5 Kid Friendly Mardi Gras Events in Central Florida 2022

Music. Beads. Dancing. Good Food. Mardi Gras may have looked a little different in your years without kids, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fun! Here are some family friendly events where you can party with your kiddos!

DOG PARADE in Downtown DeLand

You read it right! A DOG PARADE. DeLand certainly knows how to throw my kind of party. From 10-2 you & your littles can cheer on cute canines dressed up Mardi Gras style while listening to live music. DeLand is also well known for its shops & delicious brunch spots! Grab a few friends and start the day early with some pancakes & orange juice. Here are some of the best brunch spots downtown! Link: DeLand Top Brunch Spots

MARDI GRAS 2022 Party in the Park!

This is a FREE event Saturday Feb 26th from 4-8pm at Oviedo on the Park. In celebration there will be plenty of food trucks, as well as drink stations, and live entertainment. In addition Oviedo on the Park has a playground, dog park, lake where you can rent swan boats, and several restaurant options in case you feel like dining in AC or there is a large grass area to spread out a blanket & have a picnic! Here’s the link for more information. Link: Mardi Gras OOTP

Mardi Gras at the BEACH!

What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than in true Florida fashion at the beach in February! On Sunday February 27th New Smyrna Beach will be hosting a Seaside Gumbo competition from 12-5pm where you can sample and vote for only $15! Buy passes at nsbgumbo2022.eventbrite.com and go to the LINK for more information NSB Beach Gumbo Challenge.

Then on Fat Tuesday March 1st the 16th Annual Mardi Gras parade begins at 7pm. It starts on South Atlantic Avenue, makes its way on to Flagler Ave and ends on Pine Street. Flagler Ave is known for its restaurants & beach shops! My recommendation is to make a reservation at one of the restaurant’s patios and view the parade from your table enjoying dinner! Make note that Flagler Avenue will not allow cars to come through from 4-9pm, so plan ahead and park smart in case you need to leave early for bedtimes! Here is the LINK Flagler Ave Mardi Gras Parade

Mardi Gras at SEA WORLD!

What could be cooler than celebrating Mardi Gras with the dolphins?! Alongside the Seven Seas Food Festival, there will be Mardi Gras parades & music from now till March 6th! This is perfect if you want it all and have family of various ages. From roller coasters, to mesmerizing aquariums, to cooling off at the splash pad in Sesame Street Land and adorable Animal shows– there is something for Grandpa, your two year old, and your teenager to have a great day. LINK Seaworld Mardi Gras

Here’s Grandpa & our 18m old
enjoying Sea world!

Which event do you think your littles would enjoy the most? Dogs or Dolphins? Seaside Gumbo Competition or Sea World Food Festival? Either way, have a wonderful time with your family and be safe!

6 FREE Apps to get Before Baby Comes Home

One of my biggest rookie mistakes as a FTM (First Time Mom) was thinking that I’d have plenty of time & energy AFTER the baby arrived- because what could be more draining & exhausting than growing a baby?Um- Taking care of that baby- that’s what! lol. I don’t know what I was thinking. I had no idea what I was in for as soon as the baby arrived.

Here are some free Apps to download NOW so that when the baby comes you can get the most out of these precious moments with less stress. *NOTHING is sponsored*


This App is GENIUS. If there is only ONE app to download, it is THIS. I refer to it as my second brain. As the name implies, this app helps you keep track of everything baby- eating (nursing & formula options), napping, medications, growth, wet and dirty diapers, pumping-etc. To have ALL that information stored and accounted for is GOLD. You will be asked at every appointment like “How long is the baby nursing on each side?” and “How many dirty diapers?” THIS hot mess express could barely keep the dog fed, let alone keep track of poopy diapers! This app has been so helpful to track the baby’s health and is extremely easy to use.

Due to privacy, only the logo is pictured.


Do you have a ton of Mom friends already? Want to find some (or some more)? Peanut is basically “tinder” to find mom friends. lol. In this app you add some basic information of your age, your baby’s age, and the general area of where you live. You’ll also have a little blurb to show your interests & personality. Then you will have access to a whole list of moms that also live in the area. If you see a mama you think you could connect with- Swipe Up! lol. The app is very secure (that was my biggest concern) none of your personal info (last name, phone number, email, address) is shown, but of course you will want to use your own discretion. I didn’t have many mom friends with babies who lived near me (I just moved to Florida a year earlier) so this was a great way for me to make some friends with babies who could grow up together.

3. 1SE (1 Second Everyday)

This is a free app that lets you take a 1 second video every day and compiles it into a sweet montage. Very user friendly & easy to catch up if you fall behind, because when you select a date all your photos from THAT date pop up to choose from, so you don’t have to hunt & scroll for hours. It’s a really nice way to document and organize this very precious time in your life and see your baby grow up. I’ve done it for my pregnancy, my baby’s first year of life, my postpartum weight loss journey, and now my second baby’s first year. Perfect for that 1yr old birthday post, or just for you & your family to reminisce just how quickly time flies.


This is a free app with several “white noise” and nature sound options. This app is very useful if I’m in a new environment and the baby is taking a nap. I can slip out my phone and play white noise to help baby relax & rest. It’s nice for me too, I’m always in the mood to hear ocean waves.


This is a cute app to decorate pictures with stickers like “33 WEEKS Pregnant!”, “The Snuggle Is Real” and some art deco. There are in app purchase options for holiday stamps as well! Basically Millennial Scrap Booking. I used it mainly for bump pics.


Huckleberry is very similar to Baby Tracker, in that its an app that helps you document everything baby- nursing, diapers, pumping- etc. What makes this app different is that when you input sleep it helps predict the timing of your baby’s “optimal nap” time! There was a time my first baby hit a rough spot with naps because her “wake windows” (time she’s awake) were changing. I downloaded this app after a friend recommended it and it really did help! I personally prefer Baby Tracker for storing information, but I always have huckleberry just in case I need help with naps.

Sneak peak of Miles’ Leap Chart

+++ Ooooo What’s This?++++

7. BONUS APP: Wonder Weeks for $3.99

Even though this app is not free, it is WELL WORTH the $3.99 to download. This app keeps track of your baby’s “WONDER WEEKS” or periods of time your baby’s body/brain are going through RAPID development. It’s called the wonder weeks because the week after a developmental leap your baby now has a new set of wonderful skills- like being able to see further away, hitting a toy, crawling-etc! Think back to awkward middle school you going through puberty- your baby will be going through the same thing except VERY condensed! It is a LOT for a tiny human to go through, and being aware of these special times will help give you insight of WHY your baby is losing their mind and inconsolable. One of the most stressful parts of that first year is trying to figure out the “WHY” baby’s are crying/ fussy/ not napping- etc. There are 10 different leaps in the first 75 weeks of life (year & half) and some of them last for an entire month. The app will show a “LEAP CHART” where you can see in advanced EXACTLY what dates you can expect a Wonder Week to happen. This is very useful for planning ahead. If you are thinking of a vacation, time for family to visit, a celebration- etc- you can now plan AROUND your baby’s leap chart & make your life a little bit easier.

I hope you find these apps useful and that they make your motherhood journey more organized, documented, & enjoyable.

Do you already have these Apps? What other free apps do you use & recommend?

Thoughts & Tips for the Expecting Mom on a Budget

Do you have a Boppy? The newest bassinet? The most effective swaddle? The pacifier that beats all other pacifiers? Do you? Do YOU? DO YOU!?

In the Western world we are CONSTANTLY being told that what we have is outdated or not as effective as the newest greatest whatever. This can be REALLY hard to handle as a first time mama on a budget.

I would know. When we got pregnant with our first baby, I was a waitress, my husband was a line cook and we were both going to school full time. It took months to create a registry because I was so overwhelmed.

All of us want the best for our kids- but what do we do when we can’t afford “the best” of this and that? Does that mean we’re not good parents? That our kids won’t be as capable or successful? Are we holding them back? What are the long term effects and is it all my fault?

A thought that brought me a lot of peace was that for thousands and thousands of years, what we have access to now did not exist. Einstein, Charles Dickens, Harriet Tubman, Michelangelo, Jane Austen, Amelia Eirheart, Bach, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Jesus– NONE of their parents had access to all that we do. Our children are not limited by our possessions or materialism. Regardless of what we have, they have the potential to change the world, and cultivating that belief in them is much more valuable than anything we could order from Amazon.

That being said, of course there are many items that exist to make our lives & our baby’s more stimulating, educational, enjoyable, safe, convenient, practical-etc, and there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of past parents experience & ingenuity.

Here are some practical budget friendly tips to keep in mind!


  • You do not need to buy toys! Remember, EVERYTHING looks like a new toy to an infant. Depending on how old your baby is they can be entertained by a cup, a water bottle, a balloon, a spatula, grass, your foot, ice cubes, water– the list goes on! Just make sure whatever item they are playing with is age appropriate, safe (not a choking hazard or sharp) and always supervise their playtime. Babies don’t play much with toys, they play with PEOPLE who are holding toys. Your interaction with your baby is the most important part of playtime.
  • Also, second hand plastic toys can easily be sanitized and are found in almost any thrift store- but stay away from stuffed animals.


  • There are FREE playgrounds, splash pads, nature trails, and city sponsored activities EVERYWHERE! This is one of the main reasons I started this blog to help get the word out so we can all take advantage! Follow your cities Facebook Page & search Facebook Events to find a plethora of free fun events!


  • People are always giving away clothes! 80% of the clothes we have came from other mamas in the area. Most cities have a “free page” or “give away” facebook page, so just search facebook and join one. I guarantee someone will post a picture of a huge garbage bag full of clothes and ask if anyone wants it before they go to Goodwill.
  • Another great place to find clothes cheap is Once Upon A Child. SO many clothes sold there are brand new because kids grow so quickly that they often don’t even get to wear half their wardrobe! This store also BUYS back gently used & new clothes, so take care of them and just sell them back when you’re done! Double bonus! There are SIX stores in the ORLANDO area (Oviedo, Altamonte Springs, East Orlando, Orlando, Florida Mall, Ocoee). LINK: Find Once Upon A Child Near You


  • Many insurances provide a free beast pump these days. You can either apply for one yourself, or if you don’t qualify you can search for one online from one of the moms that did. Because so many women get one for free, a lot of them don’t end up even using it and aren’t allowed to resell it. Even if they could sell it, most moms who receive something for free give it away for free to another mom. The motherhood communities in general I’ve found to be very generous and wanting to help one another.


  • Rather than getting a bassinet or a crib, we used a pack n play with a bassinet attachment the first couple months. This was a more economic option because the pack n play can continually be used as a portable safe play space for your baby when they outgrow it as a sleeping space. It is also another one of those items that families are constantly giving away for free (often in new condition). Eventually you will need a crib (often the transition is around 6m old, but depends on the baby) and can find a crib second hand on FB marketplace usually. This is the exact one we have had for 2 years, and 2 kids later it’s sill like new. Graco blue pack n play


  • Rather than purchasing a changing table, we just used a dresser that was wide enough to comfortably fit a changing pad on top, organize diapers, wipes, diaper creams, lotions- etc. This is not only more economic but a huge space saver since you can store all of baby’s clothes in the dresser too! You can either use a dresser you already have, find one second hand or at a furniture outlet store. We found our perfect dresser at IKEA. LINK: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/malm-6-drawer-dresser-black-brown-70360466/


  • A great way to get diapers & wipes is by having a “Diaper Raffle & Wipe Raffle” at your baby shower. It is explained on the Baby Shower Invitation that anyone who brings a box of diapers or bag of wipes will be entered into a raffle to receive a gift. Then at the shower the diapers and wipes are collected, and everyone who brought them gets a raffle ticket. Towards the end of the shower a name is drawn and that person gets the gift and you have hopefully a mountain of diapers & wipes! It’s fun, its exciting and I cannot express how helpful it is financially. I usually do two different raffles, one for the diapers and one for the wipes- but do however you feel! I recommend asking for diapers in size Newborn, Size 1, Size 2, or Size 3. If your baby grows out of a size, you can exchange unopened boxes for the correct size at most stores!


  • If you are considering having more than one kid, you may want to consider getting “gender neutral colors”, for big ticket items. That is purely preference! Personally it’s not a big deal. We had a girl first and almost everything ended up being pink and purple. Then we had a boy and it felt silly to not use items I already had because of the color- but it was a little annoying to constantly correct people when they thought he was a girl because our baby carrier is purple… I didn’t care enough to buy a new baby carrier but in hindsight I wish I purchased more tans, blacks, red, yellow, green, blue- etc. The Baby swing, bathtub, pack n play, play mat, baby bouncer, baby carrier, baby sling, baby swaddles, baby clothes, & baby bibs are items you’ll use for multiple kids. It’s a small detail but it could end up saving you lots of money.


  • Classic mistake. Things are often cheaper buying in bulk- but resist the urge UNTIL you’ve tried it on your baby first. No baby is the same. It’s crazy that the tiniest newborn already has strong preferences. Often a baby will only take a specific type of bottle, pacifier, diaper, wipe, wear a certain type of outfit- it’s best to have a few different options and figure out what works best for your baby before going ALL IN on a brand that ends up giving them a rash or uncomfortable. Babies will let you know real quick and real loud if something isn’t working for them, and if you have multiples- what worked for the first is not guaranteed for the second! Give them grace and don’t be upset, they’re not intentionally trying to be difficult. It’s a big strange world and anything to make the transition smoother & more comfortable will help you both adjust.

Items Easy to find Second Hand

  • Baby monitor, Owlet Sock, White Noise Machine, Rocking Chair, Blackout curtains, Swaddles, Hats, Socks, Stroller, Baby Carrier, Baby hangers, Books, Plastic Toys, Bouncer, Play mat, & Shoes.

Items I would NOT suggest getting second hand unless NEW or like new (for sanitary reasons).

  • Diapers, Wipes, Any type of Medicine, stuffed animals, car seat, changing mat, diaper pail, blankets, and any cloth toys.

All these products sure make life easier but generally speaking the most essential things YOUR baby needs are the same all over the world throughout history;

The love of their parents + A safe space to sleep & play + Fresh air + Sunshine + Milk + Positive Human Interaction + Cuddles + Naps = Which means mamas in the middle of the jungle can raise a healthy strong human, and so can you. You’ve got this mama, you are enough for your baby to live a very loved life.

The monetary value of all your valuables has zero impact
on your most precious treasure, your sweet babe.

I hope this post gives you the peace your mama heart needs & some practical tips to help save some serious cash.

What are YOUR budget friendly tips for a FTM? Share below!

5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Weekend with littles near Orlando 2022

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers! There are many people in our lives that we love differently- and of course that includes our little sour patch babies! Here are 5 ways to show our sweet & sour littles that we love them!

  1. Take them on a FREE Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt! Mead’s Botanical Garden in Winter Park is making it so simple! It’s this Saturday Feb 12 from 10am-noon. The weather is perfect to get some fresh air! LINK: Mead’s Scavenger Hunt
  2. You’ve never been THIS fancy at the farm! Lil’ Bit of Life in Mount Dora is hosting “Dessert in the Dirt” Farm tour Sunday Feb 13th. $17 per adult & $10 per child which includes the tour and a box of desserts! But HOLD UP, Adults will also get a complimentary glass of champagne! Sounds like fun for everyone! LINK: Dessert in the Dirt
  3. If you have a little Princesses at home, the Festival of Love Princess event is just for them! Sunday Feb 13th from 12-1:30 they can meet some of their favorite princesses, enjoy decorating cupcakes & cookies, have a dance party, do crafts and receive a Valentine gift from a princess! What a dream! Located in Casselberry at Tutu Tales Party Productions. Prices vary. LINK: Princess Party
  4. Have little night owls? What setting could be more fitting for them than the ZOO! Central Florida Zoo in Sanford is hosting a Kid’s Night Out Saturday Feb 12th from 6:30-10:00pm. Best part? It’s a DROP OFF event. You literally get to drop your little human animals off at the zoo and have the night off to be each other’s Valentine. They’ll be locked in a cage &– oh wait, no, they’ll play games, do crafts, eat snacks & be at the ZOO! It’s ONLY $30 per child ages 5-12yrs old which for 3hrs 30min of babysitting on a holiday is a pretty sweet deal. There is a discount for pass holders (yes, you will want an annual pass). LINK Zoo Drop Off
  5. What is cuter than taking your little Valentine to a Strawberry Festival? Saturday Feb 12th till 5pm enjoy Earth’s finest natural red candies in every form imaginable at the Atwood Family Farm! Parking & Admission are FREE, however if you’d like to pick strawberries and participate in some fun activities like the bouncy pad and pie eating contest you’ll want to bring some cash! Strawberry fields would be the perfect back drop to some adorable Valentine’s photos! LINK Strawberry Festival

If you’re unable to make it out of the house, because- well, you’re a parent, you know. Five additional ways to show you love them are:

  1. Throw a ball around in the backyard.
  2. Give them a bear hug and tell them you love them.
  3. Make a fort in the living room with dining room chairs & blankets and read them the book I’ll love you forever. Warning: YOU WILL CRY. LINK I’ll Love You Forever Book
  4. Make cookies together. Here’s an easy recipe for red velvet crinkles that don’t require decorating with icing because I’m guessing if you didn’t make it out of the house, it may not be a day to deal with icing… Red Velvet Crinkles
  5. Turn up so tunes on youtube & have your own living room dance party! Maybe throw a slow one on and get a precious video of a father daughter dance or Mommy & son dance — or “whatever precious combination is at your home” dance.

At the end of the day, what will make your littles feel most loved is YOU being patient, kind & loving toward them. It’s not about how loving we look in an IG post, it’s about showing our kids every day that we will always love them no matter what. Don’t sweat the details of the day, just enjoy each other.

Tell me below if you tried one of the 5 events in the Orlando area! Which one did you do & how did it go? What was your favorite part of the day?

Journey to the Sunshine State & Motherhood.

Hello & Bievenue! I am the Sunshine Mama, and here’s a little about myself in case we’re not already friends.

I moved to the Orlando area December of 2017. My husband and I drove from Los Angeles, to Oregon, to Florida with everything that we owned crammed into our truck and started our life here from scratch. Neither one of us grew up in America.

I grew up a U.S. citizen on an American military base in Okinawa, Japan. Although Korean American I didn’t live in the U.S. till I was 21yrs old. My husband is a French speaking hottie from Bastogne, Belgium. Pretty neat that we’re a pair if you’re a WWII history buff. We met doing humanitarian work back in 2011 and have traveled to 20 countries together within the first four years! It’s an understatement to say that we love to travel & experience all cultures. Realizing there was no adventure we wouldn’t love to do side by side, we decided to get married in 2013. Marriage itself is an adventure, but starting a family is a whole other level!

One year after we moved to Oviedo (in 2018) we found out that we were pregnant with our first baby girl. She was born on her due date September 2, 2019 which literally was Labor Day. Six months later the covid lockdowns began in March 2020, and then shortly after that we were surprised to be expecting our second baby! He came on a hot sunny Saturday in July 2021. And now he’s six month old! Having two babies 22m apart during a worldwide pandemic with both our families an ocean away was not exactly the plan- but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Ok, maybe not the pandemic part… or not having family around… but the only way to live life to the fullest is with an attitude of gratitude, and there are many reasons I am very grateful to be a mom in Orlando for such a time as this.

It’s been a wild transition from spontaneous extrovert bouncing from country to country on a mission to spreading love & feeding the hungry- to being a SAHM, breastfeeding every 3hrs, working nights serving food to the hangry & trying to make mom friends & set up playdates 6 feet apart. This blog is a way for me to process the dramatic transition of living one life and the birth of not only of my children, but of myself as a mom.

My hope is that this blog becomes a comfort to other moms who feel lost, anxious, exhausted, and stressed. I knew ZIP about babies before having one. Heck- I WAS a baby with a baby lookin around for the adult in charge. There was a LOT to learn, heal, process, research– and I’m hoping by sharing hacks, tips & tricks of what I’ve learned I can make it a little easier on your baby’s development and YOUR physical, emotional, mental & spiritual development as a mama.

Orlando is also such a family friendly area if you go to the right places. Now as a mama with a toddler & a baby I care about an entirely new criteria centered around safety, convenience, cleanliness, accessibility, & friendliness that I never noticed before kids. I’ll be sharing the best places to eat, play & rest around Greater Orlando with your kiddos. In addition, I’ll also be intentional to draw attention to small businesses, especially ones owned by moms.

Hopefully you feel more like a friend now and I look forward to growing our friendship through this blog- and maybe a coffee date sometime if you’re in the area! Find me on IG, FB & Pinterest and let’s keep in touch.

Comment below how we’re alike! Do you love travel? International marriage? Have you spent time doing humanitarian work? Did you become a mom during the pandemic? No family around? New to Orlando? Tell me below!