Perfect Snacks for the Super Bowl

This Sunday is the Super Bowl!  For some reason this year I’m not that enthused about it.  I usually really look forward to watching it because I like one of the teams better than the other or have a player that I like on one of the teams.  Not this year.  Of course we’ll still watch the game, so I’m trying to narrow down our menu.

Here are some of our favorite snacks for watching the big game!

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New England Vacation ~ Part 2 Boston

Today I’m going to recap the second part of our New England vacation.  If you missed Part 1, you can check that out here.

After enjoying 2 beautiful days in Cape, we packed up and headed into Boston.  The traffic was much better Sunday morning heading back in to the city.  The closer we got to Boston the heavier the traffic got, but nothing compared to what we experienced on Friday.  We returned our rental car to the airport and took a Lyft to our hotel.

While in Boston we stayed at the Hyatt Centric, Faneuil Hall.  Our room wasn’t ready so we checked our luggage and headed out to start seeing the city.  It was lunch time so we decided to eat at Union Oyster House since it was a short walk from our hotel.  It is the oldest, continuously running restaurant in the United States.  There is even a booth named after JFK because he ate there so often. The food was fine and we got to see a little piece of history, so we killed two birds with one stone. Next to Union Oyster House is Bell in Hand Tavern and it is the oldest tavern in the United States.

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The NFL Draft

About this time last year when the NFL announced that Nashville would be hosting the 2019 Draft, my husband sent me a text and said he wanted to go.  This is one of his bucket list items, so when the draft was going to be three hours from where we live, it was a no-brainer.  I started looking into where it would be held and booked a room a year in advance.

Day 1

Finally, after a year of waiting, the NFL Draft came to Nashville, Tennessee!  With having two active kids it ended up that we had to split up and were only able to be at the draft as a family for the second day.  Tom and Callahan took off at noon on Thursday and headed down so they could be there for the first night of the draft, which is obviously the biggest.  I was tuned in at home watching the TV when I started getting texts that said “We hit the jackpot”  and then another one followed about 30 minutes later that said “Turn on ESPN”.  After waiting to hear what the jackpot was, I finally received these pictures.

It turns out that with the impending rain that they had decided to go over to the Symphony Hall and see if they could get a seat in there.  That is where all the teams were set up and their picks were called into.  The line was pretty long to get through security maybe because the hall was full.  They really didn’t know what the reason was exactly.  After waiting about 30 minutes an official person came out to talk to them and said that they were keeping an eye on the weather and they might be back to get them.  At this point, they really had no clue what they were talking about.  Another 30 minutes went by and they announced that they were going to take a group of fans down in front of where the general public viewing barricades were.  They had to go through some security and got wrist bands that allowed them access to this particular area.  That is where they watched the first 30 picks or so from.

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Glazed Little Smokies

Today, I’m bringing you another 3 ingredient appetizer perfect to serve for the Super Bowl on Sunday!  This version of a cocktail smoked sausage is my favorite.  There is just something about the smokey bacon and sausage combined with the sweet, sticky brown sugar.  These Glazed Little Smokies are the perfect game day appetizer.

To make these Glazed Little Smokies you are only going to need some little smokes, bacon and brown sugar.  Seriously, that is it!  They could not be easier.  All you have to do is cut bacon slices into thirds and wrap a piece around the smoked sausage and top the whole pan with brown sugar.  They could not be easier.

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Sausage & Rye Party Breads

Now that we are just a little over a week away from the Super Bowl we have started talking about our menu for the big game!  I don’t know about you, but we LOVE the Super Bowl.  We are big football fans at our house and we love party food.  It’s like the perfect event!  These Sausage and Rye Party Breads are the perfect food to serve at your party!

My family has been making these for as long as I can remember.  When my husband and I started dating, he became hooked on them and now his whole family loves them too!  I always bring these to my in-laws on Christmas morning and my nephews are usually standing in the doorway waiting on them.  They really are that good!

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High School Football

Photo Courtesy of Maria Rushing

We just finished up high school football with our annual banquet last Tuesday.  When I say “we” I actually mean my oldest son, Rece.  He pointed out to me not too long ago that I have not posted about any of his sports.  Life has just been so busy, I’ve not made much time for the Sports section of the blog.  I’m changing that today!

Fall brought another full lineup of sports in our household.  My husband coaches the Junior High Baseball team, and then Rece had football and Callahan had soccer.  We were busy driving from one town or field to another!

I have to admit that football is my favorite sport to watch at any level and I certainly got my fill of high school football this season.  Since Rece is a Sophomore, he played on the Junior Varsity team and dressed (and even got to play a little) for the Varsity team.  There were two games a week, one of which was on the road.  When one team played at home, that meant the other had to be on the road.  Most of the road games were about 2 hours away.  It seemed like a marathon season!

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Grand Slam World Series ~ Panama City Beach, Florida

After a busy travel baseball season, our 10U Southern Illinois Team Dinger finished with a World Series win.  The boys competed in a week-long tournament at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, Florida.  The tournament was hosted by Grand Slam Baseball.

This was the largest tournament we have competed in so far.  There were 117 teams from 9 states with age brackets starting with 8U all the way up to 14U.  We played against teams from Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The week started off on Sunday with a skills competition in each age division and that was followed by an opening ceremony and parade at Pier Park.  While waiting for the parade to start the players also were able to trade team pins.  This was kind of like the equivalent to trading pins at Disney.  The kids really enjoyed it.  Our team won the “Around the Horn” competition for our age group!

After the skills competition we were able to get the kids out to the beach in their uniform for some pictures.  I love the way they turned out!  I’m so glad we were able to capture this once in a lifetime experience.

The tournament was set up as a double elimination tournament and every team was guaranteed 4 games with play through at least Thursday.  Each team had a day off on either Monday or Tuesday.  Our day off was Monday and we had our 2 pool play games on Tuesday.  Bracket play began on Wednesday.

Tuesday was a long, hot day.  We played a game, sat a game and then played our second game.  Luckily Frank Brown Park has awnings covering all the bleachers and a large section in the middle of all the fields plus several covered picnic areas near the fields as well.  I was surprised that coolers were allowed.  Most everyone brought snacks and just hung out at the park between games.  If you know me, you wouldn’t be surprised that I left and shopped a little and picked up Chick-fil-a!  Hey, it was my vacation afterall!

Wednesday started our bracket play which was just one game a day.  The only complaint I have is that we were scheduled to play in the afternoon everyday since we were the number 1 seed.  It was so hot, but it didn’t seem to bother the boys too much!  Thursday and Friday were the same.

Since we had won all of our games up to Saturday, we would have to beat three times to not win the Championship.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  We won our first two games on Saturday and we were crowned champions!

The players each received a ring and the team was awarded a 7 foot trophy.  It was the biggest one I’ve ever seen!  It had to be taken apart to get it home!

Overall it was a great tournament.  The boys played great and a lot of memories were made!  Here are the final statistics for SI Team Dinger for this tournament:

Our record was 6-0

The average number of runs scored was 10.33 with a total of 62.

The average number of runs allowed was 1.33 with a total of 8.

These boys played some good baseball!

Of course, it was not all baseball, they were able to have some fun too.  We enjoyed spending time at the beach and pool.  The coaches even took the boys to a movie one night.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone  had a great time and it was well worth the trip!

Stay tuned for my re-cap of the non-baseball portion of our vacation!




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Ballparks of America

I think I’ve mentioned before that we are a baseball family.  We like all sports, but baseball is at the top of the list.  Tom, my husband, helps coach Callahan, my youngest, travel baseball team.  This is the third year he has played for Southern Illinois Team Dinger.  Each year they play in some really neat tournaments, but I have to say that playing at the Ballparks of America in Branson has been his favorite so far.

If your child plays travel baseball you need to put this facility on your list.  What I’m about to tell you will not make sense in your brain…..but here it goes.  These are Major League Baseball replica fields amidst an old outlet mall.  I know it sounds crazy, but it works!

Apparently the Tanger Outlet Mall decided to move to a different location and someone bought it and repurposed it.  All of the “outlet mall” structure is still there.  As a matter of fact, the website says there are facilities for teams to stay overnight.  Our team didn’t do that.  There is a gift shop, café, concession stand and a few offices that seem to be in places where stores were.  There is even an indoor batting cage for teams to use.

Ballparks of America consists of 5 fields. Brooklyn Field, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Detroit Stadium and Bush Stadium, which was the biggest field.  The details that each of these fields has is amazing.

Bush Stadium has an arch mowed into the turf and a really nice seating area.

Fenway has a “green monster” for the left field fence.

Wrigley Field even has “ivy” on the outfield fence.

Brooklyn Field was pretty basic but still very nice.

Different baseball organizations put tournaments on at Ballparks of America.  We played in a Game 7 tournament.  It was the Best of the Midwest Showdown.  There were 16 teams from Missouri, Illinois and Kansas.  We were able to play on all of the fields except Detroit.  It was a long weekend but we came out on top.  SI Team Dinger won the 10-U Championship.  Here is my #22 pitching at “Busch Stadium and the Championship rings they won!

It was a hot weekend of baseball but definitely worth it in the end.  If you are in the travel baseball world, you definitely should try to play at Ballparks of America!

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Soccer Season

While baseball is King at our house, we really love all sports.  As a matter of fact there are very few sports that at least one of my kids doesn’t participate in.  After taking the fall off from playing soccer, Callahan, my youngest, started back up this spring.  I have a love/hate relationship with Spring soccer.  While it can be beautiful outside, the reality is that it is usually cold and rainy.  At least for the regular season.  Once the tournaments roll around in May, we have been fortunate over the years to have nice weather most of the time.

We usually always play in the Whirlwind Tournament locally here in Marion which is nice.  But my favorite is the Spring Classic in Perryville, Missouri.  It is always Mother’s Day weekend.  At first I couldn’t believe that they would actually be playing on Mother’s Day, but I’ve come to enjoy it.

The soccer complex in Perryville is such a nice facility.  You can tell it was well thought out.  There are lots of fields, nice grassy areas and a pavilion with concessions, bathrooms and awards area.  They even built in a nice landscaped area for each team to do their own awards presentation.  It is out of the main traffic flow of the pavilion and has a great set up for team pictures.

I didn’t get any good pictures at our Marion tournament because I went straight from photographing a recipe to the soccer field and forgot to change lenses.  All of these pictures are from the Perryville tournament.  Our team won the 3rd/4th grade division.  We came back to beat a really good team that had beat us the first day of the tournament for the championship.  This was the last tournament we played in this spring and what better way to go out than with a championship win!


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It’s Basketball Season!

In our house there is a sport that goes along with every season.  Right now we are full swing into Basketball Season!  Technically we’ve been in basketball season since November but we are at the peak of it right now.

We have basketball games at least two nights during the week and a basketball tournament every weekend this month.  It definitely keeps us busy, but it does seem to help the winter pass a little faster. 

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