtown Dunedin Craft Festival

November 19th & 20th, 2011
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Free Admission

Main Street in Downtown Dunedin, FL

If Tampa is on your travel agenda this November, you can not miss out on this terrific craft event in the city’s most desirable suburb of Dunedin. It is here, a short drive from Tampa, along Dunedin’s Main Street, you will meet some of the country’s finest artists and crafters with products all handmade in the U.S.A. Botanical hotplates, ceramic planters, functional pottery, hair accessories, handmade one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and an expansive Green Market offers something for every taste & budget.

I-275 to exit 39 (Clearwater/Tampa Airport Exit), take Highway 60 (Gulf to Bay Blvd.) to US 19. Go North to State Road 580. West on 580 to Alternate 19, left on Alternate 19 to Main Street.


Florida Craftsmen’s CraftArt 2011 returns to the great outdoors on Saturday, November 19th & Sunday, November 20th from 10am – 5 pm just outside the doors of Florida Craftsmen Gallery, on Central Avenue in beautiful Downtown St. Petersburg.

New this year: CraftArt will be joined by an adjacent festival, St. Petersburg Artscapes, which will feature fine art, photography and sculpture. The two festivals will appear seamless along Central Avenue from 4th St. to 7th St. S.

One of the most eagerly anticipated arts events each year by collectors and patrons, CraftArt features some of the nation’s best established and emerging fine craft artists with handmade works in jewelry, clay, fiber, glass, wood, metal, paper and mixed media.

Enjoy Craft Beers featuring exciting varieties by the Cigar City Brewing Company in Tampa. Sample great food, watch artist demonstrations, bid on raffle items which have been donated by the artists and try your hand at creating a piece of coral for the reef which will be in Florida Craftsmen next summer. The weather is usually fabulous and it’s a great event for the whole family.

For information, call Florida Craftsmen at 727-821-7391 or email us at info@floridacraftsmen.net.

501 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Free and open to the public.






$5 Day at MOSI

Presented by Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) at MOSI, Museum of Science and Industry

November 11, 2011

On Friday, November 11, the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is offering all visitors admission to MOSI for only $5. Five Dollar Day allows guests access to MOSI exhibit galleries, including The Amazing You exhibition, TARGET AMERICA: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause, Kids In Charge! and a 3-D film in The Coleman Science Works Theater. Admission also includes one standard IMAX® Dome Theatre ticket.


November 11th, 12th, & 13th, 2011


Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

Gates open at 11 AM daily – No Re-entry

Dig in to this sumptuous event at Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Blvd., St. Petersburg. Kick back with live music, including John Fogerty, Trace Adkins, and Styx, while dining on tasty barbecue. www.ribfest.org

This fun filled three day charity fundraiser features the best barbeque ribbers in the world, national touring bands playing classic and southern rock and country hits.

Ribfest­™ 2011 Headline Acts – click HERE to see All the bands performing on the Main Stage

Check out the Family Fun Zone. Video Game theatre & 4D Movie Ride experience, face painting, carnival games with prizes, putt putt mini golf, make and take crafts, fun with bubbles,, their very own stage and much more. All the events for kids 12 and under are free except for Giant Inflatables.


Farm City Day
November 19, 2011 – Flyer
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pinellas County’s Heritage Village will host a Farm City Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is the kickoff for Farm-City Week, celebrated nationally each year during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Participants will be able to enjoy agriculturally-inspired arts and crafts and play "olde-time" games. Farm-City Day is sponsored by the Pinellas County Farm Bureau. There will be lots of giveaways and “make and takes.” Call (727) 582-2123 for further information.


I had an amazing date with my hubby here. We intend to go back soon and bring our kids and their friends.

Saturday Swing Dance

November 12, 2011 – December 17, 2011

Address: 400 Alt Keene Road, Largo, FL 33770

Weekly Swing Dance in the fabulous GOODMAN BALLROOM (Largo Community Center)DJ plays it all – Big Band * 50s’60’s Rock n Roll * Jump Blues * Rhythm n Blues * NeoSwing! 7-8 PM Beginner-friendly Dance Lesson8-11 PM DJ Dance$7.00 Admission, includes the lesson at 7:00 PM Smoke-Free! All-Ages, FUN!!! Well-lit Parking * Great Dance Floor * Snack Concession * Cash Bar

Christmas Under the Oaks Arts & Crafts Show

Sunday November 13, 2011

GFWC Clearwater Junior Woman’s Club and the City of Clearwater presents the annual Christmas Under the Oaks Arts & Crafts show on November 13, 2011 at beautiful Coachman Park on the waterfront in downtown Clearwater, Florida. Show proceeds benefit the scholarships, grants, and projects our club provides for the community.

"Oaks" in the St. Petersburg Times


The Hyde Park Village Fresh Market takes place at the Fountain the first Sunday of every month, year round, rain or shine, from 11 AM to 3 PM.

With space for over 70 vendors, the Hyde Park Village Fresh Market will feature:

Agricultural products | Fresh, Organic, Hydroponic & Conventional Produce | Plants, Herbs & Flowers | Gourmet Take Home Foods | Fresh Bread | Pasta | Honey | Spices | Ready-to-Eat Foods | Brooklyn-style Knishs | New Orleans-style Crawfish Pies | Kettle Corn | Southern Style Foods | Hand Crafts | Local Art | Handcrafted Jewelry | Accessories | Live Music | Cooking Demos | Outdoor Seating | Mini-Massages | …and more!

2011 Hyde Park Village Fresh Market Dates:

Sunday, November 6
Sunday, December 4

Admission and parking are free to the public and friendly dogs on leashes are always welcome at the Fresh Market and in Hyde Park Village.

The Hyde Park Village Fresh Market is sponsored by Tampa Bay Markets, the St. Petersburg Times, tbt* and Hot 101.5!


Meet home improvement experts and check out more than 600 exhibits related to Florida living at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Times: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free admission and parking. www.tampabayhomeshows.com


Largo Train Rides

February 05, 2011 – February 04, 2012

101 Central Park Dr.
Largo, FL 33771


This is the little miniature railroad that could. Kids and adults can experience rides aboard 1/16th-scale replicas of trains on the 1 1/3-mile track through Largo Central Park, site of the old Pinellas County Fairgrounds and one of the city’s most popular gathering spots. Take a trip on a 1927 Amtrak F40Ph passenger train, a 1960s CSX MP15AC freight engine and a Seaboard freight engine.

Public runs are held on the first full weekend of each month. "Birthday runs" can be arranged on other weekends.


The Largo Central Railroad, founded in 1991, was built and is now maintained through the work and dedication of the LCRR club members and through generous donations from the people of Largo, Florida. We currently have approximately 1.2 miles of main line track with numerous passing sidings running through beautifully landscaped Largo Central Park. Public runs are held on the first full weekend of each month.

Largo Central Railroad

101 Central Park Dr.
Largo, FL 33771-2112



Sunsets At Pier 60

February 01, 2011 – January 31, 2012

Pier 60
10 Pier 60 Dr.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767


The Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival is a nightly sunset celebration that takes place in Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach, Florida. This free family event features artisans, crafters, street performers and live musical entertainment, weather permitting.

"Sunsets at Pier 60," a Clearwater Beach tradition, offers a variety of crafts and entertainment from 6 – 9 p.m. each night. A beautiful view of the sunset makes for a perfect way to celebrate the end of the day. Enjoy live music, local artists, jugglers, magicians & other entertainers. Parents will also be glad to know that a well-equipped playground provides hours of enjoyment for little ones.



The 36th Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels® is a vibrant, open-air art festival in the Downtown Disney area. Featuring more than 150 award-winning artists, this world-renowned show is a highly anticipated annual event for Guests, artists, collectors and art lovers.

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Showcasing one-of-a-kind and limited-edition painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more, this prestigious show is ranked among the country’s finest outdoor art festivals. And there’s a lot more to enjoy, like amazing chalk art, live music, specialty foods and family-friendly activities.

Dates and Times

  • Friday, November 11, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 13, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Interactive Activities With Michaels
Cultivate your creativity with the Michaels Design Team, offering interactive arts and crafts experiences designed to delight the entire family. Featured activities include:

  • Custom Framing: Explore the different ways you can showcase any great piece of art. Located at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • MiDesign@Michaels™: Enjoy new ways to personalize—in an instant, online—with digital scrapbooking, photo books and more. Located at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • Collaborative Painting: Join the Michaels Design Team and work together to fill a larger-than-life masterpiece. Located at Downtown Disney West Side.
  • Design-Your-Own Friendship Bracelets: Commemorate your trip to Disney by creating customized friendship bracelets with colorful threads. Located in the Downtown Disney Pleasure Island area.
  • Disney Wood-Framing Experience: Start with the basics—and walk away with your own picture frame decorated with fun Disney embellishments. Located at Downtown Disney Marketplace.
  • Michaels at the Waterside Stage: Discover crafty ideas and tips for every age and interest. Come join Jo Pearson, Kate Gribbon, Kathy Kromer, Jennifer Mele and Paula Schweikhard on the Waterside Stage at the Marketplace.


Waterside Stage Performance Times
Friday, November 11, 2011: 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 12, 2011: 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 13, 2011: 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Admission and Parking
Enjoy complimentary admission and parking for the Downtown Disney area.

More Information
For additional details about this event,
view the Festival of the Masters pdf.


Vets & Military can get
Free Meal on Monday, November 14, 2011
at Golden Corral!
On Monday, November 14, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Golden Corral will be giving out Veteran’s Day free meals to any person who has ever served in the U.S. military. No identification is required to get your free meal!


Ice skating — in Tampa?

Well, at least for a little while. Head over to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for Tampa’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Yes, it’s real ice.

The 44- by 100-foot rink sits on a bed of sand. Above the sand sits a sheet of plastic and a series of tubes filled with a substance colder than freezing, which circulates through a chiller turning water to ice.

For more information, call (813) 251-3378 or visit www.tampasdowntownonice.com

Tampa’s only outdoor ice skating rink opens
Friday, November 11 at 10 a.m.
Admission is only $10 per person and includes skates
90 minute skate
The rink is open daily from Nov. 11, 2011 – Jan. 1, 2012.
Monday – Thursday from 4 p.m. – 9 pm.
Friday & Saturday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday from Noon – 9 p.m.
Holiday Hours:
Thanksgiving Day, November 26 – CLOSED
Friday, December 24 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, December 25 – 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • 1-19 people $10 each
  • 20-49 people $9 each
  • 50-99 people $8.50 each
  • 100 & up $8 each

Contact JR Malone at icerinkeventstampa@yahoo.com for more information.


Celebrate the start of the holiday season at the Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony in Hyde Park Village. This free, family-friendly holiday spectacular has become one of Tampa Bay’s most highly recognized events! Highlights include the new holiday light display, Santa’s Cottage, a variety of live entertainment, free cookies, cocoa and cider, drink specials, cigar stand, a street festival and Santa’s Arrival!

Hyde Park Village
1621 W. Snow Circle
Tampa, FL 33606


Holiday Tree Lighting and Illuminated Park Displays.

When Fri, November 25, 5pm – 7pm

Where North Straub Park, St. Petersburg, FL

N. Straub Park, Beach Dr. and 5th Ave. N.E.

Description 5 p.m. activities, 7 p.m. tree lighting Come out to celebrate the tradition of the Mayor flipping the switch and lighting the holiday tree along with the lighting the illuminated displays across the waterfront. Activities begin at 5 p.m. with holiday entertainment:C​community Band and Radio Disney. Blanket Seating and concessions available. 727-893-7441.

Holiday lights and illuminated displays on nightly through Dec. 31.


IKEA Tampa Kids’ Academy!


1103 N. 22nd Street, Tampa Bay, FL, United States, 33605

Featuring FREE activities, a FREE meal and a FREE IKEA Tampa Kids’ Academy t-shirt for kids under 12 years old who attend.* Activities last 20 minutes and start at 11:00am, then repeat at 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

November 11, 2011 Students can make a flag to honor our service men and women.

November 21, 2011 Use your hand print to make a festive turkey decoration.

November 22, 2011 Use our PYSSLA craft beads to design and make a special decorative item.

November 23, 2011 Use our DUKTIG baking set to make cookies for your holiday guests.

November 25, 2011 Kick start the holiday season by making your own wrapping paper with our MALA paints.



American Victory Ship Mariners Memorial Museum
705 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602

Join us each and every Saturday from 10am to 5pm for Kids Ahoy! We promote education and learning through fun and encourage family bonding and communication. Come aboard, participate in a scavenger hunt, arts & crafts projects, receive a fun snack and free Kids Ahoy! bookmark. It’s brought to you by the Kinder Morgan Foundation and Publix Super Markets Charities.

November 8, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, G-Force 411, Holidays | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homeschool Parent’s Night Out with Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries

I wanted to share with a an event that is being hosted by the PPEA-Pinellas Parent Educators Association. It is now open to non-members. Alf and I are going. It’s only $3! We’ve heard him speak at FPEA Convention. I blogged about it. You can read it by clicking HERE. He’s hilarious and real! He wrote the book LIES Homeschooling Moms Believe. It will make a fun date night. Feel free to pass it on.


Happy Schooling!


Todd Wilson
"The Familyman"


“Reminding Dads of What’s Important”


When was the last time you smiled or really laughed? clip_image004

You started this homeschooling thing because you thought it would be fun. But somewhere along the journey, the fun vanished, leaving behind frustration and feelings of failure.

The problem is not that you don’t work hard enough, but that you’ve forgotten what really matters.

Join us as Todd Wilson reminds us and helps us laugh again. This will be an incredible evening for both homeschooling dads and moms.

You’ll be glad you came. clip_image004[1]

View video interview with Todd and his wife.


Thursday, October 20th-7pm

Grace Brethren Church

6300 62nd AVE N

Pinellas Park

$3 per adult-no Child Care available-please reserve your own babysitter as due to space this is an adult only event. Nursing babies are welcome.

Sign up now as space is limited by visiting


*For any further information or questions contact the event coordinator. Her email link is on the sign up link.

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, Favorites and Cool Finds, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Museum Day @ The Burg-Part 1

ArtsAlive - Free Museum Day 2011

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The Aquarium at the Pier

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It was a great day for all in the Burg! FREE Museum entry to most museum’s in town. Our family headed to The Aquarium at the Pier first. I was so happy it was free because it was small and had very little to offer. When we left a light rain started that felt quite refreshing.

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We passed lots of artsy vendors on our way to The Museum of Fine Arts. I know what I ‘m doing with all those old Lp’s in the garage!


Kind of cool, kind of creepy Wizard of Oz inspired Art?


We girls found some funky domino bracelets, vintage spoon bracelets and composition notebooks with vinyl albums for covers.


The kids have an assignment to make their own replica of one thing they liked best from our day out. When their projects are finished I will post them.

Stay tuned to see our favorites from the Museum of Fine Arts.

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Family Fun, G-Force 411, G-Force Academy | , , , , , | Leave a comment


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