Our surprisingly fun trip to Florida on an Amtrak train

Back at the end of the Summer I wrote about getting ready for our #FamilyForward trip. Since we have been back it’s been insanely crazy. This Fall has totally kicked my ass. I have been so busy, at times I thought there was no way I could keep my head above water. Things are finally getting back to somewhat normal and now I can actually sit down and share some fun we have been having.

I really wanted to make sure I wrote about our Amtrak trip to Orlando. Every time someone hears that we took a train to Florida from Connecticut I can see the disbelief in their eyes. We get so many questions about it. To tell you the truth, when I was booking the trip I thought we were crazy. We had no idea what to expect. I knew it would be an adventure. Good or bad, we would be making some family memories!

Amtrak

One of the things that made me so happy was that even though we didn’t buy assigned seats, they assigned our seats as we got on the train in NYC. I was stressed about how that worked, I was worried we wouldn’t all be able to sit together. But luckily no worries! The service crew in NYC were fabulous. So friendly and super nice. Chatted with everyone and traded jokes with my kids. We packed a cooler with a bunch of food and drinks for the trip. Best idea ever. Saved a lot of money and we didn’t really have to worry about the cafe car times. The kids did get to pick out a treat from the cafe car, but not having to buy full meals was a big money saver.

Chloe loved that you could walk around the train. She thought the cafe car was the coolest thing in the world. She had a blast playing card games at the table while having a snack. It was nice to go into the dining car and get a change of scenery. We also packed our portable dvd player and the kids watched Harry Potter and Despicable Me in preparation for Universal Studios.

Amtrak 2

When we arrived in Orlando Town Car Now was there waiting for us. The kids got such a kick out of seeing our name on the sign! The drive to Loews Royal Pacific Resort was short and our driver was fabulous. It was a great start to our vacation.

All in all we loved traveling by train to Florida. It was much more relaxing than driving. In the end we all decided we would totally do it again. In fact, I am looking at booking our train for our April trip to Disney as we speak. Have you ever traveled long distance by train? I’d love to hear about your trip! Are you thinking of taking a long trip by train and have questions? Ask me anything!

cheryl
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We are jumping on the Hogwarts Express!

Family Forward

We have an amazing opportunity to attend the Family Forward Retreat at Universal Studios Orlando. Thanks to the awesome Mom It Forward team, along with fabulous sponsors Universal Orlando Resort, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Southwest Airlines, Cricut, Duct Tape, and National Geographic Kids, we are going to be making fun family memories.

From the Family Forward website:

Family Forward, a 3-day family retreat organized by Mom It Forward for social media influencers AND their families focused on helping families connect in the digital age.​

Family Forward gives families experiences, ideas, and skills to embrace bonding in the digital age through workshops centered on topics like charity, communication, creativity, team building, and trust. Our premise is that whether you are unplugged or are plugged in, you can maximize opportunities to create connections with your family.

This is perfect for my family! We have made it a mission to spend more time together as a family this year. We have been making time to find the fun in our everyday lives as well. We can not wait to participate in the workshops and spend this time together as a family.

Harry Potter

We surprised Jacob and Chloe on Thursday night. I can not believe I was able to keep it in! I could not wait to tell them! We made these Hogwarts Invitations that told the kids to pack their bags! They were in complete shock. They are both HUGE Harry Potter fans. So much so, they both became super emotional and I can’t show the video or they will hate me. We all ended up in tears at one point. But they were happy tears!

As much as the kids are excited for the trip, they can not wait to take a train to get there. Yup. You heard that right. We are taking an Amtrak train to Orlando Florida. 24 hours. Overnight. What were we thinking? I think we might have lost our minds, but I actually think we are going to have fun. We really wanted to make this trip special and have an adventure. We’ll see how it goes!

You can follow along with me and all of the other families at Family Forward by following #FamilyForward on Twitter and on Instagram.

If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter, then you already know I will be tweeting and posting pics through the whole retreat. And if you are not following me, what’s up with that?

Disclosure. I was not asked to post about this trip. I am talking about it because I am super excited! We did receive a generous discount and some fun perks like tickets to Blue Man Group, and a fun dessert party. But I am paying for this out of my very own pocket.

cheryl
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My day with the Red Sox!

Just writing that title makes me smile.

Best email ever!

Best email ever!

When I opened my email and saw an invitation to Fenway Park, I almost fell off my chair. I am part of a HUGE Red Sox fan family. All of my family lives in the Boston area. To see this in my email was awesome! Date night for Kevin and I!

We started off the day with a tour around the park. Loved hearing all of the stories. The history of Fenway is amazing. I remember going to games when I was younger and I never actually thought about the history. I was just there for fun. After the tour, we sat down in the offices for a fantastic “focus group” discussion. I learned SO much. I had no idea how family friendly a trip to Fenway could be. I found myself saying “Jake would love this” or “Chloe would think that is so cool.” We started planning our next trip before we even left.

Heard stories from THE BEST storyteller!

Heard stories from THE BEST storyteller!

Red Sox 1

Red Sox

Red Sox

Oh! I can’t forget about the Red Sox Kid Nation membership. Such a fun idea!

kidnation

Perfect gift for kids who are Red Sox fans! I am totally buying a few for my nieces. They will get such a kick out of it. My kids love getting anything in the mail, and they flipped out over this!

We had such a great day! I was even surprised by the reasonable food prices, good to know I wouldn’t have to sell one of my kids just to feed the rest of them! I really had no idea how fun it could be to bring the whole family. I think Jake would love to walk around outside in Yawkey Way. I know Kevin loved walking around out there and he had to have the sausage before we left!

Kevin HAD to have a sausage!

Kevin HAD to have a sausage!

If you are looking for something fun to do with the family this weekend, look no further! Check out Futures at Fenway. Here is the information from RedSox.com

Futures at Fenway
Join us for the Eighth Annual Futures at Fenway on Saturday, July 27, 2013!

Don’t miss this great day of baseball action featuring Red Sox prospects and lots of family fun. Ticket prices range from $5 to $30. Following the game, there will be post-game autograph session with Sea Dogs players.

New this year:

Post-game concert featuring Kidz Bop Kids
For the first time at Fenway Park, fans will have a chance to bring their dogs to the ballpark. Designated sections of the seating bowl will be available to owners and their dogs. To purchase a dog ticket, please call 877-REDSOX-9. All dog owners must print out the attached waiver, complete it and bring it with them to Fenway Park on July 27.

First pitch 12 p.m.
Gates Open at 11 a.m.

Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox AA affiliate)
vs.
Harrisburg Senators (Nationals AA Affiliate)

You can bring your dog and see the Kidz Bop Kids! Check out the website for all of the information and to print out the waiver. Looks like it is going to be a blast! If you are planning to go, let me know! I’d love to hear how you liked it!

This was Kevin's favorite spot.  The view from the Green Monster seats!

This was Kevin’s favorite spot. The view from the Green Monster seats!

Thanks so much Red Sox! We will be back with the whole Budge Bunch soon!

I received complimentary tickets to the game and vouchers for food.
As always, all opinions are my own.

cheryl
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Get your Twitter Party ON tonight! #JerseyLove

Hey everyone! If you are hanging out on Twitter tonight please join me at a fun party with @D6SurfSkimmer!

#JerseyLove

For all of the information you need, head over to Party Blueprints.

Everything you need to know is there! Make sure you RSVP to win some great prizes!

Hope to see you there! It’s for a GREAT cause!

cheryl
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Wordless Wednesday with Linky

Boston View

Did not want to leave Boston this weekend.

LINK UP!

cheryl
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Weekend Wrap-up NYC College edition!

Oh I am SO behind on my posting. Darn hackers!!! Anyhow. A lot of fun stuff has been going on here. Chelsea is auditioning for BFA programs at some colleges. We had a fun weekend in NYC while she auditioned at Marymount Manhattan College. She loved it. Fingers crossed! We thought it would be fun to use some of these college visits to have some fun family adventures. Heading to Boston soon!

PicMonkey Collage NYC

One of the things I am so happy we were able to do is go skating at Rockefeller Center. That was something Chloe has been hoping to do someday. And she did it!! They had a blast! We checked out the huge Toys R Us in Times Square, and Jake loved Nintendo World. I was amazed at how peaceful it was while we were walking in Central Park. If I ever win the lottery I am SO living in NYC. I love being there.

PicMonkey CollageNYC1

Oh my goodness! My pictures did not come out good. I think my phone was frozen from the crazy cold weather! Oh well, we had a fun weekend!

Have you ever been to NYC? What are your favorite places to visit while there?

cheryl
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