Monday, March 23, 2015

"Garbage Time"

Garbage time.  It’s a term I’d never heard before my kids were involved in sports on a competitive level.  Garbage time is the playing time at the very end of a losing game; the thirty seconds before the half, the last quarter of a football game if your team is winning by three touchdowns.

Garbage time.  The time that really doesn’t make any difference at all in the game.  The time reserved for kids who aren’t as athletic, talented or maybe they are just younger and need better skills.  The time reserved the players that stand on the sidelines waiting their turn to get in the game, with their uniform still clean from last night’s wash. 

The time that truthfully, isn’t garbage at all.  It’s the game time that many parents wait for; the time that builds confidence and makes many kids feel like they’re part of a team.  It’s the time that some kids never have to wait for, while other kids pray their team scores just one more time so they can be assured a few minutes on that field.

I’ve been on all sides of the “garbage time” fence.  My kids have played it and my coaching husband has managed it.  My kids have also played entire games and entire seasons and only come off the field for the other kids to get their “garbage time.”  

It’s such a horrible term.  I loathe it.  I have sat so many times in the cold huddled under a blanket, waiting to see my son run onto the field.  In the heat, sweltering, waiting for an at bat.  I’ve driven over an hour to games just to watch that three minutes of “garbage time,” and it’s made my entire week. 

That time is essential to so many athletes.  Kids who have yearned to be a part of a team and kids who have practiced just as hard (sometimes harder) than the athletes who have more natural ability.  When kids decide to go out for a team, they are putting themselves out there.  They are chancing ridicule and embarrassment, but they are also hoping to gain teammates and the bragging rights to say they are part of that team.  I sincerely feel that every kid who goes out for a team, on any level, deserves a place.  Whether it be a scorekeeper, waterboy, equipment manager or the kid who gets that precious “garbage time.” 

In the days of youth sports, I can only pray that there are more coaches that will share that mentality.  We need more coaches that give a shout out at practice to the kids that continue to show up without basking in the glory of winning touchdowns and grand slam homeruns.  Coaches need to remember to stress the value of every player, because a team couldn’t scrimmage against themselves if every player didn’t show up to practice.

Every player has a value.  Every. Single. One.

I must admit that I'm thankful over the years I have been on both ends of this spectrum, because I have gained so much perspective seeing the field from both sets of eyes.  I've watched with eyes so competitive and hungry for the team's success, and I've watched with eyes on my son, waiting patiently for his turn to take the field.

I’m not saying teams shouldn’t aim for a winning record.  I’m not saying every kid deserves equal time.  I’m urging parents and coaches and players to view that “garbage time” differently.  It’s the stuff that kids need to learn to be proud of.  They earned it, and even if they are just trying a new sport or the most unathletic on the team, their parents are up there smiling in the stands.  Those three minutes at the end of the game can make a child’s day, and considering 99.9% of kids in Little League, Midget Football, Tee Ball, Elementary Soccer, Junior High Basketball and even many high school teams will never go pro, let’s keep things in perspective. 

Success isn't just a winning record.  It's how you send those players into the world.

Give the players their time.  If you’re winning by a decent margin rotate them in.  Most of all, teach the more skilled players to cheer them on and encourage them.  Good teammates are the ones that recognize every player on the team.  They see them every day sweating through practice even though they barely see the field, and they pat them on the shoulders even when they make a mistake.

That’s what being a team is all about.  Along with building records and legacies, let’s build something that kids can really take with them.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Easy Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patty's Day!!  The Leprechauns were here and the house is in disarray.  Chairs upside down, green stick figures on playroom artwork and even a few gold coins for the kids.

In the kitchen is a fresh loaf of soda bread.  I have a deep sincere love for Irish Soda Bread.  I try to feed the bread to my kids to ensure I don't eat the whole loaf.  But I end up eating the whole loaf.  

Every time.

Thank Heavens St. Patrick's Day is only once a year.  My pants couldn't take any more than that.

Mommyhood's EASY Irish Soda Bread
1/2 c. white sugar
4 c. all purpose flour (plus a tbsp for dusting)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. raisins
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9 inch cake pan.

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and raisins. 

In small bowl, lightly beat eggs and add buttermilk and sour cream. 
Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture until flour is moistened.  Knead dough in bowl with additional 15-20 strokes.  Dough will be sticky.  
Turn dough into pan and pat down.  Make a 4"x1" slice in middle and dust with flour.
Bake 55-65 minutes or until center is just done when toothpick is inserted.  I like to remove bread when center is a tad moist and minimal dough is on pick when center is pierced. 

I don't do dry baked goods.  This includes my bread. 

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. 

While bread is still hot from oven cut yourself a slice and slather it with butter.  Eat it. 
Then even out the bread because you know you cut it sloppy.

Do your best to stop yourself there. 

Have a fabulous Tuesday!

**Recipe adapted from**

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10 Household Uses for Baking Soda

This past year I’ve been writing blogs about simple household stuff that can be used in a variety of ways. I’ve written about different uses for toothpaste, Hydrogen Peroxide, Borox and Distilled White Vinegar. Today I’m hittin’ up Baking Soda.

There are many reasons I like to use basic household supplies in a variety of ways. I save money and I expose my kids to less toxins. I’m not a cynic, but I do think that the crazy world of marketing has us believing we need a lot more than we actually do.

Today, I’m looking at the amazing world of Baking Soda, and all it’s fabulous possibilities…

Deodorize Carpets
             Aside from baking, this is my favorite use for Baking Soda.  Sprinkle on your carpets and let sit for at least fifteen minutes.  Vacuum up for a fresh scent.

Car Cleaner

            Use Baking Soda on chrome, vinyl, tires and windows without the worry of scratch marks.  

Back of the Fridge

            This one is no surprise but I had to include it.  An open box of Baking Soda in the back of the fridge neutralizes odors.       


Baking Soda can be used underarm to neutralize odors. This is a great solution when you are out of deodorant. I may or may not have been there.


Add one teaspoon to half a glass of water and swish. Using baking soda gets rid of odors, it won’t just mask them.

Face Wash

Mix three teaspoons baking soda with one teaspoon water and rub in circular motion. Rinse. This is a gentle wash that can be used daily.

Clean Brushes and Combs

Fill a large bowl with warm water and add a teaspoon baking soda. Soak your brushes and combs to remove residue.


Add ½ cup baking soda to your laundry detergent to boost cleaning.

Deodorize Sports Bags and Shoes

Sprinkle baking soda in smelly gym bags and shoes and let sit overnight. Shake out the next day and enjoy the freshness.

Clean the Sink

Sprinkle baking soda in the sink and scrub with a sponge. Pour a ½ cup down the drain and run the warm water to deodorize the drain.

Do you have any Baking Soda tricks? Share them in the comments!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dinner on the Run

I’ll be honest. We eat fast food. I’ve long held on to the belief that moderation is key, and with the chaotic schedule my family keeps, there are nights a drive thru is the best option. Between working until 4pm and running my kids to practices until 8pm (sometimes later) I need to be very prepared if I’m going to have a dinner ready in advance.
This doesn’t happen often.
On the nights we need a quick dinner, I do try to make the best choice when it comes to the almighty drive thru. To save money I have the kids share meals, and we skip buying everyone a beverage. We take the food home and we have drinks from our fridge, add sliced apples and get to the homework and lunch packing for the next day.
It's a rare evening we are home from after school until bedtime. With four kids all involved in sports, we usually have somewhere to be or someone to pick up.
Since I'm always looking for easy meals on the run, I’m thrilled to announce KFC (a family favorite over here) debuted Popcorn Chicken Nuggets. These nuggets aren’t molded and shaped. They are made from 100% white meat and they actually resemble chicken. They taste like chicken. And my kids LOVE them. I do too.
Truthfully, ever since trying them I'm staging a "nugget-vention." No more molded nuggets. No more processed chicken that never goes bad. I'll take KFC's Popcorn Chicken with a biscuit any day of the week. One container will satisfy my hungry kids, and it's perfect for nibbling in the car. These nuggets are freshly prepared and crispy and there is no comparison to other nuggets we've tried over the years.
It makes me wonder what the heck my kids have really been eating.
From now on, if you see someone you love eating nuggets that don't even look like actual chicken, step in. Suggest an alternative. Get to your nearest KFC because once you've tried their Popcorn Chicken nuggets you will never go back.
True story.
When have you or a friend needed a nugget-vention?
This is a KFC-sponsored post for BlogHer. All opinions are 100% my own. 
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain. KFC specializes in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Kentucky Grilled Chicken® and Extra Crispy™ Tenders, Hot Wings™, Go Cup®, KFC Famous Bowls®, Pot Pies, freshly prepared chicken sandwiches, biscuits and home-style side items. There are more 4,300 KFC outlets in the United States.  KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM.) For more information, visit Follow KFC on Facebook and Twitter.
Be sure to visit the KFC brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Small Achievements, Big Wins

Holy smokes I haven't blogged in awhile.  Life gets in the way.  Always the case.

This weekend, my daughter competed in a Unite for Her gymnastics meet.  The Pink Invitational raises money and awareness for breast cancer research and education.  The meet is in Philadelphia, and it is the biggest meets we compete in.  Gymnasts come from different states, and there are several sessions.  Thousands of gymnasts walk the streets of Philadelphia and its safe to say if you are near where you need to be you'll find the meet.  

Follow the hot pink scrunchies and gymnastics bags.

This year, like last year, my daughter is in a tough age group.  This is obviously going to follow her until she decides gymnastics isn't her cup of tea.  These girls will grow and compete alongside her every season.  My daughter's reality is that a score that could win the age group higher than hers probably will only get you 3rd or 4th in her age division.  The upside is you learn to train harder and expect more of yourself, the downside is seeing teammates win more often than you see yourself win.

At the Pink Invitational, my daughter didn't have any stand out scores.  She performed well on every event. Strong routines but not enough for the big numbers that are guaranteed to hit the podium.  We went into awards expecting just about nothing.

And then she caught a 9th place on bars.  Many meets will medal the top 50%, which is nice when girls come from all over and perform their little hearts out.  

In the All Around, which is the most coveted award, a stand out score won't help if you tank another event.  All Around medals are meant to award the girls who perform well on all four events, which is a difficult task.  All Around placements are always last, and by now we were ready to hit the food market because we were starving.

We were gathering our bags, getting ready to run, when my daughter's name was called.

I about crapped my pants. 

My daughter usually places in the AA at meets, but this was a BIG meet.  The scores that won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places on each individual event were high.  We were not expecting any type of placement, let alone the AA. 

On our three hour trek home I realized that while everyone loves a standout score, a killer routine or an obvious win, there is something to be said for little achievements that add up to something big.  I look at my daughter, who has always been a good competitor, and I feel this is her mantra.  She very rarely tanks anything.  She puts up good routines, and every so often she'll blow it out of the park.  We haven't seen that yet this year, so she usually catches a placement in the top third.  Which is good.  It's solid.

But it isn't anything that screams achievement.  

But on Friday, it was apparent that little achievements add up to big things.  One person might be incredibly talented at something, so much so that their success is almost blinding.

But on something else, they are weak.

There is something to be said for working hard and looking at the bigger picture.  One pound weight loss a week isn't much.  But 52 pounds a year is.  One clean closet one weekend might not make a big difference. But an organized house a month later feels pretty dang good.

I'm guilty of looking for the big win, the almighty #1.  We all are.  Especially with our kids.

But let's not overlook how amazing the All Around is.  The kid who can perform in school, life and sports. I'm focusing on the whole package these days, because those little wins add to phenomenal things.

Every time.