Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Velocity Island Park Birthday Party

Hi friends!  Happy summer!  Summer is very busy for us!  Along with all the regular summer hustle and bustle, we also have 3 birthdays in our family of 5!  One of the things I've started doing to save my sanity is having the birthday parties outside our home.

I recently had the pleasure of collaborating with Velocity Island Park for my son's birthday party and it was a blast!  We hadn't heard of Velocity Island Park before this and I'm so glad we got a chance to check it out.  Now, I can share with you!  (All photos by Fridge Photos.  Thank you Fred and Damian, you're a dream to work with!)




Velocity Island Park located in Woodland is a different kind of water park.  It doesn't have your usual slides or lazy river.  The have different areas where you can do different activities.  There is a cable park where you can wake board.  There is also a restaurant, volleyball courts, beach oasis, cabanas, and more.  We focused on the Aqua Park for our party.



The Aqua Park has a sturdy inflatable play structure over water.  There are slides, swings, jumping pillows, spinning wheels, balance beams and more.  Kids and adults are provided life jackets before getting onto the structure.  Life guards are there for safety, interacting with the kids, and to help them on the structure.



The birthday party includes two 50 minute sessions on the aqua park with a 10 minute break in between.  During that time, we opted to have a light snack for the kids and some water.  We ordered a fruit plate from their Black Pearl restaurant.  It was a great refreshing snack for the kids and they gobbled it up.  The break is also a great time to reapply some sunscreen.


All of the kids had a BLAST on equipment!  A few parents went out to try it and they had a great time too!  It was so fun to see them all out there swinging, playing tag, climbing, going on monkey bars, and having a great time.  Many of the kids said that they wanted to have their birthdays at Velocity Island too.  Even the kids who were apprehensive at first found their own niche within the structure.

After our two sessions on the aqua park, we had lunch in the shaded private cabana.  Three pizzas and three pitchers of drinks were included in the party package.  We opted to order two more pizzas.  The pizza was a big hit!  It is brick oven pizza.  We opted to get pepperoni, cheese, and Hawaiian pizza.  The kids loved the pizza especially after working up an appetite on the equipment.  The park provided the plates, napkins, cups, and even a Sharpie to write names on the cups which was nice so I didn't have to worry about it.




Velocity Island Park offered to store a cake for us but my son wanted cookies instead so we kept them out at the our private cabana.  The party host brought us waters and our sodas during lunch.  It was nice not to have to walk back and forth to the restaurant to get things.  It was also really nice that I didn't have to clean my house before or after a party since we had it at the park.




Overall, we had an AMAZING experience at Velocity Island Park and my kids cannot wait to go back!  We thought Woodland would be far away but it only took us 30 minutes to get there from our house.  I also thought that party guests would not want to drive out there but it was not an issue for us at all.  It's well worth the short drive!  If you are looking for a fun and active party for a summer birthday, I would highly recommend Velocity Island Park!  The kids are still talking about it!



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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Date Your Spouse: Old Sac

Hi friends!  Summer is in full swing and let me tell you, date night is more important than ever right now!  Having my kids home full time is draining on me as a mom even though I enjoy it immensely.  It can also be trying on a marriage since when you're drained, it's hard to give more to your spouse.  This is why we are still putting a big emphasis on dates throughout the summer.

*** This post is in collaboration with Rio City Cafe and River City Rickshaw.  All opinions are 100% honest and my own.***

On the patio at Rio City Cafe
For our next date, we went to Old Sacramento to spend an afternoon.  It's funny because Old Sac is somewhere I'd go in high school or when someone is visiting town but I never think to go there anymore.  Going back now, I have a really different appreciation for Old Sac.  I love looking out at the river!  And I adore seeing the Tower Bridge!  My matured and deepened love of Sacramento really makes me see Old Sac in a new light.  If you haven't been since you were younger, I would suggest going again.

First up, we had lunch at Rio City Cafe which sits right on the river.  They have a huge beautiful patio  on a dock over the Sacramento River.  The building is designed to look like a steamship warehouse to blend in to the surroundings.  They offer farm to fork California cuisine with global influences.  A full bar and extensive wine menu are also offered at Rio City Cafe.

Obviously, if you go, you HAVE to get their famous Sourdough Cheese Loaf.  It's a round of sourdough bread that has been scored and stuffed with cheese then baked.  Then served on top of olive oil, balsamic, and red pepper flakes.  It's ooey gooey indulgent goodness!  I ordered a delicious steak salad for my lunch entree which had strawberries, pomegranate, bleu cheese and lots of other yummy toppings.  I really liked the savory sweet taste!  My hubby ordered the Garlic Chicken Pasta and commented about how huge the portion is!  Overall, it's a fabulous lunch!



Next, we took a River City Rickshaw tour.  I've seen these rickshaws before but I've never been in one.  Honestly, I thought it would be a lot like riding in a car.  It was not.  It was SO fun!  Something about the open air and the slower speed made it completely different.  People smile and wave when they see you.  It was the BEST time!  We went from Old Sac to the Capitol building and back.  Our driver Jeff was AMAZING!  He was so easy to chat with and played really fun music.

The ride was great for taking photos and videos too since you are going at bicycle speeds and not car speeds.  It gives you such a different view of the city.  You can relax and take in the sites.  I wish I could take a rickshaw literally everywhere.  You can book tours for a date, your whole family, or special occasions.  It's so fun!  They are also out at events such as Concerts in the Park.




While in Old Sac, we had to do some of the usual things that everyone does there.  They have tons of cute shops.  A crowd favorite is Evangeline's which is a novelty shop with costumes.  They have tons of fun gift type items and it's always fun to take a look around.


Old Sac is also a great place to get desserts!  They have lots of candy shops, ice cream, and even mini donuts that you can see made fresh.  We went on a hot day so I wanted a frozen treat.  I decided to seek out some Dole Whip because obviously.  We found a place called Boxcar Eats that had Dole Whip in a self serve dispenser.  Not only did they have pineapple, they also had mango Dole Whip.  We got pineapple and mango swirl because why commit to one flavor?  It was delicious!




Overall, I think Old Sac is commonly overlooked by Sacramento locals as a tourist location.  It has so much more to offer than just the Jazz Festival and Christmas show.  We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon in Old Sac and will be back soon for more dates and with our kids!  Have you been to Old Sac?  What is your favorite thing to do there?




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Friday, June 15, 2018

Date Your Spouse: Live Theatre Featuring Intrepid Theatre Labs and Music Circus

Hi friends!  Hope you're all having a great summer!  I find the in summer it's harder to squeeze in date nights but they are even more important since having the kids on break all day every day can be tiring.  Today, we are going to talk about going to see plays at the theatre.

I know that I said we are trying to get away from the whole dinner and a movie rut but I think the theatre is actually a really different experience that a movie.  There's something about a live show.  The energy is infectious.  It's similar to the difference of watching a band perform on TV or in person.  

I was given press passes to see these shows, as always all opinions are my own.

Right now, Sacramento theatre is in full swing!  There are options all over Sacramento to see live theatre.  From huge Broadway productions to sweet little kids in theatre groups putting on amazing shows.  There's literally something for every single price point so do not let price keep you away from the theatre!



For our date night, my hubby and I got to see the first show put on by Intrepid Theatre Lab (ITL) in Sacramento.  ITL's mission is to bring classic and contemporary awareness and appreciate to people of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.  They want to create works that is accessible and relevant to modern audiences.

We got to see Baltimore by Kristen Greenidge at The Guild Theatre in Oak Park.  Here is the description: "When a racially-charged incident divides her first-year students, reluctant resident advisor Shelby finds herself in the middle of a conversation she does not want to have. As pressure to address the controversy mounts from residents, the new dean, and even her best friend, Shelby must decide if she will enter the fray or watch her community come apart at the seams. Sharp, funny, and searing, Baltimore explores the complexities of racism from the perspective of eight culturally diverse college students."

The play was thought provoking and emotional.  I really enjoyed hearing the perspectives of the different college students about the same issue.  It was definitely written with a young, hip audience in mind while being relevant to any person.  It was deep and thought provoking.  My husband and I really enjoyed it.

Photo by Yarcenia Garcia

This was also our first time at The Guild Theatre and it was awesome!  It's a smaller theatre and there's not a bad seat in the house.  The seats were comfortable.  I hope to see a show there again soon!

 

If more classical theatre is more your style, I also got to check out Music Circus for the first show of this season which is Singin' in the Rain.  It was a magical night of musical theatre!  The Wells Fargo Pavilion is circular so the stage is round.  The actors come up and down the aisles to get to the stage giving it a very immersive feel.  If you love musicals, you have to check out Music Circus.  It is at a higher price point so this might be more of a splurge date.  



No matter what your style, I encourage you to go out and check out Sacramento's amazing theatre scene!  I've seen tickets for as low as $8 so if price is stopping you from seeing theatre, check out your community theatre companies!  It doesn't always have to be a huge show (says me who wants to go to Hamilton every year.)  There's tons of amazing performing arts in Sacramento and the surrounding cities!  

Do you have ideas for more dates?  Please let me know in the comments!  



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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

3 Raw Honey Recipes to Fight Allergies With Sola Bee Farms

This year the seasonal allergies seem to be especially bad.  My friends and I have been complaining about it for weeks.  I have tried so many different things to help allergies.  One of the things that has been working for me is adding raw local honey to my diet, my favorite is Sola Bee Farms.  Today, I'm sharing 3 each recipes to help add more raw honey to your diet.

*** This post is a collaboration with Sola Bee Farm.  They provided product that I love and I'm providing the recipes and photos.***

I've written a post about Sola Bee Farm before.  I absolutely love their products, their commitment to sustainability and helping bees, and of course the amazing people!  The taste of the honey is amazing and it's a great bonus that it helps your allergies!  Just keep in mind that it is better to keep the raw honey in its raw state when you are trying to relieve your allergy symptoms.  If I don't feel like making recipes, I will just eat a spoonful of their honey to help with my allergies.  However, making some fun recipes is a great way to eat more honey too!


Acai Smoothie Bowl

An acai smoothie bowl is a fun and delicious breakfast or snack.  My kids love this and it's nice to get all that extra fruit into them.  Plus with the weather getting so warm, this is a nice way to cool off.  I can find frozen acai packets in my local grocery stores.  The most inexpensive place I've found is Trader Joe's.  Another weird tip, I have a freezer bag of frozen bananas.  When bananas start to get old and I don't think they'll be used, I will break them in half and freeze them for recipes.


Ingredients:

1 packet frozen acai puree
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 a frozen banana
A splash of milk of your choice (I use unsweetened Almond) or water or juice
1 TBSP of Sola Bee Farms Honey
Toppings of your choice (fruit, nuts, granola, chia seeds, etc...)

Directions:

1. Break up your acai packet and place in food processor with frozen strawberries and banana.  If you have a really nice blender, you can use that.  If you have a cheap blender like me, use your food processor.  It works great for this!
2. Add enough liquid so you can mix all the ingredients together.  Blend/pulse until your desire consistency.  We like ours thick.
3. Pour into bowl and top with toppings of your choice.


Yogurt Parfait

A yogurt parfait is such a classic treat!  Using Greek Yogurt amps up the protein.  This is the perfect way to use up fruit before it goes bad because your kids can't see if your blueberries are starting to wrinkle or that you cut brown spots off the banana.  


Ingredients:
1 container PLAIN Greek Yogurt
1 TBSP Sola Bee Farm Honey
1/2 cup of fruit of your choice 

Directions:
1. Find a pretty cup or jar and layer yogurt, honey, and fruit.
Optional: for crunch, top with nuts or granola 


Asian Chicken Salad 

This is my take on LaBou's Chinese Chicken Salad.  You can leave off the chicken to make this vegetarian or add tofu or chickpeas.  You can also leave off the nuts to make this nut free.  I like to make a big batch, keeping the salad, chicken, nuts, and dressing in separate containers until I'm ready to serve.  Then I just put a bit of each on a plate and I'm ready for lunch.  


Ingredients:

Dressing:
1 1/2 TBSP Sola Bee Farms Honey
1/4 cup of Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar 
2 TBSP Olive Oil

Directions: Combine all ingredients and stir or shake.

Salad:
Lettuce Mix of Your Choice
2 stalks of Celery, cut into bite sized pieces
Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
Honey Roasted Peanuts 

Directions: In a bowl or plate, add salad, chicken, celery and top with peanuts.  Dress to your liking and enjoy!  


I hope you enjoy these recipes using raw honey!  Be sure to check out my friends at Sola Bee Farms!    And I REALLY hope that if you need relief from seasonal allergies that these help you!  What's your favorite way to use raw honey?  


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Date Your Spouse: California State Escape

Hello!  Are you ready for another Date Your Spouse post?  I sure hope so because that's what I'm writing today.  (Really awkward if you weren't ready.)  Today, for our most intellectually challenging date yet we tried out California State Escape which is escape room games.

*** We were given comp tickets in exchange for an honest review.  Opinions are always 100% mine and 100% honest.***


If you haven't heard of escape rooms, they are like a live action puzzle game that you solve.  You go to their location and they have rooms set up with themes and storylines.  You usually have 60 minutes to try to solve all the puzzles and "escape" the room.  (In the state of California, due to fire safety laws, they cannot actually lock you in so usually the door you enter through is open.  If you get overwhelmed or need a water or potty break, you can just walk right out.)  There are a huge variety of different rooms.  There are rooms that are family friendly where people bring their kids or rooms that are super scary.



California State Escape (CSE) is one of the more immersive experiences I've had.  I've been to escape rooms that were super simply decorated like an office.  California State Escape is more like walking into a movie set.  Everything is highly detail oriented and you definitely feel like you are in the scenario.  Also, they do not pair you with strangers at CSE.  You do the room with only the people who you came with.  This is nice because it can be really awkward to work with people you don't know.  You also have a host who will give you clues if you want.  The host watches and listens to you from another room to see where you are in the puzzle.

We decided to try their puzzle called Space Sector which is considered to be one of the less difficult puzzles.  They usually suggest that you have at least 5 people for this room so it's perfect for a group date.  We were only able to find one friend to go with us on this day and we did fine.


What makes an escape room a really great date is that it's very interactive!  You have to communicate well and work together to solve the puzzles.  In fact, sometimes you physically have to have multiple people on a puzzle to get it to work.  It's also really interesting to see how your date responds in certain situations.  Who is adventurous enough to climb into crawl spaces?  Who gets frustrated and takes all the puzzle pieces from people?  (Spoiler alert, the last one is me.)

We had a GREAT time at California State Escape!  We were able to escape our room with about 6.5 minutes to spare.  We were challenged the whole time but never to the point of frustration.  There were definitely moments when I thought we wouldn't make it out on time which I think it part of the fun.  Our host Brandon was attentive and gave good clues without ever giving away too much.  An escape room is a great experience to have before dinner so you have something fresh to talk about over your meal.


Overall, I can't wait to go back to California State Escape!  The whole experience from booking to checking in to leaving with photos was great!  Everyone is really friendly.  The detail laden rooms, immersive experience, and complex puzzles justify the cost.  This would also be great for work places to have team building events.  They are currently working on a new room which I've heard will be WIZARDLY and I am super excited for that one to open!

Have you tried an escape room?  What are your thoughts?  Also, do you have ideas for a date?  Please leave them in a comment below!

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