Momma Told Me: August 2015

Blog Archive

#BlogPOP!Events Wrap Up + $100 Amazon GC #Giveaway 9/13

***The following content is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Amazon. Any links are NOT affiliate links.
Syma S109G Apache RC Gyro Helicopter
Momma Told Me: Why don't you pick out something nice for yourself?

I've been spending a lot of time on Amazon lately.

I've been testing products and participating in study/focus groups since my college days. Though the years I've earned elite status with many organizations and social marketing venues, simply because I was there when they began. As a result, I seem to have a constant supply of points and rewards I chose to redeem in the form of Amazon gift cards. Sure, I COULD order household needs on Amazon Pantry, and sometimes I do put them to practical use but, for the most part, I rely on them to fund my various blogging projects (Need a glass frog for a photo shoot? Amazon has it! And it's here in 2 days!) and to try new things I'd never otherwise consider investing in.
Syma S109G Apache RC Gyro Helicopter
We've had our fair share of RC 'toys' in our home, but the majority of them are child oriented and fairly cartoony. For a while I've been wanting to play with a remote control helicopter that responds similar to an actual helicopter (starting with the correct number of blades would be great.) So I did a lot of reading around and the brand Syma kept coming up. I'll admit, I passed them up time and time again because their average model was priced under $30, and that's quite low for an RC aircraft.

Well, as luck would have it, I invested in a light up helipad (yes, I know, I'm a nerd) and an opportunity came to me to play with the Syma Apache S109G. The Apache is beautifully detailed and very lightweight, to the point  was certain I'd wreck it in 5 minutes flat. I seldom see realistic aircraft models under $75, so, again, I was skeptical about performance.
 Well, I'll save you the nitty gritty- This little indoor RC copter is incredibly fun. Even Jay, who has poor hand coordination and easily gets frustrated, found himself resetting the copter to it's start to try, try again. I, on the other hand, was able to get several minutes of flight out of it before I downshifted too fast and cut the engine (whoops!) Let's just say this little Apache took plenty of a beating and kept on lifting back off!

The gyro feature makes it exceptionally responsive and perfect for beginners, while offering a full range of 360 flight movement for the advanced. I don't think we own a flying RC unit that picks up as fast, or responds as authentically to common aviation physics. I don't rave often, but this was a gem of an Amazon find that is well worth the money. And, if you're like me, remember, it's Amazon, so you're covered if anything arrives wonky or it just isn't a great fit.
Syma S109G Apache RC Gyro Helicopter
The holidays are just around the corner- You better believe I've begun my shopping on Amazon! And, since I think the best prize is one you can pick yourself, our final Blog POP! School Rules giveaway will be for a $100 Amazon gift code! But this giveaway will be run a little different- I'll be handing out an entry for every Blog POP! School rules giveaway you enter- so make sure you keep hopping along. And no cheating, I will double check every entry from the winner! Good luck, and happy entering!

What Daughter Says: As we head towards the holidays it's easy to get caught up in the stress and shopping lists. Don't forget to treat-yo'self too!

Vegan-Dairy Free Cookies N' Cream Popsicle Recipe + #BlogPOPEvents Giveaway 9/12

Please Note: Some OREO products may be exposed to milk cross-contamination in the production process. 100 Calorie OREO Thin Crisps and other varieties are listed on PETA's approved 'accidentally vegan' list. While OREOs are commonly considered appropriate for Vegans, your personal diet and beliefs may require closer scrutiny when choosing which OREO product to include in your recipes. The following content is not sponsored. Enjoy!
Vegan Cookies N' Cream Popsicles- Some OREO produts may come into contact with milk during the production process. Consult PETA's Accidentaly Vegan guide for approved Vegan varieties such as 100 Calorie OREO Thin Crisps

Momma Told Me: The absence of something doesn't necessarily make it plain or boring.

As you know, this year, I've been exploring a variety of alternate food styles and playing with various recipes that meet restrictive diets. Not because I, personally, am ready to scratch these things off my everyday diet, but because I find the creativity involved with recipe development and unique substitutions makes for a more pure eating experience overall. Have you ever noticed the fewer ingredients in a recipe the more each individual ingredient and flavor stands out? When we're forced to scrutinize what goes into our food we naturally develop a stronger appreciation for the profiles and flavors being created.
Vegan and Paleo have been high on my list of experimentation this year- while, for me, Paleo has proved the toughest transition, Vegan can feel  much like 'normal' eating. Naturally, the bigger concern with observing Vegan diets is the respect to those who call themselves Vegan. My very first recipe involved honey, and I quickly learned to substitute honey with maple or agave- as bees are living creatures involved in the creation of honey, and it is not deemed a Vegan product. While we could go deeper into the culture and beliefs behind the Vegan lifestyle I'd much rather open your eyes through food.
Maybe you have or haven't heard a certain sandwich cookie brand is 'Vegan.' Well, truth be told, only a few OREO varieties make the official PETA accepted 'Accidentally Vegan' list. While all Vegans I know offline consume OREOS regularly the maker of OREOs lists the majority of their products not suitable for strict Vegan consumption due to the potential of cross contamination with milk. Consider this similar to a person with a nut allergy eating fruit leather produced on a manufacturer's line that has handled peanuts. While, in theory, OREOS are designed to be Vegan, chocolate dipped varieties and such do contain milk ingredients that may come in contact with other OREO products.
For our purposes, if you'd like to prepare the following recipe as strictly Vegan (no chance of milk contaminants) rely on NABISCO 100 Calorie OREO Crisps for your cookie portion. For all others, and a wide variety of modern vegans, original OREOs will do the trick. Don't assume, just because a sandwich cookie looks like an OREO that is is 'Vegan,' the ingredients included in OREOs are specifically approved as dairy free, while off brands are not.
Vegan Cookies N' Cream Popsicles- Some OREO produts may come into contact with milk during the production process. Consult PETA's Accidentaly Vegan guide for approved Vegan varieties such as 100 Calorie OREO Thin Crisps
To make these very simple Vegan Cookies N' Cream popcicles you will first need to invest in your own set of Popsicle molds. I recommend the silicone tube kind- though they can be hard to handle, when freezing, without a stand. Consider using a large mug or tumbler to serve as your carrier in the transition from liquid to solid. I keep out Popsicle molds inside the freezer door for quick access and stability. Naturally, if you plan on using glassware in the freezer remember sudden temperature changes can cause shattering- only ever use glass approved for contact with extreme cold.

Vegan Cookies N' Cream Popsicles- Some OREO produts may come into contact with milk during the production process. Consult PETA's Accidentaly Vegan guide for approved Vegan varieties such as 100 Calorie OREO Thin Crisps
Vegan Cookies N' Cream Popsicles
***click here for printable Vegan Cookies N' Cream Popsicles recipe


5 Packages PETA Approved 100 Calorie OREO Thin Crisps
12 Original OREO Cookies (May come in contact with milk in processing)

2 Cups Pure, Canned Coconut Milk OR Refrigerated Coconut Milk (Less Creamy, Less Calories)

2 TBS Pure Vanilla Extract


6 Silicone Popsicle Molds

1 Popsicle Stand or 2 Large Mugs (to stand and freeze in)

Long Tea Spoon, or Wooden Skewer

Plastic Baggie


1. If you are using whole, canned, coconut milk skim the top layer and stir. Combine your coconut milk with vanilla extract and stir.

2. Crush your OREO cookies of choice in a sealed baggie. Leave large chunks, and some smaller, finer chunks. Add a pinch of crushed OREO to the bottom of your popsicle mold.

3. Fill your popsicle mold, alternating OREO crumbles and coconut milk 3 times until full. Using a long tea spoon or skewer give the mixture a quick swirl to combine. NOTE: Canned, whole, coconut milk will provide the thickest, creamiest texture and require mixing. Thinner refrigerated coconut milk might shift a little in the freezing process.

4. Freeze popsicles for 3-4 hours, or until solid. Remove from freezer and place on counter for 2-3 minutes at room temperature before enjoying.
Vegan Cookies N' Cream Popsicles- Some OREO produts may come into contact with milk during the production process. Consult PETA's Accidentaly Vegan guide for approved Vegan varieties such as 100 Calorie OREO Thin Crisps
I particularly love this recipe because I can use 1 package of 100 Calorie OREO Crisps and Coconut Milk (refrigerated, not whole) and average about 140 calories a serving. That's not bad for an indulgent snack or dessert! Here in SoCal it will remain 'popsicle weather' for a few more months- I'm still running the air conditioning right now. To help you cool off, or simply explore more Vegan dessert options, I've put together a fun prize pack featuring your own popsicle starter kit and a few recipe books I particularly love. For grins and giggles let's have you check out PETA's Accidentaly Vegan list and share something you discovered was unexpectedly Vegan!

What Daughter Says: The addition of coconut milk in this recipe lends itself to an even creamier taste experience than traditional milk, in my opinion.

One Momma Told Me reader will win a Popsicle starter kit including Nature's Kitchen Silicone Pop Molds (6 count), Sunsella Popsicle Mold Stand, POPS! Icy Treats For Everyone by Krystina Castella (hardcover), and Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky (hardcover). Once you've entered, be sure to continue hopping along to all of the other amazing Blog POP! School Rules giveaways!

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

Today's Genius of Play discussion was sponsored in part by 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!

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.


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!

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!