Shark Days at Mote Aquarium

Mote Aquarium

The last time we visited Mote Aquarium was in June for the World Ocean’s Day Family Festival. Ryleigh had an absolute blast checking out all of the sea life and we learned of different ways we can help to keep our oceans healthy & thriving.

We were excited to learn about some more events at mote this past month for Shark Days. Shark Days at Mote ran from August 14 – August 20th. Some of the events during the week were CycleBar Sarasota’s ride for Mote, a film screening of Jaws, Sharks & Crafts for the kids, Sharks, Tales & Ales Science Cafe, and the Fins & Fun Family Festival. We attended the Family festival on Saturday Aug 20th.

We arrived at Mote around 11am and checked out the fish tanks located right after the entrance. Ryleigh loved pointing out the fish as she watched them swim about. We then decided to take a look at the Sharks – I mean we were there for Shark Days!

In the shark tank they had photographers taking pictures of the guests from inside the tank – a shark’s eye view. I thought this was a really fun idea! There was also a shark mascot roaming about, but we didn’t get a picture because Ryleigh was scared.

Shark Days

In the courtyard there was live music being performed by the Gummy Sharks and tables set up with different activities at each. There were coloring and craft stations, face painting, information about the Gills Club, education about how garbage gets into the oceans, and a really cool shark tracker. The shark tracker was able to show us the path that one shark had been swimming all over the ocean!!

Shark Days

There was also an area for kids to play corn hole and I loved that they had boards with varying levels of difficulty so that kids of all ages were able to join in. Raleigh was so excited to play that we wound up hanging out here for a while.

We headed back inside to cool off and stumbled upon a Mommy & Me class. The Mote staff was reading a book about a smiling shark and did an amazing job keeping the kids entertained. They then showed the kids some shark teeth and allowed them to touch it so they could see what it felt like. There were more activities after, but Ryleigh was getting a bit sleepy so we headed out, but stopped at the gift store first to get Ryleigh a book about creatures of the ocean.

We had an awesome time at the festival and can’t wait to plan our next visit to Mote!! We might just have to take a trip back on a Saturday during September! Every Saturday in September, Florida residents of all ages receive admission for $6! What a deal!!

Mote

What’s your favorite sea creature?

*Thanks to my relationship with Mote I was given two tickets to the aquarium in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own. 

 

 

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McDonald’s Food Changes – Now I won’t feel guilty eating fast food (sometimes)!

McDonald's Food Changes

Fast food. I’m going to guess most of us have had it from time to time. I have. And then I’ve always felt guilty. Not so much because I indulged in something thought to be unhealthy, but because I’ve always assumed most of it was artificial, or full of crap we don’t need in our bodies.

When I found out about all of the great food changes McDonald’s have made I slowly felt less guilty for the occasional indulgence.

McDonald's Food Changes
Unveiling new food announcements on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, at McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.

So what food changes has McDonald’s made?

  1. Removed artificial preservatives from several of their food items (which also don’t have artificial colors or flavors). This includes their Chicken McNuggets.
  2. They have made a commitment to only serve chicken not treated by antibiotics important to human medicine.
  3. The pork sausage patties & omelets-style eggs served on McGriddles, bagel & biscuit sandwiches, and scrambled eggs on breakfast platters no longer have artificial preservatives.
  4. Speaking of eggs, McDonald’s made a commitment to source 100% cage-free eggs.
  5. New buns that no longer contain high fructose corn syrup.
  6. Changing the premium salad blend. They replaced iceberg lettuce with fresh romaine, baby spinach, and baby kale and added Tuscan red leaf lettuce and ribbon-cut carrots.
  7. The milk in its low aft milk jugs and Go-GURT low fat yogurt come from cows that are not treated with rbST (an artificial growth hormone).

All of these changes are amazing, and now I won’t feel guilty if I’ve had a super busy day, cranky baby, and just want to stop and pick up food on the way home instead of having to cook a meal.

Now I don’t have to feel like I am poisoning my child if I grab her some Chicken McNuggets! I also love the fact that the Happy Meals offer a side of apples or yogurt instead of fries.

What food changes are you most excited about?

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My Completion of Whole 30

whole 30

It’s been about 2 weeks since I finished Whole 30, but I haven’t gotten a chance to post about it. I had sinus surgery, re-did my daughter’s bedroom and was super busy with work. However, I wanted to let everyone who was following know how amazing the Whole 30 program was and what my plans for the future with eating are.

First of all I finally got the Whole 30 cookbook about halfway through my journey with this new method of eating. Even though I only had two weeks left I planned on eating a primarily Whole 30 diet, so the cookbook was a must. I’ve tried several of the recipes and they have all been really tasty.

chicken curry
Curry Chicken

So how did I feel post-Whole 30? I could definitely see major differences in the way I was feeling. Prior to starting Whole 30 I had a lot of aches and pains. So much so that I was referred to a rheumatologist. My rheumatoid factor (blood test) was also elevated. While this doesn’t mean that I have rheumatoid arthritis, it may mean something is wrong. I felt less achey during Whole 30. The pain wasn’t completely gone, but it was less severe.

pork chops
Pork Chops & Cauliflower Mash

I also had more energy than I had before I started. There were some days I could literally sit around and do nothing all day, sleep 9 – 10 hours and still feel exhausted the next day. I truly feel that the increase in energy was do to he change in my eating habits.

My skin was also clearer and I lost weight. I didn’t start this program to lose weight, but loosing 9 lbs is definitely a pleasant side effect. And my skin had been breaking out so badly before I changed my eating habits.

So how am I doing now? Well I had sinus surgery on Aug 3rd and my face was in terrible pain the day of and for some reason my teeth were hurting. The only thing I could think of after the surgery was eating ice cream so I did. I might have had some more a few days later. My main meals are primarily Whole 30 based, but I have had non-approved snacks and I decided to try out Hello Fresh, which isn’t Whole 30 approved. I do have slumps or tired-ness and my aches have gotten worse. Coincidence? I think not. I will be starting another complete round on Sept 1st.

Would I recommend Whole 30? YES! It is hard to get used to at first, but once you do the cravings are pretty much gone. If you are lacking energy, achey, bloated, have acne – I really believe that trying Whole 30 will help so much.

Have you tried Whole 30? What did you think??

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Top Ten Tuesday – TV Shows

It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday List. Last week was all about my favorite movies, so this week’s list is about favorite TV Shows.

top 10 movies

In no particular order, here goes:

1. Orange is the New Black

I started watching this show after I saw everyone posting on Facebook about it. Then it was binge watching time. I’m surprised it actually took me about a week to get through this season (I guess that’s what happens when you have a toddler running around). I can’t wait to see what happens next season!

2. House

I LOVE this show and I love Dr. House. Yea, he’s a big jerk, but that’s why I love him. Plus I love pretty much anything medical mystery related. I’m a big science/medicine geek, so I always found all of the disordered interesting.

3. Law & Order: SVU

I’m not sure why this is the only Law & Order show I’ve ever gotten into, but I have watched every single episode and still watch it when there’s a marathon on TV. I miss detective Stabler, but I still love the show!

4. Criminal Minds

I do have a thing for crime shows, but I love the profiling aspect of this particular series. Spencer is my favorite character but I do miss Derek Morgan.

5. Shameless

Although I am not quite caught up on this series, it’s definitely one of my favorites. You can’t help but love the dysfunctional Gallaghers and all of the chaos in their lives. I just found out it’s not on Netflix so I can’t wait to catch up.

6. Grey’s Anatomy

Although there are many of the original characters missing from this series I still can’t help but watch and love it. Again, I love medical dramas and even though this one may take it a little over the top sometimes, I still find myself watching.

7. Scandal

Who doesn’t love Olivia Pope? She is smart, beautiful, and a badass woman. I love the twists and urns this series takes and it always keeps me wanting more.

8. Friends

If you don’t like the show Friends we can’t be friends. In all seriousness, this has to be my favorite show. Ever. I re-watched all 10 seasons on Netflix while I was recovering from my C-section. No matter how much time passes I will always think of Joey when someone says “How you doin?”

9. Empire

This is a new show to me. A co-worked used to talk about it all the time and I downloaded a free trial of Hulu and saw it listed as one of the shows. I couldn’t stop watching and now I NEED to know what happens next season, so I’m anxiously awaiting the new year of Empire.

10. Game of Thrones

This is certainly a show I never thought I would like. My husband loves it so I figured I would give it a try. I was hooked. It took a while for me to figure out everyones’ name and how they were related/connected, but now I just need to get caught up on this last season!

Are there any shows I’m missing or you think I would love to watch? WHat are your favorite TV shows?

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BD’s Mongolian Grill Has A New Menu + A Giveaway

Bd's Mongolian Grill

I was recently invited to the newly re-opened bd’s Mongolian Grill in Lakeland to try out their new menu. This was before I started Whole 30, but I’m looking forward returning after the 30 day period for one of my cheat meals!

We were greeted by a friendly hostess and quickly escorted to our table. We were given a high chair for Ryleigh and browsed over our menus.

I loved the fact that there was a separate kids’ menu. Besides the typical chicken fingers, mac & cheese, and quesadillas your kids can create their own stir fry as well (for a lower price than adults). Kids 3 and under can get their own stir fry for free! We chose that option and Ryleigh loved the variety of food on her plate!

bd's mongolian grill

Adam and I decided to get the Shareable Trio appetizer. You get to choose three of their appetizers to share. I thought this would be a great way to get a little sampling of everything. We ordered crab rangoon, jalapeno mozzarella sticks, and potstickers.

Shareable Trio

All three appetizers were delicious, my favorite being the crab rangoon.

Upon further review of the menu I decided I was going to have the create your own stir fry. I personally think this is the best part of bd’s Mongolian grill. You get a bowl and you get to choose what you want in your stir fry at designated locations in the middle of the restaurant. You can pick your noodles, which meat you would like (steak, chicken, shrimp, etc), and your veggies. There there is a sauce bar at which you can mix and match sauces to create your masterpiece. You then bring your bowl up the the grill where fun chefs cook your dish in front of you.

bd's mongolian grill

The grill was extremely busy when I was there, but the chefs kept everyone entertained. They all had a great sense of humor and made sure to keep the line moving as quickly as possibly while doing a great job cooking up the bowls. I was very impressed with the cooking staff.

pad thai

My husband ordered the Pad Thai, but of course I had to have a taste. It was missing the traditional peanut sauce taste, but it was still quite a delicious dish.

I was also impressed to find there was a separate area for people who had certain food allergies to get their food cooked. There were also items on the menu that were gluten free. This will be especially helpful when we return, after I figure out which foods I tolerate less than others.

Are you getting hungry? You can check out bd’s Mongolian Grill’s menu online here (just choose your location).

I’m also giving away $25 dollars in Mongo-Money for you to try out the menu! Just promise to let me know how much you liked it! Enter the giveaway below!

*Thanks to my relationship with bd’s Mongolian Grill, I was given a gift card to try out the new menu in exchange for an honest blog post. All opinions are my own.

Win $25 in MongoMoney!

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