Momma Told Me

Blog Archive

Friday, August 28, 2015

Exploring the #GeniusOfPlay + Blast Zone Magic Castle Bouncer #Giveaway 9/11

Today's Genius of Play discussion was sponsored in part by GeniusofPlay.org. This Blog POP! Magic Castle Bouncer Giveaway was sponsored by Blast Zone and in not way affiliated with Genius of Play.
Momma Told Me: Don't just sit around like a bump on a log!

While Summer may be coming to an end, and most of the littles are back in school, I'd like to discuss the importance of  continuing playtime year-round. As a parent or caretaker you may struggle with the notion of playtime being a Summer or Weekend activity. The focus of school and studies seems to take priority and we, as the adults, seldom have time to schedule in the giggles and games kids crave in between homework checks and fixing dinner. Or, perhaps, you feel guilty leaving your children to play in the yard or their room on their own, as though you're somehow neglecting them. Momma was the first- always no nonsense studies and sleep on school days- but The Genius of Play is here to make an argument in favor of kids.
You may not know but taking time out of the day for free play can be integral to your child's mental, physical, and social growth, and a case can be made equally for solo play, social play, and family activities. They all hold their own unique benefits.Of course, living in sunny Southern California, we take the chance to practice any and all of these outdoors whenever we can.Our D.I.Y. Lawn Twister idea is still wildly popular with the neighborhood kids and even inspires adults to get out and get involved when this colorful game board hits the grass.
Naturally, children with siblings have constant access to group play benefits, but those who don't should be encouraged to interact and play with children both their own age, and those outside. Learning to work respectfully among your peers is just a valuable skill as learning to look up to those older and wiser than you, or learning to guide those younger and less experiences. All valuable skills for school, the workplace, and life. Make believe play and problem solving are also important skills developed during free play activities involving make believe. While your child will naturally create scenarios and stories for their playthings, sharing the creative vision, and watching it evolve, with other children and adults is a true learning experience!
Outdoor and active free play is simply good for the body all around- from the stress relieving benefits of play to the decreased risk of heart disease, that most often caries on into adulthood behaviors, physical activities are a major win. In fact, studies show that children naturally gravitate towards active play with a whopping 20% choosing to engage in physical free play through no other prompts but their own. We like to set our bounce house up every Friday and let the daycare children lose. Because ages vary from 4 to 10, there is a variety of negotiation and verbal skills constantly in use- and we've found the younger kids tend to push the older ones to be more active through unique games and imaginative scenarios!
But you don't have to have a bounce house to make play time fun. The beauty of play is that there are no rules. (Well, there are safety rules, of course.) Anything can be anything- a twig turns into a magical sword, a ball pit turns into a magic castle, and when props and dress up get involved superheros turn up to save the world in the most unlikely of ways. Studies show children as young as 3 learn to understand the real world though direct pretend play and that similar free play helps develop more creative personalities.
Whether the benefits are cognitive, physical, emotional, or social, it doesn't take an expert to see that free play is beneficial to everyone. If you feel guilty about turning a child loose with their own toys and friends then schedule family play time several nights a week to help reconnect and grow with your child. You're likely to learn a wealth of things you never knew about a child during free play time. Experiment with different types of play, pretend, creative, and physical to help develop a variety of skills and truly nurture your child while having fun. (Us adults can be pretty sneaky, eh?)
You'll discover tips to schedule and encourage free play, as well as more facts and information about the benefits of free play at The Genius of Play. And, while they're all about the benefits of playtime for children, I argue that these benefits do not stop simply because one has become an adult. Make sure to take time out to play and grow for yourself as well. Those benefits of stress reduction and heart health apply to big people too! Take the Pledge To Play and be a part of the Play-volution today. I promise, it'll be the easiest, most fun, pledge you'll ever commit to! Now, tell me, what was one of your favorite free play activities as a child? If you have a child of your own, what is they favorite free play activity?

What Daughter Says: While it may be easier to sit around like a bump on a log the benefits of engaging one's mind and body through free play are clearly overwhelming.



In the spirit of fostering free and active play, we're giving away a Blast Zone Magic Castle Bouncer! Once you've entered continue hopping along to our other amazing Blog POP! School Rules giveaways!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall Fashions With Long Tall Sally- #BlogPOPEvents $125 Giveaway 9/10

The following Blog POP! Events post is sponsored by Long Tall Sally. Visit Long Tall Sally for the largest selection of flattering and stylish clothes for women 5'8" and taller. The exclusive online retailer of Barefoot Tess, shoes for women size 9 and up. (ad)
Momma Told Me: Fall into fashion.

Fall.

Some people, in some parts of the country, swear it is already beginning to look and feel like Fall. Other than the collection of yellowed leaves fallen on the ground outside, there is little indication Fall is on it's way here in SoCal. One might even argue that the foliage is just a result of the drought we've endured through one of the warmest, driest, years in recent local history. You see, while I am a SoCal native who lives in her flip flops and happily trounces down to the garage in short shorts, I do not care for the hot and the dry.
Visit Long Tall Sally for the largest selection of flattering and stylish clothes for women 5'8" and taller. The exclusive online retailer of Barefoot Tess, shoes for women size 9 and up. (ad)
And that, my friends, is precisely why I will be taking 10 days off, and away mid-September.

While some long for the sway of palm trees and the sound of crashing waves, I'd rather visit the South Pole (quite literally.) And, though my dream vacation is to one day backpack through Ireland and Europe, September 11th I will be setting sail for my dream cruise. I just may sip a few Pina Coladas poolside on the deck of our cruise liner, but you won't find this fair skinned girl anywhere near the tropical beaches and hula dancers. We've got Mexico to the South, Hawaii to the West, and I'm headed North for the Fall.
Visit Long Tall Sally for the largest selection of flattering and stylish clothes for women 5'8" and taller. The exclusive online retailer of Barefoot Tess, shoes for women size 9 and up. (ad)
Yup, you guessed it, I'm headed to Alaska.

Beautiful, cold, vividly bright through all hours of the day, sun tan on the rays reflecting from glaciers, Alaska. My first cruise. My dream cruise. It will also mark my first International endeavor, departing Washington and landing it's final port in Vancouver. Since we'll be dropping anchor on a Friday we've arranged to spend 2 days in Canada at the end of our journey where the exploration won't stop as we explore the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and cross a 430 foot suspension bridge (circa 1889,) suspended 230 feet above the Capilano River. Of course that will be a cake walk after our rain-forest ziplines in Juneau!
Visit Long Tall Sally for the largest selection of flattering and stylish clothes for women 5'8" and taller. The exclusive online retailer of Barefoot Tess, shoes for women size 9 and up. (ad)
As fun as vacations are, they can also be quite a bit of stress.

While I've been planning on this cruise for over a year I only just realized I don't have any appropriate attire. The closest thing I own to a coat is a zipper hoodie sweater, and my footwear situation was even worse. Though we'll be on the boat, or in various port towns, for the majority of our journey, some of our more adventurous excursions will require 'real people' clothes, as I like to call them. These is where the flip flops must retire, I'm afraid. For my time in town, in Canada, I've picked out an outfit directly from Long Tall Sally's Fall collection.
I had a chance to take a sneak peek at some of  Long Tall Sally's Fall 2015 highlights and immediately fell in love with the dark palette and urban inspiration. For those who don't recall, Long Tall Sally is THE destination for fashionable and flattering clothing for women 5'8" and taller. They also happen to be the exclusive online retailer for Barefoot Tess shoes (stylish shoes for women size 9+,) and, if it weren't for them I likely WOULD only ever wear flip flops. But I digress, the Lace Yolk Sweater in Khaki immediately caught my eye for it's gorgeous green hue and nape of the neck keyhole detailing. I knew the color would be flattering to my complexion and hair color, and a great pick to stay warm this Winter and on my cruise.
Visit Long Tall Sally for the largest selection of flattering and stylish clothes for women 5'8" and taller. The exclusive online retailer of Barefoot Tess, shoes for women size 9 and up. (ad)
New to Long Tall Sally for the season are Super Soft Legging Jeans. These aren't your Walmart's jeggings, folks, these are butter-soft, extra thick, super flattering skinny jeans that compliment all the right curves. I think I just might live in them while in Alaska and every wardrobe should have a pair in each color. For this outfit I've styled the legging jeans inside my Barefoot Tess Jasper Boots (in Mushroom,) though here in California I'll wear them loose around the ankle with the boot tounge relaxed and hanging out. I cannot gush enough about the comfort level and fit of these boots- I only wish I'd been bold enough to grab the Doc Marten-eque Pink/Black floral style.
Visit Long Tall Sally for the largest selection of flattering and stylish clothes for women 5'8" and taller. The exclusive online retailer of Barefoot Tess, shoes for women size 9 and up. (ad)
I know, I know, I'm going to need a lot more than one beautifully styled outfit to get me through 10 days abroad, but it's one heck of a start- And Long Tall Sally certainly has me covered, if I can only decide on the colors and prints in my favorite items! Now, tell me, is it Fall yet where you are? Do you have any exciting adventures planned for the upcoming season?

What Daughter Says: Every season, just like every shape and size, has it's flattering prints and styles. Fall, for me, means comfort.





Enter below for your shot at a $125 Long Tall Sally gift certificate then hop along to the other amazing Blog POP! School Rules event giveaways on the LINKY!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Wax Works- Newport, Oregon

The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
Momma Told Me: Sometimes life gets a little cheesy.

Okay, I'll admit, I've had an unnatural fear of wax sculptures from an early age. There is something simply creepy about a replica of someone so smooth, and slightly imperfect just staring back at you from marble eyes. And the 2005 film House of Wax didn't help ease that discomfort either; between Paris Hilton's cameo and the thought of being 'waxed' alive, you could say I'd rather brush elbows with Pennywise the clown than any wax sculpture of a celebrity. And now that that's been said- I decidedly had to buck up when my niece and I visited The Wax Works, at Mariner's Square- Newport, Oregon on our road trip this past Summer.
Spock: The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
You may recall that Mariner's Square is this lovely tourist trap spot nestled in the bay of Newport, Oregon. While the Square itself is a collection of 3 family attractions (Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, The Wax Works, and Undersea Gardens) there are several quaint downtown restaurants and shops to browse as well. While these attractions don't seem to have had many new exhibits or updates since the 80's, its a great way to kill an afternoon for about $25 a person (which will get you an all day pass to all 3 of the attractions.)
Remember that fear I was telling you about? Well they don't tell you that this particular wax museum's (and several older ones usually are) very poorly lit. Perhaps the dramatic shadows and sharp lighting add thematic value, but I just found the whole thing unnerving. I can't really say whether the more lifelike sculptures put me any less on edge than the older, more rounded ones- we were walking from dark room to dark room pretty much alone. I tried my best not to imagine an axe murderer waiting in the wings behind Marilyn Monroe. Thankfully I had my wing man by my side.
The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
In general there was a good range of sculptures to take in. From regional content such as the rustic loggers, mysteriously disappearing parachuter, and Big Foot to the more modern exhibits with movie characters and celebrities, we slowly took in it all. The biggest highlight for me, and arguably the most modern and realistic sculpture was Johnny Depp. I'll now hang my head again as I tell you that Sabrina (12) had no clue who he was, even with the 'Pirates' poster hanging behind him. I would have snapped a selfie with Mr. Depp but again- that fear....
Johnny Depp- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
When I wasn't glancing around anxiously with 'wax museum paranoia I was paying attention to the unique details that went into each character and set. I actually found myself curious where the hair was sourced from, horse, synthetic, or human; and wished that there was more information provided in each room to help answer these questions. And just how does one get into professional wax sculpting?  I'd suppose it starts as a harmless hobby, just like taxidermy?
Lord Of The Rings- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
Not too far down the hall from Johnny was a Lord of The Rings exhibit that best portrayed The Wax Work's need to reach a younger crowd through interactive elements. While some of the buttons weren't quite working, the idea was that a visitor could stage their own scene through the use of steam vents, lighting, and a remotely controlled dragon head. It seemed to occupy the tween for a good amount of time and earn me some 'cred' as the Aunt who drug brought her there in the first place.
Around the corner was a sort of Indiana Jones meets witch doctor setup with giant vases guests were encouraged to 'reach into,' steaming crypts, and a giant Plasma ball that again captivated the tween. Then it was down through a hallway across a bridge that was suspended in the middle of a room where the walls constantly spun, reflecting various lights. The effect was to feel as though you were falling through a vortex, and I don't suppose such a short walk has ever felt so impossible to complete in my life!
E.T.- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)Star Wars, Yoda and Jawa- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
The last wing was another of my favorites- truly an offering to children of the 80's. Despite the fact that the Jawa looked like one of our dog's plush chew toys, Yoda was magnificently sculpted. The room could use an update on some scenery (who knows maybe the real Jawa was stolen?) but it certainly tickled my nerdy bone. And the interactive E.T. in space capsule? Priceless. Touch the glass where E.T.'s finger rests and watch your own glow red, just like the beloved movie! Speaking of which- have you heard the Tinseltown rumors of a remake of this beloved film???
Darth Maul- The Wax Works: Newport, Oregon (Mariner's Square)
And, just before we exited, into the gift shop (like all good tourist attractions do) we came around the corner to be greeted, face to face with this terrifying Darth Maul replica. This was one case where lighting worked perfectly in the exhibit's favor. If Han Solo hadn't been suspended in Carbonite just a few feet away, I would have sworn we were done for! Yes, it certainly was a visit worth admission, and one the tween wouldn't stop talking about! Have you ever been to a Wax Museum?

What Daughter Says: I faced my fear, and I survived the wax. Though, I'm not sure the 'cheese factor' made it any less terrifying!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Baked Apple Roses + Crunchy, Cool, Yum Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #QuakerRealMedleys #CollectiveBias
Baked Apple Roses: Discover crunchy, cool, yum NEW #QuakerRealMedleys in the Cold Ready-To-Eat Cereal aisle of your local Walmart. Just add 1/2 cup cold milk for a whoel grain granola, real fruit and nut, yogurt experience unlike anything you've tried before! Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pair perfectly with our simple Baked Apple Roses- recipe on the blog! (ad)
Momma Told Me: It never hurts to try something new.

My readers know our family is full of early adopters. If we see something new that adds a level of deliciousness and convenience to our everyday hectic lives we try it. When we discovered new Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups at an in-store demo, while shopping at our local Walmart, we jumped at the chance to sample this exciting shelf stable revolution. Available in 3 delicious flavors, Strawberry Almond, Apple Cinnamon, and Raspberry Pecan, Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups are a one of a kind shelf stable breakfast option that combines some of our favorite breakfast ingredients; yogurt, granola, and real fruit.
Of course, hearing that there was a single serve breakfast option full of 25g of whole grains, 10g of protein, real fruit and nuts, brought out the skeptic in me. Sure, I add granola to my yogurt cups and fresh fruit to my cereal, but having all of my favorite morning textures, flavors, and experiences in one convenient cup? It's possible when you add 1/2C of cold skim milk to Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups, stir, let sit for 2 minutes, then enjoy. That first bite of  Apple Cinnamon, standing there in my local Walmart, was crunchy, cool, yum! I was immediately inspired to whip up my own Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pairing- Apple Roses to enjoy alongside my favorite new breakfast and snack.
Making satisfying, beautiful, baked Apple Roses, are almost as simple as preparing a fresh cup of Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups. Start by halving a few of your favorite baking apples. While I prefer the flavor and taste of Granny Smith's you will most likely want to reach for Honey Crisps or Pink Ladies. The redder the apple, the more dramatic an effect you will see on the 'petals' once baked.
Next you will want to core your apples, quarter them, and slice them extra thin. If you have an apple corer you can get through the first few steps at once, and a mandolin can help greatly to form quick, even, slices for your apple petals.
Place your apple slices in a prepared bowl of water and lemon juice, to prevent browning, and send them to the microwave for 3 minutes, on high, to help soften the apple slices for rolling. You are not trying to cook them, simply make them more pliable for the following steps. Drain your apple slices well and prepare a dry, well floured, surface to work on.
Cut a pastry shell into rectangular strips about 9" x 2.5". You may wish to roll the pastry shell out before cutting, as a thinner pastry will make for a less bulky rose in the long run. Spread your preserves of choice (we used apricot) along each strip of pastry and lay apple slices along the top half of each strip so that they overlap halfway and are hanging off the top of the pastry shell about halfway as well.
Fold the bottom of the pastry shell up, and in half, so that the apple slices still peek out about half their height. Next, begin rolling inward, from one end, until the entire apple/pastry layer is rolled into a blossom. You may wish to take some extra preserves and adhere the lose end into the outer side f each blossom. Place your apple roses in a silicone cupcake pan or a well greased traditional muffin pan.
Sprinkle the tops of your roses with some cinnamon. You may lightly baste the tops with a butter mixture if you desire a crispier skin/finish. Place your roses into a pre-heated oven, at 375F, for about 25-28 minutes, or until the apples have begun to turn golden brown along the edges.
These baked apple roses are simple enough for any home cook to make in just over 30 minutes and make the perfect topping for any holiday pie, tart, or dessert a-la-mode. How do we enjoy them? With our favorite #QuakerRealMedleys yogurt cup, for breakfast! (ad)
Apple roses make a wonderful garnish to any holiday pie or tart and can be enjoyed fresh from the oven a-la-mode, or cold alongside your favorite Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups as part of a satisfying and delicious breakfast. I like to make 6-8 of these at a time and store them in the fridge for days when I am running short on time in the mornings.
These baked apple roses are simple enough for any home cook to make in just over 30 minutes and make the perfect topping for any holiday pie, tart, or dessert a-la-mode. How do we enjoy them? With our favorite #QuakerRealMedleys yogurt cup, for breakfast! (ad)
Much like the concept of pairing granola, fruit, and yogurt in a single shelf stable cup- apple roses look elegant and sophisticated without the trouble and fuss. Anyone can make these baked apple roses and anyone can enjoy a cold, delicious, Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cup when they add 1/2 cup of refreshingly cold milk and stir. The two paired together create a breakfast experience unlike anything you've experiences before. 
Discover crunchy, cool, yum NEW #QuakerRealMedleys in the Cold Ready-To-Eat Cereal aisle of your local Walmart. Just add 1/2 cup cold milk for a whoel grain granola, real fruit and nut, yogurt experience unlike anything you've tried before! Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pair perfectly with our simple Baked Apple Roses- recipe on the blog! (ad) 
If you haven't been lucky enough to discover new Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups through an in store demo, you can find all three varieties in the cold cereal aisle of your local Walmart. These satisfying and unique yogurt cups will be on the shelf with other ready-to-eat breakfast solutions- absolutely no refrigeration necessary. As long as you have cold milk waiting in your fridge at the office or home, you're ready to experience this one of a kind treat. I guarantee there's been nothing like this before!
Discover crunchy, cool, yum NEW #QuakerRealMedleys in the Cold Ready-To-Eat Cereal aisle of your local Walmart. Just add 1/2 cup cold milk for a whoel grain granola, real fruit and nut, yogurt experience unlike anything you've tried before! Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pair perfectly with our simple Baked Apple Roses- recipe on the blog! (ad)
Of course, this all begs the question, where have Real Medley's been all my life? I can still remember the late nights, turned early mornings in college where I forked over $5+ dollars for a coffee house parfait that had often gone mushy. Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups not only pair some of my favorite breakfast and snack components, but somehow manage to let all of the textures and flavors shine uniquely on their own. From crunchy delicious whole grain granola and nuts to soft, crispy, real fruit pieces and satisfyingly cold yogurt; all in one easy to grab, add, stir, and enjoy cup!
Discover crunchy, cool, yum NEW #QuakerRealMedleys in the Cold Ready-To-Eat Cereal aisle of your local Walmart. Just add 1/2 cup cold milk for a whoel grain granola, real fruit and nut, yogurt experience unlike anything you've tried before! Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pair perfectly with our simple Baked Apple Roses- recipe on the blog! (ad)
Discover crunchy, cool, yum NEW #QuakerRealMedleys in the Cold Ready-To-Eat Cereal aisle of your local Walmart. Just add 1/2 cup cold milk for a whoel grain granola, real fruit and nut, yogurt experience unlike anything you've tried before! Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pair perfectly with our simple Baked Apple Roses- recipe on the blog! (ad)
We're going to share the complete recipe and step by step process for creating our perfect Real Medleys pairing down below (and don't forget to grab our PIN strip.) For now, I want to hear if you've tried these new delicious breakfast solutions and what kind of flavors you'd like to see next. At the risk of sounding vanilla, I'd love to see a Peaches and Cream Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups hit the shelves, or even a seasonal Pumpkin Spice with cinnamon and almonds-YUM! Tell me, how would you enjoy your Real Medley moment? Follow Quaker on Facebook and Pinterest for more inspired Real Medleys pairings!


What Daughter Says: Experience the crunchy, cool, yum way to enjoy breakfast with Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups.





Looking for more Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups pairing ideas? Download the Blippar app from your Apple or Android store to scan your package and receive information tutorials on Quaker® Real Medleys® Yogurt Cups.