Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Simple Snack Cup

I'm a self declared super pinner...yep, I admit it!  I am a Pinterest addict still to this day.  A lot of great inspiration comes to me when perusing pins. 

Today's Tasty Tuesday team snack idea was inspired by a holiday pin where a mom made orange cups into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.  That's awesomesauce right there - so simple, yet cute and creative!  We made quite a few of these gems and gave them away to toddler trick-or-treaters at our house this past Halloween.  See the original pin that inspired me here.

We're like 7 months past Halloween and not even planning 2013 costumes yet this year, why was this inspirational to me now for a team snack?  Easy - sharpies and fruit cups = fun ball style fruit cups.  I'm sure this isn't an original idea, but I haven't seen it anywhere yet.  It couldn't get much simpler than this and it's one even younger kids may want to help create.  Maybe set them up to create while mom puts her feet up for 5 minutes?  I'm sorry - I must have been daydreaming that idea...

Here is what you'll need.
- Fruit cups with clear tops (I have had best success buying these in bulk to get the clear top style)
- Sharpie or other permanent marker (Be sure not to use washable marker here or it will run once the fruit is chilled)

Pick fruit cups that match the color of the style of ball you plan to create.  Oranges or peaches are great selections for basketball themed cups and pears or applesauce are good choices for baseball themed cups.

Before the fruit is chilled, draw laces on top of the clear plastic with the appropriate color permanent marker.  You run the risk of ink not setting as well if you try to draw the lines on a cup that has been chilled and has some condensation.  Before chilling is the way to go.

Chill the fruit cups and serve.  Simple and fun!  These make great treats not just for game day snacks, but also for season end and sports themed parties.

Happy fruit cup decorating!

Monday, May 27, 2013

No Team Snack Drama

Why is it that when we become parents we become naturally more competitive?  My child learned to walk before yours, my son is reading three grade levels ahead of his age ... blah blah blah

I'd like to think that team sports, at least during the younger years, would be somewhat drama free territory.  Yeah right!  I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine during soccer season last year regarding snack expectations of other parents on their team.  You might think that they were expecting healthy organic options, but no that wasn't it.  The parents on the team weren't as much concerned about the nutritional value of the team snacks as they were the presentation of it.  See, the first two parents started the precedent of elaborately decorated goodie style bags, complete with toys and favors for team snacks.  We have come a long way from orange slices in a bucket, but do we have to go all of the way to elaborate gifts for snack time?  

My friend was explaining her dilemma of not being able to find just that right color of gift bag to use for snacks.  She had found some great ribbon, a fun (yet notably junkie) toy but needed a team color bag so she could decorate it with some stickers and have ready in time for the game.  Naturally, loving to help like I do, I started hunting for the gift bags for her.  Eventually between the two of us we found enough for every player on the team.  Whew!!  Train wreck avoided...or was it?

We were on a hunt because the parents expected it - the kids had gotten used to it.  But the kids just wanted a snack, plain and simple.

Here are some handy tips to help avoid snack drama and keeping it simple.

1) Bring some simple snack items to practices before snacks are expected and assignments for the season begin.  Keeping it casual at the start will help set the tone for the season.  

2) Once the season begins, assign yourself to the first snack duty for the team to set an example of what is good to bring.  Keep it casual, parents will follow your lead.

3) If you have a team website post examples of snacks that are good items to bring.  Be careful not to turn these examples into rules - nobody wants to be told exactly what to do.

4) Reserve special treats or toylike items for holidays during the season or a player's birthday. 

Setting an example for your team can go much further than you can imagine.  Doing so will help set expectations and keep your snacks on the drama free end of the spectrum.

Have you been caught in snack team drama?  Personalized cookies, over the top presentation?  Are you for or against - sound off below in the comments.  

Happy snacking! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Team Mom Philosophy

I felt it was worth doing a quick post on the basic Team Mom Philosophy and the background behind being a team mom.  

Whether you have been waiting for this moment your entire life or you were voluntold and assigned to the position, you need to keep the same end result in mind - make it fun for the kids and simple for the parents.  If you make this your mantra, you will make it through any season like a champ!

Don't get me wrong, if you're doing your job as team parent well, you will have moments of utter frustration but you will also have moments of a great sense of accomplishment.  

Basic rules to follow as you get started:

- Keep things simple
- Get organized and stay organized
- Keep an open line of communication with parents and coaches
- Be courteous (trust me sometimes this is easier said than done but you can do it!)
- Plan ahead 
- Make it fun!

If you do everything for your team with these principles in mind your team will be a happy team come the end of the season.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Baseball Treat

As this blog gets under way, I'm striving to make every Tuesday a tasty one by posting snack and foodie ideas for team moms and team parents alike.

I do promise that I will have healthy snack posts as well, but today starts with a little tribute to baseball.  For much of the country baseball is just getting under way, for those of us on the west coast, baseball is just ending.  In this limbo area of seasons coming and going, why not post a fun cupcake idea?  Cupcakes are great for season end parties and are also fun treats for the team during the season.

This cupcake idea is one of my favorites.  You'll see a combo of two different cupcake decor ideas.  One was inspired by a pin on Pinterest using red M&Ms to create red baseball laces on white icing.  You can view the inspirational pin here.  I originally had the thought to just pick the red M&Ms out of a bag and keep the other colors for a sweet treat at home.  After that 5 second thought passed, I picked up a bag of only red M&Ms at my local party store.  These can also be found at many local candy stores.  (Side note, if you do feel you want to sort through the bag and pick the red ones out... consider picking the green ones out as well to create 'grass' cupcakes to go with the baseballs.)

Arrange the red M&Ms in an arc on each side of the cupcake to create a baseball effect.  Easy peasy!

But wait, that's not all.  What I really wanted to share was the fun cupcake topper idea we used for our end of season baseball party.  Surely someone on your team (most likely you if you're the team mom) has taken several pictures throughout the season.  A simple and inexpensive way to jazz up your cupcakes is to print an action photo of each player on a thick photo paper or card stock and cut around the edge of the shape.  Easily attach these to lollipop sticks with a small dab of hot glue and voila - you've got cute, action packed cupcake toppers that the team will love.  Each player will enjoy finding their picture and eating the cupcake attached to it.

Have fun spicing up your team's cupcakes.

Here's another fun action shot atop a cupcake from a soccer season as well.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting Started and Staying Organized (Part 1)

There are a few good tools out there for team moms (and if I can digress here for a moment, I could go with "team parents" if I'm going to be PC...but hopefully any team dads or coaches out there reading this will affectionately know that I care for you as well but will refer to you as a mom more than likely in my posts.  Sorry, you're just going to have to deal with it.)  So back to the tools...  There are some good tools and organizational sites out there now for organizing teams.

Today I'm going to highlight Shutterfly.com and their share sites.  I have personally used Shutterfly share sites for multiple sports teams, and actually liked them so much that I started a personal one to share information on our family with family and friends.  Naturally I would pick this site service to share with you first since I am fond of it.  But hey, don't get me wrong, it has it's quirks and little things I'd like to fix, just like most things in life, but overall they are worth checking out.

Some positives about Shutterfly -

It's free. Seriously, need I say more?

There's a convenient app for share sites specifically that can be downloaded to your smart phone.

The calendar and snack schedule are easily downloaded to a smart phone calendar.

They are super easy to customize.  They offer a step by step setup wizard or you can go rogue and design on your own.  I'd lie if I said I didn't go rogue.

There are several colors and styles to choose from.  This is both a positive and a negative in my book.  There are several preset color and style templates, however, the selection needs to be a little more robust for this bells and whistles mom.

Functionality.  There is a tab and a box to contain anything and everything you would want to include on your site. There is a roster, availability chart, snack schedule (where you can easily assign people or have them sign themselves up (but really, just sign them up...more on that in a later post I'm sure), the schedule, a tile for weather, the homepage with a picture of the week and score tally - and much more.  And the best part?  All of these are optional!  Add or remove those features that fit your team's style and needs.

And of course what is Shutterfly best known for? No, not the cool Christmas and Holiday cards they have, but pictures - hello!  Shutterfly share sites are designed with pictures in mind.  It is easy for families to upload pictures and other families to download those pictures if there happens to be a great shot of their All-star making a fabulous play at third, or chasing butterflies in right field.

Best of all this site is protected!  It's available to members and invitees only.  Just make sure to offer up membership to those important people in your team players' lives... including doting grandparents.

What are my share site pet peeves you ask?  There aren't many (yet) but my biggest pet peeve with the site is the communication piece and e-mailing.  When you check a box that says 'do not e-mail' or if you uncheck a box that says 'e-mail all site members' you'd expect that they wouldn't be e-mailed, right?  Or is that just me?  Well it's a safe bet that all members on your site will be e-mailed when you change or update anything on the site.  That my friends is annoying.  **sigh**

Check out Shutterfly share sites if you are new to Team Mom duty... you won't go wrong.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Neglected no more - Team Moms have a resource!

After scouring web pages and blogs high and low to find tips and ideas for team moms, I kept finding I was disappointed that there wasn't one solid resource I could turn to for ideas, or to share my stories and frustrations.  I mean let's face it, team mom is not an easy gig and the salary is usually paid with under appreciation and stubbornness.  Have no fear - this blog will be your one stop shop for all things team mom related.  Tips, tricks and hopefully fun stories!  If you have questions or would like to see a post on a specific topic, please feel free to leave me a comment or send a message.