Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: 2 Weeks of Crockpot Dinner Ideas + RECIPES!

As mentioned in my last post, Surviving Dinnertime During Football Season, I absolutely LOVE making crockpot meals. Especially on those crazy busy days, which for us happen to be almost every single day during football season.

Why do I gravitate towards slow cooker meals, you ask? Let me count the ways!

  1. They're easy. Usually no more than 5 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time is all that you need. You simply drop and go. That's it!
  2. They're quick. Wake up just 15-20 minutes earlier than you already do and dinner will be ready to serve when you and your athlete get home from practice. Score!
  3. They're delicious. Your food will basically melt in your mouth. Seriously. And not to mention the heavenly aromas that permeate your house. Mmmm!

Here are two weeks (I typically do not cook dinner on Fridays and Saturdays- hence 10 meals instead of 14) worth of athlete AND Sports Mama approved crockpot meals plus links to the recipes. ENJOY!

  1. Mongolian Beef
  2. Shredded Mexican Chicken
  3. BBQ Country Style Ribs
  4. Chicken and Stuffing
  5. Ropa Vieja (Cuban Style Shredded Beef)
  6. Chicken Parmesan and Pasta
  7. Beef Stew
  8. Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
  9. Meatball Subs
  10. Beef and Broccoli

I've made every single one of these and my family has loved them! Of course, I alter the recipes just a tad to fit my family's taste buds. If your family doesn't eat onions, don't add them. If you all like it hot, add more peppers than the recipe calls for... you get the point!

What are your family's favorite crockpot meals? I'm always looking for new ones to try!

*** Click HERE for a full week's worth of KID-APPROVED school lunch ideas!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: Surviving Dinnertime During Football Season

A first-time football mama recently reached out to me via email seeking advice and tips for managing dinnertime during the upcoming season; meal planning, eating somewhat healthy, and avoiding constant trips through the drive thru. As I began to respond, I realized that I hadn't yet written a blog post on this. Whaaat?! So here we are!

For those of you who may not know, football practice is daily (Monday through Friday, 2 hours each day) beginning in late July/early August. That's a whole lot of time spent at the field, and not much time left for being in the kitchen!

Here are my tried and tested tips for making the transition from the football field to the dinner table as seamless as possible:

  • Decide on when dinner will be. Before practice or after? If you're a SAHM (stay at home mom) or a WFHM (work from home mom), eating before practice may work for your family. I work outside of the home, and even though I get out at 3pm, it just doesn't work for us. I don't like for my boys to have anything more than a light snack (click here for a list of 15 healthy & energizing snack ideas!) within the hour and a half to two hours before practice begins. I've seen the results of eating McDonalds right before practice with my own two eyes. Yeah, not pretty! So for my family, dinner after practice (although late) works best.
  • Meal plan. This is different from actual meal prepping. On Sundays, before grocery shopping, I like to plan out our dinners for the week. I sit down with my planner and write down what we will eat each day. This helps cut down on the "what am I going to make tonight" thoughts that begin to take over my mind every single day at about 2:30pm. It also helps me to change up the rotation a bit more.
  • Meal prep. Meal prepping for me during football season consists of making large batches of make ahead meals. I will usually make one on Sunday and another one mid-week. If I'm feeling extra ambitious, I'll make two on Sunday. Some of my favorite make ahead meals are lasagna, spaghetti, rice and beans, and breakfast burritos. All of these are great when served as leftovers and can even be frozen.
  • Use that Crockpot. My crockpot is my BFF during football season! With just a few minutes of prep the morning of (or even the night before!), you literally just drop it (in) and go. It can't get any easier than that! You'll come home to the heavenly aroma of a home cooked meal just begging to be served. And thanks to Pinterest, the possibilities of what you can make are endless! Click HERE for two weeks worth of athlete AND Sports Mama approved recipes!
  • Keep it simple. I'm not perfect. There are times when I don't take the time to meal plan or prep and have to scramble to put dinner on the table after practice. On those days, I stick to easy 15 minute-ish meals such as tacos, sandwiches, and salads. One of my go-to's for evenings like these is a store bought rotisserie chicken with a side of quick, steamable veggies. You know, the ones you just throw in the microwave. And when all else fails, the boys will have cereal. And guess what Mama, they're A-Okay with that!
  • Eat as a team. Coach Hubby and I host team tailgates following the last practice before every home game. Not only does it encourage team bonding, but it also gets dinner out of the way- before the players even leave the field! I've written an entire blog post on how we do it, from set up to meal ideas to clean up, so be sure to check it out. It's a win-win situation!
  • Drive-thru/take out. There are going to be days that there will just be no other option. On those days, I try and head towards the healthier fast food joints. My favorites are Chick-fil-A, Panera, Chipotle, and our local Peruvian chicken place.

I hope you found these tips helpful and that they come in handy for you!

What are your tips for surviving dinnertime during football (or any!) season? Let me know in the comment section below!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: What To do With Your Athlete's Used Sporting Equipment?

With three boys involved in year around sports, I sometimes feel like I live in a locker room. And not just because of the smells either! I'm constantly chasing loose balls that come crashing out of my trunk, washing jerseys, and tripping over cleats. I'm sure most of you Sports Mamas can relate!

So what can you do with all of the old equipment piling up in your garage and basement (and other places, I'm sure!)? Here are a few ideas:

  • Pass it down to younger siblings. Luckily for me I have three boys who just happen to play the same sports. The older they get, the less likely they are to be able to use it (especially cleats and sneakers!) for more than one season. The bad news is that the bigger their feet get, the bigger my bill gets. The good news is that they aren't busting holes in them anymore, which makes perfect for hand-me-downs. No. 1 passes his on to No. 2 and No. 2 passes his on to No. 3. No siblings? No worries! Cousins, neighbors, and friends work just as well!
  • Donate it. One of our favorite things to do with our old equipment (i.e. sneakers, cleats, gloves, balls, shin guards, etc.) is donate it. Many charities will come to your front door step to pick it up! You never even have to leave home. It seriously can't get any easier! You can also check with your local youth club to see if they will accept it. Our local club collects gently used cleats and sneakers. The best part is that they do not sell them. Interested youth can try them on and leave out with their favorite pair for absolutely free! Zero. NADA!
  • Sell it. I personally have never sold any of the boys' equipment, but I know several people who do. You can have a yard sale, sell it locally via websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or even sell it on Ebay. There are also sporting good stores that sell both new AND used equipment. It's quite easy. You take your equipment in, they pay you for it, and then they resell it. It's a win-win situation!

I hope you find these tips helpful. Be sure to check back frequently and join the Confessions of a Sports Mama, private Facebook Group for more tips!

What do you do with your athlete's used equipment? Let me know in the comment section below!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What's Up Wednesday?- June 27, 2018

Happy Hump Day, Sports Mamas! Only two more days until the weekend, you've got this!

Here's what's up:

What we're eating this week...

Monday- Grill food; hot dogs, chorizos, shrimp, and rice and beans.

Tuesday- Leftovers.

Wednesday- Dave & Busters for No. 3's TENTH birthday! Be still, my heart. Be still!

Thursday- Taco Thursday. Who says tacos are only for Tuesdays?

Friday- Fend for yourself. Mama's tired!

What I'm reminiscing about...

We just recently came back from an amazing (and much needed!) trip to Clearwater Beach, Florida. I've been reminiscing nonstop. The weather, the views, the beach...


The Cuban sandwiches... mmmm!

What I'm loving...

My little garden! Daylilies, bee balm, and veggies, oh my!

What we've been up to...

Trying to relax as best we know how before football "officially" begins. Although weight training and green days sounds pretty official to me!

What I'm dreading...

I was dreading coming back to work after being off for 11 days. To my surprise though, I only came back to 126 emails. And guess what??? My inbox is down to 23 now. 23!!! #WINNING

What I'm working on...

New content for you all, as always! Have an idea you'd like to see me blog about? Let me know in the comment section below!

What I'm excited about...

I still can't get over the fact that I'm a regular contributor to USA Football and that people (dads and coaches included!) find my posts interesting. SO awesome!

What I'm watching/reading...

Not watching much these days as all the TV's in my house seem to have been taken over by Fortnite now that school's out. *rolls eyes*

What I'm listening to...

Ricky Martin's new song Fiebre is my JAM!!!

What I'm wearing...

99.9% of the time you'll find me in flip flops. Yep, even at work! But when I'm not wearing them, I'm wearing these espadrilles by Adam Tucker. Love them!

What I'm doing this weekend...

No. 1 is headed to team camp with his high school, so it'll just be Coach Hubby, No. 2, No. 3, and I. Hoping to be able to relax pool side for most of it!

What I'm looking forward to next month...

Football season!!! I'm ready to be back on the sidelines, with my fellow football mamas, cowbells in hand, cheering for our boys! I'm also excited (and a little nervous!) about becoming a high school football mom. Say whaaat?! I'll be sure to bring you all along for the ride!

What else is new...

If you're still not keeping up with me on Instagram and Facebook, I'd love to have you join me! I share Sports Mama related posts almost daily. What are you waiting for?

That's it for now. What's up with you, Mama?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: 3 Things to Say to Your Athlete After Each And Every Game

I'll admit it. I'm always happier when my boys' win than when they lose. However, I also know that losing is just as much a part of the game as winning is.

How else would they know how good it feels to win if they never lost?

And while it may seem natural to come down on our kid(s) after a subpar performance and/or loss ("Why didn't you take more shots? Do you want to lose your starting spot? You should've done this instead."), the best thing for us to do is to not treat them much more differently than we would had they won.

Youth sports are suppose to be fun. But if we continually put more emphasis on the bad rather than the good, our young athletes may begin to resent them and see them more as a job than a hobby.

So what should we be saying to our children after their games?

Here are three things to get into the habit of saying to your young athlete after each and every game, regardless of the outcome:

  1. Did you try your best?- Just like with any and everything else they put their minds to. No one's saying they have to hit as many three's as Curry, but they should be giving the same full effort he does.
  2. Did you have fun?- If they're not enjoying themselves, it may be time to reevaluate things. Youth sports require a lot of time and sacrifice (from both the athletes and us mamas!). Be sure that you're investing in something that brings them joy.
  3. I love watching you play!- We wouldn't sign them up season after season if this wasn't the case. Am I right? Be sure they know that a game is just a game and that you are, and always will be, their number one fan... regardless of the score!

As the mother of two teenagers now, one entering into his first season of high school football, I can tell you this for a fact; the days are long but the years are (way too) short.

Enjoy every moment, Mamas!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Team Mama Idea: Super Easy Soccer Cupcakes

Tomorrow is No. 2's last soccer game of the season. Which according to every single meteorologist will be played in the rain, again. Yep, I checked them all. I seriously can't remember the last time we had a dry weekend. Ugh!

After the game, we will celebrate with a team pizza party. And if you know anything about this Sports Mama, you know I couldn't help but volunteer to bring cupcakes. And not just any cupcakes, but soccer cupcakes of course!

These soccer cupcakes were easy, I mean super easy, to make. Want to learn how to make them yourself? Just keep reading!

What you'll need:

  • Boxed cake mix
  • Black cupcake liners
  • Green icing
  • Star decorating tip
  • Soccer ball party picks (I found mine at Party City)

All you do:

  1. Follow the directions on the box for cupcakes.
  2. Let the cupcakes cool completely.
  3. Once they are completely cooled, pipe on the icing (aka grass) using the star tip.
  4. Stick the party pick (aka soccer ball) into the cupcake.
  5. Step back and admire your work!

See, I told you they were easy. Yet they *almost* look store bought!

The only thing I would do different next time is to use chocolate cake mix instead of yellow. That way it looks like dirt underneath the "grass".

Happy weekend, Sports Mamas!

*** Update: We won 3-2 AND I just found out that my boy was chosen for the ALL STAR team!!!

*** Click HERE for my football cupcakes and HERE for my basketball cupcakes! ***

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sports Mama Tip: Warm Weather Essentials

It feels like we went straight from Winter to Summer here in NoVA! It's like Spring decided to take this year off. One week I needed a blanket and hand warmers, and the very next week I'm dousing myself in sunscreen. #TRUESTORY

With No. 2 playing soccer, No. 3 playing flag football, and No. 1 getting ready for high school football, I'll be spending a whole bunch of time outside on those sidelines.

Here is my list of warm weather essentials to help keep you cool all season long:

  • Sunglasses. Keep the sun out of your eyes, and look cute while doing it! It's a win-win situation!
  • Hat. I go back and forth between a baseball cap and a fedora. Both do a good job of keeping your head cool as well as keeping the sun out of your face.
  • Hair ties. Ponytails are my go-to hairstyle in the heat. And I don't know about you, but I'm famous for going from having 55 hair ties to having 2 overnight. For this reason, I'm always sure to keep a couple extras in my Sports Mama bag.
  • Sunscreen. This one is a must! Most fields lack any type of shade. And if you've ever sat on bleachers before, you know exactly just how much sun they attract. Not only will it protect you from sunburn, it also shields harmful UV rays which in turn lowers your risk of skin cancer. No brainer, right? Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, so be sure to check the label before purchasing.
  • Water. Self explanatory. Hydration isn't just important for athletes, Mamas. We have to take care of us too!
  • Cooler. Filled with ice, of course. To keep both yours and your athlete's drinks cold. Nothing worse than being thirsty and hot and given warm water.
  • Stadium cushion/chair. Shorts + Hot bleachers = NO BUENO! Do your legs a favor and come prepared. If you don't have either one, a blanket will work just as well!
  • Canopy. Although they can be a bit of a pain to put up, they are totally worth it. They provide lots of shade and lots of room for you and your Sports Mama BFFs to chill (get it??) under.

Honorable mention:

  • Misting fan. I don't have one of these (yet!), but I've been eyeing them. If any of you have one, I'd love to know whether or not you recommend them!

Stay cool, mamas!

*** Not warm where you live? I got you, Mama! Click HERE for my list of Cold Weather Essentials. ***