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Checkpoint Ahead

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Since the start of the year, how many of us have been wanting, needing, practically begging for a break? It seems like even though Ms. COVID’s presence has made us Zoom everything and be mindful of everywhere we go, we have somehow become even busier. Imagine how our kids are feeling? For many of our students, they spent last year at home behind a computer all day completing schoolwork. While many have transitioned back into the traditional school building, it has not come without its share of difficulties and struggles.

This break serves as a reboot for all of us to get back on track, but especially for our children. I will get to learning and grades in a moment. Right now, we must focus our attention on our children’s mental health. In this new day and age of COVID precautions (I hate to say this) and active assailant drills, our children face so many stressors we may not realize they are dealing with. Weekly mental health check-ins are a necessity. Our kids need to know that we are a safe space to express their fears and concerns about the world around them. Though they may not admit it, children tend to take on the stress of their parents, knowingly or unknowingly. Our fears and worries trickle into them even though we do our best to shelter them from the world. Make sure you create opportunities to allow them to voice ANY and EVERYTHING to you. The old, “How was your day at school?” is just that. Old. Go deeper and help them release feelings that they bind up and suppress. Remember, your stresses don’t have to be theirs. Treat them with love and respect so they always feel comfortable coming to you for help, guidance, and reassurance.

Now on to the grades and learning! First and foremost, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your child(ren) is awesome! You know this. Let’s find out what your child’s strengths are. What have they been performing exceptionally well at during the first part of this year? Continue to support those subjects and interests. Let’s take a closer look at what needs to be strengthened. Notice, I said what needs to be strengthened and not, what are their weaknesses. We’re going to leave the word weakness out of our vocabulary as it pertains to our children.

I was always told I was bad at math or math was my weakness. So, at a young age, I believed that narrative. It wasn’t until I had a teacher tell me I was good at math and that we just needed to strengthen some components of how to understand mathematics. Changing that negative connotation of “weak,” to “strengthen,” gave me the confidence I needed to trust and believe in myself. It was no longer a 4-letter word in my eyes!

I love the point Education.com makes, “Enthusiasm rubs off, especially when it comes to learning new things. If your child or student sees that you’re sincerely enthusiastic about learning, they’re likely to become enthusiastic about learning. Whether it’s history, science, reading, writing, or even math, help him see that learning is a journey of exciting new discoveries. Take every opportunity – without being overwhelming or overbearing – to discover new information with him. As your child sees the joy and excitement learning brings to your life, he’ll begin to share your enthusiasm for learning new things as well.” 

Let us not forget that just like adults, kids need breaks too. Take this time to allow your kids/students to relax, relate, release, and soak up all the memories of this special time. Create opportunities to make learning fun and memorable, especially during the break, to ensure their success and love for learning in the future.

Naples Soap Company Returns to Mount Dora

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Mount Dora, Fla. (July 23, 2020) – Naples Soap Company, a retail destination best known for its skin and hair care made with natural and organic ingredients, has opened a new location in downtown Mount Dora, Fla. The 1,200 square foot store is located at 429 N. Donnelly Street, just a block away from Naples Soap Company’s previous location.

“We’re excited to return to the Mount Dora Community,” shared Deanna Wallin, Naples Soap Company’s founder and CEO. “Our lease had ended at our former location in April. Amid the uncertainty of the government-mandated COVID shutdowns, we made the difficult decision to close our original Mount Dora location. After receiving many emails and calls from customers in Central Florida, we decided to identify a new location and return to the area.”

The new Naples Soap store opened on July 1, 2020, and the Company welcomed back the former management team in addition to three new store associates. This retail destination features a chic coastal vibe, and store shelves are filled with the company’s signature skin and hair care products including natural soaps, bath bombs, body butters, sea salt scrubs, shampoo bars, face care and more.

Founded in 2009, Naples Soap Company has been helping people with sensitive skin by providing products that are made in the USA with natural and organic ingredients including coconut oil, shea butter, fruit extracts, and sea salts. Many of the products are handmade and feature low-waste packaging.

The Mount Dora store hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

About Naples Soap Company

Founded in 2009 by Deanna Wallin, Naples Soap Company operates an online store at naplessoap.com and 10 retail locations in Florida including Naples, Estero, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island, Punta Gorda, Lakewood Ranch, St Petersburg, Mount Dora and Destin. Additionally, Naples Soap Company products are sold at over 100 boutiques, spas and stores throughout the United States.

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth

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By: DeNeale Luckie

Carnival in Trinidad is beyond words. How does one convey the beauty of the people, the country, and of course, carnival? The myriad of colors all in one space adds to the breathtaking scenery. The fun and music along with it make for an experience like no other.

The history of Carnival dates back to the 18th century. At that time, only the white upper class was able to participate. The masqueraders played into the stereotypes of Black men and women being overly sexual and foolish.

Fast forward to the emancipation of the slaves, Africans were finally able to participate, and thus, Carnival became a celebration of freedom.

Today, many of the original traditions, fanfare, and stereotypes are on full display during Carnival. From the competitions, Soca, steel drum performers, parades and much more, Carnival brings together a multitude of people to celebrate the culture.

Celebrations include young and old. Even the children get in on the action by making their own costumes and participating in the Kiddies’ Carnival. The spotlight shines just as bright on the kids during this season.

Trinidad Carnival is so much more than just a 2-day party. It’s a month-long celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday. It’s a revolt! It is a smack in the face to rules, standards, class, authority, order, and protocol. In fact, it is the very opposite of good behavior. It is the freedom to behave badly, bringing chaos, disruption, unruliness, and liberation. Carnivale is bliss. A euphoria of sorts. It is independence, equality, and a blatant deliverance from social norms and European standards of appropriateness. Carnivale is like nothing you’ve ever seen, but everything you desire.

A friend of mine, Nikki of @Fashionikki expressed, “Being at Trinidad Carnival feels like I’m walking on water. There are so many elements that make you feel like you’re in paradise. I remember watching Carnival each year as a child, and now I’m living it. As a Trini, it brings me such joy seeing the island share its love with the world. It’s an overwhelming feeling of love expressed through Soca, dance, and unity.”

Carnival regulars like myself spend the year yearning to return to our place of paradise. Every year for weeks, and even months, we go through a phase called Tabanca. A legit depression of sort experienced right after Carnival.

We wait with anticipation for the bands to launch, usually sometime in August. This is when we choose the band we will march with as well as the costume we desire. What section will we choose? Frontline or Backline? What will we wear when we play Monday Mas? I should probably explain what all this means. It may sound like I’m speaking a foreign language so let me explain.

Playing Mas – these are the masqueraders that participate in Carnival activities Monday and Tuesday.

The Bands – masqueraders choose the band they will play (march) with during the parade. The band plays the music, provides the costumes, meals and drinks, and entertainment.

Frontline or Backline – Your costume will be part of the frontline or backline with the frontline having larger and more dramatic feathers and embellishments.

Sections – Costumes are divided up in sections with variations of the same costume in each section.

Monday Mas – The pre-run as I like to say. Following the parade route, Masqueraders march, dance, party, drink from sun up to sun down in an outfit of their choice, usually a swimsuit or something similar.

Soca – A music style that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the 70’s. With its positive messages and rhythmic melody, your body cannot deny itself to move with the beats. Soca gives me life! Some popular Soca artists are Mighty Sparrow,  Kes, Machel Montano, Bundy Garland, Destra, Patrice Roberts, Problem Child… I could go on and on. Again, SOCA GIVES ME LIFE!

J’ouvert – a party that begins at daybreak or dawn. Basically, as the sun is rising Revelers enjoy partying covered in paint, powder, foam, or mud. J’ouvert signals the start of Carnival Monday!

Fete – A party. But be mindful, there is no party like a fete. Trinidadians take the cake when it comes to partying. It’s in the blood.

If you’re considering making the trip to Trinidad Carnival here are a few tips.

Budget, budget and plan your budget! From lodging, travel, food, and shopping, it all adds up quickly.

 Quick tip #1: Costumes can range from $500 USD up to $5,000 USD.

Plan on reserving your lodging a year in advance. Places fill up quickly.

Learn the culture! Caribbean culture and American culture are very different. Know the culture and the rules of the land.

Quick tip #2: DO NOT wear clothing with camouflage. It is against the law. No green camouflage, pink camouflage, blue… JUST NO CAMOUFLAGE!

Take some time to appreciate the island and the people. Trinidad has some amazing sights to see. Take a bath in a volcano or explore a cave. You can also visit the nation’s capital, Port of Spain and take in the beauty of the historical architecture. Relax on one of the beaches or talk to the locals. You’ll find the people to be very warm and welcoming. Feel the love of this beautiful island!

Trinidad definitely has a special place in my heart. My heaven on earth and home in my heart. With the motto of the country being, Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve, this multicultural island is a paradise like no other.

Education Revolution

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Education Revolution is a company designed to help alternatively educated students, especially homeschool students, have exceptional educational experiences. 

Tell us about your company…..

Education Revolution provides consultation and services to help families start to homeschool legally and successfully. We also provide evaluation services, curriculum and learning material, and classes and curriculum planning. One of the curriculum lines produced by Education Revolution is the I’M SERIES. The first complete book release–I’m Resilient is a unique interactive journal designed to teach the important trait of resilience to the next generation of young adults. This full-color interactive journal isn’t just about writing. It is an immersive experience that was designed for today’s young people. It’s fast-paced, fun, and provides concrete help in building resilience. It uses online tie-ins, and tasks that require that the book is put down and the journalist interact with the world around them.

What do clients love about your company…..

The families love the customization and personalization we bring to helping every student succeed.

What would you like potential clients to know about your company…….

Yolanda Newton, the director of the Education Revolution, is a professional educator with over 10 years of experience in a traditional school classroom. She has taught all grades from kindergarten through high school. It’s given her a hands-on, wide range of experiences. She’s a creative educator, with a flair and passion for technology. While she is a successful home educator herself now, she continues to improve her skills as an educator for all kinds of students–building programs and services to help modern families have superior alternative educational experiences.

KBI Staffing Solutions, LLC.

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KBI is a multifaceted staffing form specializing in permanent, long term, and temporary placement. KBI Staffing Solutions also specializes in the construction, hospitality and administrative fields. We offer wrap-around payroll solutions services. We understand that staffing needs come in all shapes and sizes which is why we customize a plan based on the client’s needs for permanent, long & short term temporary staff, direct hire, and temporary to perm work opportunities. In a time of crisis, KBI Staffing is able to provide jobs to our communities and aid in economic success.

Tell us about your services…

KBI Sources staff for various roles including but not limited to administrative (office, call center, data entry), hospitality, and construction (skilled, semi-skilled, general labor, management). Additionally, KBI offers full payroll services.

What clients love about your company…

KBI’s personable and hands-on approach. Any client can call the owners of our sales team directly in order to get accurate information and quick decision making.

Something all new clients should know…

KBI Staffing Solutions offers permanent, long and short term temporary employment, direct hire opportunities as well as payroll services. We work hard for our clients and strive to give the best solution based staffing service.

Cocoa Beach, Florida The Hidden GEM

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Cocoa Beach: Become Unhidden in Space Exploration

Exploring Space Camps and More

If you are into natural scenery, exploring history or the future of science & space, then Cocoa Beach, Florida is an exquisite place to visit? This magnificent gem of a city encompasses adventure and opportunities that are endless.

I had forgotten how unique Cocoa Beach, Florida was until my little explorer watched the amazing movie, Hidden Figures. Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) — serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell). This is notably one of America’s stunning achievements that restored the nation’s confidence all while, galvanizing the world. After that, it sparked my son’s little brain to want to know what other hidden figures could have been apart of space and how could he be a part of this adventure. His curiosity caused me to research the Kennedy Space Center Space Camp opportunities which brought us to Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Kennedy Space Camp is surrounded by one of the nation’s largest research parks. Its alumni include NASA astronauts, scientists and engineers. The program is open to second grade through high school students. The day camp offers immersive experiences in space, aviation, robotics and cyber technologies. Space Camp activities include rocket construction, simulated launches to the International Space Station and design and construction of a Mars colony

Would you like your child to be more interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)? Or do they already have their head in the stars and dream about one day visiting Mars? Or one day returning to the moon? Here are some unique camp experiences relating to space in Florida, Alabama, and Virginia that your kids can begin their adventure in learning more about the past and future of space and opportunities for future careers in STEM.

Space Camp Experiences If your kids are visionaries about the stars or simply display interest of wanting a more focused camping experience, one of these space camps may be a good fit. Camp Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex State Road 405 Kennedy Space Center Florida 32899 (855) 433-4210 www.kennedyspacecenter.com Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast is across the river from Cape Canaveral, the site of many exciting rocket launches. The Kennedy Space Center weeklong day camps immerse campers in STEM-based activities as they problem-solve for mission planning. Kids may tour the interactive Kennedy Space Center, participate in astronaut training and spend a virtual day on Mars. Sessions open in early June and run through July. Programs are available for second through eleventh-grade students. Tuition includes lunch and snacks. The camp offers transportation from Orlando, Satellite Beach, West Melbourne and Viera, Florida.

Virginia Space Flight Academy
33531 Chincoteague Road Wallops Island, Virginia 23337 (757) 824-3800 www.vaspaceflightacademy.org Virginia Space Flight Academy is designed for middle school students aged 11 – 15. This residential camp holds weeklong sessions that end with graduation from the Space Flight Academy. Campers learn rocketry by building their own rocket using CAD design and 3D printers. In the Robotics program, kids are challenged to design robots using Lego Mindstorm kits. Camp activities include field trips to the nearby NASA Wallops Flight Facility, the NOAA weather facility and the Navy’s Surface Combat System Center. In the evening, a variety of activities ensures campers don’t miss out on traditional summertime fun such as miniature golf, go-cart racing and trips to the ice cream stand.

U.S. Rocket and Space Center One Tranquility Base Huntsville, Alabama 35805 (800) 637-7223 www.spacecamp.com The program is open to fourth grade through high school students. The residential camp offers immersive experiences in space, aviation, robotics and cyber technologies. Space Camp activities include rocket construction, simulated launches to the International Space Station and design and construction of a Mars colony. Special programs are offered for hearing, visually impaired and other special need campers.

My son cannot stop expressing how much fun he had at this camp and learning about the amazing exploration adventures that NASA has planned for their future on earth and beyond. We are scheduled again for next year and look forward to the long-lasting memories we shared while visiting Cocoa Beach, Florida.

The nice thing about Kennedy Space Camp being in Cocoa Beach, Florida the Space camp experience can be an opportunity for a great family getaway for the parents! There were so many families who dropped off their children at Kennedy Space center where they could relax knowing they were going to have an amazing time! That the parent’s could have a relaxing time together exploring Cocoa Beach with all the amazing tour trips that are available to schedule during the day and still make it back to pick up your children from camp and do a family outing in the evenings to make this the most relaxing and awesome vacation you will not want to miss if you are looking for some adult time.

Cocoa Beach: Family Bonding Time

Adventures for You & Your Family

Cocoa Beach, FL is probably best known for its beautiful beach, famous surf breaks, and proximity to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. It is the perfect destination for a family vacation when their children are in space camp. Cocoa Beach has so much activities you will not have time to do it all, but you can try! Some of the must see and do places when visiting this unique historic city is going to the Cocoa Beach Pier that stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic and features a variety of gift shops, bars, restaurants, and live music.

If you are a family who loves the water look no further Cocoa Beach has every kind of water adventure, from kayaking Banana River’s Thousand Islands to deep-sea fishing with Fin and Fly Fishing Charters to taking a few surf lessons from Ron Jon’s, is available here. There are some more unique treasures like The Dinosaur Store and the Exploration Tower.

Cocoa Beach: Splish Splash In The Sun

Exploring Cocoa Beach Water Activities

Banana River Aquatic Preserve is nestled between Merritt Island on one side and a beach barrier island on the other. The 30,000-acre preserve has a number of parks and boat ramps that provide direct, easy access to visitors with their own or rented boats and kayaks. These include Banana River Park, Kiwanis Island Park, Cocoa Beach Recreational Complex, and Kelly Park, among others. The north end of Banana River is home to a large manatee population year-round, but visitors will also see a large pelican rookery and significant numbers of diamondback terrapin turtles and alligators. Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary in the preserve is a bird watcher’s paradise.

US Highway A1A, Merritt Island, FL, Phone: 772-429-2995

Fin and Fly-Fishing Charters offer enthusiastic anglers both deep sea and inshore fishing charters. Founder and Captain Jamie Glasner and Captain Alex Hughey grew up fishing the waters of Cocoa Beach, including the Banana and Indian Rivers and the Space Coast. Both captains specialize in nearshore and inshore fishing, along with deep sea fishing. Anglers can also feel confident about their four charter boats. The 32-foot Blackfin Sportfishing boat is perfect for offshore fishing, while the 168 Phantom Ranger has superb shallow water performance. The 16-foot Action Craft is a fly fisherman’s dream boat, and the Skeeter 24-foot boat is the workhorse of the bunch going wherever the fish are. Fin and Fly-Fishing Charters offer deep sea, river, inshore, shark, and red snapper charters.

951 Bali Road, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-652-5903

The World-Famous Cocoa Beach Pier draws over a million annual visitors. The iconic Central Florida landmark stretches 800 feet out above the Atlantic Ocean and has numerous gift shops, restaurants, and bars for visitors to enjoy. This family-friendly attraction is also known for its great fishing opportunities. Anglers are likely to catch red fish, whiting, snapper, wahoo, and many other types of fish. There is a fishing fee for those who bring their own equipment, and there is also an option to rent equipment at the pier. Some of the most famous surfers in the world surf here, and visitors can watch the action at Mai Tiki Bar at the pier’s end.

401 Meade Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-783-7549

Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach I personally enjoyed using this company! My son and I did the bioluminescence tour which was simply an amazing experience. They are very accommodating with families with children as young as 4 years old! The staff of Adventure Kayak of Cocoa Beach are patient and will assist in any way to create an experience you and your family will remember!

Vacationers who want to see the natural side of Cocoa Beach can explore mangrove tunnels and islands on a kayak eco-tour of Thousand Islands. Daytime kayak tours are approximately two hours long. Kayakers should expect to see manatees, dolphins, white ibis, bald eagles, southern stingrays, and other wildlife on guided tours through a diverse eco-system. Leisurely tours leave both mornings and afternoons from various locations and are appropriate for all skill levels – even those who’ve never kayaked before. For an even more unique experience, kayakers can choose a nighttime bioluminescence kayak tour or comb jelly tour (also bioluminescent) where paddlers will see these living lights emit an ethereal blue-green glow in the water. 599 Ramp Road, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-480-8632

Ron Jon Surf School Began as Cocoa Beach Surfing School in 1993 by one of surfing’s champions, Craig Carroll. The establishment draws on 45+ years of surfing and coaching, so guests can be assured they’ll be well taught whether they are beginners or serious competitors. Ron Jon offers private and semi-private surf lessons for beginner and advanced surfers. Surf Camp for kids seven to 17 who can swim is held between May and August. Camps run for five days, perfect for a weeklong vacation. Ron Jon also provides stand up paddle boarding instruction via private or semi-private lessons, along with stand-up paddle boarding eco-river tours and nighttime bioluminescent SUP tours. They have recently added kiteboarding instruction to their repertoire.

150 East Columbia Lane, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-868-1980

321 Kiteboarding and Watersports is a retail kiteboard and surf shop. They’re also the largest kiteboarding school in Cocoa Beach. Students learn to set up the gear and use it safely, then head out to the water to learn how to harness the wind for kiteboarding. The only requirement is the bit of endurance it requires for beginners to spend one to two hours on the water learning skills, along with some core and leg strength. Kiteboarding is an exciting sport for everyone, from kids to seniors. The best time for kiteboarding in Cocoa Beach is October to May. The store offers gear for purchase or rent and lessons in kiteboarding, SUP, and surfing.

235 West Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-302-5663

Fin Expeditions offer personalized, small group kayak eco-tours in the Banana River Lagoon. Local expert guides lead groups of ten or fewer kayakers through the labyrinth of the Thousand Islands mangrove forest. Groups are typically six kayakers to one guide who takes them off the beaten path and expertly leads them through the sometimes-confusing watery trails with ease.

Cocoa Beach: Learning The History

Exploring Cocoa Beach Museums

Exploration Tower is a must-do activity at Port Canaveral Jetty Park. The architecturally gorgeous seven-story tower is a recreational offering by the Canaveral Port Authority. Visitors enter the tower via a promenade that skims across a lake. The first floor houses the information desk, gift shop, and a café. The tower’s second floor is a 2,750-square-foot discovery center with interactive exhibits about local history. On the third floor, there is a 72 seat state-of-the-art theater to watch a one-of-a-kind historical movie. The Tower’s fourth floor hosts meetings and events. Floor five offers a simulated harbor boat pilot navigation experience, and floors six and seven are indoor and outdoor observation decks for Cape Canaveral launches.

670 Dave Nisbet Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL, Phone: 321-394-3408

Astronaut Memorial Planetarium & Observatory on the Eastern Florida State College campus has been serving both the college and the community since 1975. It is widely recognized as one of the best planetariums in the United States, and the rooftop observatory has one of the largest public telescopes in Florida. Planetarium staff and volunteers help visitors explore the night sky every weekend. The planetarium also has two theaters. Star Theater has the world’s first combined Digital & Optical Mechanical projection system for realistic views of the Brevard County night sky and presents live tours of the night sky. It also hosts laser/music shows. Discovery Movie Theater shows IMAX, National Geographic, and other science documentaries. The facility is currently closed and will be going under reconstruction since sustaining damage from Hurricane Irma 2018 stay posted by visiting website to stay connected to updates of re-opening of this fantastic facility.

1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, Florida, Phone: 321-632-1111

Florida Surf Museum is dedicated to preserving the unique history of East Coast surfing. Visitors can expect to see exhibitions about the history and culture of Florida surfing, the evolution of surfing, great local surfers, five iconic local surf spots, and a fascinating array of boards. Besides the permanent collection of photos, videos, boards, and stories about surf legends and big Kahunas, there are always new temporary exhibits. Past exhibits have included Shortboard Evolution Revolution, Sidewalk Surfing, Locals Only, Florida Women of the Waves, Paipo: Prone to Ride, and Gary Propper – Surf/Art/Entertainment. Visitors can also purchase T-shirts and other souvenirs from the museum.

4275 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-720-8033

Sands Space and History Center is an extension of the Air Force Space & Missile Museum at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Since it is outside the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, there is no need for an access pass, and admission is free. The history center preserves and displays historic information for the Launch Complexes at Cape Canaveral. There is also a gift shop inside and a picnic area outside the building. Visitors can tour the history center every day except Monday. This is not the Air Force Space & Missile Museum itself, which is at Launch Complex 26 inside Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and can only be accessed via a bus tour called, Cape Canaveral Early Space Tour.

100 Spaceport Way, Cape Canaveral, FL, Phone: 321-853-9171

The Dinosaur Store is not a kitschy roadside stand with plastic dinosaur souvenirs – it’s the real deal. The world’s largest collection of fossils and minerals will inspire paleontology fans. Shoppers can pick up a 65 million-year-old authentic Pachycephalosaurus toe for $2400 or a 75 million-year-old real Tyrannosaurid tooth for $900, and there are many more one-of-a-kind pre-historic items. Families will love The Dinosaur Store’s Adventure Zone where kids can explore science center activities, play arcade games, watch dinosaur movies in the Movie Cave, pan for fossils in a working sluice, and visit live gators and reptiles in the Reptiles Run. The Dinosaur Store also presents a Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures.

250 West Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-783-7300

Cocoa Beach: The Great Outdoors

Exploring Cocoa Beach Nature Connection

The Helen & Allan Cruickshank Sanctuary is part of Florida’s Environmentally Endangered Lands program, which was established to acquire land that is environmentally sensitive and bring it back to life for environmental education and passive recreation. Once a turpentine mine and farm, this 140-acre sanctuary is an example of conservation in action. The pine flatwoods habitat is now home to raptors that circle above the pines or perch majestically at their tops. The restored land also includes oak trees and sand pine scrub, along with freshwater marshes. Visitors here can walk the mile-long nature trail that loops the sanctuary and observe native wildlife.

326 Barnes Boulevard, Rockledge, FL, Phone: 321-255-4466

Shepard Park gets its name from astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. Besides being an oceanfront park, it’s also the perfect spot to watch future Cape Canaveral launches. This five-acre park has a beautiful beach, picnic shelters, a children’s playground, 10 large picnic pavilions, barbecue grills, vending machines, and a bathhouse with showers, changing areas, and restroom facilities. There is also an option to rent beach chairs and umbrellas for a relaxing day. The paid parking lot with 300 spaces is close to the beach. This is the perfect set-up for a fun day at the beach.

200 East Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-868-3252

 Cocoa Beach: Embracing The Community

Shopping Experience in Cocoa Beach

Historic Cocoa Village is a must-do on any vacation to Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Village is the in-demand entertainment and shopping district of Cocoa, Florida. Visitors meander tree-lined streets perusing a plethora of unique shops and casual dining establishments in a village atmosphere. Depending on the time of year, travelers to Cocoa Village may catch one of four annual art fairs, two car shows, or four annual Sip and Strolls. The Village, founded in 1860, has numerous historic attractions to see, like Porcher House and Cocoa Village Playhouse, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

600 Florida Avenue #104, Cocoa, FL, Phone: 321-255-4466

Cocoa Beach has long been considered the gateway to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and the Space Center Visitor Complex is 40 minutes outside Cocoa Beach. Visitors to the center will see historic spacecraft and memorabilia, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, astronaut training simulators, a space shuttle launch experience, a close-up view of the space shuttle Atlantis, Space Mirror Memorial honoring fallen astronauts, and so much more. There are a number of add-on attractions at the Visitor Complex for an additional price. Some of these include photo opportunities with icons of NASA spaceflight operations, a guided tour with an astronaut, live action gaming featuring real NASA missions, and lunch with an astronaut.

405 Kennedy Space Center, FL, Phone: 855-433-4210

South of Cocoa Beach Pier, visitors will find picturesque, regional beachside Lori Wilson Park. To get to the semi-secluded beach, travelers take one of the short trails past the boardwalk, through the woods, and over the dunes to the beach. Park facilities include picnic tables, two pavilions, restrooms and changing areas with vending machines, a lifeguard stand, and an elevated boardwalk nature trail through an adjacent tropical maritime hammock (forest). Other park amenities for public use are a volleyball court, playground, barbecue grills, and a dog park. The park opens at dawn and closes at dusk. There is no park fee for any of the facilities or the beach.

1500 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-455-1380

The family-friendly Cocoa Beach and Thousand Islands Helicopter Tour provides an exhilarating birds-eye view of Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral, and Thousand Islands in Banana River. The 30-mile, 15-minute flight leaves from a private helipad in Port Canaveral. Guests can expect to see miles of Cocoa Beach and Cocoa Beach Pier with tons of surfers and beach goers along the way. The inter-coastal Banana River has a labyrinth of natural and manmade islands, some freshwater manatees, and even a few river dolphins. Tours regularly accommodate two guests, who will each have headsets allowing them to clearly hear the guide’s live commentary.

673 Dave Nisbet Drive, Port Canaveral, FL, Phone: 321-392-4125

Cocoa Beach: Fine Dining

The Best Local Restaurants in Cocoa Beach

Fat Kahuna’s featuring signature seafood selections, fine steak, chicken, and vegetarian options. In a fine dining, yet casual atmosphere, we welcome all to come join us and taste the aloha!

The Fat Snook is a casual beachside restaurant that has been serving upscale dishes to the Cocoa Beach community since 2007. They specialize in showcasing local purveyors of fresh seafood and use seasonal ingredients in their amazing entrées like Poblano Pesto Shrimp with Canaveral shrimp, pumpkin cheddar grits, and chorizo cream sauce. Other menu standouts like their Florida Stone Crab starter, Grilled D’Anjou Pear & Baby Gem salad, and U-10 Seared Scallops entrée are local favorites. The casual-chic ambience features a cool color palette of blues and greens with wood flooring, beachy accents, and modern bistro tables and chairs.

2464 South Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-784-1190.

Cocoa Beach Brewing Company Cocoa Beach Brewing Company is tucked away in a historic building that was once 1930s Navy housing. Today, the repurposed former Banana River Naval Air Station provides retail space for a number of restaurants, bars, and local businesses. This family-owned-and-operated nano-brewery and pub, founded in 2008, was the Space Coast’s first brewery. Cocoa Beach Brewing Company specializes in traditional craft brews, plus unique seasonal beers. Their award-winning beers are handcrafted in small-batch brews. Three beers to try are the Cocoa Beach Pale Ale, Not Just Some Oatmeal Stout, and 888 India Pale Ale, all award winners.

150 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, Phone: 321-613-2941

Cocoa Beach:Where to Stay

Cocoa Beach Family Style Resorts

  • We recommend these great-value hotels near the soft sands of Cocoa Beach:
  • Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort: high-end pricing, recent renovation include complete upgrades to the 120 two-bedroom villas, hotel lobby, courtyard and heated outdoor pool….and the family will enjoy the all-new Wakulla Falls Water Park, featuring best-in-class aquatic attractions.
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacation: high-end pricing, ranging from one to four bedrooms, the spacious villas you’ll find at Holiday Inn Club Vacations resorts can make your stay extra-special. Many feature fully equipped kitchens, living and dining areas, patios or balconies and more. With plenty of room to spread out or come together, these villas are perfect for the whole family.
  • Cape Crossing Resort & Marina: mid-end pricing, the resort features 47 island-style townhomes that are fully furnished and professionally decorated. Each has 2 stories, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and garage. The resort centerpiece is a six-story condominium tower with 35 water-view units that are also fully furnished, professionally decorated, and feature 3 or 4 bedrooms (Note: furthest away from Cocoa Beach but awesome for sailors)
  • Radisson Resort at the Port: mid-pricing range, situated in the heart of Cape Canaveral, Radisson Resort at the Port makes it easy to stroll down Cocoa Beach at sunset or discover the world of space travel at Kennedy Space Center. Cruise passengers can book our Park and Cruise packages, which include round-trip shuttle service to Port Canaveral and free parking at the hotel.
  • International Palms Resort Cocoa Beach: mid-pricing range, Set on 13 pristine oceanfront acres in beautiful Cocoa Beach. Once the playground of astronauts, this 502-room beach resort overlooking the Atlantic delights with a pirate-themed pool, rescue gators in the lobby, live entertainment, and fire pits that beckon families to gather for s’more-making memories.
  • Courtyard Cocoa Beach Cape Canaveral: mid-range pricing, beach access, personal service, partially-shaded outdoor pool.
  • Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral: affordable rates, ocean-view, short walk to the beach, complimentary hot breakfast, heated outdoor pool, free tea and coffee in the lobby.
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Cocoa Beach Oceanfront: budget-friendly hotel, beachfront, near Cocoa Beach Pier, pillowtop beds, outdoor swimming pool, free breakfast and parking.
  • Days Inn Cocoa Beach Port Canaveral: budget rates, opposite Cocoa Beach Pier, five-minute walk to the beach, continental breakfast included.


Exercise with MaddyFit

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Maddy Garcia- Exercise with MaddyFit, Master Fitness Trainer

Maddy Garcia is a mom and certified master fitness trainer. As result of her excellence in the field of exercise and physical fitness, she is New Hue’s first spotlight feature. She is here to help you and your family implement exercise into your lifestyle. Maddy Fit Blog

For many mothers, exercise and physical fitness is an aspirational goal and sometimes feels unattainable. Consequently, we usually do not put ourselves first because ….well….life is happening. Children, work, school, lunches, dinner, after school activities…you know how the story goes. You live it. Well meet Maddy Garcia, certified Master Fitness trainer and mother of three.

Maddy’s Motivation to Exercise

Maddy is a lifelong athlete however, similar to most of us, she has experienced some difficulties with getting back into shape after having her children. Therefore, Maddy chose to make exercise and fitness a lifestyle. As she states, “Fitness must be a priority”. Her goal is to create a synergy of the physical and mental well-being thus creating overall wellness. She fought to attain this goal by implementing Barre exercise, which involves the use of the ballet barre and movements derived from ballet. Maddy later became a certified Barre/Pilates instructor. She had prior training in Les Mills exercise and is also a certified and is also a certified instructor.

As you can see, she looks amazing! Therefore, obviously, people want to know what she did to get back into shape….and she wants to help! She created MaddyFit, which entails use of customized programs that are specific to your goals. Exercise with MaddyFit includes use of many styles of exercise training including strength training, cardio, HIIT, core focus training and also body sculpting to name a few.

Food and Nutrition

Any good trainer understands that a good training program is also as a result of a good nutrition plan. However, not all trainers create a meal plan for you. In contrast, Maddy does! I know this first hand! She was able to create a vegan friendly meal plan for me that was also high in protein for muscle building. That is a remarkable feat! In contrast, I’ve had other trainers that were not able to achieve this and always resorted to telling me to eat eggs or seafood. Not only does she understand the importance of good nutrition, she also understands that it must be customized to the individual and she knows how to implement it. That is difficult to find in a trainer.

Maddy’s passion for fitness organically led her to implementing this lifestyle with her family. As a result of this, her children are star athletes. This led many parents to questioning what the method is to achieving both her and her children’s physical success, and want to exercise with MaddyFit. Check out Maddyfit kids below!       

Exercise with MaddyFit Kids

Many parents witness the power and endurance that her athletic children have when involved in their competitive sports activities. Consequently, these curious parents would ask advice on nutrition and training. As a result of this, she came up with the great idea to formulate Maddyfit kids. She believes that you must introduce a healthy lifestyle at an early age so that fitness will be ever present on the lifespan continuum.

Another advice that she offers is to meal prep for your family. Not only does this help with organizing the week for busy moms, it also ensures deliberate calculations of appropriate calories and nutrients for your physically active and maybe not so active child(ren). Maddy believes that exercise should be fun for children. For instance, Maddy says, “Your child may not be disciplined enough to run laps around the track but he or she would have a blast doing a relay race with their friends”. The key is making exercise a part of your child’s daily activities. To learn more about Maddy and her amazing fitness services, visit www.maddyfit.com

Parenting: Are you #Winning or Simply Surviving?

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As we journey through this life of parenting, it has become evident that all things are not created equally. As parents, we attempt to achieve balance but there are aspects of our lives that draw a disproportionate amount of our time and energy.  #Parenting

At this moment, stop and think about all of the things that have your attention: your children, their school, your job, spouse, relationship with friends and family, your spirituality, being an awesome parent, oh and house-keeping. At NO point can all of those responsibilities receive the same amount of attention and that is OK!

#Winning or Surviving

I was comforted one evening when I heard Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo CEO) speak about simply being a decent parent. Undoubtedly, as parents our goal is not to be decent, but to be great at this parenting game.  However, we can’t be phenomenal at everything and there are times we may compare ourselves unfavorably to others. We wish and hope that we could have our lives together like someone else. From our perspective it looks as though others are winning and we are simply surviving or barely making it, but we don’t see the sacrifices they had to make to get there. We don’t see the hard work and effort it took for them to win or create the facade of winning. Think about this fact: Nobody wakes up the winner of a marathon; instead it takes ACTION, TIME, SKILL and DETERMINATION to make that dream become a reality. Even Shonda Rhimes vividly describes in her book, the Year of Yes, how she sometimes felt as though she was winning in one area but inevitably failing in another.

So today, stop and think about the life that you would like to create. What is the ONE thing that could help you feel like you are winning in your day, outside of your morning cup of Joe?

Steps to Winning the Parenting Game

  1.  Remind yourself daily that you are more than good enough and your kids love you no matter what. #WinningTheParentingGame
  2. Create a plan to be successful! Small steps everyday will lead you to your end result. #WinningTheParentingGame
  3. Give yourself time to create the life that you would like to have. #Winning
  4. Live YOUR best life that makes you happy #WinningTheParentingGame

Live YOUR best life that makes you happy #WinningTheParentingGame

As you discover the new you, checkout this article help you kiddos do the same. How Kids get back on track!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday 2022 Around Orlando

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a passionate advocate of non-violent protests where he supported the civil rights movement. He truly used his life to make a change in American Social Justice. Whether you spend your day reflecting, performing community service or celebrating, here are a few activities around Orlando you might be interested in.

  1. The Southwest Jaycees is hosting Downtown Orlando MLK Holiday Parade on Saturday, January 15, 2022 beginning at 10:00am. Click the link for more details. 

2. Dr. Phillips Performing Art Center with the Southwest Jaycees is hosting a 2022 MLK Holiday Parade Showcase this event is free Saturday, January 15th at 11:00 am. The showcase will be hosted by Orlando’s own comedian Rod Z. Click the link for more details.

3. Chasing the Dream 5K is Central Florida’s only MLK Day Race! Monday, January 17th at 7:30 am. Click the link for more details.

4. Town of Eatonville 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade Celebration! The event is Saturday, January 15th at 2 pm. Enjoy food, vendors, music, and entertainment. Click the link for more details.

5. Looking for Volunteer Opportunities? Check out this list of holiday volunteer opportunities in Orlando, FL. Click this link for more details.

Achieve the Goal!

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What do you want to be when you grow up? I stayed ready for that question, like Ralphie from A Christmas Story! When you asked him, “What do you want for Christmas?” He would answer with such precision that you knew he was serious. That was me.

Gratefully, my parents did a good job encouraging me to pursue those goals and keep my eyes on the prize. Admittedly, now that I’m a parent and the shoes are on the other foot, I can’t say that this role has been easy as it pertains to some of my children’s goals. As parents, there are certain qualities and natural abilities we see in our children that they may not see. We have more exposure to different industries and careers that our children may not know about. So, when they come to us and say they want to be a marine biologist but are scared of water, we try to guide them in a different direction.

Many times, I’ve had to bite my lip and hold my tongue because while I want to push them in a different direction, I understand that it is not my job to write their story. It is my job to encourage and support their dreams. Of course, it’s also my job to let them know they can’t be an owl when they grow up, but I can educate them on the countless careers available to help take care of owls. 

In supporting their dreams, I also recognize that it’s my job to help them understand that setbacks are not failures. Just the thought of that word failure sends me in a tizzy. It’s another word I’d like to eliminate from our language. There are no failures. There are setbacks, lessons, and moving on situations, but never failures!

Children setting their own goals is of such great importance to their future success. As parents, we must remind ourselves, as I do often, this is not my story to write. It is their story. They are the authors. We give them the pen and paper, they create.

 According to Positive Psychology, “…the benefits of goal setting for youth include:

  • Provides direction, which most youths are either seeking or trying to nail down.
  • Helps children clarify what is important to them and focus on it.
  • Facilitates more effective decision-making through better self-knowledge, direction, and focus.
  • Allows children to take a more active role in building their own future.
  • Acts as a powerful motivator by giving children something to hope for and aspire towards.
  • Gives children a positive experience of achievement and personal satisfaction when they reach a goal.
  • Assists children in finding a sense of purpose in their lives (The Peak Performance Center, n.d.).”

Even if you’re child isn’t old enough to know what they want to be when they grow up, give them the opportunity to reach smaller goals. By the end of the week, you’ll be able to read 3 new words. Or in a couple of weeks, you’ll know the entire alphabet! Those short-term goals can ignite a flame and excitement for completing tasks that will last a lifetime and it’s never too early to start. Encourage your children to set long and short-term goals. Completing the short-term goals will help them stay encouraged as they steer the course for the long term.

Lady Bird Johnson from Education Corner shares to “encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.”

Seas Ons Greetings in Daytona Beach

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When it comes to the New Year, people often think of the city that never sleeps. That’s right, New York City! Big lights and the shiny ball is the preferred destination for many. The perfect location is extremely important for so many different reasons such as resolutions, superstitions, and traditions. I cannot imagine what the year would look like if I didn’t clean the house, wash, fold, and put away all the laundry, change the linens on the bed, sweep the entrance, and make sure all the dishes are clean and put away. The New Year brings hope, expectation, and determination. Whether you celebrate in the comforts of your home or out, this time of year is a place of tranquility, peace, reflection, and let’s not forget, lots of fun!

While Florida may not come to mind first as a place for New Year’s fun, there are several places to go in Daytona Beach that you may not know about.

Imagine walking along the beach when the clock strikes 12 and sharing a smooch with your significant other, while the waves crash in the distance. Talk about romantic!

You can party the night away at The Hard Rock Hotel as they host “Hard Rockers and High Rollers.” This Casino Royale-themed event will have you gambling for charity, jamming to DJ Psycho Ced, and dancing to the music of iconic rock bands. Sip your champagne as the fireworks light up the sky to welcome in 2022.

Check out the New Year’s Eve masquerade party at Streamline Hotel Rooftop Bar. This sexy event is complete with hors d’oeuvres and a champagne bar. Formal masquerade attire, dueling DJs, and a prize giveaway at 12:30. Dance 2021 away and bring in the New Year with some excitement!

If getting all dolled up and being the talk of the town is your thing, make your way to the Blue Fame at the Daytona Hotel for their Roaring 20’s New Years’ Eve Bash! The party doesn’t stop until 3:00 am New Year’s Day and includes deluxe hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, dessert table, a live DJ, and much, much more.

If going out and partying is not your thing, no worries at all. You can gather the family or stay in solitude and get an Airbnb to chill in what will feel like a home away from home? Personally, I LOVE bringing in the New Year with my family at home, or at least what feels like home in an Airbnb or hotel. We can keep our “traditions” of flipping between channels and seeing everyone enjoy waiting for the ball drop, all while dancing in the family room with the kids and hubby to the various musical artists. We have our non-alcoholic champagne ready because as soon as that ball drops, we’re screaming Happy New Year, singing Auld Lang Syne, and I’m giving the first sugar to my husband. Meanwhile, the kids are busy clinking their champagne glasses and sipping as if they are adults. If we’re lucky, we can hold out for another 20 minutes and watch more of the shows, but usually, we’re knocked out at about 12:15 am.

Ok, enough about me and back to my point! Daytona Beach has a lot to offer for New Years’ celebrations, from a walk on the beach, partying all night long, or staying at a home away from home. The choice is yours. Make sure to welcome 2022 with open arms where ever you are.

They’re Heeeeeeere!

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An unknown author stated that “No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with family.” Many look forward to this time of year as we get to spend time with family, laughing and reminiscing about old times. Homes filled with love and joy as we greet parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and of course, our crazy cousins. The holidays wouldn’t be the same without the chaos. It just adds a little pizzazz to it all.

The holidays can also bring some level of stress on families as they anticipate an extra squeeze on their wallets. Finding ways to make this time of year memorable without breaking the bank is possible.

Think creatively!

Get the popcorn ready! Christmas movies are always a hit! Gather the family around and enjoy the shenanigans of Clark W. Griswold in A Christmas Vacation. Poll the family and make a list of their favorite Christmas movies and watch one or two a night leading up to the big day!

My top 10 (in no specific order):

  1. This Christmas
  2. Christmas Vacation
  3. Best Man Holiday
  4. The Preacher’s Wife
  5. Jingle Jangle
  6. A Christmas Story
  7. Charlie Brown Christmas
  8. Christmas with the Kranks
  9. Nothing Like the Holidays
  10. Every single animated or Claymation Christmas show

Admittedly, I could go on and on when it comes to Christmas movies, but I’ll stop at my top 10!

Another budget-savvy option for some holiday cheer, smores! Let’s face it, it’s Florida and we can pretty much enjoy outside year-round. Even when it gets Florida cold, we can still bundle up and enjoy our lanai. Gather the family on a cold night and sit outside on the lanai in front of your fire pit and roast marshmallows and chocolate. Throw on some old-school Christmas music like The Temptations’ “Merry Christmas” and just enjoy. You can find an inexpensive fire pit on Marketplace or go to your nearest Lowes. It’s a small investment for the memories you’ll make.

Gas up the car and drive through the neighborhoods with the best Christmas lights. Grab some hot chocolate and turn up the A/C because again, it’s Florida and it may be hot. As an adult, I still love seeing Christmas lights and décor in the neighborhoods. Some people even have their lights synchronized to music. If you time it correctly, after seeing the Christmas lights with family, you could find a spot to watch the Disney fireworks as a close to an exciting day.

Community events are always a plus. There are so many “light-ups” in Central Florida. You can get your fill of Christmas enjoying all the Christmas tree light-ups in cities like Clermont, Windermere, Winter Garden, and a slew of others. Most of these events are always free and offer opportunities for pictures with Santa and even the Grinch if he cooperates! Plenty of vendors are always on-site and the Christmas décor along the streets will leave you in awe.

The holidays are a wonderful time for reconnecting with family and friends. Don’t allow the stress and burden of the finances to overload you. The holidays were meant to be enjoyed and cherished by all.

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