Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tyke's Spring Break Adventures 2014

When I asked Tyke what she would like to do during her Spring break from school she quickly responded "Paris!". I replied "Seriously?" and then "No".

So I made plans to facilitate the Tyke's lust for adventure with my "we're saving for our cruise in May" limited budget. I had a general idea of what Tyke liked to do locally and set out to make it a week to remember.

Sunday - The first day of our adventure, I decided to take her to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor. We had done this the previous year during Spring break and she had an awesome time. Unfortunately, she became bored after about 20 minutes. Scratch this off the list for next year.

After the Primate Sanctuary daddy decided to take us to Chili's. Delicious as always!

 Monday/Tuesday - We spent the time watching movies at home as it rained through for almost 2 days!

Wednesday - Took Tyke to Cinema 6 where we watched The Nut Job. For $15 (with coupon) we enjoyed the movie as we shared a large diet coke, large popcorn, and a box of snow caps. Tyke gave the movie a thumbs up. She also made multiple friends in the theater as it was packed with lots of kids including a 3 year old who had an obsession with our box of snow caps and tried to walk away with them multiple times. Not sure where his parents where.

Thursday - Tyke and I did some shopping at Walmart. If you are ever at a loss for things to do with kids, take them to Walmart. They love it! My favorite activity there is  "avoid the toy aisles". She proved to be more skillful at this game and we came home with a toy horse and a copy of the movie Frozen.

Friday - Rained all morning.... Tyke destroyed her bedroom as I was trying to clean up the disaster in the living room.

In the evening we decided to go to the Chasco Fiesta Festival in New Port Richey. We met Tyke's bio mom, brother, and sister there. It was a great time for all. First we watched a bird show presented by a group of Native Americans. After the show Tyke got her face painted and I bought the kids a hand carved wooden flute each.

Then it was on to the dreaded midway. After 3 rides and 1 game I was exhausted and the money was dwindling so I suggested we get a snow cone which was met with two children screaming and crying that they didn't win enough animals followed by mean carnies calling to the kids that they needed a bigger prize . I told them to be thankful for what they got and was met with a response of no and more crying. So we went home (after I called the carnie a few choice words). That's how I roll.

On the way home I did manage to get a mumbled thank you which I took gladly.

Ok, so it wasn't Paris but it was fun spending the week with Tyke hanging out and having fun together. I hope she realizes how great it was just being with her. I miss Tyke when she's at school, I'll admit it.

Today she ran up and gave me a random hug. I asked her what it was for and she said "because I love you".
Awe! I guess I must have done something right this week.

Love you Tyke! I hope you enjoyed your week with me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 2013 Cruise aboard Carnival Paradise

Several weeks back hubby and I decided to purchase a cruise for our annual family vacation. Prices where pretty good so we took the plunge to take Tyke on her 4th cruise.

It has been almost 3 years since our last voyage with the tyke and we where not sure what to expect as far as how she would endure or how much she would remember of our past trips to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I must say it was most enjoyable as a whole.

Our adventure began at the Port of Tampa where we boarded the Carnival Paradise for 5 days of fun, food, and family time together. Previously we had sailed out of the same port on the Inspiration, Paradise's sister ship. Same basic layout. Check in was a breeze, mostly because we where taken to a special line for disabled passengers at Carnival's insistence that cut our time in half at the least. I was grateful but felt a tinge of guilt for the others who had to wait much longer.

After checking in we made our way to our cabin which was ready at noon. Cabins are small but accommodating for their purpose, a place to sleep and shower. We have been spoiled over the past couple years with spacious Las Vegas rooms and I had forgotten how small cruise ship rooms where.  After dropping our stuff off we headed to the Lido deck to have some lunch, burgers and fries which always hit the spot.

That evening and well into the next day we enjoyed the pool, Tyke made friends at camp, and I spent a little too much in the casino. Which may be why the players club delivered chocolate covered strawberries to the room our final night.Tyke said they just wanted to be my friend. She's so funny.

Our first port of call was Grand Cayman. We booked an excursion weeks in advance for a semi submersive trip which got cancelled via a letter delivered to our room shortly after we anchored. Tyke and I where not too happy about this but what can you do? We did get a refund. Went ashore anyways, walked around meandering through the streets trying to avoid the multiple people who stand on the corners like pushers asking if you want a cab. They need them in NYC where you have to basically throw yourself in front of a taxi to get one to stop. Along the path we took hubby pointed out a museum and we decided to check it out.

The National Museum in Grand Cayman is a Jewel. Hubby, Tyke, and I enjoyed learning about the history and cultures of  Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman through historical displays and video presentation. Cost is $5 for adults and children are free. Well worth it.

Enjoyed dinner with hubby once we where back on board the ship while Tyke dinned with her friends. Spent some more money in the casino while hubby who was feeling under the weather retreated to our room.

The next day we arrived in Cozumel and where elated when we did not receive another cancelled excursion letter shoved under our cabin door prior to our arrival. 

Tyke had selected our Cozumel excursion weeks before and had selected Discover Mexico. A great choice I must say. When we got to the port we where taken to a taxi that was included in the cost and whisked off to Discover Mexico, about a 2 minute ride. Our guide, Arturo, led us through an indoor gallery of artifacts representing the history and culture of many centuries of Mexico. Example below of this sand art displaying the Virgin Mary. Very nice!

 Then it was onward to the beautiful gardens where we where led down many paths of diorama style villages, pyramids, and Spanish style cathedrals. Many meticulously detailed for each historical period as well as the area of Mexico that it depicted. Along the garden path we met 2 new friends, a mule who's name escapes me and an Iguana named Mary. Both very personable.

We eventually said goodbye to our new amigos and took a taxi to Margarittaville for a bite to eat. Great food and the prices where not bad either. As an added perk, free wifi! Yes, I was able to say a quick hello to my peeps on facebook before hubby confiscated my iphone and reminded me we where on vacation.  We won't mention the mishap of a trial size cologne bottle breaking in my purse while we where waiting for our food. I wonder if the server figured out that it was I that smelled of $5 perfume. Lets hope not.
Here is Tyke having a blast at Margarittaville. Tyke would like to add that her butterfly balloon art she received was top notch.

After lunch we headed back to the ship and took a 2 hour nap. We where exausted! Later after we set sail Tyke was off to paint a volcano at camp carnival with her friends and then they headed over to the Rex club to get their groove on.

Tyke showing off her smooth moves in the dance floor.

I went back to the casino to donate some more and get some free drinks and hubby went back to the room to nap some more. Don't worry we do this every trip, it's how we stay happily married for so long. I let him nap and he lets me play the slots and we don't draw attention to each other's little addictions.

The second day at sea hubby actually got sick with a fever so he slept the whole day and I and Tyke amused ourselves by playing name that 80's song and eventually daddy arose from the dead and took Tyke to the pool for a bit before crawling back to the room sweating profusely from his fever breaking.  

The next day we arrived back in Tampa and debarkation was a breeze. Never heard my name on the intercom so I knew I wasn't getting deported back to New York. Got off the ship and went home where Tyke slept for 3 hours.

All in all, we had a wonderful time, only complaint would be no live holdem dealers on board for hubby and he was bummed. We met some really great friendly people who worked for Carnival as well as on the islands and encountered a talented iguana named Mary who could ride a donkey bareback. 

Yes, we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, March 11, 2013


    If you have visited our blog before you may have noticed some changes to our look as well as the title of our blog. We have updated the style to fit Tyke's personality. As for the title, our little adventure seeker has developed into so much more; aspiring actor, future magician, world traveler, and dolphin activist too.

 We will still be taking her near and far and continue to share ideas for family friendly vacations as well as local events in the Tampa Bay area. However, more focus will be on sharing Tyke's trials and tribulations of growing up. 

About us (from our website) began as a way to share ideas on family friendly vacations, ie; hotels, resorts, cruises, etc. As time has gone on, Take the Tyke has evolved into so much more. It has become a site to share our adventures with Tyke near and far as well as share her daily trials and tribulations of being a kid.

In March of 2007, at the age of 3 months,Tyke came to live with us when we obtained permanent guardianship. She is actually our granddaughter. She calls us mom and dad and we have become her "forever family". I would not trade this for the world. Tyke is a great joy to us. It is my hope that one day when she is grown Tyke can look back at her childhood through this website and see how much she means to us, her family, and so many others who follow her on here as well as on twitter.

We invite you to follow Tyke on her adventures through childhood and beyond as she grows and soars towards her dreams for the future.

Warmest Regards,
Cynthia Parrott

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Fun

Fall is here! With fall comes cooler weather and great opportunities for families and their tykes to enjoy multiple activities in the Tampa Bay area. If you have an activity scheduled in Tampa Bay which is family friendly, please feel  free to email us so we can add it to our list .
Here is a list of what we have so far, many are Tyke tested and have her seal of approval.

Mazes are the craze at these 2 places (many other fall festive activities too)

Tykes absolute favorite annual Fall activity (and two generations before her)
Great local entertainment and good deals on food for the whole family.

American Holiday Pow wow -Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
7200 County Road 603, Bushnell FL 33513
Oct 28,29, and 30th at 10 am each day

Farm Fall Festival in Oldsmar
Pumpkin patch, train rides, hay rides, etc.  Multiple dates

Media links for more fall activities

Remember, we live in Florida and our mild fall temperatures are perfect for picnics in the park, a day at the sponge docks, drives to local museums, mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs, Busch Gardens, or outings to the beach.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kissimmee Weekend with the Tyke

Our Family Vacation to Kissimmee

Our adventure began as any of our road trips: Daddy was driving, I was side seat driving, and Tyke was backseat driving. We did make it in a record 1 hr and 20 min in one piece.

Check in at Royal Parc Suites was a breeze, got our key and went to check out our "suite". The room was clean and lots of space. Only complaint, the two double beds. We're large people I wont lie. Tyke immediately called her bed and informed us that she wasn't sharing with anyone but her elmo and burt dolls.

After we brought our bags up and a quick change we headed out to visit Old Town. I love this place! When my daughters where small tykes I used to take them there. Long gone is the recording studio where my tykes used to make music videos. There are however many other cool stores and restaurants to explore. Something added over the past few years are the carnival type rides. For $14.00ish dollars we purchased Tyke a bracelet that allowed her unlimited times on the rides. She only went on 3. Terrified she refused to go on anymore. So the bracelet turned out to be a bad deal compared to $2 per ride normal price. Lesson learned. After the rides hubby found a hot sauce shop,he was in paradise.  We finished off with a burger and root beer float at Big Kahunas. By the way, if you run out of root beer in your float, don't fret, they have a root beer dispenser for free refills. This was a big hit with the Tyke.

After our adventure at Old Town we where exhausted and decided to turn in early. The hotel has a meet and greet where they provide an open bar (beer,soda, and wine) for an hour each evening. We bypassed this although it was still in full swing as we strolled by (and well into the early morning lol). Sleeping-was not a hit for the hubby and I. We slept laying on our sides in this small bed. Tyke however slept quite well in her bed.

Saturday morning we arose and went to the free hot breakfast buffet at the hotel. Adequately stocked with eggs, bacon, danishes, cereal, and oranges. Plenty to drink also. Enjoyed. After breakfast we decided to take the courtesy bus to the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, hubby forgot our Florida resident ticket printouts up in the room. Thankfully, the driver waited as the other guests joked that he had 3 minutes to make it back and was he going to make it...Every one's a comedian.

Magic Kingdom-It took 2 hours by the time we took the bus to Epcot where we had to take a monorail to Magic Kingdom where we had to go in another line and get back on a monorail to get to the actual park and then stand in line to exchange our computer print out for actual tickets. I'm not going to do a full review on Magic Kingdom because I'm confident that almost everyone has been there at least 2x in their life and possibly where there that weekend. Magic Kingdom is great for kids but parents in general do not care for the massive crowds or standing in line 45 min to get on one ride. Not a fan, did it for the Tyke. Enough said.

Returned to room  about 7 pm where we changed and decided to have dinner across the street at Logan's Roadhouse. Excellent choice! One of the highlights of the trip. Tyke has a short attention span, she spent most of dinner unshelling peanuts. Didn't say she was ready to go once! Dinner was great too. I had sirloin steak and lobster tail $20 and hubby had a huge rib eye for about $17. Tyke enjoyed a children's popcorn shrimp dinner (and thousands of peanuts). It was a great price and yummy.

After dinner we returned to the room to pack our self back into the double bed like sardines.

Sunday, we returned to the buffet and had another filling breakfast before checking out.  A gentleman stopped me in the lobby and asked for our email address to send me a survey of our stay. Haven't received it yet, but our stay was mostly positive with the exceptions of the small beds. Okay, normal sized people probably could have fit "a little" better.

After checking out we headed to Sea World. Hubby and I had gone there a couple years before the Tyke was born and came to live with us. We had a great time back then. This time it was even better with the Tyke! I love Sea World, no huge crowds and entertaining for the tykes and the grownups. Tyke especially liked Shark Attack, where you walk through a tunnel surrounded by sharks. We all enjoyed the dolphin, whale (and for some strange reason-birds) show. It worked! Very nice. We purchased an annual pass on ez pay to complement our Busch Gardens annual passes so we will be back.

Only complaint, a word to the wise to Sea World employees. You know the adage about assuming, not everyone that is disabled is in a wheelchair. I was a little taken back when we sat down in the disabled section at shamu, only because I just could not climb the millions of stairs anymore and was confronted by an employee who said in an elevated voice "shame on you for siting there". I was embarrassed and then hubby pulls up my pant leg in front of the guy showing my leg brace and snaps "she has ms buddy, she IS disabled". Yes, I am but I dont like confrontations so I usually try to sit where there are regular seats but this was our 3rd show and I was getting very weak. I just wish people would not assume that you should "Look" disabled. An apology for embarrassing me in front of people would have been appreciated. He just looked at me and said ..oh. Enough said.
Leaving the park was a task because by that point I was shaking and could barely walk because my legs where giving out. I guess I over did it :(

We had a wonderful vacation, the Tyke said it was a lot of fun which was our goal. We enjoyed Old Town, Logan's Roadhouse, Seaworld, and the hotel immensely.What I learned from this trip? I learned that I am not invincible and will rent a scooter next time, peanuts can be a great deterrent, and that the Magic Kingdom is best enjoyed every 3 or 4 years instead of every year.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Picky or Practical?

I'm not hard to please, not really. When going out to eat, whether at home or on vacation, I just have some basic expectations. Not a long list honestly.

First-I expect that I get what I pay for. If I order a chickens strips for the tyke, I would assume I would get chicken strips for the tyke. Trust me, I have seen a cheeseburger arrive on tyke's plate when she clearly said "chicken strips". When I questioned the owner (okay we're regulars there) he shrugged and said "looks like a cheeseburger to me too". Okay where's the chicken? He says "were out and she looked like she wanted a cheeseburger anyways". Then he walks away! This was the owner lol.

Second-Clean atmosphere, I don't to be seated at a dirty table or get silverware that has stuff caked on it. Enough said.

Third-Come back please! Yes, there have been times that the server deposited our food at our table and literally disappeared. What if we want refills or more napkins? If this happens, send your husband to hunt and retrieve the items. Men are natural born hunters and retrievers.

Fourth-Wilted lettuce. Can't stand it. Please don't put wilted lettuce on a persons salad. We will not eat it and then I fear it will be recycled and given to another unsuspecting customer who moves the tomato that was atop and sees-wilted lettuce. gross.

Finally, the bill. Dearest server; I'm glad you came back even if it wasn't to refill my glass but please don't drop the bill on the table and disappear once again. If this happens, prepare to wait for the server to return for your credit card exponentially.

As my husband,the tyke, and I prepare for our vacation to Kissimmee next weekend, visions of a joyous trip fills my heart and fears of poor service, rotten lettuce, and vanishing servers clutter my head.

I'm not very picky. Honestly, I can say that I have never returned food. Usually, I just never go back. This is practicality. If it was that bad the first time, can you really imagine it getting any better? I think not.

Bon Appetite Gentle Readers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vacation Ideas to Insure Optimal Enjoyment

Once a year, we like to take the Tyke to the Magic Kingdom. She loves to visit the Disney Princesses. Her favorite is Cinderella. This year we are going on November 11th.

Planning a weekend trip can be quite a task. Selecting the right hotel, deciding where to eat, and planning activities for our little getaway has been nerve racking to say the least. Im a perfectionist and I want everything to be perfect for our family time together. After we enjoy our weekend it is my goal that my husband and the tyke exclaim that this was the best weekend ever.

How do you make it the best weekend ever you ask? There are multiple facets to being assured that everyone has a great time.

First- The big one, cost. No one wants to go on vacation and pay way more then they should have. In the same token, no one wants to come home and two days later see their bank statement and freak because there where charges and fees that they didnt expect to accrue. For example, when selecting a hotel make sure that you read all the fine print. Many hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee charge "resort fees" as well as the 13% tax. Resort fees are imposed to cover things like the resort style pool and internet access.

My suggestion on finding the best price for hotels-Go directly to the website of the hotel chain. They usually have deals for Florida Residents, AAA members, and often specials that they call " advance reservation specials" which in many cases the advance can be 24 hours prior to your arrival.

The same applies to visiting amusement parks and dinning out. Many of the Parks and Restaurants have websites where you can find coupons to print out or discounts for multi day passes. Take advantage of the multiday passes, especially if you live in Florida. They are usually good for return visits within a time frame, ie:90 days.

Second- Selecting a hotel. My biggest fear is booking a hotel and it's 20 miles away from the maingate of Walt Disney World. Seriously, this happened to me many many years ago. We might as well have stayed at home and drove over for the day lol. Always map it. Also, many hotels put on their website how many miles they are from Disney or Universal or Seaworld.

Another important step that should not be missed when selecting a hotel, read the reviews! I cannot stress this enough, do you want to wake up in the middle of the night to giant roaches pushing you out of the bed??? Or you see "heated pool" on the hotels website and then you see reviews where the customers idea of heated and the hotels belief that 60 degrees is a great temp for swimming in Dec (as well as cost effective for them) do not coinside with each other. I use

Finally, What are you going to do on your vacation? Whether you are going for a couple nights or a week the goal is for everyone to have fun. Look at it this way, if my hubby is not having a great time he will gripe for weeks about the cost. If the tyke is not having a good time, she will have a major melt down the whole trip and then I will be griping about the cost of being stuck for the entire trip with a screaming kid or whinning husband. Get everyone involved with the plans that way if they complain after you can remind them that they where part of the decision making process. They knew exactly what amusement parks we where visiting and where we where eating.

Last thoughts, dont just try to wing a trip without planning it out. That's what our parents did and who can forget, geting lost on the way there or eating scary food at Stuckeys because the parents had no clue what else was available taking one of those strange exits off the interstate to unknown territory. TG we have the internet now, plan plan plan and have a wonderful family getaway.