Momma Told Me

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bucket List Tuesday: #71 Hot Air Balloon Flight

Bucket List Tuesday at Momma Told Me
Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride
Momma Told Me: Life's too short, not to fly!

I'd like to think I was born with a healthy respect for heights, but there is something intoxicating about the dream of being able to fly. And, barring parachuting from a plane (which I'm sure is quite a rush, but is also over in 25 seconds) or paragliding, I suspect a Hot Air Balloon Ride allows for maximum exposure to the experience of sailing among clouds unobstructed. Then there's my natural gravitation towards things that are multicolored; add one rainbow hued 250lb piece of canvas (known as the envelope), and I'm in heaven. Sure, sure, it 'could' be one of those scenarios where I'm holding onto someone terrified during liftoff, but I'm certain a Hot Air Balloon Flight is one experience I have to check off my Bucket List.
Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride
Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride
How does one book themselves a ride on one of these 70' tall monstrosities? You don't just have a network of friends who own them, right? Believe it or not, the majority of the hot air balloons owned and operated are actually by private parties who travel the country attending Hot Air Balloon Festivals and renting out time and rides to cover their journey. You may recall my previous two years of coverage on our local Santa Paula Balloon and Wine Festival. At that event over 40 balloons were fired up and displayed for the general public to photograph and see up close. The event stretched through two giant fields and was surrounded by craft and food vendors as the balloons lit up just before dusk and continued into twilight. Some lucky, and patient, attendees had the option of standing in the baskets while the operator fired up the canvas. Sabrina (11) spend days after in awe, and remarking how 'exciting' the roaring fuel flame was just feet from her head.
Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride
Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride
Believe it or not you can book a Hot Air Balloon ride pretty much anywhere in the country- naturally, you or the owner may have to travel to a suitable lift location (depending on your locale) and this can raise the costs. For those living in Southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, or Arizona there are several great established organizations that can book you an hour long flight for about $139 a person. It's certainly not your average trip to the theme park, but the price is more than reasonable for a once in a lifetime, intimate, experience with a loved one for a birthday or celebration.
Bucket List: Hot Air Balloon Ride
There are actually several packages typically offered for hot air balloon flight experiences. With the emergence of several online 'Experience Gift' companies, you can often be part of a larger 'bulk' sale of discounted flights and get a great deal. If timing is not important off season flights can also be quite affordable and often include a champagne toast and pre-flight meal! Ideally, someday, I'll be able to take a short drive up to Napa Valley and enjoy a few days wine tasting followed by a romantic balloon flight. I know, I know, I'm lucky to have such a treasure trove of experiences in my backyard.

Would you ever consider, or have you taken, a hot air balloon flight?


What Daughter Says: There are many ways to soar through the clouds, but few as perfect to take it all in.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Become Part Of A Living Kaleidoscope On The Color Run's 2014 Tour!

The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour
Momma Told Me: Live life in full color.

I love color. I can think of few things that can make me quite literally giddy as fast as something splashed with beautiful, vivid, bright colors. Whether it's cupcake frosting, a fluffy new comforter, a pair of neon short shorts, or a rainbow stacked desk organizer- it's hard not to smile when you're surrounded with such unexpected pops of pure color. So, naturally, I wanted no, needed, to be a part of the 'fun run' revolution of 'color running' that has swept the population worldwide. The practice of non-competitive 5k treks which douse the participants in colored corn starch and culminate in a color orgy (don't worry, the intermingling of colors and people is entirely family friendly), has become THE thing for the non athletic aspiring such as myself. Of course, seasoned runners participate too, in fact, even infants in strollers sport temporary tattoos and tutus as they parade through the event!
The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour
But let's be real- there are a LOT of these types of events springing up. It seems every week I see one of my friends of family has shared a flyer for an upcoming neon night run, color walk, dance-a-thon, or Spartan race. The world of fun runs is big, my friends; and even within the color-racing genre, you have many choices. My answer? Do them all if you can- however, if you cannot, there is one race I have whole-heatedly endorsed without any sponsorship, across several blog posts in the past. As someone who has many local friends who have attended as many as 4 different color race events, I know that The Color Run is the only place for 100% professional and color jam-packed fun. Don't be fooled by imitators my friends, go to an official The Color Run event, they're the originals, and each year they find a way to keep making it better.
The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour
New for 2014, The Color Run's one year only Kaleidoscope Tour there will be more color than ever before with a 'living kaleidoscope' participants can actually walk through (I am dying to see this!) and more event stations throughout the race route. Every registered runner will also be able to score an awesome swag bag of merchandise including a Color Block Headband, Temporary Tattoos, T-Shirt, and brand new Shoulder Bag! I am very excited about the new swag for all registered runners, as the shoulder bag design is absolutely gorgeous- I only wish that The Color Run would add an extra charge for each runner to elect to buy an additional color packet. Last year we decided to begin dousing before the event began, and would have loved to have an additional packet for the after-party too.
The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour
You see all of the photos in your friend's Facebook feed and wonder what The Color Run is really about, right? Maybe you're on the fence, or you've heard about some 'muddy' color experiences. In my opinion, this event is as colorful as you make it. Find a 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour date in a city near you, register on the VIP list (and pay as low as $25 per person!), and begin planning your big day. Go crazy plan hair styles, makeup, outfits, face paint- it's all about you, whether you're running solo or in a giant team of friends and family. You will see everything at The Color Run, so don't feel afraid to let your creative side flow! Do keep in mind any clothing or accessories may be tinted of stained by the food-grade-safe dye infused with the corn starch color- and sweating or water may make colors bleed or become mucky (it happens.) Whether you come out looking like a promo-photo, or a muddy mess, the event is a blast, and the fun is only limited by your mentality!
The Color Run 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour
The Color Run is coming to my local city October 18, 2014- and I am crazy anxious. You will undoubtedly hear about my outfit planning and torturous countdown over the next 6 months! But a The Color Run event could be coming to your town as soon as within the next few weeks, so be sure to check the current event listings to check for the next local race and register with code COLOR5OFF to save $5 on your event registration. If you don't see your local big city listed yet, get on the email VIP list to be notified as soon as the dates are announced. I'll see you all on the colored pavement!

What Daughter Says: Stay colorful, my friends.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog POP! Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium Review + Premium Bio Bubble Giveaway~ 4/25

Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
 Hop along to all of the great Blog POP! Spring Fling giveaway on the official LINKY here!
Momma Told Me: Go swim with the fish.


Are you ready to see how our Bio Bubble Aquarium turned out?

First, let's catch up the newcomers- What exactly is a Bio Bubble? Well, it's a lot of things really. It's an aviary, a hamster penthouse, a Chameleon Cantina, a turtle haven, a hermit habitat- yes, it truly can be any and all of those things. The only thing limiting your Bio Bubble is your imagination. If you have a small range pet, it can likely make itself at home inside one of the world's most unique consumer pet habitats, the Bio Bubble. This extraordinary animal habitat is ever expanding and features an array of accessories to suit your pet's needs. Currently there are 4 different models, the Terra, Wonder Bubble, and Aquarium- through the fourth, the Bio Bubble Premium can transition easily into any of the other three with a few accessories and a little imagination!
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
We decided to dip our toes in the Bio Bubble Aquarium to start. It actually can transition into a semi-aquatic, or even dry habitat, like the other units, but comes with a filter and pump accessory As well as the much needed Dome Gasket to withstand water pressure and keep liquids in place when expanding for cleaning. The Aquarium does come with a bottom plug, should you decide to relocate your fish and try your hand at insects, lizards, or whatnot. With the addition of a simple mesh, clear, or cage riser you can easily turn a Bio Bubble Aquarium into a rodent habitat, or even a butterfly sanctuary.
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium Expanding Sleeve
Of course one of the things I love most about the Aquarium conversion is the unique 360 degree 'dome' style tank that looks as if an aquarium is literally sprouting form your table. But how do you get all that water in there- and how do you clean it? It's really quite simple, and ingenious! With the patented expandable sleeve, that tucks away in the base, you can release expand the unit to create an easily accessible tank for cleaning and maneuvering. There are two 'pinching' locks on either side of the base which will pop the sleeve up when depressed. Next, carefully unsnap the four locking arms, and lift up the Dome.
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
Your tank vie is now similar to the above! Of course there are a few things to keep in mind when working in and around the expanded aquarium. The accordion style walls are supported by plastic hinges that do tend to feel the weight of the lid when the tank is full. If you plan to keep the tank at it's maximum water capacity enlist a second set of hands when expanding and removing the dome, or you might have some spill over. Also, keep in mind that if you put additional decorations, or even your hand, in the tank while it is full this will displace water. Lastly, be mindful of small tank inhabitants when collapsing the tank back to 'Dome' mode. Small fish and creatures might be hanging out in the folds of the sleeve, or near the tuck-away gap at the bottom. Always count heads before closing! See our complete Bio Bubble Aquarium set-up post here.
Common Crab Pet For Freshwater Aquarium
The real Mr Krabs
Again, when setting up any tank, it's best to organize all of your decorations ahead of time, before bringing fish home or filling with water. Keep in mind the dome had a convex top that gets narrow around the sides, in height. Close the dome before adding water to ensure all tank decorations will clear. You should also prepare your tank's water the day before picking up it's residents. Not only does water need to be treated (salt or fresh) for nitrates and chlorine, but you will need room temperature water and gradual acclimation before introducing the inhabitants to their new home. The Bio Bubble Aquarium holds 3 gallons of water, and should house no more than 3-4 (2" full grown) fish or inhabitants. Consider the community as whole when shopping for fish and be sure to talk to an expert about fish size and compatibility. (And, remember only one gender, unless you want baby fish!)
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
I purchased our aquarium decorations on Amazon, as they were cheaper than the big brand pet store. We themed our tank, much like Gary' (the Bet fish.) Our Spongebob theme really came together with the commercial merchandise, but we found there was no 'rock' to represent Patrick's home. I happened to find a 'coconut' home in the hermit crab section of our local pet store that covered up the filter nicely, while still allowing air flow and filtration. We also adopted a 'Mr. Krabs' who enjoys climbing on everything, in particular to the top of Squidward's house- and one living Moss Ball (affectionately named 'Squishy'.) Having live plants in your aquarium helps the oxygen content to keep the tank cleaner as a whole. You may buy a Bio Bubble habitat, online, at Wayfair.


What Daughter Says: With the Bio Bubble Aquarium you'll be able to get close and personal with your aquatic pets, without getting wet!
Bio Bubble Pets Aquarium with Spongebob Theme
One Blog POP! fan will win a Bio Bubble Premium kit including LED caplight accessories, filters, and more!

Hop along to all of the great Blog POP! Spring Fling giveaway on the official LINKY here!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What I'm Streaming: Comedians In Cars, Getting Coffee, Seasons 1-3

Comedians In Cars, Getting Coffee- What I'm Streaming
Momma Told Me: Sometimes it's best to look where no one is pointing.


With Easter right around the corner, I'm reminded just how much misdirection we allow throughout our lives. The very nature of being a human is a flock like mentality that constantly wrestles with the instinct to break free and be our own individual. Even from a young age, we are led by the hand, tripping over our own feet, adults pointing at brightly colored eggs. Of course, in my family it was a pastime of my fathers to misdirect me nearly out of the yard, during an egg hunt, while stiffing a chuckle. Finding good TV is kind of like a childhood egg hunt (heck, they event have a term in the entertainment industry, 'Easter Egg'.) You can happily follow the flow of popular television and mainstream media to a certain degree, then you begin to feel the itch of discontent and boredom.
Comedians In Cars, Getting Coffee- What I'm Streaming
But how can you be bored with visual media in today's day and age? Easy- there's simply too much content to sift through on your own. How many hours of shaky cameras and bad acting must you endure before you find a quarter hour episode worth your time? So I am here to hold your hand and point you in the direction of a delightfully free, 13 minute on average, online talk show that seamlessly blends comedy, cars, and coffee. Yes, the online developed and based Comedians In Cars, Getting Coffee, directed and hosted by Jerry Seinfeld is an unexpected sleeper of online exclusive content.

Created with the sole intent of being streamed online, then later licensed to Crackle for streaming through media devices (such as Roku and XBOX,) this show is a little rough around the edges. While the video quality is superb for a web series, don't expect professional lighting and makeup on your 54" HDTV flat screen. It's real and gritty, and that's why we like it. While promos claim that Seinfeld has at last created a show about 'nothing,' there is a bit of good 'meat' and entertainment between the facts about the featured care of the week, arguing over coffee preferences, and artsy lead in shots.
Comedians In Cars, Getting Coffee- What I'm Streaming
This show is, however, literally about comedians in cars getting coffee. Each episode Seinfeld will rent a car he feels is tailored to the quirks of his comedic guest, drive them to a local coffee shop, and chat with them about anything and everything. The star list continues to grow, now in it's third season, beginning with Michael Richards, and most recently Louis C.K.. If you are a fan of comedians in general you will enjoy the down-to-Earth peek into their off-mic personalities and hearing these celebrities discuss everyday life with amusing results. Best of all, you don't have to watch any episodes in any order, and each is just 13 minutes, so you never feel ripped of if a particular episode didn't tickle you. And it's entirely free to stream online, right now, via Comedians In Cars, Getting Coffee, or on your media streamer's Crackle channel!

What Daughter Says:  When the barrage of mainstream media choices overwhelm you, try something unexpected- you just might like it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Orb Factory Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Project

Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Craft from Orb Factory
Momma Told Me: Tape isn't a decoration.


Spring Break is in full force for the K-6 here in Southern California, and the myriad of instant streaming children's shows will only go so far for even the most digital obsessed tweens. When I was a child Momma would have a full afternoon of activities scheduled during every school break. And, Monday through Friday, those were almost always scholastic. (No 'break' for me!) But, she was sure to scrounge up some fun and affordable craft projects for us to engage in on weekend and after lunch. We spent a lot of the time combing the local Goodwill for items we could re-purpose or re-imagine into something new and trendy.
Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Craft from Orb Factory
In high school I remember it was cool for kids to scrape the holographic inside of their agenda books off and 'reupholster' it with the shiny 'foil' side of gum wrappers. It was also hip to spend time between classes making 'Duck Tape Wallets,' long before there was an entire range of cool prints and colors made just for crafting. I'm talking about the ugly pipe colored silver tape here, folks! In any case, when I heard the Orb Factory had a new Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch project for Sabrina (11) to try I was envious and immediately up for the challenge.
Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Craft from Orb Factory
Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Craft from Orb Factory
Retailing for just $4.99, the Duct Tape Mini Clutch is targeted towards crafty girls aged 6+, but I feel girls 10 and under will need ample adult help. Sabrina tends to be a perfectionist and kept getting frustrated when the paper 'clutch' guide would curl and roll as she was trying to lay her strips of duct tape. The tape can also be near-impossible to tear, and equally hard to cut- so having an adult on stand-by is very helpful. Expect the entire project to take almost an hour, when reading the directions and completing the project step by step. Most of the craft is guided with the provided template, but you are also encouraged to make your own 'bow' out of duct tape, as we have done in the past with the duct tape beads project.
Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Craft from Orb Factory
Unlike many of the other Orb Factory projects, this one is a little limited in creativity. You are essentially creating the clutch shown on the packaging. There is one type of tape, pink zebra, and only enough to complete the exact template and accents. There is an included sheet of gemstone stickers that allow for some free artistic range, though Sabrina was a bit 'stuck' out by the time it came for decorating! I was proud of her for sticking (pun intended) through the project and doing it all on her own, and I got the impression she was equally proud as she showed off the clutch at the bowling alley later that night.
Stick N' Style Duct Tape Mini Clutch Craft from Orb Factory
With craft projects that come pre-packaged and with step-by-step instructions, as low as $5 each, you really can't go wrong. You don't even have to be craft inclined yourself to help a young tween in your life explore new skills and their creativity. The Stick N' Style kits are sold at Michael's craft stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, and offer an array of glitzy projects that are trendy and totally girly!

What Daughter Says: Prove Momma wrong and make something out of all that leftover hot pink duct tape- or grab this kit and learn how to make a clutch!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

School Break Blues? Throw An Unbirthday Party- Ideas Inside!

Throw and Unbirthday Party this Spring or Summer Break!
Momma Told Me: You never need an excuse for a party.

Growing up in Southern California there was always plenty to do on school breaks and vacations. We were never much further than an hour's drive from downtown Hollywood, the beach, or numerous theme parks. From the earliest available age to ride the rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain (which was earlier than most kids, as I was tall for my age), and 6 consecutive summers, my father bought season passes each Summer. Almost once a week we would make the 40 minute drive and spend the entire afternoon at the theme park, just him and I. And, every Summer, we would celebrate our own little tradition- we would tell the server at the Moose Lodge restaurant, inside the park, it was my birthday- my unbirthday. The staff would come out singing, I'd get a pair of straw glasses, and I'd enjoy a heaping scoop of ice cream.
Host an Unbirthday Party this Summer!
These fond memories of my father and I celebrating the absurd Alice In Wonderland reference are some of my brightest childhood recollections. As a kid, 'magical' is often the unexpected, and that includes doing things that are just plain silly and for no reason at all. Last Summer while I was watching Sabrina and her step-siblings I announced that we were going to throw an 'Un-Birthday' party. There was some confusion at first, followed by statements like "But it's nobody's birthday!" or "With just the five of us? A party with just us?" Of course I chuckled- even at 3, 9, and 11, these kids were already in the mindset that 'celebration' could only happen with an excuse!
Mickey Mouse Oreo Pops
 Creating an Unbirthday Party is actually a wonderful Spring/Summer Break project, and can be very affordable when you craft your treats and buy your decorations from major dollar stores. In fact, we turned our party into a week long event, every afternoon making one of the special sweets we'd feature on our party table. The kids loved that they were having a chance to help 'make' the party. You can even prepare for your party by crafting outside the kitchen- have children draw a 'Pin the Tail' game and cut construction paper tails. Or, make your own pinata out of old cardboard packaging and paper mache. (You can also buy a cheap pinata for less than $10 at most value stores.)
Sushi Krispies for a fun party snack kids will lvoe to make!
Penguin Olives made with carrots, cream cheese, and olives!
Even though there were only a handful of us actually participating in this party I was sure to stock up on all the essentials- hats, streamers (which were a big hit in 'decorating' the house), balloons, and more. When you get kids involved in the preparation, because it is for a 'party' they are naturally motivated to help, and even learn responsibility skills. A party is work, and it's a great lesson the next time a birthday rolls around. You can also work on money skills and give each child a small budget at the dollar store and have them create a list of items needed. Can they use compromises to get what they want AND what they need?
Shark Punch made with gummy sharks in ice cube molds.
Of course throwing an Unbirthday Party is also a delightful way to play around with those Pinterest ideas you've been dieing to try. You know, the board full of things that 'look cool' but you're not sure you can really execute them. With such an intimate roster of guests, there's no pressure- if those Olive Penguins don't come out photo perfect the hungry kids won't know the difference! When I planned this party it was not intended for a blog post- notice how the photos have heavy direct light? I was too busy partying to stage photos!
Watermelon Cake made with boxed cake mix, food coloring, and baked in mini chocolate chip 'seeds'.
Of course every party deserves a cake- and this is the perfect time to use boxed cake mix to create something new or fun. Try making a 'tie dye' cake by separating the batter and coloring it. Make cupcakes each 'guest' can frost then put together for a cupcake cake. Allow your young party-planners to put those gold sprinkles next to the coconut and fruit chews as decoration. Go wild and have fun. Yes, you can even have a 'cake fight' in the backyard- it's an Unbirthday Party, ANYTHING goes!
Faux Ball Pit for Unbirthday Party Fun!
Our Unbirthday Party was a smashing success and lasted an entire afternoon- From face painting with dollar store face crayons to temporary tattoos, pin the flag on the ship, tag, goodie bags, and more. Our budget was $40 and it was well worth the entire week of activities and cherished photo memories. One of the biggest hits? I let the older kids blow up latex balloons with supervision as I set up the party table. We threw them all on the floor so the kids could kid through them, toss them in the air (volleyball style), or roll in the faux balloon pit. If you've never had an Unbirthday Party- isn't it about time?

What Daughter Said: This school break, consider throwing an Unbirthday Party, and get the kids involved!