Thursday, May 11, 2017

All-Star Chicken

I'm not sure if y'all know this but I got my start as a blogger with a recipe site called South Your Mouth. Well, I know at least one of you knows that because you left a lovely comment on my post about different types of baseball moms telling me maybe I should just stick to recipes. HA! Nah, I'm good but thanks!

Anyway! A few years ago Brutus made his coaches pitch all-star team. The team went all the way through to the State tournament so all of our free time was spent at the ballpark that summer. All that baseball was made it hard to eat good home-cooked meals and make new stuff for the recipe blog. Since we were practically living at the ballpark, I decided to take the blog to practice 😏

We had a really nice ballpark with a huge grill for members. Side note: you know you're in the South when the baseball park has a barbeque grill big enough to cook a hog on. I suggested we have a cookout and everyone pitched in to bring stuff.

I’d concocted this marinade for chicken a month or so before and we just fell in love with it so I figured it would be great if we marinated chicken thighs in it, grilled them up and made super simple chicken sandwiches. And that’s exactly what we did!

All-Star Chicken is perfect for cooking at the ballpark or away at weekend tournaments. Served on a bun, it's a great alternative to burgers and doesn't require all the condiments and veggies!

Well, I didn’t do the grilling. I made the marinade and got everything ready and my (then) new buddy, Harry, did the grilling. That’s the thing with good baseball. You’re practicing like every day and spending a ton of time with these parents and families and it is SUCH a relief when you all actually end up liking each other and having fun together. We're still close friends with Harry and his family all these years later 😍

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Ways to Keep Cool at the Ballpark

These five tips will keep you cool at the ballpark all summer long. Post also includes a great tip for keeping cooling towels clean and disinfected for the team.

Our first year of all-stars landed us playing ball through the middle of July in what has GOT to be the hottest summer in South Carolina history.

I remember sitting through sub-district thinking we were all going to die. Surely one of these boys is going to fall out and have to be rushed to the hospital. No human can withstand this. Then we won and went through to district and I thought the same thing: We’re all going to die.

Then, blessed virgin of mercurial mercy, the state tournament was played in the upstate where the temps were a skosh cooler and I just thought some of us would be brain damaged – not actually die.

From that summer forward I made it my mission to beat the heat. And, if I’m being honest, I must have had my head in a cloud that summer because all I had to do was look around and see what the seasoned pros were doing to stay cool. My friends and I still laugh (embarrassedly so) at how we just sat there. We literally just sat there in that heat and did nothing to help ourselves. Oye. Ya live and learn, right?

So, here’s a list of stuff that now goes with us EVERY TIME we play ball and the temperature is over 90 degrees. This all seems obvious to me now but I certainly didn't think of it the first summer we needed it so if this helps anyone out there, it was worth throwing together!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

13 Types of Baseball Moms

This is copied from a post I published years ago on my recipe blog South Your Mouth. I thought y’all might enjoy it too so I’m sharing it here…

You know some of these moms. While the majority of baseball moms are completely normal, these moms do exist. I've seen them. In action.

And I have to go on the record and say that 99.999999% of the moms I've met and played with are absolutely delightful. As a matter of fact, the majority of our social circle is made from families we've met playing ball. But I am a people watcher. I probably should have been a sociologist. Or FBI profiler (ok, maybe not but I have read every Patricia Cornwell book). When everyone else is checking their email and chitchatting, I'm usually kicked back surveying the crowd. And after all these years at the field, I've seen some things that'll curl your toes!

From Politician Mom to CIA Mom, this funny list has every type of Baseball Mom covered. Which one are you?

1) Politician Mom
This is the career baseball mom who flits around coaches and board members like it’s her job. She will ditch you mid-sentence as soon as she sees Mitzy Boardmember come around the corner so she can get 30 seconds of face-time with her. She name-drops like a lobbyist and will do anything to get little Billy on the all-star team. Anything. Wink-wink.

2) Name Brand Mom
Name Brand Mom’s kid kinda sucks but it’s not from lack of high-dollar equipment and gear. She “discretely” confides to you that Hampton’s bat cost $600. Every piece of clothing her kid owns has giant it-brand logos emblazoned across the front in neon colors. His helmet and shoes cost more than your car payment and the only reason you know that is she “slipped up” and told you the prices.

3) Prowler Mom
Prowler mom is looking for a man. For reals. But until she lands one, she’ll settle for knowing all the dads and teenage boys are looking at her. This is the mom that shows up for a double-header wearing 4-inch wedges, a halter top and microshorts. She spends two hours straitening her hair before every game and doesn't let the 104-degree forecast deter her from slathering on six layers of makeup.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

42 Walk-Up Songs Guaranteed to Get Your Team Pumped Up

An easy to use list (with song links) of Rock, Country, Rap, Top 40 and Christian warm-up music and walk-up songs for baseball and softball.


I am THE WORST at thinking of songs on demand. I love music, and I love all kinds of music, but if you ask me to list my 5 favorite songs, I’ll probably just stare at you and blink. That’s actually how I decided to publish this list! Looking for songs myself, I asked my friends and on the Facebook page for everyone’s favorite walk-up songs and decided to put my favorites in one spot.

WARNING: Some of these songs contain explicit lyrics. Be sure to find the “radio version” of the song before adding it to your team’s playlist.

An easy to use list (with links) of Rock, Country, Rap, Top 40 and Christian warm-up music and walk-up songs for baseball and softball.


Rock
1. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
2. Black Betty – Ram Jam
3. No Sleep Till Brooklyn – Beastie Boys
4. Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC
5. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osborne
6. I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister
7. Enter Sandman – Metallica
8. Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
9. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
10. Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard
11. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
12. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

11 Must-Haves at the Ballpark

A comprehensive list of what baseball moms need at the ballpark. From wagons to portable fans, this list covers all the must-haves (with a few laughs too!)


A comprehensive list of what baseball moms need at the ballpark. From wagons to portable fans, this list covers all the must-haves (with a few laughs too!)

1. A Folding Wagon
Nothing says Baseball Mom Level: Expert like a folding wagon. If you want to be taken seriously at the ballpark, you have to have a folding wagon. Period.

2. Folding Chairs
Bleachers are sooooo tee-ball. You’re not cool until you bring your own chair. Bonus points are awarded as follows:

10 points - You still know where the bag is
15 points - You still know where the bag is AND you actually use it
20 points - Your chair cost more than $12 and your butt isn’t sagging 4 inches from the ground
25 points - Your chair matches the team colors
40 points - Your chair is a rocker
50 points - Your chair has hydraulic anything on it

3. Soft Coolers
If you’re not smuggling in ham sandwiches and Gatorade in monogrammed, color-coordinated soft coolers you will never make any friends here.

4. Yeti Coolers
Simply put, rolling up into the ballpark with a Yeti just says, "We don’t f@#% around."

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Team Mom 101: How to be a Great Team Mom

First things first: There are Team Dads too. And if you knew me well, you would know I am an independent woman who doesn’t believe in gender-specific roles or limitations. My husband does laundry and I do our taxes. But since there are waaaaay more Team Moms out there than Team Dads, I’m addressing this to the moms. Okidokie, Smokey? 😏

The Team Mom can make or break your experience with a team. If you have a great Team Mom, go get her some Starbucks and tell her how much you appreciate her. I absolutely took great Team Moms for granted until I had a bad one and spent the first month of the season mining information out of her and banging my face into the wall.

The A-#1 rule for a great Team Mom is COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! Parents shouldn’t have to ask you too many questions because you’ve already anticipated those questions, gotten answers or direction from the coach or league and communicated it to your team.

I’m going to write this post as it pertains to rec ball (county recreation, Little league, Dixie Youth, etc.) so a lot of this won’t pertain to travel or club ball (note to self: write a Travel Ball Team Mom post sometime soon). This comes from my experience as both a Team Mom and a baseball/softball parent for nine years. If I’ve forgotten something, please let me know!

Team Mom 101: How to be a Great Team Mom | Manage your team in 3 easy steps with this guide for everything from Canteen Duty to Effective Group Texts. Plus a free printable Team Mom Tracker to keep you organized.

STEP ONE – CREATE A TEXT GROUP AND AN EMAIL LIST

The first thing you need to do it collect cell phone numbers and email addresses for all the parents. Create a Group Text and Email List with all the parents. Don’t assume Dad doesn’t want to know about softball bows or mom doesn’t want to know about batting practice. If someone wants off your distribution list, they’ll let you know.


STEP TWO – ADDRESS THE BIG STUFF WITH YOUR TEAM

Following are several important topics you will likely need to address with your team. Find out how (or if?) your league handles these, communicate with your coach (always get your coach’s buy-in before you address the team on the BIG STUFF), then get the information to your parents.

Uniforms
Leagues will issue basic uniform attire and rely on the parents to provide the rest. Some will only provide a shirt while others provide more. Determine what your league is providing then work with the coach to determine exactly what the parents will need to acquire ASAP. Often pants need to be ordered online or hemmed so allow ample time for parents. You will also need to find out what protective gear is required by the league and ensure each player has what s/he needs. If a team order is being placed for specialized or personalized items, communicate that as well.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Baseball Parent or Baseball PITA? Dos and Don’ts for Being a Great Ball Parent

OK, so when my kids first started playing sports there was A LOT I didn’t know. Most things I figured out along the way but I’m sure there were times over the years I was a PITA (pain in the a**) to a coach or my kid. I would like to have seen a list like this way back then before I fell into some of these ditches.

Being a “great ball parent” might not seem that important to you but, aside from the obvious reasons, one thing parents need to think about is how THEIR behavior may affect both their child and his or her opportunities.

Let’s say there’s one spot left on the all-star team or that crackerjack travel ball team you’d love to play for and there are three equally talented kids up for the spot. I can tell you from experience and from close friendships with coaches over the years, the kid with the PITA parents ain’t getting that spot. When all else is equal, coaches will look at the parents. Those parents who foster sportsmanship, let the coaches do their job, who show up ready for practice, who are pleasant and easy to get along with, etc. are who the coaches will lean toward.

Baseball Parent or Baseball PITA? Dos and Don’ts for Being a Great Ball Parent


13 Dos and Don’ts for Being a Great Ball Parent


Monday, April 3, 2017

3 UP, 3 DOWN RULE - Packing Lunches for Tournaments

One of the most common conversations I’ve heard among parents whose kids play softball and baseball (or soccer or any other sport where doubleheaders and tournaments are common) is about what the players should be eating for lunch between games.

We’ve all seen our team come out strong in that first game to then come out at the second one to look like they’ve never even seen a baseball, much less know what to do with it. The same kids who were just turning double-plays and hitting bombs now look like they just need a nap. And maybe a hug.

Our first season of travel ball was a learning experience on so many levels, one of which was learning what NOT to eat between games. I’m a good cook. Feeding people is my thing. It’s how I show people I love and care about them so on game day, I’d show up at the ballpark loaded down like a pack mule with enough food and provisions to survive a nuclear holocaust.

I quickly noticed that the more the boys ate between games, the more sluggish they were. Well, duh, right? I don’t know why I didn’t see that coming. The same is true for us. If we eat too much or eat the wrong foods at lunch it makes us sluggish so of course the same would be true for our kids.

Let me be very clear here: I am NOT a nutritionist or doctor or anyone professionally trained in these matters but I CAN share with you my thoughts and opinions based on my own experiences as well as information found in the sources at the end of this post. What works for my kids and the kids on their teams may not work for everyone but I can assure you it’s what works best for us.

Simply stated, I stick with a 3 UP, 3 DOWN rule when packing lunches for tournaments.

3 Up, 3 Down Rule for packing food for baseball, softball and soccer tournaments plus lunch ideas.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

YARD SALES & CARWASHES - Fundraisers for Baseball & Softball, Part 3

Fundraising. The never-ending story. We practically play ball year-round in my house so we are constantly raising money. You’re pretty safe if you’re playing rec ball (though they will shove a box a chocolate or a stack of discounts cards at you at some point and tell you to sell them or don’t come back). But once you get into all-stars, club ball or travel ball, the need for cash becomes imperative.

Before softball, AB did competitive cheer for seven years. I have been a Team Mom or managed fundraising in some capacity for almost 10 years so I have learned which fundraisers work and which don’t.

I am doing a 4-part series about running successful fundraisers for you team sport covering:

SPIRIT NIGHTS
CATALOG & DIRECT SALES
YARD SALES & CAR WASHES and
SPONSORSHIPS

Today’s post is on YARD SALES and CAR WASHES. These are great fundraisers because your team keeps 100% if the proceeds. With enough volunteers and participants, your team can make a a lot of money in just 3-5 hours.

How to run a successful yard sale or car wash fundraiser for your team

Thursday, March 23, 2017

CATALOG & DIRECT SALES - Fundraisers for Baseball & Softball, Part 2

Fundraising. The never-ending story. We practically play ball year-round in my house so we are constantly raising money. You’re pretty safe if you’re playing rec ball (though they will shove a box a chocolate or a stack of discounts cards at you at some point and tell you to sell them or don’t come back). But once you get into all-stars, club ball or travel ball, the need for cash becomes imperative.

Before softball, AB did competitive cheer for seven years. I have been a Team Mom or managed fundraising in some capacity for almost 10 years so I have learned which fundraisers work and which don’t.

I am doing a 4-part series about running successful fundraisers for you team sport covering:

SPIRIT NIGHTS (click the link - it's live!)
CATALOG & DIRECT SALES
YARD SALES & CAR WASHES and
SPONSORSHIPS

Today’s post is on CATALOG & DIRECT sales. The difference in the two is that with Catalog Sales, you take orders for a product then fulfil the orders when the product comes in. With Direct Sales, you have the product with you and sell it in real time.

PROS & CONS
Catalog Sales PROS:
  • Many catalog sale fundraisers also offer a way for shoppers to make their purchases online which is great for kids who have friends and family out-of-town or who prefer to buy with a credit card.
  • There are no up-front charges.

Catalog Sales CONS:
  • There are often shipping charges and/or sales taxes.
  • You will likely have to sort all the orders. The merchant will send a bulk shipment that must be sorted for each seller.
  • Parents or players will have to deliver the product.

Direct Sales PROS:
  • Once the sale is made, you do not have to return to deliver the product.
  • There are no orders to submit or sort.

Direct Sales CONS:
  • You must pay for the product up-front.
  • You will be responsible for any damaged product.
  • You may not be able to return any unsold product.

How to run a successful fundraiser for your team and maximize profit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SPIRIT NIGHT - Fundraisers for Baseball & Softball, Part 1

Fundraising. The never-ending story. We practically play ball year-round in my house so we are constantly raising money. You’re pretty safe if you’re playing rec ball (though they will shove a box a chocolate or a stack of discounts cards at you at some point and tell you to sell them or don’t come back). But once you get into all-stars, club ball or travel ball, the need for cash becomes imperative.

Before softball, AB did competitive cheer for seven years. I have been a Team Mom or managed fundraising in some capacity for almost 10 years so I have learned which fundraisers work and which don’t.

I will be doing a 4-part series about running successful fundraisers for you team sport covering:

SPIRIT NIGHTS
CATALOG & DIRECT SALES 
YARD SALES & CAR WASHES and
SPONSORSHIPS

Today’s post is on SPIRIT NIGHT. This is where your team pairs up with a local restaurant for one evening. The restaurant donates a portion of the day or evening’s sales to your team. It’s a WIN/WIN for both your team and the restaurant. They make a donation and in return, your team drums up business for them.

FIND A RESTAURANT
Here is a list of franchise restaurants that offer Spirit Nights (aka Benefit Night, Restaurant Night, Fundraiser Night, etc).

Most donate a minimum of 10%-15% of sales. One thing to consider when choosing a restaurant is finding a place that will yield relatively high average tabs. I like to choose places that serve alcohol for this reason but check to make sure these sales are included in the donation (most are).

How to run a successful Spirit Night Fundraiser for your team in 3 easy steps

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Homemade Gatorade

Our kids think they’re Michael Jordan and need Gatorade at every single practice. Since at least one someone in my house is practicing every night, that much sports drink adds up. Plus it’s got all sorts of stuff in it that I can’t even pronounce. And it’s loaded with dyes, preservatives, unnecessary calories and high fructose corn syrup.

So I was just sending them to practice with water. Boom. Problem solved. Until I noticed they weren't actually drinking much of the water. Not the way they suck gown the sports drinks anyway.

When I picked AB up from a three-hour practice the other night I noticed she wasn't sweating. She was beet-red in the face but dry as a bone. I asked her how much water she’d had and she told me none. NONE. And trust me, it’s not because her coaches don’t give her ample opportunities to get water. She’s 10. She doesn't care about hydration.

Hmmmm. So I turned where every mother turns for parenting and health advice: the internet.

And guess what the internet said? She said I could make my own homemade electrolyte sports drink.

So I did.

And it is AMAZING!

The kids love it. It's crazy cheap to make. I know exactly what’s in it (and what’s not) AND a whole quart only has one tablespoon of sugar in it.

Holla!

What they’re getting is mostly water that’s flavored with a little natural fruit juice and raw sugar that’s topped off with a pinch of salt. And that breaks down to this:
  • Citrus Juice – provides antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folate and vitamin A
  • Sugar – helps the body regulate cortisol which spikes during aerobic activity
  • Sea Salt – provides electrolytes and minerals and is a natural antihistamine
I wouldn't even begin to claim to be an expert on any of this. If you’d like to read more, please see this site and this site. I know honey or agave nectar would be better than sugar but I'm just not that cool. Yet.

What I do know for sure is that a huge bag of oranges costs less than half than a case of Gatorade, my kids are getting hydrated and we had fun making it! I made a gallon of this to put in the fridge and have been topping off everyone’s water bottles before each practice.

Homemade Gatorade sports drink made with just a few simple ingredients. Recipes for orange, cranberry, lemon-lime and ruby red grapefruit sports drink!