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Thank You!

Thank You For Your Sacrifices

This Memorial Day, instead of trying to describe the gratitude I feel toward every man and woman who has nobly served for a cause greater than themselves, with the knowledge that I can never adequately describe my thanks, today’s message is short and sweet:

THANK YOU!!!

 

 

As always, if you’re looking to book a special event in or around New Orleans, check out About to Bounce!

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The Annular Eclipse Was a Night To Remember

The Annular Eclipse Was Amazing!

I had a great time watching the eclipse last night for two reasons. Science, and family. I thoroughly enjoyed the eclipse for the pure beauty of the eclipse itself. But if I had been alone, and had no one to share it with, it would have just been another neat moment. I found it interesting that everyone was with someone else. Nobody was watching the eclipse alone. The city was full of people who had their special eclipse glasses ready to go. By the way I owe my dad a big thank you for the glasses. He had the foresight to buy glasses for everyone he knew. But I digress…

See, it’s not enough to experience something like that by yourself. It’s never as much fun to have a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience by yourself. What makes the experience truly special is being surrounded by people who matter most to you.

I was honored to be taken out for some frozen yogurt by my in-laws. They treated us to dessert, then we were all able to watch the eclipse with one another. We laughed and cried (only my baby), and oohed and aahed. But we did it together. It was a truly special night that I will remember for quite some time! I hope you had someone special to share it with as well.

 

As always, if you’re scheduling a special event in or around New Orleans, check out About to Bounce!

Homework-Sometimes It’s Just Easier To Do It Myself

I Know, I know. Helping With The Project Is Better Than Doing The Project For Them.

My kids have never really been big on asking for help with homework. They are usually self-sufficient. So, when they do ask for help, my wife and I sometimes go overboard in helping them. My son has a major history project that’s due this week. We could have easily allowed him to build himself a massive structure that looked nothing like what he was supposed to build. He probably would have gotten a decent grade on it too. But he asked for help.

Help in my family usually consists of one (or both) of the parents saying “move aside and let me do this for you.” In fact, there were many times this last weekend when my son was standing around watching us do his project for him. He actually said several times, “what can I do?” He may have even mumbled “Okay, I can get it from here.” But it was too late. My wife and I had already started building his project, and we could no longer allow him to call it his own. No, we insisted that we must finish the project so we could gloat that we were the ones who actually got the good grade on the project, not him.

You see, parents like to live vicariously through their children. Whether it’s in sports (I’m still holding out hope that my son who doesn’t play baseball will somehow become a professional baseball player like I always dreamed), academics, or some other aspect of their lives. We want to see our kids do well in every aspect of their lives. Sometimes we go overboard in helping them succeed.

I know the amount of work we did on his project last weekend was not right. However, I’m convinced that teachers assign these types of projects so the parents can have something to do over long holiday weekends. Sometimes, it’s just easier to do it yourself.

 

As always, if you’re scheduling a special event in the New Orleans area, check out About To Bounce!

 

Show Mom You Love Her With These Ideas

Mother's Day card

Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you were raised in a family anything like mine, Mother’s Day can be a real challenge. I’m not rich, and I’m not spoiled (nor are my parents), but I can honestly say that my parents have everything they want or need. My mom doesn’t like flowers, doesn’t like shopping, doesn’t like gift giving in general. Shopping for my mom can be a real challenge. This Mother’s Day, I’m going to strive to give mom exactly what she wants. Follow these simple rules to let mom know that you love her this Mother’s Day:

1) Tell her that you love her – If I do nothing else for my mom this Mother’s Day, I plan on telling her that I love her. Love is not a word that is used often in my family, so it’s good to remind her every once in a while that I really do care about her. If your mom is anything like mom, just knowing that she has children that care about her will make her day truly special!

2) Plant a garden – Although my mom doesn’t like flowers or gardening, I recognize that are many mother’s who do. Instead of buying your mom some flowers that are going to wilt away soon, help your mom plant a garden that will last all Summer this Mother’s Day. In fact, I have some friends that have an annual Mother’s Day tradition of planting a garden, and their mom loves it! This way, you’ll be able to spend quality time together doing something that she truly cares about. While your gardening, tell mom you love her!

3) Take mom shopping – Buying gifts in my family is extremely challenging. My parents literally go shopping with one another before Christmas and buy each others gifts with the other person present. Although I generally don’t like this approach, it’s definitely the best way to get mom what she really wants. Better yet, take her shopping, let her tell you what she’s interested in, and then go back to the store later to purchase the item. At least there’s some level of surprise on Mother’s Day

4) Go old-school and get crafty – Growing up, you had teachers that helped you make crafts for mom. Now that you’re older, you can do it yourself. Go to a local paint-your-own-pottery store and create a masterpiece that you can give to mom for Mother’s Day.

5) Tell her that you love her – I’m not sure I stressed this one enough, so I’ll go back to it. No matter what you decide to get mom for Mother’s Day, she just wants to know that she has children that love her and appreciate her for who she is. So, instead of trying to buy her the perfect gift (unless she’s the type of mother that needs a gift to feel loved) just spending time with her and letting her know that you care will make her day!

Whatever you decide to get mom will be perfect, and this Mother’s Day will be special if you just let her know that you love her and care about her.

 

If you’re planning a Mother’s Day party in or around New Orleans, check out About to Bounce for all of your party rental needs!

Take It From A Guy Who Doesn’t Like Documentaries…You Will Like Disney’s Chimpanzee

When I go to the movies, I want to be entertained by comedy and lots of car chases. That’s about it. I know it’s not deep, but that’s what interests me. If I’m going to spend an arm and a leg for two hours of my time, I want it to be well worth it. In fact, many years ago when I was dating my wife, I actually took her to see Lethal Weapon 4 for her birthday (a bad decision on my part). But I wanted to be entertained. If not, I can just wait until the movie comes out for rent. Generally speaking, there are two types of movies that I don’t watch in the movie theater: documentaries, and love stories.

I don’t usually enjoy documentaries because the story is never neutral as the director or narrator would have you believe. For instance, “Super Size Me” depicted a man eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month, and showed the tremendous amount of weight that he gained in that time. The conclusion; McDonald’s is terrible and will kill you. However, shortly thereafter, another documentary was released showing another man actually lose weight be eating at McDonald’s every day for a month. The conclusion; McDonald’s is a great place to eat if you’re trying to lose weight. The point is, filmmakers slant their documentaries in a way that makes it look like fact, while in reality, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I usually don’t like love stories, well, because, I don’t like love stories (unless I’m on a date with my wife, and even then I don’t care for them, but tolerate them because I am still trying to make up for taking her to Lethal Weapon 4 for her birthday). I want to only watch films that are worth seeing on the big screen.

With that said, I watched Disney Chimpanzee last week in the movie theater. I was pleasantly surprised. It is narrated by Tim Allen which kicks up the manly factor from the very beginning. He was even able to throw in one of his patented “Tim the Toolman” hoots. I still feel as though the documentary, which follows a baby chimpanzee’s first few years of life, is slanted. For instance, Tim Allen regularly speaks about what the chimps are thinking, and the film makes it look as though they are actually thinking what he is talking about. For some reason, though, I just have a hard time believing that they actually know what the chimps are thinking. The beauty of the rainforest, along with the cinematography which helps to make the forest come alive, is well worth the money. Seeing this film on a home television screen will not do it justice. It’s meant to be seen on a huge screen, and really should not be seen any other way.

So, if you’re looking for a family friendly movie to watch this weekend. Look no further than Disney’s Chimpanzee. Take it from the guy who doesn’t like documentaries, you will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

As always, if you’re planning a party in or around New Orleans, look no further than About to Bounce.

WAIT! Answer These Questions Before You Rent

Combo Units Are A Great Way To Celebrate a Party

Let’s face it. We’ve all had bad customer service experiences. In fact, that’s exactly how About to Bounce got started to begin with. We had a bad experience with a local bounce house company. They provided us with terrible customer service and a dirty jump at a high price. We knew that we could do better. Our goal this week is to help you learn from our mistakes. Follow these tips to have  a great experience with your next bounce house rental.

1)Is the company licensed? Many companies take short cuts and don’t do things legally, like getting licensed. If they aren’t going to take their own business seriously, how can you expect them to take your business seriously.

2)Are they insured? Insurance in our industry is…let’s just say…a little pricey. In fact, although it’s illegal not to have insurance, most companies choose not to insure their inflatable units because they can’t afford the insurance. Unfortunately, this puts you and your loved ones at a risk.

3)Are they inspected by the state fire marshal? This industry has very strict safety standards. Again, there are tons of companies that cut corners and don’t get their inflatables inspected, even though it’s illegal not to.

So, whether you decide to rent from About to Bounce or not, make sure that whatever company that you choose to use is licensed, insured, and has had their units inspected by a fire marshal.

4)How old is the equipment? It doesn’t take long for inflatable units to look old and used. The large companies (like About to Bounce) are constantly updating our inventory with the latest and greatest inflatable units.

5)Is it cleaned before every use? Gross, we know. But, like everything else in this industry, properly sanitizing units can get extremely expensive. So, a lot of companies just ignore your well-being and rent out dirty units (which is one of the main reasons we started About to Bounce).

6)Are they using commercial equipment? Nice, thick, sturdy nylon. That’s what you’re looking for. Not cheap nylon that looks like a child will jump right through. There’s a BIG difference between quality jumps and cheap jumps.

7)What happens if the owner gets sick does everything shut down? The vast majority of businesses in this industry are owned by someone who has a full-time job and bought a bounce house to deliver on weekends. He figures he can make some extra cash. But with only one person working for the company doing orders, deliveries, and probably working full-time, have you ever consider what happens if he gets sick. Nothing! That’s right. So, if you had a jump rented on the day that he’s sick…well, I guess there’s probably next weekend.

8)Are they hiding their address from you? If a company is not being completely open and honest with you, you have reason to be suspicious. Companies that don’t give you all of their contact information may not show up!

9)Do they return calls in a timely manner? The day of your party is extremely stressful. You have enough to worry about. High quality companies will take the stress off of your shoulders. That’s our job! You should be able to decorate and have fun, not worry about whether the company is going to show up or not.

10) It’s getting hot. Should I rent a water slide? Water slides are a great way to spend a hot summer day. If you have access to water, a water slide is definitely a great option.

That’s it. Everything you need to know to make your next bounce house or water slide rental a success. Of course, if you’re in or around New Orleans, we would prefer you to check out About to Bounce. But, whether you choose to rent from us or not, make sure that your next rental company answers all of the above questions to your satisfaction.

My Frugal Husband

Cheap Bedroom Renovation

With just a few cans of paint, and a new light fixture, I transformed my daughter's room.

Decorating is one of my passions. I don’t always have the resources to make major changes, however, and it seems that when I try and duplicate something from a magazine or home show, it usually costs A LOT. And for my husband, A LOT is anything over $50. I usually try and respect my hubby and our joint bank account, but, let’s be honest. Fifty bucks doesn’t go a long way in this day and age. He is of the mindset that if I really want it, it can wait and we can save for it. Me, I want instant gratification!

I recently saw an idea on Pinterest (love the site, but it definitely makes me yearn for things that I will never have, am too time-strapped to cook, or am too dumb to make) that was a beautiful vignette of a drapery rod with pictures hanging from it. Ok, I thought. A drapery rod- how much can that cost? Some picture frames and ribbon- CHEAP! My project seemed feasible. I went to Target and looked around. I could see that I was going to have to either scrap the project or pull one of my ‘estimation’ tricks. Occasionally, when I have gone over budget, I tell my husband that the item was ‘around’ a certain price. Sometimes I say, well, it was only ten bucks, when the actual price was $11.99. Sometimes, my estimations can round way down, and something that is $49.99 suddenly becomes ‘around thirty.’ I added up my purchases- frames $40, rod $20, ribbon $10. Only $20 over budget! I could TOTALLY round that down. Unfortunately, a sense of guilt came over me. He never buys anything for himself, and here I was, satisfying my selfish desires AND planning on lying to him in the process. Hmmm. With a heavy heart, I put back my stuff, left the store empty handed and stopped at his favorite restaurant and took him home a breakfast burrito. Ah, the sacrifices of love.

 

As always, if you’re in the New Orleans area and scheduling a special event, look no further than About to Bounce!

How My Older Kids Make Me Thankful For My Newborn

Madelyn Sleeping

Madelyn's Favorite Pastime-Sleeping

I was working as a Juvenile Corrections Officer at the time my older children were young (I now have a seven-month-old daughter as well). My wife was in school full time, and I was working the graveyard shift so we could save money on daycare (admittedly not a wise decision). I got in the habit of coming home from work, taking a little nap while my kids woke themselves up, made themselves breakfast, and watched a short movie. The problem was that the longer I did this, the more comfortable I got sleeping a little later. Before long, I was sleeping until 10:30 or 11:00 AM while my kids were downstairs virtually unattended. At the time they were about four and two. I’m not proud of it, but it’s something that happened.

One day my sister-in-law called at about 10:30 AM and woke me up. I thanked her for calling because I really needed to check on the kids. I walked downstairs and found that my daughter (about two years old) had learned how to plug in the iron and put it face down onto our coffee table. The table was smoking as I ran down the stairs. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and I learned a valuable lesson about parenting that I should have already known. A two year old is too young to be left alone.

Or there was the time that my oldest son was learning how to walk. We were vacationing at a friend’s house in Dallas. Around the end of our stay, our son decided to pull himself up, using a metal stand that was holding an expensive piece of pottery, to hoist himself. Needless to say, the pottery came crashing down and broke in half. Fortunately, we only had to pay for the repairs to the pottery, because I’m convinced we would still be paying for it had we been asked to pay for the replacement of the piece.

My older children are now 13 and 10, and we are very fortunate to be blessed with two well behaved children that are both cautious and kind. Now, back to the reason for this post…my newborn, Madelyn. Madelyn is now seven months old. She rarely rolls over. In fact, she hardly moves at all. She’s perfectly content sitting and laughing, and not doing much else. As we looked through our older kids journals from when they were young, my wife and I see that they were both crawling by the time they were six months old. My wife also belongs to an online “baby club” that consists of thousands of mothers bragging about how their children are doing things that Madelyn hasn’t even attempted.

As she learns to reach developmental milestones, my wife and I found ourselves getting worried by how slowly she’s learning to do things. I was beginning to feel as though she was somehow falling behind. But then it occurred to me. She doesn’t have anything wrong with her. She’s just content where she is, and that’s okay. Every minute that she’s content with just sitting and laughing is another minute that I don’t have to worry about her breaking someone’s priceless piece of pottery, or worse yet, injuring herself because I’m too busy sleeping. I look forward to her crawling and walking when she’s ready, but for now, I’m happy with her exactly where she is…in the same spot I left her when I began writing this post.

 

As always, if you’re in New Orleans and looking to plan a special event, look no further than About to Bounce!

 

Easter Traditions: Why Sometimes It Can Be Good To Just Go With The Flow

"Eggs Weinstein" looks similar to Eggs Benedict when completed

My father-in-law is a wonderful cook. He also likes things to be perfect and ‘does stress’ when things don’t go quite right. For many years, Easter brunch at the in-laws had been an event to look forward to. The menu of ‘Eggs Weinstein’ was always the same – a wonderful concoction of toast, hard-boiled eggs, paprika, and a delectable homemade sauce similar to a hollandaise sauce. Every step from the slicing of the eggs to the toasting of the toast to the pouring of the sauce must be perfectly timed and orchestrated to ensure flawless presentation and palatability.

About 7 years after I came into the family, I was allowed to help. My job was to toast the bread. I prepared.  I stacked two slices of bread for each person. I ensured that the toaster was plugged in. I then toasted the bread and plated it. Voila! Then my father in law came over to inspect and declared that the toast was ‘completely underdone’. I thought that might be the end of it, however, it continued throughout the meal. He commented many, many times on how ‘Eggs Weinstein is usually much better but the toast was underdone.’ Considering how meticulous he is, I let it go. The next year, strangely, I was allowed to assist again, again with toast duty. Bearing in mind the disaster of the previous Easter, I racked my brain trying to remember what setting the toaster was on last year. I couldn’t, but I thought there was no way it could have been on a one (out of five), because who just leaves their toaster on the lightest setting? It was probably on a two, which means that if it was underdone last year, a four should be perfect. I again prepared, toasted the toast and…oh no. The toast, which had been impeccably timed and was the entity that all things hinged upon, was burned. A flush came over my face and my heart began to pound. Plate it or start another round? He was turning; slowly it seemed, with the plate of sliced eggs to arrange on the toast. I hastily put them on the plates and put more in the toaster. Then the inevitable- ‘What happened! What happened?’ I quickly said that I was making more, but then- I realized I did not change the settings on the toaster! He says ‘Who burns toast? How do you burn toast? How hard is it to make toast?’ At this point, I’d had enough. I had to stand up for myself. I told him that he was being ridiculous and proceeded to throw a tantrum, slamming down the plates and toast. Easter brunch that year was ruined.

The next year, and for four years after that, he refused to make Eggs Weinstein. He was not appreciated, he said. Working with idiots, he said. Last year was the first year that the dish was ‘reinstated.’ The execution went well- especially because I sat in the living room and watched TV.

As always, if you are celebrating a special event, don’t forget to check out About to Bounce for all of your party rental needs.

DIY: Extraordinary Easter Eggs

Looking for some inexpensive, easy and fun ideas for Easter eggs this year? Follow these tips to make fancy eggs or an egg centerpiece with items you already have lying around the house.

Fancy Eggs:

Materials:

-Hard Boiled Eggs

-Egg Dye Coloring

-Ribbon, Stickers, Yarn, Stamps, Glitter, etc.

Instructions: Dye your eggs according to the instructions on the dye kit. If you are planning to use stickers, a fun idea is to put the stickers on the undyed egg and then put it in the dye. You can then peel off the stickers and then you will have a stenciled effect. Use a hot glue gun and place a dot of glue on the back or bottom of the egg, then wrap ribbon in a random pattern around it. Put another dot of glue at the end. Tie bows and hot glue them to the eggs, use a stamp pad and stamp your egg (be sure to let dry) or use a small paintbrush and paint the egg with glue, then roll in glitter.

Fancy Eggs in Cups

Egg Tree

Easter Egg Tree

Egg Tree Centerpiece:

Materials:

-Vase

-Branches

– Easter Basket ‘grass’ (optional)

– Plastic eggs

– Fishing Line, String or Thread (I used embroidery string in different colors)

 Instructions:

Gather some branches and place in vase (if you want, you can spray the branches with any color paint for a different effect.) Most plastic eggs have a small hole in the top already, so make a knot on the end of your string and thread through the hole, tying it to the tree. Do this in a random pattern until you are satisfied with the results.

As always, check out www.abouttobounce.com for all of your Easter party needs!