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The Ultimate Birthday Party Guide

We are thankful to partner with Alpha-Lit MS Gulf Coast to provide the Ultimate Birthday Party Guide to local moms and families.

Ultimate birthday party guide gulf coast momWhether you love hosting a birthday party at the local play center or planning a Pinterest-worthy at-home celebration, we are certain the Gulf Coast Mom’s Ultimate Birthday Party Guide will help you make your child’s birthday feel extra special on their big day.

Our Ultimate Birthday Party Guide features everything from our favorite yard signs (that light up) to balloon swag, from party venues to bounce houses – everything you need to make their party fun and memorable!


Our Gulf Coast moms have done all the research for you! CLICK on the section that interests you and CHECK OUT all the amazing resources for birthday parties on the Gulf Coast!

Outdoor birthday party locations gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideIndoor birthday party locations gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Tent and picnic parties gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideIndoor birthday party locations gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideSports party gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideRestaurants gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Food trucks and catering birthday party gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideFace painting gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideBalloons gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideCharacters and entertainment gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Inflatables gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Cookies and cake gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Petting zoo and animals gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Invitations gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideParty planner gulf coast mom Ultimate birthday party guideYard decor Golf Coast mom Ultimate birthday party guide

Want your business featured in the Gulf Coast Mom’s Ultimate Birthday Party Guide? Partnering with us allows your business greater visibility with a large targeted market of local families. Join us and help enrich the lives of Gulf Coast moms! Email partner@thegulfcoastmom.com

The Gulf Coast Mom Ultimate Summer Camp Guide

Gulf coast Summer camps

They’re baaaack! Summer camps that is — the saving grace of all moms who hear that age old complaint, “Moooom, I’m bored!” as soon as summer break starts! Don’t worry, mamas, we’ve got you covered no matter what your kiddos’ interests are with our Ultimate Summer Camp Guide. Your kiddos will stay active and happy, and so will you.

We’ve given the Mom Star ⭐️ to some of our super favorite camps!

Gulf coast Summer camps

Lynn Meadows the gulf coast mom ultimate Summer Camp guide


Ages: 7-11
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport

In this morning half-day camp, kids will discover the artist within! Campers will learn about the world around them through fun, hands-on art activities.


Ages: 12-19
Where: MGCCC, Perkinston Campus

Campers will create art with clay, exploring various techniques, including hand building and the potter’s wheel. This is a half-day camp that meets in the afternoons.


Ages: 8-12
Where: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

Campers combine STEM with Art! Participants will bring their own devices (iPad/Android tablet) and use technology to take their art to the next level.


Ages 5-8
Where: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

Designed for children age 6-12 with mild to moderate autism spectrum disorder, learning or developmental disabilities who typically benefit from inclusion classes at school. This three day camp introduces students to various forms of art mediums, dance and music. Camp leaders are certified teachers and behavior and speech therapists.


Ages: 8-12
Where: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

For both beginners and returning campers, this camp will focus on printmaking projects with accomplished artists as instructors.


Grades: Middle and High School Students
Where: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

Serious art students meet in the mornings to work on a variety of advanced art techniques.


Ages: 8-12
Where: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

This is the perfect camp for beginning artists! Students will draw, paint, create and learn basic techniques.

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guideCREATIVE COMPLEX – BUILDING THE FUTURE ⭐️

Ages: 8-12
Where: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs

This is such a unique camp that appeals to a wide variety of interests! With inspiration from  Walter Anderson’s work, campers will help design the new spaces for the Creative Complex. In this afternoon half-day camp, “Students will interact with architects and landscape architects, create models and conceptual drawings, and learn about how the built environment and the natural landscape interact.”

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guideSAFARI ART CAMP

Ages: 5-10
Where: Create-a-Craft, Ocean Springs

If you have a kiddo who loves art and animals, this may be the perfect camp for them! Campers will explore wild animals, learn about the use of color in nature, and then apply all that info to fun, hands-on art projects.

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: Ohr O’Keefe Museum of Art


Ages: 6-14
Where: Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi

This well-established and well-loved Coast camp is not just about pottery! In addition to hand-building and wheel throwing, campers will make masks, learn puppetry and sound sculptures, create wearable pieces, and participate in light performances.

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: www.thefriendsoface.org


Ages: 6-11
Where: FACE @Twelve Oaks, Ocean Springs

This is a great camp for beginning artists! Students spend the week drawing, painting, printmaking, and collage making in this class.


Ages: 6-11
Where: FACE @Twelve Oaks, Ocean Springs

In this camp, future Picassos will learn about the lives of famous artists and art movements, and create works inspired by their art. Note: Age 6 is welcome, but light writing is involved

Gulf coast Summer camps

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guideFABLAB ⭐️

Ages: 5+
Where: Various Sites + Virtual

The FabLab offers camps in Moss Point, Vancleave, and Pass Christian + virtual camps! The Jr. Camps (ages 5-9) are half day camps while the camps for ages 10+ are full day. The best part is that all of their virtual camps are free, the Moss Point camps are free to Moss Point School District students, and Pass Christian School District students can attend one FabLab camp for free as well. FabLab camp topics include coding, robotics, tools of STEM, physics of STEM, and PVC STEM.

Boys and girls club of the gulf coast Summer campsSUMMER ENRICHMENT CAMP ⭐️

Ages: 4-18
Where: Biloxi, Gulfport, Pass Christian, D’Iberville, Bay St. Louis

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast offers an 8-week Summer Enrichment Camp for children ages 4-18 from 6 AM – 7 PM at 6 locations on the Gulf Coast (Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Gulfport, D’Iberville, Biloxi).

This year’s Summer Camp will allow youth to explore and solve real-life problems in the MakerSpace STEAM Studio, participate in organized sports leagues, produce and record music in the on-site music studio, and gain knowledge through the Summer Brain Gain summer learning loss curriculum. For $50 per week, children have access to these life-changing programs, are fed breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack, and create life-long friendships.


Grades: (going into) 2nd-6th
Where: Pearlington, MS + Virtual

The Infinity Science Center offers both in-person camps in Pearlington and virtual camps. These camps are designed to inspire kids to learn more about space exploration and pathways to STEM careers with fun, hands-on activities.


Ages: 10-15
Where: MGCCC, Jackson County and Harrison County Campuses

An interactive camp where students build robots, stomp rockets, and other fun projects! Students work in teams to design and build a VEX robot using the latest technology then compete on the final day using the robots they create.


Ages: 4-6
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

Do your kiddos bring your creepy-crawly presents all the time? Check out this bug camp! Over the week children will participate in many activities, make crafts, and snacks all while exploring the world of BUGS! Real or fake, kids will have fun learning a lot about BUGS!


Ages: 7-11
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport

If your kids want to make slime all the time like mine, but you hate the mess in your house— let them slime to their hearts’ content at this fun camp! Young scientists will discover what makes slime and why it’s so fun to play with! There will be 5 days of science projects galore using materials you can find at home.

Gulf coast Summer camps

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guideART IN NATURE SUMMER CAMP

Ages: 6-11
Where: FACE @Twelve Oaks, Ocean Springs

Got an outdoors and art lover in your house? This art in nature camp could be a great option for them. They will gather objects from nature trails to use as drawing and painting tools, create eco prints using natural pigments from leaves and fruits, make handmade paper, hike the nature trails, and keep a (provided) sketchbook inspired by the world around us.


Ages: 6-11
Where: FACE @Twelve Oaks, Ocean Springs

This camp is the ultimate example of learning through play! Kids will complete art projects, play art games, team up with classmates to sketch prototypes on inventions and pitch them to the class, and have a blast playing team trivia and other fun games.

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: Pascagoula River Audubon Center


Grades: K-5th
Where: Pascagoula River Audubon Center, Moss Point

Focused on the Pascagoula River and bayou ecosystems, this camp allows students to explore nature and even take a boat tour during the week! Camp ends with a mini art exhibition of nature-inspired pieces completed throughout the week.

Gulf coast Summer Camps

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: F.A.N.S. Summer Camp


Ages: 6-14
Where: Pass Road Elementary School, Gulfport

One of the awesome things about FANS Camp is that it is an extended summer day camp—campers can participate one week or the entire summer, which is great if you need summer child care. With fitness training for all sports, martial arts, dodgeball tournaments, soccer, basketball and weekly field trips to the trampoline park, your kids will come home happy and tired!


Ages: 11-14
Where: MGCCC, Jackson County Campus

A fun and interactive camp for anyone interested in learning how to play Disc Golf! This is for beginner to intermediate level players, those who have never played and those who are still learning and want plenty of practice time and coaching from seasoned players. Campers will spend the morning outdoors learning and practicing skills and playing competitively as well on the MGCCC Disc Golf course.


Ages: 7-12 (girls only)
Where: MGCCC, Jackson County and Harrison County Campuses

Did you know that volleyball is one of the fastest growing competitive sports for girls? Mini Hits Academy Volleyball Camp is a developmental program that caters to the progression of young female athletes in volleyball. Mini Hits Academy brings the competitive nature of the game down to a developmental level to ensure safety, growth, and an ownership of all skills.


Ages: 14-18
Where: MGCCC, Jackson County Campus

Gamers of all kinds are invited to join us for all things gaming! This camp is not just for competition, though; we’ll explore video game history and immerse ourselves in all types of gaming from the past, present, and future. We’ll also venture outdoors at our beautiful Estuarine Center to test video game knowledge and skills with an Augmented Reality outdoor scavenger hunt!


Ages: 12-18
Where: MGCCC, Perkinston Campus

Campers will spend 3 hours each morning on technical work, drilling, fun games, and competing like a Gulf Coast Bulldog!


Ages: 4-6
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, Gulfport

Collect pebbles, twigs, mosses and feathers from outdoors to create miniature environments for gnomes, elves and sprites. This week will be a magical adventure for any camper with an imagination!

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: www.thefriendsoface.org


Ages: 6-11
Where: FACE @ Twelve Oaks, Ocean Springs

Could your kiddo use a mindset shift? Yoga is such a great lifelong skill, and now your kids can learn it this summer! “Campers will enjoy youth centered yoga, fun fitness, inspired arts, crafts and so much more. Discover how it all combines to build a strong body, focused mind and strong flexible outlook.”

Gulf coast Summer camps

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide CAMP STANISLAUS ⭐️

Ages: 8-15 (boys and girls)
Where: St. Stanislaus, Bay St. Louis

Camp Stanislaus is an institution on the Coast! With day camp and resident camp options, there is something to fit every family’s needs. A typical day includes character building, group activities like water sports, archery, arts, and competitions. Specialty camps like Father and Son Camp and Marine Biology Camp are also offered.


Ages: Information not provided
Where: Camp Wahi and Camp Iti Kana, Brandon, MS

Whether your girl is a first-time camper or a veteran seeking new adventures, she will find fun, friendship and memories to last a lifetime at Girl Scout summer camp. Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi offers a wide variety of camp options for all girls, (and only girls) including themed specialty activities as well as traditional crafts, songs and campfires.

Summer camp guideTWIN LAKES

Ages: 6-12
Where: Florence, MS

Campers get the full Twin Lakes experience:  enjoying the great outdoors, exciting activities during the day, creative programs and events at night, kid-friendly meals and snacks, and lots of time to get to hang out with our great summer staff. Their activities look so fun and engaging!

Gulf coast Summer camps

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum


Ages: 6-12
Where: Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, Biloxi

One of our favorites, this camp fills up quickly! The history and heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast extends back to the arrival of the French over 300 years ago.  The Sea-n-Sail Adventure Camp is a day camp that is designed to bring about a greater awareness of our original history and maritime heritage through a variety of fun and educational activities. All Sea-n-Sail Adventure Campers will take two sailing trips aboard one of the Museum’s famous replicas of the Biloxi Schooner.


Ages: 6-14
Where: Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Gulfport

If your child loves animals and the water, then check out this immersive week-long day camp where your child can step into the rubber boots of a marine scientist and experience the world of dolphins, sea lions, rays, sharks, and other animals who live at IMMS and Ocean Adventures.

Summer camp guide CAMP AQUA: BAYOU BOUND

Ages: 7-12
Where: Mississippi Aquarium, Gulfport

Bayou Bound summer camp takes campers through the habitats of our region. Campers will explore rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi Sound both in and out of the classroom. They will also explore the Aquarium’s various habitats, species, jobs, and facilities. The goal of Camp Aqua: Bayou Bound is for campers to cultivate a deeper understanding of the waters that make up the Mississippi Sound and begin to take action to conserve this local environment for future generations.

Gulf coast Summer camps


Ages: 4-9
Where: MGCCC, Perkinston Campus

This princess themed dance camp is a wonderful choice for your little dancers and the week ends with a performance.

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: www.rocku2foundation.org


Ages 5-7
Where: Rock U2 School of Performing Arts, Ocean Springs

Dance, gym and acrobatics, and jazz—what’s not to love about this camp? Find your inner superhero in this small group camp. With just 6 campers, your dancer will get lots of individual instruction!


Ages: 8+
Where: Rock U2 School of Performing Arts, Ocean Springs

This 2-in-1 camp is inspired by the recent Disney movie, Soul! Learn more about the Contemporary dance genre and choreo, too. Perfect for little Tik-Tokkers!

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guideDISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID JR. MUSICAL CAMP ⭐️

Ages: 6-18
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center/WINGS

A fun-filled musical theatre camp open to experienced actors as well as first-time performers.. Journey “under the sea” with Ariel and her aquatic friends in Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR. The camp will culminate with the production to be performed for summer camp groups and special evening performances for friends, family and the general public on Friday, June 18, Sat. June 19, and Sun. June 21.


Ages: 5-12
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center/WINGS

A fun-filled musical theatre camp opened to experienced actors and well as first-time performers. The camp will culminate with the production to be performed for summer camp groups and special evening performances for friends, family and the general public on Friday, July 9 Sat. July 10, and Sun. July 11.


Ages: 4-6
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

The youngest campers will delight in this magical week that will explore music, art, dance and theatrical activities. Campers will learn basic elements of theatre while having lots of fun!


Ages: 4-6
Where: FACE @ Twelve Oaks

This mini-camp is the perfect length for your littlest campers. Lots of projects to keep their brain and creativity bustling will hold their attention. The main project will be a marionette made from cereal boxes and paper mache. They will also be doing molded self-portraits with toilet paper rolls, alongside tie dying and other small projects

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide WILLY WONKA KIDS THEATRE SUMMER CAMP

Ages: 7-14
Where: Singing River Academy, Gautier

Perfect for kids who love the spotlight AND those who prefer to work behind the scenes, campers will spend the week learning the ins and outs of live, stage performance with professional lighting and sound. The camp “embraces a nurturing and supportive approach where all campers have an active role in the show.”


Ages: 5-10
Where: Riches Music Studio, Ocean Springs

Perfect for children of all ages and levels to have fun and learn together! Music will be simplified for beginning students, and children with more experience will have level-appropriate music. Games, group activities, and mini-recitals will keep children engaged and learning all week long!

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: Riches Music Studio


Ages: 6-11
Where: Riches Music Studio (Ocean Springs)

Playful Pianos is perfect for the music lover in your house! This is a great intro camp where students can learn music and have fun in a low-pressure environment.


Ages: 5-12
Where: Rock U School of Performing Arts, Ocean Springs

Your rock stars will explore their love of music, learn new Instruments and sing, play in a band, and perform in an end-of-week music video to share with family & friends.

Gulf coast Summer camps

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guideMISSISSIPPI GULF COAST YMCA ⭐️

Ages: Information not provided
Where: Ocean Springs, Vancleave, East Hancock

This 9 week day camp is perfect for families who need summer child care. From arts and crafts, to swimming, to fitness, there is something fun for all. Bonus: There are three different sites, so you can choose a location that meets your needs!

Gulf coast Summer camps


Ages: 9-13
Where: MGCCC, Harrison County Campus

One of MGCCC’s most popular camp, this interactive cooking camp encompasses both savory and sweet cooking. Everything is made from scratch in state of the art kitchens. Students will learn techniques for proper cooking & baking skills from award winning chefs. They will also focus on safety while cooking in the kitchen for children. Each child is put into groups of two and will get to eat all that they create.

Gulf coast mom Summer Camp guide
Photo credit: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center


Ages: 7-11
Where: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

What do kids in other countries eat? Learn how to make scrumptious delicacies from cultures across the globe. This camp takes you on a taste-bud-tingling tour to lands far and near with easy-to-make recipes. (This camp may include nuts, milk products, and gluten!)

Note: MGCCC, Lynn Meadows, Rock U2, and Walter Anderson, and FACE have many summer camp options, so make sure to check out their websites for camps that may not be included in the guide. 

Gulf Coast Mom is Looking for a New Owner or Ownership Team


Gulf Coast Mom is Looking for a New Owner or Ownership Team

Gulf Coast Mom, the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s premier parenting resource, is looking for a new owner or ownership team.

This is an opportunity to own, manage, and excel with a local Gulf Coast small businesses. We are proud of where Gulf Coast Mom has come, and we know under the right leadership it will only succeed to new heights.

This is an amazing opportunity for a local mom {or moms} to lead a team of talented women, grow their own local business, contribute positively to our community AND raise a family!

If you’re a business-minded mama living on the Gulf Coast, this ownership opportunity is for you!

Gulf Coast Mom is part of City Mom Collective, which includes around 90 other sites all across the country. Learn more about owning a City Mom Collective sister site here.

Turn your passion for the Gulf Coast and connecting moms into a profitable business.

Another amazing thing about owning a City Mom Collective site is the outstanding resources, coaching, and support you receive. An experienced team will teach and coach you how to run a successful online business.

What’s Included with Site Ownership?

  • PROFESSIONAL, CUSTOM WEBSITE: turn key website with tech support as well as hosting and domain maintenance
  • BUSINESS COACHING: Business coaching from the City Mom Collective team & mentorship from current owner if desired
  • SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: established social media with an engaged following
  • BUSINESS CONTACTS: contact list of businesses we have worked with
  • GRAPHICS PACKAGE: branding for all your printing and digital needs plus editable media kit
  • EMAIL LIST: insider email addresses
  • RESOURCES: library of helpful how-to resources and continuing education
  • AD REVENUE: Potential to share in national sponsorship opportunities as well as provide local businesses advertising opportunities

Take the Next Step

Share your background and passion for this opportunity with us! We will review your application and contact you with more information. CLICK HERE to fill out the application. 

Top 10 Favorite Cleaning + Organizing Products


Who else feels like they are always cleaning?  Whether it’s the floors, kitchen counters, bathrooms or the dreaded playroom, it seems like something is always needing to be cleaned. Again.

Top 10 cleaning products

Here are the top products from moms that will help with your spring cleaning (and organizing):


Thieves Household Cleaner by Young Living can literally be used to clean any surface of your home and, most importantly, it does not have harsh chemicals. It’s safe to use around children (so they can help) and even pets. You can even soak your fruit and veggies in it! Check out this website to purchase.


This magical little sponge is a game changer.  Sticky stuff? Wipes right off. Scuffs on shoes? Easy peasy. Markers on wall? Gone.  We have yet to find something it will not clean.


Yes, we are going there. It’s the best investment for you and your home. You can set a timer while you’re gone – and boom – when you return, your floors are sparkling.  If you have kids, dogs and constant dirty floors, there is no price to pay for cleanliness and sanity. There are even some models that mop! Go ahead, add it to your Mother’s Day wish list.


They Window Cloth by Norwex is a microfiber cloth that is simple and easy to use. Spray glass or mirror surface with water and use the cloth to wipe. With no chemicals and little effort, it cleans windows and mirrors like a champ.


Baby wipes are for more than just baby bottoms. They clean sticky fingers and faces to no avail and even wipe away most food stains on clothing or fabric. They are easy to store in your purse or car.


Get rid of the traditional laundry basket! This updated laundry hamper allows you to pack more clothes and save space! It’s perfect for those jammed-packed closets.


It’s not just for windshields anymore. Spray this on glass shower doors and watch the water repel. It helps prevent water scum!


Dryer sheets make chrome faucets look like new by simply wiping away dried water spots. Also, use them when soaking pots overnight. Add the dryer sheet to water and it makes it easier to scrub the pot the next day.


Have a designated donate bin in your closet.  As clothes are no longer needed, place them in bin and pick a time to donate unwanted items. We love these bins with attached lids!


We’ve seen moms recommend this soap multiple times. This is great for moms whose children are playing baseball and have stains EVERY game, red clay and grass streaks. Quickly rub it over the stain and stick in the washing machine with detergent and Oxiclean! This little dollar bar is MAGIC! You can purchase it at Walmart!

Moms Love: King Cakes

Unicorn king cake
Unicorn King Cake. Photo credit: Dolce Bakeshop.

Some folks think today is just another day. Nothing special. Wrong!

January 6 is King’s Day, the day the three kings, or Three Wise Men, visited baby Jesus after his birth. This day also marks the beginning of Mardi Gras… and King Cakes!

To celebrate, let’s talk about our moms favorite King Cakes.


King Cake Dolce
Dolce Bakeshop/Facebook

Mom favorite: King Cake bread pudding. Go straight to Dolce Bakeshop for this heavenly dessert.


Sweet stuff bakery king cake
Sweet Stuff Cake Boutique/Facebook

Mom favorite: Almond joy is the favorite at Sweet Stuff Cake Boutique!


Paul’s pastry king cake
Paul’s Pastry Shop/Facebook

Mom favorite: Pecan Praline. We can’t let Mardi Gras pass without a King Cake from Paul’s Pastry Shop!


Le bakery king cake
Le Bakery/Facebook

Mom favorite: Pecan praline filled with caramel cream. Parade on down to Le Bakery for this deliciousness.


King CakeMom favorites: Turtle, Pecan Praline, and  Achin’ for Bacon. New Year’s resolution? Eat more King Cake from Cheeky Monkey.


Quality bakery king cake
Quality Bakery/Facebook

Mom favorite: King Cake cinnamon rolls.  Are these even real? Yes, and you can buy them at Quality Bakery!


Fleur de Lis Gourmet Bakery French king cake
Fleur de Lis Gourmet Bakery/Facebook

Mom favorite: French King Cake. Get this all butter puff pastry with your choice of filling inside from Fleur de Lis Gourmet Bakery, including raspberry almond cream!

Click here to see which other local businesses moms love!

How to Turn Your Christmas Tree into a Mardi Gras Tree

I’m pretty sure by now, most Christmas trees in many households have long been taken down and put away. But there’s something about a Christmas tree that brings about a certain kind of joy. For my home, it’s the ear-to-ear smile that my son has on his face when he sees the pretty decorations and twinkling lights. 

I feel as though we can all use a bit of continued joy—even if that means leaving the Christmas tree up for a little bit longer.

Who really wants to take it down anyway? Why not decorate it for another holiday?

Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are great holidays to find beautiful décor. From deco mesh and picks to glittered baubles, garlands, and beads, you can easily switch out Christmas ornaments for a themed-holiday tree.

Mardi Gras tree from Sadie Jane’s
Mardi Gras Tree inspo. Photo credit: Sadie Jane’s.

All the local home stores are geared up for Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day. But don’t forget to shop locally too! Try Fleurty Girl in Bay St. Louis or Sadie Jane’s Famous Wreaths & Gifts in Gulfport for some unique Mardi Gras decorations!

On a budget? A website that I usually visit is Oriental Trading. They have tons of cute knick knacks that you can buy in bulk for a fraction of the price.

Or instead of store bought ornaments and decorations, hand-made crafts always make for a fun activity with the kids and it gives them a chance to help out with the decorating! Some construction paper, glue, glitter, and strings will make great hand-made heart ornaments for a Valentine’s tree!

Decorations for Mardi Gras. Photo credit: Sadie Jane’s
Decorations for Mardi Gras. Photo credit: Sadie Jane’s

In our home, we decided to decorate for Mardi Gras.

We strung beads from previous years’ Mardi Gras parades on our tree. And because of the crazy, hectic schedule we have had, we were last-minute on buying the ornaments. So we went to the local Wal-Mart and grabbed some clip ornaments to adorn our tree. A festive Mardi Gras hat finishes it off as the topper! Quite simple, but still fun and festive. To complete the Mardi Gras décor, we even decked out our fireplace with Mardi Gras accessories—the pompoms (my son Matthew’s pick!) are the best!

The best part of all this was spending the quality time with my son.

The excitement he had was quite the highlight of my day. From the time we spent rummaging through the shelves for the ornaments and decorations to the time we spent putting the tree together, we had FUN!

Hat topper on top of Mardi Gras tree
Topper for Mardi Gras tree.

The spirit of Mardi Gras is up and alive in our house! 

Will you be making a holiday tree? If so, we’d love to see what your tree looks like!


Indoor Play Areas

We all know that play is so important for kids, not only for fun but also for learning, development, and socialization! It builds curiosity, challenges perspectives, and sets your child up for a lifetime of learning.

Dolphin jumpingAs a family, we try to get outside and enjoy where we live as much as possible. I love to see my kids playing in nature but when the weather isn’t ideal or their interest in at-home activities are dwindling, we take them to an indoor play area.

It’s so fun to see them get excited about a change in setting, different toys or games and watch their little neurons fire with excitement navigating the newness.

The Gulf Coast has so much to offer in the form of indoor play areas! I recommend you check their websites before planning a trip to check times and current procedures with COVID-19 restrictions.

Check out this list for an indoor play space near you!


Check out the Engineer workshop at Infinity Science Center and let your child build their own invention before soaking in the full space exhibit. They also have special events, like Homeschool Mondays!


Stop by Sweet Escape and grab dinner and an ice cream while your kids enjoy arcade games!


Altitude Trampoline Park

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

Mississippi Aquarium

Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum

Ocean Adventures (or Institute for Marine and Mammal Studies) has an incredible indoor dolphin show, stingray exhibit, and aviary experience. Catch the festive train to experience what the whole property has to offer!

Indoor play area and Turtle displayBILOXI

Big Play Entertainment Center has an arcade, bowling, laser maze, minigolf, go-karts, bumper cars, laser tag, AND a full restaurant. Hours of family fun to be had right off of the beach! (Also good to know: kids eat free on Sundays)

Escape Family Entertainment Center in Margaritaville Resort is one of the largest play areas on the Gulf Coast.

The Salvation Army Kroc Center Gulf Coast

Topgolf Swing Suite in the Beau Rivage is currently closed but reservations may still be made. With multiple massive virtual screens and a wide selection of exciting arcade games like soccer, baseball pitching and zombie dodgeball. This is a great indoor activity for the older kids (and man child too).


The D’Iberville Family Fun Center has fun for all ages including Mullet Hop trampoline park and Cypress Lanes Bowling Alley.

Hint Hunter


Aaron Jones Family Interactive Center


If you’re further east, try the indoor inflatable playground at Pump It Up in Mobile!

Whether you prefer the AC or need activities in your back pocket for a super hot, rainy or chilly day, there are so many indoor play spaces for you and your family to enjoy, right here on the Gulf Coast!

Which is your family’s favorite indoor play area?

Want to stay home and play? CHECK OUT these fun family board games!

What Happened to My Baby Boy?


What Happened to My Baby Boy? Gulf Coast Mom

Mommas and daddies of teenage boys, we are in a season of parenthood that nobody prepares you for.

Our sweet innocent baby boy is changing before our eyes, and yet, there is nothing we can do about it.

My son just turned 14, and here are some things that we have learned:

YOUR BABY BOY IS STILL THERE. Your baby is still there, he’s just hiding. You will see him in a smirk he gives you across the room or a hug when passing each other in the house. You will catch a glimpse of your baby boy when he is talking about something that excites him. He is in there, just hiding underneath a tough exterior.

DO  NOT PUSH HIM to participate in family games or outings. Yes, this can be tricky because there will be some cases where he will need to participate. However, if it is not a necessary outing or activity, simply ask if he would like to join. If he says “yes”, DO NOT make it a huge deal. If he says “no”, respect that. He is watching from the sidelines and will most likely join in with the family.  If not, that is okay, you gave him the choice not to.

LEARN WHAT INTERESTS HIM. If you can have a REAL conversation about his interest, he will open up to you more. My son loves history and learning about various wars. History is not my forte, but I am learning so that we can have conversations about things that excite him. I have found that my son talks to me about school and friends more now than before.

INTERACT WITH YOUR SON. My son loves video games, nerf wars, and Marvel. Therefore, I have learned to play a few video games, we have nerf wars often and I watch Marvel movies with him. He does not even get upset when I ask a ton of questions because we are doing something together.

Enjoy this new season of parenting. I am learning as I go, as this is my first time to be in this season.

Boy in car What Happened to My Baby Boy? Gulf Coast Mom

Parenting is a fabulous rollercoaster with many ups and downs. Our children are looking to us for guidance, and many times we are unsure of how to guide them.

Be honest with your teenager and build trust. You will soon be on the other side of this season and your teenage boy will be a young adult ready to take on the world!

Guest Contributor: Melanie Flowers

Gulf Coast Mom presents Candyland Express, Dec. 3 & 4

Gulf Coast Mom  presents candyland express holiday party

Join Gulf Coast Mom for a sweet time at our Candyland Express themed holiday event!

Are you ready for a sweet event? Hop on the Candyland Express with Gulf Coast Mom! Fun activities, sweet treats, special character appearances, pictures with Santa and more!

You and your little ones will have a sa-weeeet time!



  • 9 am – 10:30 am
  • 11 am – 12:30 pm
  • 1 pm – 2:30 pm
  • 3 pm – 4:30 pm


  • 9 am – 10:30 am
  • 11 am – 12:30 pm


The Dock
13247 Seaway Road
Gulfport, MS


Food and non-alcoholic beverage included with admission.

Children 1 year and up must have a ticket.

  • Child Ticket: $35
  • Adult Ticket: $40


The Candyland Express VIP session will offer more one on one time with a character provided by Storybook Birthdays, a VIP only activity, special time with Santa and a VIP gift.

This session will be limited to 25 children.


CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.

Tickets are final sale and non-refundable. Fees apply.

6 Tips to Enjoy Hosting a Holiday Party

Hosting family or close friends this holiday? Whether it’s a Thanksgiving get-together or a New Year’s Eve celebration, here are 6 tips to help you enjoy hosting a holiday party:


It is hard to host a party anyway, make it a little easier by telling your friends you could use some help. Now I understand not all parties are only for friends, on that note, I would suggest hiring a caterer and staff.

Otherwise, your friends want to have a good time too and you can get everyone involved, men and women. Make it a potluck, ask for tables, chairs, help setting up, take a poll to decide what the theme should be, etc. If people feel needed, they want to help. It makes everyone feel more important and less awkward showing up empty-handed if they are informed and involved.

Pro Tip:: Only invite your friends that have already been to your house so they all know where your bathroom is, where your trash is and that yes, you told your oldest child he could pretend to be a T-Rex and chase the other kids with a flashlight (guys, that was a joke, except that last part).


Simply put, if kids are involved, make sure there are baby wipes in every direction regardless of age. Inside the house, in the playroom, in the bathroom, in the hallway on the way to the bathroom, outside, in the treehouse. You catch my drift. Thank me later.

Another possibility, 2 people that don’t like each other at your party. The worst right? No. Distract with conversation and a tour, request their assistance, or let’s toss all those cards out on the table in a separate room and go straight Dr. Phil on these fools. I do not actually suggest the latter, but sometimes I want to do that.

Smiling and having encouraging, positive interactions truly are the only ways to go. That should speak for itself, but trains can derail and so can conversations. Keep it light. Parties are no place for serious, Earth-shattering stories.

Pro Tip:: Reach out to people after the party, one-on-one, to finish those stories and you’ll be able to be more present.


Are kids going to be coming? Does everyone know each other? Will there be new people that have never been to your home before? (Make sure to tell them where the bathroom and the trash can is upon entering) What are the age differences? Are people coming straight from work? Will people be leaving early? Do people have to work the next day? Are there major events occurring, i.e. SEC football, Monday Night Football, any football, Bachelorette, Miss America Pageant, etc. What kind of music would they want to listen to? These are a lot of the questions I ask myself leading up to any party I host. 

More recently, we threw a Friendsgiving that was held outside, moderately spread out with a few friends. We kept everyone, including ourselves at a safe distance outside without sharing spaces like chairs due to the current health environment.


Ahead of time, I always try to imagine what it’s like for a guest the moment they show up to our home or event. I also try to introduce the person I’m talking to to someone else at the party. Find a common ground for them to talk about. Remember, people love to talk about themselves. That always sparks a conversation. Everyone enjoys the evening if they know someone, kids included.

Kids are super easy to introduce to other kids. Prep yours beforehand if there will be new kids arriving. I try to let mine know the new kids’ names and how old they are. I always enjoy when everyone is included, but I understand that I cannot do it myself. Have unknowing soldiers that can pick up your slack.


Cliches aside, what I really mean is take a “hypothetical” chill pill and enjoy your night with the company you planned for. If you’re anything like me, you are talking with a guest and see someone lay a cold, sweating beverage down on your new outdoor table and you’re constantly looking back and forth from your conversation to the coasters sitting 12 inches from said drink. What do you do? There is nothing wrong with taking ownership in your things, but you must be careful not to come across too controlling to your guests.

You want them to feel at home, but deep down, really hoping that without words or a big show, they will USE A DAMN COASTER once they notice one miraculously appeared under their drink. How did that happen? HA.


This is when I sit down with my significant other after everyone is gone and hash out what our favorite parts of the night were. What do you think could have gone better? Did we run out of anything? Do you think everyone had a good time? This is where I get to hear other people’s opinions of how they thought the night went, including our kids.

I ask all the questions. Was everybody nice? Who did you play with the most? What was your favorite dish? What did you all enjoy playing? This is the best kind of feedback to learn how to make the next shindig even better, for everyone.

Preparation is key. “Hostess with the Mostess” was not a phrase coined from someone throwing their first soiree. With experience, comes wisdom. You will certainly get there.

The worst part of AAR is realizing you did not have a full conversation with a guest because you were pulled in too many directions. Until further notice, just have fun. There can be a happy balance.

I know what you’re thinking. Seems like a lot of work on the front end and you would be correct. It really is a lot of forethought, but that is preparation for a smooth party. Now, go on and use these tips for your upcoming celebration! Cheers!

Gulf Coast Mom Opinion: A “parenting” columnist believes adults should not high five children and we have to say something!


A “parenting” columnist believes adults should not high five children and we have to say something Gulf Coast Mom

Have you read the viral op-ed arguing adults shouldn’t high-five children? It’s left many parents and child psychologist experts confused.

As a mom, I had to read what the hype was all about. John Rosemond, a “parenting” columnist for the Omaha World-Herald, argued that adults should refrain from high-fiving their children. He writes: “I will not slap the upraised palm of a person who is not my peer, and a peer is someone over age 21, emancipated, employed and paying their own way.” To him, there’s a legal age to high-five. Yep, you read that right.

Heartbreakingly, he doesn’t even high-five his own 15 year old grandson. 

His stance is based on his opinion that refraining from high-fives helps set boundaries and is a show of respect between adults and children. He goes on to state, “Children should know their place. Adults should know their place. The more adults and children commingle as if they are equals, the more problematic become their relationships.”

It doesn’t end there. He even says that respecting adults is “important to a child’s character development,” and a high-five “is not compatible with respect.”


Reading this opinion piece as a mother brings great sadness to my heart. His perspective of children using these jovial gestures do not align with the way we perceive them in our household.

I high-five my children. I see their sweet little eyes light up when they accomplish a task and we celebrate with a simple high-five. I observe the adults in their lives also celebrate their accomplishments in this manner with joy and words of encouragement.

There is something about a touch—it can validate a feeling you hope to convey to your child.

When a child seeks a connection with their parents or adults, please don’t deny them a gesture as simple as a high-five. One 2015 study by researchers at Notre Dame found that parental soothing, constant physical presence with plenty of affectionate touch and playful interactions with caregivers are vital to a child’s wellbeing as an adult. Without parent touch, play and support, the research says children have “poorer mental health, more distress in social situations and are less able to take another’s point of view.”

Now, let’s raise a high-five to every child we see!