16 Years & A Bike Race

Over Memorial Day weekend,  my city hosts a bike race around the town square.


Although we have lived here a few years, we’ve never had the opportunity to attend until this year.


The cyclists whip around the corners at frightening speeds and accelerate even more on straight aways.


I considered it a win that we only saw one cyclist with a blooded and torn up hip.

The kids found the racing fascinating while I just prayed it hadn’t inspired them to take up the sport.


Since we were also celebrating our 16th anniversary the night of the races, we took the kids to eat on the square and had a little celebratory gelatto.



It was a wonderful night that hopefully we can replicate next year… the only change being I’m having a whole cone of salted caramel ice cream, not just a half.



Definitely a good night.

Minute to Win It Night

For the last 4 years, my family has all gathered for a week in Florida.

Since we are all spread out – Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Canada – it’s a wonderful time for us to come together and have fun.

Last year we started, what my boys hope, is a new tradition – Minute to Win It Night.

The boys loved watching Minute to Win It on tv so I thought it would be perfect for them to set up a night where everyone plays the games.

The boys spent a week of their summer, making posters, choosing teams (red team vs blue team), watching video clips, choosing the games, gathering supplies, and emailing everyone.

Take a look at how our Minute to Win It Night went.

Getting Forked – roll a quarter into the prongs of a fork – good game

Ready Spaghetti place spaghetti noodles through a soda can, carry the can from one table to another table while holding the spaghetti noodles in your mouth – okay game




 Breakfast Scramble – Take the front covers of cereal boxes, cut each box into 16 pieces, and then race to see who can complete their puzzle first – good game

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Hut, Hut, Hike! – Bend over and hike toilet paper rolls between your legs and through a person’s arms 15 feet away – Hilarious game


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Marshmallow Match – Throw mini marshmallows into a bucket that is on top of a player’s head – good game

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Rapid Fire – Player must shoot rubber bands to knock a triangle stack of 6 cans completely off a platform – good game

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I’m pretty sure good times were had by all.

To me, the best part of the night is it involves everyone in the family, kids, adults, and grandparents. Truly lots of fun.

And family, you better start training for this year – word on the street this year is that there are new games a comin’!

I’ve Had Enough

I spent my Mother’s Day weekend at a soccer tournament for my  oldest.

A perfectly good way to spend a weekend in my opinion.

What is not a good way to spend a weekend is to listen to j*ack*ss parents scream and yell at my son and his team.


Are these opposing parents yelling?

No. They are my son’s teammates parents.

Well, I finally reached my breaking point on Saturday. And before I tell you what led to making a public statement I will say this. This screaming and yelling at the kids has been going on for two years.

For two years the kids and parents have listened to the one particular parent I confronted shout:

“Hussle Malcolm. You got to go faster out there.”

“You need better defense out there. George you are too slow today.”

“Oh come on, you gotta play better than that. You need to hussle Jacob!”

“Cross to the left! Move up! You must be kidding me, this is ridiculous.”

“You got to put out some effort out there!”

Every game, parents look back and forth at each other, and mumble to each other about what nonsense this is.

For two years.


I’m as guilty as the next parent in hoping that this moron would change his behavior. Even talks from the coach have been ignored by this man.

And what position does this man’s child play?


Never once has his child heard, “Come on James, you could have saved that ball!” “Unbelievable, you let that ball past you.” “Maybe if you would have hussled out there you  could have gotten the ball.”

Never. Not once. But our kids have heard plenty.

So in the second half of the second game on Saturday I snapped.

I just couldn’t take it any  longer.

After he shouted something obnoxious again, I turned to him and said, “You  do realize those are our kids out there. They are doing the best they can and I’m tired of listening to your crap.”


For a split second I questioned what I had just done.

But then another parent said, “Yes, we are tired of it.  Tired of it.”

I didn’t even look at the man for the rest of the game. I was shaking on the inside and ready to blow up at him  at any moment  if he said anything.

He said nothing.

And for the next game he sat  far away.

But he said nothing.

I hope it made an impression on him.

I know it made an impression on my eight year who was sitting with me. I explained to him that while I was angry at the man, I was not angry at his son.  I explained that I did not insult the man nor his family, just stated how I felt.

My message to this man and other parents who yell at our kids during a game:

Our children were not competing in the world cup, a championship game, or a game that was really that important. My son was out playing soccer because he loves it and has fun. Be positive and shout encouraging words. Let the coach, coach.

And, if you start yelling at our kids again, I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one shaming you this time.

Zombie Style

My kids think I am the biggest buzz kill ever.

If they had their way they would watch tv and play video games constantly.

But…insert evil witch cackle…they don’t have their way.

I believe kids need time to be bored.

There, I said it.


I think being bored leads to creativity.

If technology is always an option, kids never have to imagine, pretend, and create.

The other day after they had been turned away from the computer I walked downstairs 20 minutes later to find my kids like this…


And this…


And this…


Apparently they were playing “Attack of the Zombie.”

See, creativity at it’s best.

The dog may  have been questioning them, but me?

Nope? Proud momma.

Can’t wait to see what they dream up today.

(Just a little “Happy Birthday” shout out to my little zombie Andrew!)

A Sleepover Party for My 11 Year Old

I have to confess something.

I hate sleepover parties. Really hate them.

I know I should love them as a mom and love that my friends have kids who want to come to their house but alas, I hate them.

My son turned 11 over the weekend and wanted a sleepover party with his friends.

He requested a 24 hour party which I quickly shot down. No way Jose.

We compromised on a 4 pm to 10 am party.

At about 4:30 pm on party day, after the 5 guests had arrived,  my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Only 17 1/2 hours to go!”

In all actuality I think it is the stress of hosting 5, 11 year old boys who want nothing else then to knock each other over for the entire length of the party. Oh, and maybe the kids who only speak at one volume, LOUD, that tends to drive me up the wall too.

For the beginning of the party we took the boys to the park near our house where they played soccer, tag, basketball, and grounders (chase on the playground set, no one touching the ground, with the person who is “it” closing there eyes while they were chasing the others – basically a recipe for disaster.)





Once it hit 6:30 and no one had broken a bone my husband and I called the party a success.

After pizza and a rousing , “Only 15 hours to go,” it was time for a video game tournament, ping pong, and cake.




After coercing them into taking showers the boys settled on the couches to watch Goonies.

I remember loving this movie when I was younger.

What I didn’t remember were the drug jokes and curse words throughout the movie. Good chance I could receive a few calls from moms today.

After the movie we tucked the boys in at 11 pm and …wait for it……they feel asleep immediately.

For those of you who have never hosted a sleepover you will not understand what a gift this is. No one had to utter 45 times, “Boy, it’s time to go to bed now.” Derek and I kept saying to each other, “Do you really think they are asleep? Can’t be. Are they planning something?”

At 7 AM my husband and I were awakened by what sounded like a herd of cattle coming downstairs.

We uttered, “Only 3 more hours.”

After a breakfast of pancakes, more video games, and ping pong we heard that wonderful sound we had been waiting for – ding dong! A child pick up 20 minutes early! At 10:05 when the last boy had been picked up Derek and I held are hands up in victory. Although only morning we climbed back into bed and vowed never to host a sleepover again.

We were feeling good and proud of ourselves until Andrew announced, “For my 8th birthday I’m going to have a sleep over too because that was so much fun.”

So now I’m standing firm on our vow.  We are not going to have another sleep over for at least 2 weeks. And for those of you counting, that’s only 236 hours till the next sleep over. Lord help us.

Cardboard Boxes – So Much Fun!

The last time I talked about Caroline’s super hero party it was concerning the scavenger hunt, bean bag toss, and the chest letters they received.

Today it’s, “Exploring the City!”

When I looked on pinterest for Caroline’s super hero party I came across party decor which had buildings with it. I thought, wouldn’t it be fun for the girls to be able to play in the buildings?


Otherwise known as, “Cardboard Boxes are so Much Fun!”

One of the missions the kids had to complete was, “Explore the City.” This simply meant, bring out some cardboard boxes and let the kids have fun.


A week before the party, the kids and I drove around gathering big boxes that had been discarded in the new subdivision they are building near us.

We then set up a painting station on our driveway and got to work painting the boxes.

I used regular house paint that we already had so the cost for this project was $0.  


Caroline wore her painting outfit – yellow pants, old white shirt, and a pair of the boys’ old water shoes – always looks like she’s a retired Floridean 🙂



Everyone got in on the action.



Once the boxes were dry, my husband cut out doors and windows in each box.

And here are the final results –

Every Super Hero town needs a City Hall…


the Movies…


A Jail to put the bad guys…


And the library!



The cardboard boxes stayed in our house another week before they were completely destroyed.

Good fun!

Middle School Scheduling: A Last Minute Switch

I knew when my husband came home with large protruding crazed eyes, walking ahead of Alex and saying “I’m going to let him tell you,”  it was going to be good.

But first, let me back up.

Since Alex is going into middle school next year, it is time to fill out his schedule.

We were all in agreement about what type of math and language arts he would be taking. Science and social studies are standard as well as technology and PE.

That left only only one elective.

He chose art.

Super. No homework. All in class. Free. Simple simple simple.

On the schedule paperwork you must rank your top 3 elective choices.

Alex put art first, band second, orchestra third.

There was no way he was doing theater or choir so we were fine with his choices. Not even a lengthy and impassioned speech from his dad about his joy of being a baritone in sixth grade choir could change his mind.

All set.

Not quite.

Apparently, if you put band down anywhere on your list, you must come in for an instrument test. The kids test out each instrument they are interested in to see if it’s a match for them.

This is where you insert my husband’s eyes practically leaping out from their sockets since he was with Alex.

Alex chose to try the french horn, the trombone, and the trumpet.

An area band director critiqued the student after each instrument try.

When Alex tried the french horn, “Good sound, wonderful pitch!”


When Alex tried the trombone, “Good sound, wonderful pitch!”


When Alex tried the trumpet, “Good sound, oh my, that’s the best sound that has come out of any student today. Wow you are a natural. The sound you produced was absolutely amazing. Wow. You are just a treat to listen to on this instrument.’


Or something like that.

Let me tell you when it is not going to be a treat listening to that instrument.


Yes, Alex came home glowing, wanting to play the trumpet.

“I want to switch to band. The lady said I had a great sound. She said I was the best all day.”

……deep breaths…….of course she did, that bit*h………release of air……

“Wow, what made you change your mind?”

“You realize there will be lots of practice involved?”

“Might be difficult carrying a trumpet as you ride your bike to school.”

After a few talks and days to think about it we have a new list of electives:

#1 Band

#2 Art

#3 Orchestra

I now realize this “try your instrument” is such a scam.

I’m onto you middle school.

We won’t be making that same mistake with the next kid.

Of course, I felt a little better last night when a mom texted me last night saying: James switched from theater to band! What did Alex decide?

He decided to switch from art to band – playing the trumpet. You cannot make me put on a “band mom” t-shirt. What instrument did James decide on?

The bassoon! No shirt here but we might be forced to put the decal on our car.

I laughed and suddenly felt better.


The bassoon requires private lessons.

Super Hero / Bad Guys Scavenger Hunt

At Caroline’s super hero training birthday party, the kids were required to complete 4 missions.

Each mission had one or two components. For example, there was an “Accuracy Mission,” since all super heroes need to have good accuracy when fighting the bad guys. A bean bag toss and a ping pong bounce game were played in order to test our little super hero trainees. Since they passed that mission, they received super hero cuffs – more on those another day.


The 2nd mission, the “Eye Test,” consisted of two activities – Super Hero Bingo and Bad Guy Scavenger Hunt. Super heroes need to have good eyesight to spot the bad guys so these activities tested that.

The Bad Guy Scavenger Hunt was definitely a 4 year old favorite.

Each trainee was given a marker and a sheet containing 16, “Bad Guys.” I used characters they might know of instead of typical comic book villains.


Click here for the Bad Guys Scavenger Hunt

The trainees were then asked to walk around our first floor to find the bad guys. They particularly enjoyed being able to mark off each character once they found a bad guy.

Before the party I had printed out large versions of the same characters on their scavenger hunt sheet and taped them around the house.

Mother Goethel from Tangled


Can you spot Captain Hook?


Syndrome from the Incredibles


Once the trainees completed their eyesight mission –  bingo game and the scavenger hunt – they received a chest letter (piece of felt with a safety pin (with a flat back) glued onto the back.



Man, four year olds are so much fun!

All 11 of the girls loved dressing up and were totally game for each mission.

Scavenger hunt for 4 year olds, mark that one down as a keeper!