The Ultimate List of Summer Camps around Orlando 2022

As a kid, summer vacation was a time where I got to truly explore and discover my personal strengths and interests. Now as a parent, this is an opportunity for me to support my child’s interests and find an environment where they can blossom and grow into the unique and incredible individual that they are. Here is a diverse list of summer camps all currently available around Central Florida: STEM, Music, Art, Reading, Gymnastics, Chocolate, and more! I hope you find the perfect environment for your little wonder from 2-18yrs old.

Looking for the overnight summer camp adventure like in the classic Parent Trap movie? Look no further, Camp Frontier is here to meet all of your faraway camp wishes. From water tubing to horse back riding, this camp has got it all! Must be 7 – 17yrs old. Find out more details on dates, cabin availability and pricing here: Camp Frontier Summer Camp

Have a little Ballerina at home? They would love this Russian Ballet Summer camp! For ages 4 – 9yrs old, this camp runs from May 30th – July 29th. It is $250 a week, Monday to Friday, from 9am-3pm and each week has a different theme from Frozen to Swan Lake to Mermaid theme, with a recital every Friday at 3pm. You can find out more information here: Russian Ballet Summer Camp or call 407.896.0309.

This is not your normal book club. Here at the Cheyne Ranch Literacy Equestrian Summer Camp kids will practice reading, crafting, art and more around the perfect audience to keep them at ease, farm animals! Horses, chickens, bunnies, goats are all great listeners and loads of fun to be around! Kids that feel nervous reading aloud in front of others can relax and take in all the wonderful benefits of reading & being outdoors in the fresh air. Tutoring courses, group classes and group book clubs all available at different rates. Find out more information here: Cheyne Ranch Summer Camps

Music has no age limit! At Kindermusik Music Camp, even infants are welcome! Kids 0-8yrs old have the opportunity to explore their musical side at their own pace. Various classes give a large range on location, age, specialty, and levels of difficulty so there is something for everyone! There are even virtual classes and bilingual classes available. Find out more here: Grow & Sing Music Classes

Got a hyper jock at home? They’ll love all the activities at Sports Tyme Summer camp. They’ll be so busy playing kickball, baseball, basketball, hockey, football, water slides, games & more that they’ll take a great nap when they get home. There are two age groups: JV, 5-8yrs old and Varsity, 9-13yrs old. With 20yrs of experience Sports Tyme does summer fun the right way- campers have a 15-1 players to coach ratio max. They only spend 30 minutes in the hot sun and then switch to indoor activities (like capture the flag) so that kids aren’t over heated. All coaches are CPR certified. There are 4 Locations available; Winter Springs, Deland, Heathrow & Jupiter. Prices, times, and additional information are specific to each location. The price range is $185-$200 a week, but you only pay for the weeks attended which you pick and choose (there are no day rates, strictly by week). Find out more here: SportsTyme Camps Info

Double Down Athletics located in Oviedo has Cheer camps, Sports Camps and Preschool Camps available in various sessions. Sports & Cheer are from 9-4pm, and Preschool camp is from 9-2pm. Prices vary ($115-$160) per camp with discounted rates for multiple children. For $5 early drop off & late pick up options are available. Click here for more info: Double Down Summer Camps

Camp Curiosity located in Oviedo and Winter Park is available to kids as young as 2yrs old-12yrs old and runs May 30th- August 12th, from 9-6:30pm with meals provided. You can find out more information here: Camp Curiosity

Who doesn’t love a day at the zoo? How about an entire Summer? Kids 5-17yrs old will have the amazing opportunity to be around real zoo animals at the Central Florida Zoo Summer Camp from 9am-4pm, 5 days a week from June to August. Pass Members will get a discounted rate. Find out more information here: Zoo Summer Camp

In this day & age, getting a head start in IT can only expand your options. Here at iD Tech, kids 7-18yrs old will have the extraordinary opportunity to study at Rollins College in Winter Park with IT professionals. With the code CAMPSAVINGS you can save $50 on enrollment. Hurry, spots are filling up quick! Find out more information here: iD Tech Rollins College Summer Camp

CHOCOLATE CAMP. That’s right, Peter Brooke Chocolatier will teach your kids all about chocolate in their 3 day Chocolate Summer Camp. Fun fact, I used to make and sell gorgeous chocolate truffles. It is a handy craft to be able to make your own chocolates and give them away as gifts (teacher appreciation, anniversary gifts, care packages, Valentine’s Day treats- when is chocolate a bad idea?) Located in Lake Mary this is a 3 day camp experience (Wed, Thurs, Fri), from 11:30-2:30am, for kids 6-12yrs old. They will learn the history and science of chocolate, as well as have the chance to make their own as well! $75 covers one day and includes lunch which is pizza, gelato & a drink ($225/ 3 days). I’m crying wishing I were 7yrs old writing this, because how FUN! Call to reserve a spot at 𝟰𝟬𝟳-𝟳𝟯𝟮-𝟰𝟬𝟵𝟯 or stop by @peterbrookelakemary more info. Peter Brooke Facebook Info

For the kid with the moves, Always In Motion Dance Camp & Summer Camp is for you! From 9am-4pm with free early drop off & late pick up this camp is for elementary age children and $190/ week from June 6th- July 22nd, Monday- Friday located at Avalon Elementary School in Orlando. Click here for more information: Always In Motion Summer Camp

Double R Camp Eagle has been in service for 50 years and is a camp classic. Located in Chuluota kids 2-12yrs old have 10 acre playground to run around, craft, play sports, do gymnastics & swim at the pool. Call 407-365-6856 for endless summer fun.

Orlando Metro Gymnastics Camp has full day (7:30am-6:00pm) and half day options available from 4yrs-17yrs old. Kids will rotate through a series of activities including but not limited to gymnastics. Field Trips are also available for additional fees! Find out more information here: Metro Gym Summer Camp

Taekwondo Orlando has some amazing Summer Camps for various age groups 4-12yrs old and levels of difficulty. 4 day camps from 9-1pm range from $165-$175 from June to July. Taekwondo is great form of exercise, useful for self defense, and loads of fun! Find out more about each camp through this link: Taekwondo Summer Camps

Did you know O2b Kids had Summer Camps too? Summer Camps run from May 30th to August 12th and very week is a different theme. From Safari to Super Heroes, your kids will always be discovering something new. Find out more information on their website here: O2b Kids Summer Camp

Orlando Science Center has some great STEM Summer Camps for Preschoolers – 9th graders! Science Center Members save $$$ on summer camp rates PLUS it is a great indoor air conditioned place to explore with your littles all year long! Click here for more details on various rates & dates for different age groups and camps: STEM Summer Camps Orlando Science Center

Crafting is an incredible way for kids to exercise their creativity, originality, finger dexterity, learn to follow instructions and express their imagination! Rustic Journeys located in Winter Springs will have a series of kid’s workshops for kids 8-15yrs old, Monday- Thursday 10:30am-12:30pm for $135. Find more information here: Rustic Journeys Kids Camp

Florida Film Academy Summer Camps located in Winter Garden will be perfect for your child interested in filmmaking & animation! Both Day & Sleep away options are available. These camps are Mon-Fri 9am-5pm for kids 7-18yrs old. Find out more here: Film Summer Camp

Mad Science located in the Oviedo Mall & West Oaks Mall in Ocoee is offering STEM Summer Camps with something for everyone, ages Pre-K to 9th grade from 10am-4pm. Various 4-5 day programs specializing in robotics, coding, chemistry, brixology & more! Find out more here: Mad Science Summer Camp

Hope you enjoyed this list of summer camps and make sure to share with your friends! Summer is a magical time for kids to learn so much about the world and themselves.

Have a happy & safe summer and don’t forget to subscribe for more summer fun events, activities, and parent hacks! -The Sunshine Mama

Vacation Bible Schools around Central Florida

I made a lot of fun childhood memories at Vacation Bible School growing up. Lots of silly songs, interesting activities, and friendships made within a friendly summer camp environment.

Here is a list of various VBSs (Vacation Bible Schools) around Central Florida categorized by city.

Oviedo, Florida

  • First United Methodist Church VBS June 20th-24th, 9am-noon, K-5th grade, $20 donation. Call 407-365-3255.
  • CrossLife Church VBS June 13th-17th, 9am-12pm, K-5th grade, FREE, register at: and call 407-365-3484 ext 148 for questions.
  • St. Luke’s Luthern Church VBS
    • June 6th- 10th, 9am-12pm, K-5th grade, $15, more info here: St Lukes VBS
    • June 13th- 17th, 9am-12pm, 6th-8th grade, $30, more info here: St Lukes VBS

Geneva, Florida

  • First Baptist Church of Geneva VBS, June 5th-9th, 6:00pm-8:00pm K-5th grade, FREE. Call 407-416-2622.

Longwood, Florida

  • Northland Church VBS, June 20th-24th, 6-8pm, 1st-8tth grade, $10, call 407-937-0541.
  • First Baptist Church of Longwood, July 25th-July 29th, 8:30am-12:30pm, K-5th grade, FREE, Calle 407-339-3817
  • First Baptist Sweetwater VBS July 25th-29th, 6:00-8:30pm, K-5thgrade, FREE. Call 407-862-3893.
  • One Church Markham Woods VBS, June 13th-17th, 9am-12pm, 3-11yrs old, Call 407-774-0777.

Altamonte Springs, Florida

  • Annunciation Catholic Church VBS June 13th-16th, 9am-12:30, K-6th grade. $50. Call: 407-869-9472.
  • Grace Church VBS June 6th-9th, 9am-12pm, PreK-5th grade, $20, Call 407-998-5050

Sanford, Florida

  • Lakeside United Methodist Church VBS, June 6th-10th, 9am-noon, 4yrs-4thgrade, $40, Call 407-330-6560.
  • Central Church VBS June 20th-25th, 3yrs-5th grade. Call: 407-322-2914
  • City Church VBS June 9th-11th (Thurs-Sat) 6pm-8:30, 5-11yrs old. Call: 407-321-9600.
  • Seminole Community Church VBS, July 18th-22nd, 9am-12:15pm, K-8th grade, Call 407-324-0199.
  • Spring Meadows Seventh Day Adventist VBS, June 6th-10th, 9am-12pm, PreK-6th grade, FREE, Call 407-327-1190.
  • Westview Baptist Church VBS, June 27th-July 1st, 6pm-8:30pm, 4yrs-5th grade, FREE, Call 407-323-0523.

Casselberry, Florida

  • Tuskawilla United Methodist Church VBS, June 27th-July 1st, 9am-12pm, 5-10yrs old, Call 407-699-8155.
  • Community United Methodist Church VBS June 13th-17th, 9am-12pm. Call 407-831-3777.

Winter Park, Florida

  • First United Methodist Church VBS, July 18th-22, 9am-12pm, 4yrs-5th grade, $25. Email: [email protected]
  • First Baptist Winter Park VBS, June 13th-17th, 9am-12pm, K-5th grade, Call 407-644-3061.

Maitland, Florida

  • Orangewood Church VBS June 20th-24th, 9am-12:00pm, email [email protected]
  • Maitland Presbyterian VBS, June 6th-10th, 9am-12pm, K-5th grade, $20, call 407-644-3455.

Winter Springs

  • Willow Creek Church VBS, July 18th-22nd, 8:30am-12pm, 4yrs-5th grade, $20, Call 407-699-8211.
  • Starlight Baptist Church VBS, June 13th-17th, 6pm-9:15pm, PreK-6gh grade. Call 407-692-5110.

Hope this list is helpful, and remember to sign up sooner than later! Spots fill up quickly so don’t put it off!

Best Events to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Central Florida

Ain’t no hood like Motherhood. The gang initiation we went through was WILD. Today is our day to treat ourselves and invest in some serious self care by tapping into the things WE love to do and be around the people we have a good time with.

When you go through this list, do me a favor and pick what YOU (or the Mom you’re thinking of) would love– NOT what’s best for everyone else’s schedule like you normally do. The world will not fall apart if MAMA gets a day to rest, let loose, and have a great day. You deserve this- now go have FUN!

Mom’s get in FREE for Mother’s Day at Leu Gardens in Winter Park. Last year while my mom was visiting we went and it could not have been more perfect. The gardens are very stroller friendly, many shaded trails, and plenty of beautiful backdrops for some Mommy & Me photos. We’re a big fan! 3yrs old & under are always FREE! Here’s the link to more information: Leu Gardens Mother’s Day Special

What do Mom’s need more of? Relaxation. And what could be more zen than doing yoga in a garden? Mead Gardens is hosting a Mommy & Me YOGA event that’s only $12 per family Saturday May 7th at 10:30am, so Moms can recenter and find the balance within. LINK: Mommy & Me Yoga

Day Spa Oviedo is handing out complimentary Mimosas when moms take advantage of this special Mother’s Day massage Saturday May 7th. The special includes a 1hr massage and foot scrub for only $65. LINK: Day Spa Oviedo

For Moms that are more Go-Go, check out this deal Island H2O Water Park is having! Moms that go on Mother’s Day you will receive a free RETURN ticket to use later in the year. This is just the start of summer heat, so I’m sure you’ll use it! LINK: Island H2O Mother’s Day Special

One of the many joys of Motherhood that no one talks about is dealing with many interesting smells… which is why candles are always a great gift! Take it one step further and gift mom with this special event! Indeu Apothecary and Zerenity Candle Co. are partnering together to make the ultimate candle making experience for the crafty mama. Sat May 7th 11:30-12:30 located in Edgewater. Dr in Orlando. $50 Tickets include all supplies so all you have to do is shop up and have a good time. Here’s the LINK: Mother’s Day Candle Workshop

Here’s the perfect workshop for the Mama who loves to entertain. Stop on by at the Oviedo Mall for an amazing couples class by High Society Charcuterie at Our Suite Village Saturday May 7th from 2:00-3:30. Tickets are $95 per couple and include everything to make the beautiful and popular Charcuterie board demonstrated by a professional. Here’s the LINK for more information: Charcuterie Couples Workshop

Growing up in Japan, my mom and I always loved having tea together. Tea time is the perfect setting to sit a while and enjoy each other’s company because it’s more relaxed. Infusion Tea in Edgewater is hosting a special Mother’s Day Tea Time Package available on site OR to-go so you can bring the party to mom if she’s unable to venture out or prefers to stay home. For $69 for 2 people or $99 for 4, drinks, macaroons, sandwiches, scones, cake and anything you could imagine for your perfect tea party will be provided. LINK: Infusion Tea Package

Here’s something fun to do with the kids! Decorate a flower pot for mom or grandma together at Deltona Community Gardens event May 7th. LINK: Deltona Mother’s Day Flower Pot Craft

The Spill in Winter Park has a special Paint & Sip event from 3-5pm. Perfect for a couple or a mom’s night out even. You will need to purchase tickets in advance. LINK: DIY Paint & Sip Spill

Need to get away for a fun night out? The Keg Social in Waterford Lakes is a great spot for dates, mom’s night out, and perfect for adult groups with activities such as bowling, axe throwing, karaoke, ping pong, arcade games and several bars serving up liquid courage to do it all! There is no Mother’s Day Special unfortunately, but it’s a great option for the mom that just wants to let loose with a few friends. LINK: The Keg Social

Three Mother’s Day Brunches to consider:

  1. I highly recommend the Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at the Alfond Inn located in Winter Park. We went as a family for Easter and it was so well managed. The perfect setting for the family, girlfriends, or taking mom or grandma out. Located very close to Winter Park’s beautiful park to take a stroll before or after brunch. Brunch includes free valet parking, a complimentary mimosa, & beautiful live music by a pianist (which I love because it’s prominent enough to fill the room with beautiful music, but quiet enough to have easy conversation with the person across the table). Here is the LINK: Alfond Inn Mother’s Day Brunch

2. Want to take a trip down memory lane with Fred Astaire & Audrey Hepburn? This brunch also includes a show! Funny Face (1957) will be featured while you enjoy a delicious buffet and laugh to your heart’s content at the Enzian Theater. There is also a VIP option that includes a gift for mom & a Mimosa bar! Here is the LINK: Funny Face Brunch

3. For the mom that rocks- The Hard Rock Cafe in Daytona which is hosting a special champagne Mother’s Day Brunch. Indoor & Outdoor seating will be available, and there will also be live entertainment from Les B Fine from 11-4pm. Must purchase tickets in advance. Kid’s under 5yrs are free! LINK: Hard Rock Brunch

Happy Mother’s Day from the bottom of my heart. You are AMAZING. You really are, and I hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day reflecting on your journey and feeling blessed when you think about where you are now. I know it can be SO hard mama, but there is nothing more important than what you’re doing now, and I’m proud of you. Now GO enjoy YOUR DAY!

Alright Mama, let’s hear from YOU! What are you doing this Mother’s Day?

10 Tips for the Grieving Mom on Mother’s Day

There are no words that I could write to a Mother who lost their child that would alleviate any pain. Grief is the shadow of love. The greater the love, the greater the shadow cast.

My Mother lost her daughter (my sister) May 9, 2013, a few days before Mother’s Day that year… Since then we’ve just learned to live in the shade- not overcome by darkness, but still affected. The hardest days are holidays and the ordinary ones that come out of nowhere without warning. Grief is a tricky beast, and enjoys the element of surprise. But Mother’s Day- that is a day you can count on to never be the same.

Here are some ideas for the Grieving Mom on Mother’s Day.

1. Go to the water. The beach, a pond, a lake, a waterfall, a pool, hot tub- whatever you can find. Water is incredibly healing- looking at it, drinking it, diving in, and just listening to it move. You won’t even realize your own tears till you see the ripples trickling around you.

2. Write to them. What would you say to them if they were here? What would you laugh about? Argue about? What would they think of your new hair or the book you’re reading? Imagine them as they were the last time you saw them. Imagine them wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day.

3. Prepare a meal that they loved.

4. Go outside and walk for at least 30 minutes. Even if it’s raining (remember, water is good!). The fresh air and physical movement of walking will help your brain process the deep emotions within you.

5. Look up Events in your community. Often times there are gatherings organized so that moms don’t have to face the day alone. (For those in Central Florida there is a gathering at Ormond Beach & another in Glenn Haven Memorial Park).

6. Be around family & friends and tell them (or tell your husband to tell them) exactly what you need. Do you want to talk about it? Do you need to cry and not feel weird? Do you need a distraction and not have anyone mention it? Be honest and share how they can support you. Because grief is so different for each person they will only know what you communicate to them.

7. Wear waterproof makeup and carry sunglasses in your bag just in case.

8. Listen to music you like. People often underestimate and overlook the power of music. It is the only thing that stimulates both sides of the brain at once.

9. Pet a dog or cat. If you don’t have one, ask your friend if you can borrow theirs or hold one at a pet shop. It is scientifically proven to help calm and comfort people. Animals are wonderful companions because they don’t talk but still interact. There is no stress or expectation for you to behave a certain way. You can just be together, and it is enough.

10. Write a list of 10 things you’re thankful for about the time you had with your child. If you want to write more than 10, just keep going. Focus on the love rather than the shadow of grief. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for a Mother’s time to be cut off with their child, but you can still look back on the time you had together and feel that warmth of great love shared.

I hope those tips are helpful for you to process on such a difficult day.

If you are mourning the loss of a miscarriage, you may need to adjust these tips- but still take time to think of your angel baby and grieve the time you did not have together.

Perhaps one final idea for both would be to babysit someone else’s child for the day while Mommy & Daddy go on a date. It won’t be the same at all as mothering your own child, but perhaps it will stir up some fun memories while creating some new ones. It may be healing to invest some of that Motherly love into another child’s life.

Is there something special that you do to honor the life of a child who passed? What other tips would you give to moms who had a miscarriage or mourning child loss?

20 Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

If you need some ideas for Mother’s Day, here’s a long list to inspire you!

  1. 1. Go through her social media and pick out a photo of her and the kids to print and frame it. This inexpensive gift will be a priceless treasure because of how kind and thoughtful it is. By picking a photo SHE posted you already have her approval that it is a picture that she feels beautiful in.
    1. TIP: Thrift stores are overflowing with frames, even brand new ones. Pick the frame first (for the size) because it’s easier to print a photo to a specific size frame, than to find a frame to fit a specific size photo.

2. Help the kids make a gift. Depending on their age it may be something simple like painting a baby’s foot and stamping it on a card OR a little more advanced like beading a bracelet or doing some home improvement project.

3. Buy a gift card to her favorite store. A lot of people think gift cards are impersonal but for me personally, these are my favorite gifts because I often feel guilty spending money on myself. A gift card releases me from the guilt because it’s money already spent!

4. Edible arrangements. I love flowers but they die so quickly in our house since I forget to take care of them. Edible arrangements give the same bouquet WOW factor, but add another level of edible delight! Popular ones are often made with fruit, candy, chocolate dipped strawberries & baked goods! Yum!

5. Mother’s Day is the BUSIEST day in the restaurant industry, and it often is not the greatest dining experience simply because of the chaos. Rather than taking Mama out to dinner that weekend, take her the weekend before or after- and prepare a PICNIC on Mother’s Day. It’ll be calmer, more intimate & thoughtful than waiting an extra 45 minutes on food in a loud cramped dining area. Tip: You can always do take out for the picnic as well (but check ahead because many restaurants don’t do take out on Mother’s Day).

6. Make a mix CD. It’s old school, but that just makes it more romantic/ thoughtful. What songs remind you of her? The songs you played in the car when you first met, the songs she hums in the kitchen, the songs she sang to you while growing up (if it’s your mom). Music stimulates the hippocampus (memory part of your brain) and it has the magic to transport people back into some of their happiest seasons of life.

7. Ask her casually what her bucket list is. Then surprise her by crossing one off together for Mother’s Day.

8. If she enjoys some fun & attention- order her a singing gram to surprise her at work on Friday or at the house on Sunday.

9. If she’s been sore or aching set her up with a massage. There are always amazing add ons like foot massage, facial, aromatherapy, extended time- make it a little more special than what she would normally get.

10. Classic Breakfast in bed. Elevate it with a Mimosa, bringing the laptop with her favorite show up & ready to go, fresh or fake flowers and involving the kids in making breakfast. Right away you’re communicating to both Mom AND the kids that this is MOM’s special day. Make sure to watch the kids so mom can enjoy eating the breakfast too.

11. Clean the house Saturday Night or Sunday morning. A messy house can be a distraction or cause of stress. By eliminating it, the day is instantly more enjoyable. No dishes in the sink, all toys picked up, dirty laundry in the hamper, vacuumed carpet, clean dog, straighten out her closet and put all the clothes on hangers for her.

12. Take her for a day OUT. Botanical Gardens, Amusement Park, Aquarium, Arcade, Boat tour, nature hike, the beach, Karaoke, Shopping, Bowling, a play, the opera, a concert- go out and have some fun!

13. Take a class. What has she shown interest in or mentioned she wanted to learn more about? There are so many classes; dancing, cooking, pottery making, painting, sign/ house decor making– A class is a fun way to show that you’re interested in what she’s interested in. Or if it’ll only make you miserable- treat her and her friend to the class while you watch the kids because that’s also a gift.

14. Set her up in a hotel (Saturday night may work better than Sunday night). My husband did this for me last year and it was AMAZING. However, I am such a social butterfly I wish I’d brought a friend with me- so for the future that’s what I’ll do. Mama may be an introvert and need that solo time, so just know what your lady needs.

15. Set up a photo shoot to do a “Mommy & Me” photo session. These pictures will capture moments to last forever. (Make sure to tell her in advanced to she can do whatever she needs to feel beautiful- hair done, nails done, wardrobe picked out- etc).

16. Tell her to go to the salon and get her dream hairstyle. A lot of women would like to do more than the average maintenance trim, but are hesitant on the price to do more. Ask her to show you a picture of her dream look, print it out, and tell her to go for it! (She’ll need to know ahead of time so she can make the appointment if you want her to go before or by Mother’s Day- or you can gift the photo on Mother’s Day and she can make an appointment afterwards). Same concept with nails, clothes, makeup, a sport, an interest or hobby- if she’s been holding back on something tell her to go treat herself!

17. Buy her jewelry- but not just anything from a store. You can get breastmilk jewelry for breastfeeding mothers, or jewelry made with ashes for bereaved mothers, and other specific lockets that hold special pictures or momentos.

18. RAGE room. Maybe it’s been a tough year for mama and she needs to let out some steam. Rage rooms are places you go to break things, and can be incredibly therapeutic. Axe throwing, gun range, go karts, paintball, laser tag, and batting cages are also fun activities to just “let it out!”

19. Make a card and write a very personal message. A long one. If you’re like me, I’m not always the best communicating through words how I really feel and appreciate the small things- but it’s so important to hear and to say. Carve out an hour and pour your heart out, she needs it and you need it too. Out of the entire list, this is the most important one.

20. If you’re still feeling at a loss- text her bestie. Ask what are the things she’s been wanting to do, something she’s wanted to buy, what’s stressing her out, what does she feel like she never gets to do anymore and misses, what’s her favorite store and what she needs. If her best friend can’t tell you, then you can always ask her directly. If she says nothing, there is something deeper going on. Give her the space to be brutally honest and share what she needs to feel loved, seen, heard, valued & appreciated. If she says she just needs a day to herself- that IS an answer. Take the kids out for the day, and give her that time to herself, and take note because she probably needs days like that more than once a year if she’s feeling so burn out. Continue the conversation and be supportive.

Mother’s Day is not just a holiday- it’s a CHECK IN to see what Mom needs; more dates, more girls nights, more visits from grown kids, help with the house, less pressure to cook, a hobby, feeling pampered, words of affirmation, letting out steam- take note of what she’s asking for, and find ways to keep giving support throughout the year.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there.

For all you’ve given, hopefully these gift ideas will bless you. -The Sunshine Mama

Let’s hear from you! What did you decide to do for your Mom or the Mother of your children? Are you a Mama? Which gift are you hoping for the most?

Best Mother’s Day Gifts in Central Florida

One of the many wonderful things about our country is the variety of small businesses owned by talented individuals in our community. Small businesses are able to provide a personal touch that large corporations cannot which makes them the ideal shop to grab gifts for loved ones- and who could we love more than Mom!

Here are some small businesses in the Orlando area featuring gifts, specials & promotions perfect for Mother’s Day.

Simply Sweet Obsession has a variety of edible bouquets and delectable treats that will make mama feel extra special! Call 321-961-9336 and visit their FB page: Simply Sweet Obsession Yum!

Every mom feels like a new woman when leaving the salon. Check out Southern Stylz by Dena for this Mother’s Day blow out special! Located in Oviedo. Here is her FB Page: Southern Stylz by Dena

This is the PERFECT gift for the nursing mama. Precious Keepsakes makes beautiful rings, earrings, & necklaces with mom’s very own unique breast milk! An incredible token to commemorate the beautiful sacrifice of a mother’s love for her baby. Here’s the website: precious keepsakes

Have the kiddos MAKE a special Mother’s Day gift at Twiddlebugs in Oviedo on April 30th & May 1st for only $22. Here’s the LINK to sign up! Twiddle Bugs Kid’s Class

Face & Body Bar wants mom’s to relax by throwing in this amazing Mother’s Day Deal! When you get a berry chocolate rejuvenating facial, you will get a hydrating eye treatment for free! Now THAT is what this tired mom needs! Here is her website and IG: @fabbspa.

When you gift mom a massage this Spa will gift them a complimentary Mimosa! I’m thinking Mom’s day out with the girls- brunch & nails after!! Check out this Mother’s Day Special at the Day Spa of Oviedo and enjoy being pampered from head to toe. Book today!

What could be better than a bouquet of flowers? How about one that tastes as good as it looks! Gen’s Dream Sweets is offering 10% off Mother’s Day Sugar Cookie Bouquets! She also makes customized cookies, cakes & cupcakes. Located in Kissimmee and can deliver for a small fee. Check out her creations through her IG: @gensdreamsweets and DM or Text 786-332-0592 to order.

Speaking of flowers, fresh cut bouquets are often given- but why not give a potted plant that will be a gift loved all year round! Blue Moon Tropical located in Eustis will deliver your special plant for FREE with the code “Mother’s Day” at check out. LINK: Blue Moon Tropics

Summer is coming, and Ritmokru dance fitness is offering a FREE class as a gift to Mom’s for Mother’s Day! The best way to stay active is by making it fun! Located in Oviedo, no pre registration required. As a mom, I LOVE that I can work out after the kids are in bed. It’s so difficult to find evening group fitness classes. IG: @ritmokru

Check out this Mother’s Day Special at Breaking Barre Oviedo. They’re offering 30% off the first month as well as hosting a precious Mommy & Me Ballet class May 1st for kids 2-12yrs old. Don’t miss out, sign up today!

Here’s a gift idea special for mom no matter the distance! Make Momentos allows you or your little one to narrate an E-Book in their sweet voice. Immagine how touched grandma will be hearing their grandbabies voice sharing a story. Or how about the mama working abroad or deployed while serving in the military- I’m tearing up just thinking about it (🥺 military brat over here). Here’s how it works: How It Works and here’s how to order: & Follow their cute IG: @make_momentos.

Give moms a break and order them a Kit Kat Cake from Oh My Delights! This small business specializes in bakery items you don’t find from just anywhere! Charlottes, Brookies, Brazilian fudge balls and more. As if this deal couldn’t get sweeter, Oh My Delights is offering 15% off with code: Delight. Order directly through Instagram @ohmy.delights. Pictures and prices are listed in the highlights.

The Haus of Dolls’ Mother’s Day Special this year is $150 Ombré Powder Brows (which is a +$400 value)!! Wow! Located in Winter Park. Visit their website: Haus of Dolls And check out their IG: Haus of Dolls IG

It’s Strawberry Season, and KC Strawberries has got mom covered! With seven amazing options fit for a queen, take a look! Which one is will you be hinting at your partner? I’ve got my eye on look 3 😉 Contact via Instagram: KC Strawberries. You can also place an order by texting 4077284152. Located in Apopka, Florida.

A gift that will be cherished forever is the gift of sentimental art. Local artist Julie Kaplan sells both originals and prints of her paintings and has a gallery full of beautiful art in honor for Mother’s Day. Her Instagram is @juliekaplan_art and you can view her work through this LINK: Julie Kaplan Art

Growing up, the gift that my mom wanted most on Mother’s Day was a nice family photo. Unfortunately getting 3 teenage girls to smile at the same time is not a job for the faint of heart! It takes a professional, and Gina Vergara is here to save the day with an amazing deal on Mommy & Me photo sessions! 1 hour session with 20 digital images and two 5×7 prints for $150! Here’s her website: Gina Vergara Photography

And here’s one last idea of how to make mom feel special. Yard Signs are a growing trend for various occasions and they are adorable. Winter Garden yard greetings makes it easy taking care of the set up & tear down so all you have to do is click here: Winter Garden Yard Greetings.

At the end of the day, most Moms just want to feel appreciated, loved, thought of, seen and heard. ALL of these gifts reflect the care & attention Moms crave, so pick a few businesses to support but DON’T FORGET to write a card expressing from your heart how this gift reflects the way YOU appreciate, love, think of, see & know this amazing woman who’s sacrificed so much- and yet is somehow MORE not less. Moms need that reminder so often, so write it down, and make it count.

Happy Mother’s Day from one mama to the next.

Let’s hear from you! Which gifts are you hoping for on Mother’s Day? Which one do you think your mom would love?

10 Things I wish I knew about the First 3 Months with a Baby

  1. Start giving your baby Vitamin D drops at 3 weeks old (if breastfeeding).
    • Breast Milk is incredible. Your body creates its own unique formula specifically for your babies needs- however one vitamin your body cannot pass on to your baby is Vitamin D, which is why it is recommended to start these drops at 3 weeks old. Don’t freak out if you haven’t done this- it is not a life or death matter, but vitamin D will help your baby grow & develop. If you’re formula feeding your baby- lucky you! Your formula (most likely) already includes vitamin D! You can check the label just to make sure. Here is an article going into more depth: Vitamin D for Babies
  2. The first couple months are a pajama party- treat yourself to silky pajamas and don’t worry about dressing your baby up, just keep them in pajamas, otherwise known as “Sleep n Plays” because it’s more comfortable for them to sleep & play in!
    • This tip would have saved a lot of money I wasted on newborn-6m old outfits and a lot of anxiety trying to dress my baby up. The cute outfits were for special occasions only & pictures, then back to pajamas!
  3. Newborns are sensitive to dairy, acidic foods (like tomato soup) & caffeine being passed through breast milk.
    • If your baby is fussy right after nursing, try eliminating these items first to see if it improves. Once I became dairy free it solved a lot of problems for fussiness & gas for my newborn.
  4. Make sure your baby isn’t sleeping only on one side.
    • Our first baby almost had to get a helmet to correct her head shape because she favored sleeping on one side of her head more than the other. This would have been easily avoided if we just paid more attention to positioning her head to the other side more often, doing more tummy time earlier on, and tilting her head while she slept to the other side.
  5. “Pump & Dump” is a MYTH.
    • If you’re affected by alcohol it does not matter if you pump and dump your breast milk because the alcohol is still in your system and it will not make a difference. Drinking while nursing is a controversial subject (like basically every topic in motherhood- 🤪) the best thing to do is have the right information and make the decision you believe is safe for you and your baby. Here is a link to more information: CDC Guidelines Drinking and Nursing
  6. Reexamine your skincare and bath care products.
    • I never realized that your skin is your body’s largest organ and it absorbs everything you put on it. I became aware of this while pregnant and ended up changing several products I used to more natural & less toxic option. It is important for expecting and nursing mothers to be mindful that what they are putting on their body is what they’re putting into their body and their baby’s body. I’m not saying this to represent a particular brand, there are plenty of great options out there!
  7. BEST recipe for sitz bath.
    • The only three things that helped my lady parts recover after a very rough first birth (that included some tearing & hemorrhoids were); Earth Mama Perineal balm, hemorrhoid cream, and this sitz bath recipe. Enjoy!
      • 2 Cups Epsom Salt
      • 1 Cup Witch Hazel
      • 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil
      • 2 drops Rosemary Essential Oil (I would only use DoTerra, Young Living, or some other reputable brand! Nothing synthetic or cheap!! *not affiliated with these companies*)
      • Warm Bath Water 3 inches deep. Soak for 30 minutes. If baby is awake, have the Baby in a swing in the bathroom with you.
  8. This old video from the Oprah shows deciphers the 5 cries newborns make. LINK: Secret Language of Babies
    • Before CRYING always meant distress, pain, sadness, or something terrible happening- and it set my anxiety on fire. Something I had to rewire my brain to do was when I heard my baby cry to think of it as them talking and communicating their needs to me. This helped me stay much calmer and think more pragmatically then panic or get frustrated. Often times your baby is crying for a reason, which means once you find a solution it can be stopped. This video helps to understand your baby’s needs so that you can find the solution they need. If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is.
    • This clip is GENIUS and saved my mama heart so much heartache. My first baby cried often when I first put her down for a nap, so I’d pick her up thinking maybe she wasn’t tired- but she most certainly was, yet wouldn’t sleep and I felt so helpless not knowing what to do. After watching this video the mystery was solved! She needed to burp! I have never known a baby before or since who needed to be burped as much as she did- before nursing, during nursing, after nursing, an hour after nursing, right before a nap (true story!) apparently my baby needed to be excessively burped; but it worked like MAGIC! She rarely cried after I put her down once I figured this out, and I would have never known without this video deciphering her needs.
  9. Best way for me to get vitamins, proteins, fruits & veggies quickly was making protein shakes & smoothies. Make sure they’re dairy free.
    • Seriously, why isn’t this talked about more. It’s SO simple, yet it makes a BIG impact on your physical, mental & emotional health. It can be prepared & consumed ONE handed- If your baby is awake, use the blender. If the baby is asleep- use a blender bottle. You can eat while nursing, walking, driving, in a nap trap, playing, holding the baby- it is easier than cereal, microwave burritos & peanut butter & jelly and it is 100x’s healthier and more satisfying for your needs and your baby’s needs. Your diet will greatly impact your breastmilk supply and your postpartum hormones including that awful “mommy brain” brain fog. Even if you don’t normally eat protein shakes & smoothies, just try it out and see if it works for you.
  10. It’s hard for everyone.
    • After I had a baby I was shocked. How in the world are people not extinct? And women with multiple children- how are they even alive? Why does everyone seem to be fine and doing stunning newborn photo shoots when I can’t even take a shower or spell my own name. I always thought that I was a strong person, but the transition into motherhood was very raw, vulnerable and humbling. I knew nothing, so I asked everything- and through reaching out I found out, it IS hard for everyone, some people are just more discrete or hide it better. Some of them have taken care of younger siblings or gone through other life experiences which have given them more confidence going into motherhood- but it is absolutely a huge sacrifice every woman can relate to regardless how the pregnancy, the birth, the postpartum journey- every mom has their own unique story, but it’s something we should be proud to share with others. Not to compare, but to prepare. Not to elevate ourselves, but to encourage others. Not to be fake and seem better, but to get real and be vulnerable. You’re not the only one facing hardship and you’re not a bad mom for having a rough time. It’s more than an adjustment, it’s a new life, and you will get the hang of it one day at a time.

I hope these 10 points give you a little transparent perspective into the Newborn stage with your bundle of joy. May they be helpful, practical, and comforting to you during this exciting and raw season of life. Cheers Mama, you’ve got this!

Which point was most helpful to you? What is something you would add to the list?

5 Easter Activities for EGGhausted Parents of Littles

Hey Mom & Dad- you tired? Feeling the hippity hoppty pressure of Easter shenanigans?

Well, here are 5 fun low maintenance activities specifically with you in mind.

  1. Throw some empty fake eggs in the yard and watch your kid collect them.
    • Toddlers can be entertained for a VERY long time if you switch it up. Do different rounds like:
      • Round One: Counting- Count out loud each egg they find. 10-20 eggs seems like a good number.
      • Round Two: Colors- tell them to collect all the blue eggs, then all the pink- etc.
      • Round Three: Bunny Hop- tell them to collect all the eggs hopping like a bunny. Then make them do it again hopping on one foot. This burn some of that neverending toddler energy.
      • Round Four: Blind- tell them they have to find the eggs blindfolded- obviously make sure it’s a safe area and don’t be a jerk making it too hard! Just a couple feet in front of them is good.
    • You get the picture, just switch it up- great way to work on skills.
  2. Draw an Oval on a piece of paper.
    • Yup… that’s as simple as it gets. Give it to your little artist and tell them it’s an Easter Egg and give them colors to decorate it. We like these markers *link: Kwik Stix because they’re easiest for my toddler to draw with & are washable, but anything will do. It’s 100x’s easier than the dye kits and just as satisfying.
  3. Hide a Bunny.
    • Either use a stuffed animal, action figure, or draw a bunny on a piece of paper and hide it in the living room. Classic.
  4. Do the Egg Toss.
    • Take one of the plastic eggs from earlier and toss it back & forth. Sounds silly, but it’s good for their hand eye coordination and they will love it.
      • TIP: Put some playdough or a small toy inside to give it a little weight to make it easier to throw.
    • If you’re feeling dangerous, do the classic egg toss with a REAL egg- the goal is to see how far you can toss it without breaking the egg, but come on… a toddler + raw egg + throwing… you’re asking for it my friend. There’s a Dr.Phil episode with your name on it- cause you crazy.
  5. Egg in Spoon
    • Take the plastic egg and place it on a plastic spoon, then set the spoon between your toddlers clenched teeth. Then tell them they cannot drop the plastic egg and set them on a journey- through the backyard, around the house, to Mordor- wherever it’s safe to go.
    • This one is genius because you’ve basically silenced your child so you can enjoy a moment of peace as they tiptoe quietly around the backyard feeling like a champion. You’re welcome.

If you are TOO egghausted for one or all of these activities, give yourself grace and buy an Easter basket. It’s basically impossible to have a bad day when you wake up to one of those bad boys on the kitchen table. Which reminds me- I also saw that Mission BBQ is making Easter Hams, which is a winner. The website says it feeds 14-16 people, which means it’ll be enough for you if you’re breastfeeding. Here’s the link for more information on that: Mission BBQ Easter HAM

Personally in our house the Easter Bunny doesn’t have much to do with the true celebration, but I love all the added holiday fuss because it’s more opportunity to have memorable quality family time. Being a parent is HARD, so don’t be too hard on yourself or your littles- just try to have some fun and enjoy the age & stage you’re in, because good or bad it’ll be gone soon.

Hope these ideas help & Hoppy Easter!

Time to lose weight Mama

When I became a mother, my entire world changed. You hear this cliche all the time; the world had never been brighter until there was you- but what is not so often shared about are the shadows of motherhood. Shadows so vast and dark you get lost, and find yourself forgetting who you were before motherhood and lost as a mother now. What does a lost mom do? They research. And what do you find? A hundred ways to be better. A hundred ways to be someone else. A hundred ways you compare yourself and find yourself in competition with women and children you’ve never met and know nothing about. A hundred pounds of guilt you carry while on this journey. And it’s time to lose the weight. It’s time to unpack the unnecessary baggage weighing you down, so that your arms can be free to hold this little baby that is so unaware of the world that surrounds us.

So how does a mom find herself again? Evolving naturally from the woman she was before to the one she is now in a way that feels like growth & maturity and not abandonment?

Step One. Evaluate and support your current mental health. Are you experiencing postpartum baby blues? Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, or Psychosis? Or are you just exhausted, unsure, and lacking self care? Give an honest assessment of yourself.

Step Two. Evaluate your physical health. Are you drinking lots of water? Going outside? Eating balanced nutrient rich meals? THIS was my biggest postpartum failure. I struggled to eat anything but fast food & quick sugary carbs like muffins, cereal, and PB&J’s. My husband was working around the clock, I had no family around, and I was in survival mode. It was destroying my mental health because my nursing body desperately needed more protein, fruits and vegetables. The solution to my problems ended up being vegan protein shakes and smoothies, and my mental health improved drastically within 3 days. It literally felt like I was resurrected from the dead and it makes all the difference.

Step Three. TALK about it with someone who loves you and whose values you respect. If you feel safe you can be vulnerable, because it will take vulnerability to heal.

Step Four. Internally process through fine art. That doesn’t necessarily mean painting- by playing music, dancing, reading, writing, crafting, singing- it doesn’t even have to be good, but expressing yourself through a creative outlet can create awareness to the internal pain you didn’t even know was there. That insight will help you figure out what you need.

Step Five. Seperate yourself. Motherhood felt ALL consuming; who am I now but a mom? When I began a project that had nothing to do with the baby- something completely separate from all things related to motherhood, I felt like I was reviving the parts of myself from the past that I was worried were lost. It is healthy to carry over important quirky aspects of yourself from your past to your present. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to investing in the parts of you that make you “you”- weather that’s a hobby, going back to work, traveling- whatever you loved before you were a mom still has a place in your life, it just may look different.

Step Six. Surround yourself in Community. Maybe Church, a Mom’s Club, a tight knit group of friends, a Hobby, a Team– any group that you feel energized, valued, challenged, excited, and cared for. Online communities are great, but nothing can compare to in person.

Step Seven. If you have past trauma either before motherhood or because of the birth, it’s time to unpack with a professional. This is a very sensitive time. Bringing a child into the world triggers various past fears and insecurities. These are not things you’ll want to intentionally teach to your child and they are not enjoyable to live with. Speaking as someone who’s been previously diagnosed with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety- it’s a very kind thing to do for yourself to set up appointments with someone who specializes specifically with postpartum care. Even just a few sessions can eliminate or better prepare you for some of these trials.

Step Eight. Celebrate. Celebrate what you have done. Celebrate your growing family. Celebrate with your husband that you’re now parents. Celebrate your baby. Celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you, and is not about appearances. If you’re taking photos or organizing parties to get approval from someone else- you’re robbing yourself. What do YOU find meaningful, fun, rejuvenating, life giving, sweet & natural? Do those things and don’t worry about trends- you’re creating moments for you and your kids, not for followers.

Step Nine. It’s not the most fun, but set boundaries. You do not have the same capacity you did before. Boundaries are there to protect you mentally, physically, emotionally, socially. If there is a toxic person, unhealthy habit, something that is making you sick or stealing all your time and energy; time to create a healthier safer space for you and your baby to thrive.

Step Ten. Breath. Our most basic, essential need is oxygen- more than water, food, exercise or love. Just because it is simple and automatic, does not mean it’s not of the utmost importance. Be conscience of taking deep breaths- holding them- and then sighing out. It will help your vital organs, your brain, and your mood. It’s no secret you are under a lot of stress- and there’s no shame in that! Breathing exercises will help you manage your stress- so just take a minute now and take in 3 deep breaths. You’ve got this mama. You really do.

I hope these 10 ways to lose some of the weight dragging you down in motherhood are helpful. Motherhood is hard, but do what you can to make it easier, lighter, healthier and more fun! The only thing I want you to feel the weight of, is how full of love your heart is and how heavy your chunky little baby your baby is getting because every day they are growing stronger, and so are you mama. So are you.

Meet Brianna of Lake Nona Car Seat Cleaning Company

Hair ties. Cheerios. Stickers. Sticky candies. These are just some of the items lurking underneath the cushions & covers that your littles sit on. Stained, dirty, disgusting- but not for long! Time for you to know about the cleaning company that all parents need!

Brianna is the owner of Lake Nona Car Seat Cleaning. She provides overnight cleaning services for all child car seats, strollers, wagons, diaper bags and kids chairs around Orlando Florida. The best part? Pick up and drop off are FREE! All items are cleaned according to their specific manufacturer guidelines.

Brianna started her business in June of 2021 during the pandemic and while raising her 2yr old daughter and finishing her masters- What a BOSS! “I just received my Masters in Business Administration and have always wanted to start my own business, so I decided to finally dream big!” Brianna says.

Brianna and her daughter Sophia

However being a business owner and a mother is not easy! According to Brianna the hardest part is dealing with moments of exhaustion, but the gratitude and satisfaction of doing what she loves keeps her motivated.

Brianna’s advice for new moms is, “Don’t forget to focus on your mental, emotional, and physical well begin”. And for moms who want to start their own business she says, “Just go for it. Be patient, work hard, and believe in yourself”.

Brianna has two babies; One in heaven and her toddler Sophia. Her favorite thing to do is just enjoying the simplicity of an ordinary day at the park.

You can support Brianna by following her social media @lakenonacarseatcleaning on Instagram and Facebook. To view services, pricing and to book an appointment go directly to Don’t forget to share this post on your mom’s groups and personal page to spread the word about this hard working mom’s business!

I have personally used Lake Nona Car Seat Cleaning company a couple times- especially while potty training… I was so impressed with how easy it was! To leave filthy car seats on my porch, drag my tired body to bed and then wake up to brand new looking seats is about as close to a magic as I could ever hope for.

Great work Brianna! May your story continue to inspire other moms, like myself to work hard and dream big as you have done.