Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Reading

School is out for MiniMe but my nagging her to read a few books this summer has just begun. She picked out a book this weekend, which led to an interesting exchange.

"Mom, I found a book I want to read. It's called Survival of the Fittest and it's about a bunch of girls who are competing in the Miss Teen pageant who have to survive when their plane crashes on an island."

Me: Hmm, I guess that's the prissy version of Lord of the Flies.

"What? I don't know that one."

This got me thinking about the books on the reading list for young adults these days compared to the reading list I had in middle/high school.

So, Lord of the Flies. Should it be on reading lists for contemporary youth? Is it still relevant or are there more modern books that would be just as relevant and maybe more interesting to our young adults.

I loved some of the books I was assigned to read: The Great Gatsby, The Crucible, Brave New World.

What if students were assigned to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak instead of The Crucible? The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger instead of The Great Gatsby. How about The Road by Cormac McCarthy instead of Brave New World.

What books were you assigned to read as a young adult?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Florida Accommodations Getting More Economical for Families

All indications are that even with the economy still stuck in the dumps, people are planning a vacation this summer. Only families are looking for affordable options, which means a lot more are choosing "staycations" (don't know who came up with this term but I love it!).

This weekend, the folks at Caribe Cove and Bahama Bay Resort in Davenport hosted a group of travel bloggers, and your own Florida Native Mom got a coveted invite. The tourism industry, like many others, is starting to recognize the power of social media in promoting their accommodations (which is great news for all of us who have been toiling away in the shadows of the blogosphere for years).

Now I would not write about my experience if it wasn't a positive one, even if I received a complimentary stay. So here's why I'm sharing this with you. Both resorts are a great choice for families or groups of friends traveling together looking for a place to stay for several nights (not just a weekend). That's because their 2 and 3 bedroom suites range from $92 to $121 per night. A suite with 2 or 3 full size bedrooms, a full-size kitchen, 2  baths and plenty of room at 1,400 to 1,600 square feet. Split that nightly rate between 2 groups and you can't get a better price anywhere.

I was surprised at how big the suites were. And very nice, clean. We went to Disney's Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekend while we were there and I timed the drive because I kinda felt like we were in the middle of nowhere in Davenport. Only 15 minutes to the Disney gate.

It's also only 20 minutes away from the outlet malls - great for a girlfriends weekend!

Now I know what you may be thinking - and NO we did not have to take a timeshare tour. This is not a timeshare. My only suggestion is to call ahead and confirm your reservation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer Visitors?

If you’re like our big extended family, we often have visitors during the summer who take advantage of the fact we live in Florida to spend a week at the beach. A few years ago, I started making arrangements for our visiting families to stay at one of the local hotels on the beach since there is often “no room at the Florida Native Mom” inn for extended periods.

The first year we suggested our families stay in one of the many family-friendly resorts in Daytona Beach was a little rough. I had to assure them that I loved each and every one of them and thought it would be a “great idea” for them to actually spend their summer break on the beach instead of at my home in the mainland suburb. Now I couldn’t lure them back to my house if I tried.

My brother and sister-in-law enjoy staying at one of the beachside hotels because so many offer kid-suites, rooms with efficiency kitchens, water-park-like pool decks and most of all, they’re economical. They have two young boys and spend the morning on the beach then visit us to swim with our kids in the pool and have a cookout in the afternoons. Everyone is happy!

I encourage you to follow my lead on this. While you may feel a little bad about sending your relatives to stay at a local resort instead of sleeping on your couch for a week, consider these facts from my area in Daytona Beach:

Last year we had 7 million visitors to the Daytona Beach area that spent an estimated $3 billion in our restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores and gas stations. The tourism industry is one of the biggest and most important industries to our local economy.

By setting your relatives up in local accommodations, you’re pumping up our economy and potentially salvaging family relationships!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Moon Pies!!

Florida has been in the news a lot lately because of all the attention being paid to the last few shuttle launches. All this great NASA stuff got me thinking. About Moon Pies.

Did you know that Moon Pies now come in a variety of flavors? The newest flavor is chocolate mint. It's like a Southern version of the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie.

I'm a longtime fan of Moon Pies (I mean who isn't a fan of the original Moon Pie?!?) I'm glad to see that a special treat from my childhood is still around, along with Tang, Juicy Fruit chewing gum and that honey that comes in a plastic bear. (Honey served in a plastic bear is always better than other packaged honeys).

Anyone else like to have a Moon Pie for breakfast or is it just me? At one time I worked in the NASCAR industry. One early morning at a track I went in search of breakfast. The press rooms were always full of free food since many of the sponsors freely distributed "samples" to the media. Cheerios. Skittles. BC Powder. So on that morning, I culled together my breakfast from the "freebies" in the media center.

A Banana flavored Moon Pie, a Slim Jim and a Pepsi. A complete Southern Racin' style breakfast.