Saturday, December 6, 2014

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sarah Reviews Calendars

I normally use my iCal for everything. I love it because I can set alarms for myself, and let's be honest here, the alerts that pop up on my iPhone are really the only reason I remember anything these days. That being said, when I got the winter basketball schedules for both of my kids last week I almost passed out. I needed a real calendar.

Sometimes you just need to see everything written out in grid form.

I am not going to lie to you and say that being a parent of twins is easy, but I can't say it doesn't have its advantages. For the first seven years of their lives I was able to keep them on the same t-ball/soccer/baseball team and it was glorious because it mean one practice and one game. Now that they are in 3rd grade the boys and girls no longer play on the same teams. Take into consideration that each child has two practices (rotating schedule to be fair) and one game each week, plus piano, swimming, choir, scouts and regular life events like birthday parties, sleepovers, Christmas etc., I really, really need some organizational tools to figure out when I am supposed to be where.

Seriously, how do you people with more than two children do this?

So here is the good news. All of this crazy schedule nonsense coincided perfectly with an opportunity from my friends at the Clever Girls. They asked if I wanted to do a piece about a sports themed calendar.

DO I? Are you kidding? This is perfect. First of all, I just redid my office and it doesn't have nearly enough Buccaneers paraphernalia and second of all, as you can see, I really, really, really am in need of a calendar.

The lovely people at SportsFreak365 sent me three.

A wall calendar.

I adore Gerald McCoy.

A daily trivia calendar.

And a desk blotter.

You don't have to have Tampa Bay stuff (although I can't imagine why you would root for any other team). You don't even have to choose football, the SportsFreak365 site has NHL, MLB, NBA and NCAA gear in addition to the NFL calendars.

And the holidays are right around the corner.

I moved to Tampa in 1984. The Bucs were terrible. TERRIBLE. They also wore that creamsicle orange color. Remember?

We watched the Buccaneers play on TV when the games weren't blacked out locally for poor attendance, but I didn't learn to truly love football until college when somebody finally explained downs to me.

It is funny how knowing the rules of a game make it vastly more interesting to watch.

I remember telling my friends that as soon as the Buccaneers changed their colors I would buy a jersey. How could a team possible feel tough wearing light orange with Bucco Bruce on their helmet? Plus I look terrible in orange.

In 1997 my dreams came true and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers changed their colors to garnet and pewter and you know what? Just a few years later they won a Super Bowl.

I now own seven Tampa Bay Buccaneer jerseys.

I no longer live in Tampa, but I still love my Buccaneers.

Showing off your team spirit has never been easier! Whatever team you root for and whatever sport they play, find the gear you need at Just in time for the holidays, you can get 30% off  any purchase using the code “Clever30.” And while you’re there, be sure to enter to win $500 toward team gear in Ditka’s SportsFreak of the Week Contest!
I was compensated for my work but these words and opinions are my own.
I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Supporting My Little Athlete

For a person who spends about a third of almost every day either watching, writing about, thinking about or tweeting about sports I am not terribly athletic.

Yeah, I know it is ironic. So is the fact that I am a tall girl who often gets asked to play basketball even thought I have never mastered the art of dribbling.

I've said too much.

I guess I really wanted to tell you that so that I could help explain I passed on no coordination or strength genes to my children. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with my kids, they are very smart, they have quick wits, one of them (no names) has a real musicals gifts, they are creative and they are both good at math.

The math thing they get from their father, I like to take credit for all of the the other things.

We signed the twins up for tee-ball and it was okay. They played for a few seasons and then moved up to Single A. Single A is machine pitch and it was a nightmare. One of my children (again who I won't name) didn't get a single hit all season - didn't even get a piece of the ball. It was torture for both of them. The best games were the ones that got rained out.

The next year they decided that they would rather play soccer. It was a breath of fresh air. They were really seeming to enjoy it, and while neither of my kids was a superstar they both played hard and had fun.

And then they put my baby in as goalie.

I'm not sure how we didn't see it coming, the coach was rotating all of the children and letting them play all of the positions, but I honestly wasn't expecting it.

There was my sweet, uncoordinated, unsure of himself son, all alone in that HUGE GOAL. I felt sick to my stomach. How does Hope Solo's mom do it? Martin Brodeur's mother? Peter Schmeichel's parents? I got light headed until I realized I was holding my breath.

Then they blew the whistle to start play.

At first everything was cool and the Sparrow offense kept the ball on the other end of the field.

Oh yeah, we were the Sparrows. Not the toughest name in soccer, but still better than Orangemen, Hokies or Gamecocks, so hush.

Then the other team (The Owls, there was a bird theme for the 8 and unders) got the ball and kicked it over toward my son.

I started holding my breath again.

Then it happened. Some kid made a shot on goal.

Ian stopped it with his face.

This is where the needing the Kleenex comes in. We both cried.

But then we dried our tears and he got back in the goal and even though they scored on him, he hung in there and was a trooper. I was so proud of him.

See that picture up there? That is what I am putting on my Kleenex oval.

I think that supporting your little athletes and team sports are such and important part of growing up. They aren't always easy, but you will always learn new skills, even if those skills are sucking it up and getting back to work. Both of my kids have agreed to play soccer again in the spring, but first, winter basketball. I mean, really, somebody in this family should know how to dribble.

 * *  Get a Kleenex custom oval BOGO until 11/15/12, just use the code PLAYOFFS at checkout on the Kleenex site. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Five Reasons I am Considering Buying a Toyota

Well, well, well. It is time for me to buy a new car. Despite a very low cool factor I have loved my minivan since the day I got it. Two sliding doors saved my back and my sanity with young twins and this van has been a workhorse, but my 2003 Honda Odyssey will cost me $3500 to fix and is only worth about $5000 and that math means it is time to look into a new car.

Now that my kids are both eight years old I think, or at least I hope, they can open and close doors by themselves so I am ready for something a little more stylish. I still need the practicality of a big car that can haul around a bunch of kids and is good on road trips so we are looking at SUVs.

There are a few cars we are seriously considering, but since I am working with Toyota I will talk about the RAV4 specifically.

Five Reasons I am Considering Buying a Toyota Rav4

1) They are super cute. Have you seen one?

2) Optional third row.

One of the things I really love about my minivan is that we can accommodate guests. There are only four of us in the family, but sometimes my parents visit and we can all fit in one car to go to dinner, or I can comfortably take my kids and some of their friends to a movie or to the pool. Even though I want to downsize a little bit, I don't want to give up a third row.

3) Complete strangers have raved to me about how much they love their RAV4.

This sounds like a lie, but it is true. When I was picking up my rental car yesterday (which isn't even a Toyota) I told the woman that this car was going to be a test drive since I needed a new car. She told me she had a RAV4 and then she went on and on and on and on about how much she loved it and even though it was seven years old she didn't want a new car.

Owner testimonials go a long way.

4) Safety


I am not kidding when I say that there are too many to type. Seriously, check these out.

5) The 100 Cars for Good program.

A company that does good things matters. A company that does bad things matters (looking at you BP and Chick Fil A). Sometimes good deeds go unnoticed, but not this time Toyota. I am impressed with this program. If you aren't familiar with the 100 Cars for Good watch this.

Oh, indeed.

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I am working with the Clever Girls Collective and Toyota on this campaign. Toyota paid for my trip to their campus and they gave me a video camera, but these words and stories are my own.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sarah Test Drove Some Toyotas

Back in June I took a trip out to California to visit the Toyota Campus in Torrence. As a part of the Toyota Women's Influencer Network, Toyota gave us a chance to test drive a few cars.

I went in planning on test driving some SUVs and some minivans. Yes, sort of because I am a mom, but also because I am currently in the market for a new family vehicle.

Unfortunately, due to time restraints and only about 15 cars for about 45 people I ended up driving a few Toyotas that not at all what I was looking for.

On the upside, it was really fun!

The first car I test drove was a Toyota Tacoma. It was red and pretty. I thought it handled really well for a little pick up truck, but the only other pickup truck I have ever driven is my husband's work truck and since I am not insured on that vehicle the most I have driven it is that one time I needed to move it out of the driveway and into the street. The Tacoma was better than that.

The second car I test drove was the Toyota Camry.

The Camry was lovely. If I were looking to buy a sedan I would definitely consider it. I was very comfortable and it handled well and it was pretty.

It was red and shiny like this one. I can't find the camera I took my pictures on. You will have to cut me some slack. We are renovating and I have far fewer walls than normal. Crap. I hope I didn't put my camera in storage. That can't be good for it.

The last car I test drove was my favorite. It was the Toyota Advance Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle.

Picture Stolen from my friend Glennia Campbell from The Silent "I'

I KNOW! It is even fancier than it sounds. It drove amazingly well for a two year old prototype. My friends and I joked about taking it off course and going out for cupcakes but we decided that even if we knew our way around Torrence (which we didn't) we would probably be in trouble if we ran out of fuel. We didn't know where the closest fuel cell filling station station is. I don't even know if there is such a thing as a fuel cell filling station.

I am really glad we didn't take it rouge, as it turned out to be a one of a kind prototype and probably worth over $1 million. I can't speak for my fellow passengers, but I wasn't paying attention when I signed the release form and didn't have $1 million to pay them back if we had to ditch the car on the side of the road and hike back to Toyota.

Plus, I doubt the Clever Girls would have let me hang around if I stole and abandoned a car from one of their clients.

I suppose I could have also served some jail time and that would have sucked,

But it was all cool. I didn't steal a thing and I had a cupcake when I got back home.

* * *

I am working with the Clever Girls Collective and Toyota on this campaign. Toyota paid for my trip to their campus, but these words and stories are my own.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Every Day Desserts With Cool Whip

Thank you COOL WHIP for sponsoring this post. Join us on Facebook for inspiration and recipes for everyday treats. What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms

My kids love dessert.

That might be a crazy thing to say. I supposed it would be equally fair to say that all kids love dessert.

Lately we have been eating a lot of fruit for dessert. The strawberries this year have been amazing and my son cannot get enough of them. I have been eating strawberries and yogurt for lunch and he just eats them plain for a snack. Strawberries are delicious and wonderful, but after eating them almost every day since February (we don't mess around during strawberry season) we were starting to get bored with plain old strawberries for dessert.

I had a great idea! Strawberry shortcake. All I needed was those little round cake things, strawberries and some COOL WHIP whipped topping. It is about the easiest thing in the world to make if your grocery store has the little round shortcake shells. Did you know that shortcake shells were a seasonal thing? Me neither!

Fortunately, I am very resourceful and had a plan B. Strawberry pie! Strawberry pie sounds like a fancy thing that involves work, but it can be as simple as a pre made graham cracker pie crust, strawberries, strawberry gel and COOL WHIP.

Guess what else is seasonal. If you guessed strawberry gel you win something, but it isn't strawberry pie unless you can wait until February.

For a moment I thought I was going to have to go to plan C. Plan C was one that Laurie suggested when I said I was going to make a dessert that involved COOL WHIP. Her recipe included pistachio pudding, fruit cocktail and COOL WHIP. This is a special White family recipe. They call it "The Green Stuff".

Now - I believe her when she says that it tastes good, however, I have two picky eight year olds and if I said dessert and put something in front of them that I called "The Green Stuff" and that it was White's recipe and when they asked what was in it I said "pistachio pudding and fruit cocktail" they would probably balk now and then continue to bring it up for years to come. Like "Hey kids, one time your Grandmother tried to trick us into eating green pudding with fruit cocktail in it. I think she might be a witch."

I decided several things: 1) I would come up with a plan D, 2) I would try The Green Stuff next time Laurie or her mom makes it with an open-ish mind, 3) I would never try to sell someone on a dessert by using the words "poor man's ambrosia" and 4) It is true what they say. I really am a snob.

Plan D. I bought half of a pound cake. I was going to bake one, but when I realized I could just buy a half of an already baked one that seemed like the path of least cake resistance. I still had my strawberries and I still had my COOL WHIP.

When I got home, I told my husband about my plan. He said "got it."

When Gabe says "got it" that means he is going to do it. His cooking skills eclipse mine and he started slicing the berries very thin. Then he put a tiny bit of salt and a little sprinkle of sugar on the strawberries and just let them sit. When you do that it leaches out some of the moisture and the berries almost make their own gel.

They sat like that until after dinner and when it was time for dessert he sliced the cake and put strawberries and COOL WHIP on top and it looked like we had a very fancy dessert for the kids. There is just something about adding COOL WHIP that makes it seem special instead of just a few things I threw together.

And by I, I of course mean Gabe.

And it was delicious.

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Do you have a special dessert you'd like to share? Enter COOL WHIP's Fan Dessert of the Month Contest for a chance to win $500! Simply make a COOL WHIP dessert, take a photo, and upload it here. Enter now!

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Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Molly Maid Contest Winner

Congratulations to Bryana ZT! She won the $100 Molly Maid gift certificate.

Bryana, I just need your e-mail address to get started.
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