Archive | June, 2013

Summer Sports – Survival Guide – Post #2

27 Jun

Beat the Heat

Possibly one of the most difficult things to deal with during summer sports is the weather.  Protecting the kids (and spectators) from the high heat of the summer is so very important. My family found out just how important it is to ‘plan in advance’ for hydrating for summer sports.  This past weekend, my son was invited to an End of the School Year pool party.  From there, he went to baseball practice. By the end of practice, he was lightheaded, nauseous & vomiting.  From the ball field, we went straight to the emergency room for IV fluids….


We just had 4 days of 90+ degree heat in CT, and it’s still June.  The real heat usually hits at the end of July and into August.  Here are some simple tips to help you survive the summer.

Wet cloths – It seems so simple, but wet cloths can be very effective to cool folks off on the hottest of days.  I went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest stack of washcloths they had – that way if they are lost, it’s no big deal.  Before practices or games, I put each washcloth in a Ziplock sandwich bag and add water.  I stick these washcloths in a cooler.  When needed, these washcloths are used to wipe down your forehead or can be draped on your neck.


Cold Packs for injuries – This is a Pinterest find that I love… these cold packs are very clever because they are so easy to make and are so versatile.  In a Ziplock sandwich bag, combine 3 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol and freeze.  The rubbing alcohol doesn’t let the water freeze completely so you end up with something that resembles an Icee frozen drink.  These are great for injuries, bug bites or the like.


Hydration – After my intro paragraph about ending up in the ER with my son for dehydration– enough said….  For each game, our team mom arranges to have coolers filled with water and Gatorade for the team in the dugout.  This is to supplement the water jugs each parents sends with their kids.  At all of the fields we play at, there are fully stocked concession stands so parents either pack their own coolers or buy their beverages at the field.


Shade – Depending on the location of the All Star games, some of the fields we visit have some sort of shady spots, but others don’t.  This summer we will be playing at a facility with no shade at all.  Knowing this, my husband got a pop up tent for Father’s Day.  These tents go up quite easily and even come with a storage bag on wheels for easy travel.


Sun screen – I think it goes without saying that everyone should wear sunscreen while outside for any period of time.  My son and many of the other boys tend to resist getting sunscreen applied.  A couple of years ago, I was insistent that my son let me put sunscreen on him as they were getting ready to warm up.  One of the coaches asked if he could borrow the sunscreen.  As he was putting it on, one of the other moms asked if I would put sunscreen on her son as he was also resisting.  Since I wasn’t his mom, he didn’t dare say no to me.  Before I knew it, before each game, I was lining the boys up to apply sunscreen on them before each game that year.  It became so automatic, they would see me coming with the spray bottle and would stop what they were doing and put their arms out to get sprayed.


Bug Spray – with the summer, come the bugs.  For evening games, or games after a rain, make sure you have bug spray at the ready.  As with the sunscreen, I have been known to line the kids up before a baseball game to put bug spray on them.  One of the moms on the team swears by the ‘Off’ personal bug repellant fans because they work and there is no sticky bug spray all over you.  I’ve never used them before, but I did buy them recently to try them out.


Working for a Living

Just because your kids are playing summer sports, doesn’t mean you can give up going to work for the summer.  As we tend to travel as a team and caravan to each game, we often have to meet at our home ball field in the middle of the afternoon to travel to an evening game.  Here are few ideas that may help you ‘stay connected’ with work while ‘staying connected’ with your summer athlete:

Smart phone with a data plan – Anyone with a smart phone knows the possibilities that their phone provides.  Business apps and internet access help make doing business on the go a reality.

iPad / Laptop – In order to actually do business, you may need to have an iPad or a laptop handy so you can do more than just answer phone calls.  I usually line up a project or two that I can work on offline while we are waiting to travel to a game, or while the team is warming up.  Since ball fields don’t generally have a lot of electric outlets lying around, make sure you have a fully charged battery before you leave home!


Hot spot – For the most productivity, you can get a ‘hot spot’ on your Smart phone.  This ‘hot spot’ will be able to provide you internet access wherever you are.


Business Phone – To be sure you don’t miss any important business calls, be sure to forward your business phone to your cell phone.  Of course, depending on the types of calls you get in your business, this may not be appropriate.  It’s one thing to answer calls from your boss or co-workers since chances are, they will know where you are.  It would not really be appropriate to answer calls from customers – it wouldn’t make the best impression for customers to hear parents cheering in the background while they are trying to conduct business with you.


What are some of your favorite tricks to beat the heat?  Or work outside the office?  Share them with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Summer Sports – Survival Guide – Intro Post

22 Jun

School just got out, but Summer Sports has already started.  What??? Yup, you heard me, summer sports begin before school gets out!!!!


Translation: parents that commit to summer sports commit to give up any chance of a normal summer vacation.

In order to participate in All Star Baseball in our town, the parents must sign a contract that you are committing to the team and you agree that your child cannot miss a practice or a game for the duration of the teams eligibility to play.  Aka – the better the team is, the longer your child will play and the longer your baseball commitment is.

sign contract

We’ve been through this before so it’s not new to us…. last summer, my son was chosen to play on our town’s 10 year old All Star baseball team.  The teams were declared before school ended and daily practices start THAT SAME DAY.  Lucky for us, the team did well and won their District championship.  This put us on the path to play in the Sectionals for our state.  They were eventually eliminated from the tournament so they turned around and played in a local tournament – you know, for good measure…


Baseball finished at the very end of July – but NO WORRIES, Football started on August 1st.  But that commitment is only 4 days a week.  Can you say ‘Long Weekend’ for a family summer vacation?

weekend getaway

This may drive some folks crazy, but we consider ourselves fortunate for the opportunity for our son to experience the honor of getting to represent our town in the best of baseball.  What this does mean though is family life changes quite a bit, and we are more ‘on the road’ than ever.  Between the busy schedule and the heat of summer, we have come up with some ideas that make life a little easier – for all the baseball families involved.


baseball (Photo credit: theseanster93)

In the next few posts, I will share with you some of the things that worked for us last year and will hopefully help you survive the summer sports season – or any other summer activities you and your family participates in….


Stay Tuned for our suggestions, and we are anxiously hoping to hear from you with tips & tricks you have employed to survive the Summer Season!!!

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

 Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Father’s Day Memories

13 Jun

by Rich Dunn

Many men will tell you that the gift that they would desire on Father’s Day is 5 – 6 hours of uninterrupted couch time with the clicker in hand in front of any sports event on TV… however that is just not the case.  The real gift that most REAL Dads want is to spend some good time with their families…

There are many fun and interesting things to do on Father’s day … A trip to the Beach … a trip to a Museum … or a trip to a Movie … BUT my favorite Father’s Day was the visit to our local Minor League team game.  The New Britain Rock Cats (the Minor League affiliate to the Minnesota Twins) have an event every Father’s day where the Dads and the Kids can have a catch on the field before the game.  One such Father’s Day remains one of my best memories.  In a homage to the movie Field of Dreams and as baseball is one the cornerstones of American culture, a day like this is a great Father’s Day idea.


My wife, son and I went to a game one father’s day a few years back and we were able to have a catch on the field with a bunch of other Fathers and Sons. My son was around 4 years old when we did this.  He is now 12 but it was a great day to spend with my family.

… The Dads gathering on the field with their boys hunting out a good spot for a catch …


Once we got or spot out in Left Field we had our catch … it is fun to compare the 4 yr old version vs. the 12 yr old version … I think that his form has not changed much even though HE has changed a bit …

… In the blink of an eye things change; He is now 12 … but his form is about the same …

First is The Wind-Up …



… and then The Throw …

and the throw


Once we finished our catch we got our seats on the 3rd base line …

ready to watch a Rock Cats game

To this day I don’t even remember who won the game … that is not important … but it is one of my favorite days …at the end if it is baseball … fishing … a movie … or the beach … hanging out for a few hours together on Fathers Day is the way to go!!

What special days have you shared with your family?  Share your favorite Father’s Day memories with us.

Rich Dunn is the husband/co-pilot/co-owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Make Your Own Tissue Paper Poms

6 Jun

One of the many functions I hold within the Little League Organization in our town is running the annual fundraising dance.  Since the purpose of this event is to get the parents together for a night of fun, it is also ultimately to raise money for the league.  Because of this, I am always looking for easy, but economical – OK, OK, I’ll say it – CHEAP decorations.  This event is held on the back deck of the clubhouse of a golf course in town.  They have a huge covered deck that is perfect for holding 200+ people outside, but is covered in case of inclement weather.


This year, the decorating committee – all 2 of us – decided to make paper Poms out of tissue paper.  Here’s how you can make them for any event you may be having.

IMG_9386     IMG_9384IMG_9385

Supplies Needed:

  • 12 pieces of tissue paper – one color or multiple colors – cut into 18“ x 20” sections (or whatever size you’d like, just not a square as that’s the most difficult to manipulate into a full Pom).
  • Floral wire (cut into 10” – 12” lengths)
  • Curling Ribbon (ours was cut at a 72” length – depending on where your Pom will be hung, you can make this ribbon longer or shorter.  If you aren’t sure what length you will need, you are better off to leave the ribbon on the longer side.)


What To Do to Make the Pom Pictured Above:

Step1:  Alternate two pieces of colored paper with 2 pieces of white paper – for a total of 12 pieces of tissue paper.


Step 2:  With the shorter side of the tissue paper facing you, fold ‘accordion style’ in approximately 1 ¾” inch widths.  The tissue paper we had was uneven at the edges so the accordion fan you end up with will not be perfect.


Step 3:  Take a length of floral wire and twist it around the center of the tissue paper to secure the tissue paper.  Do not ‘crunch’ the paper in the center – the floral wire is only there to make sure the accordion doesn’t come apart.



Step 4:  Thread the length of curling ribbon through the floral wire wrapped around the center of the Pom.  There is no need to knot this ribbon so it stays in place.  Since we were transporting the Poms to a different location and then fluffing them, we did choose to put a quick knot to be sure the ribbon didn’t slip out during transit.


Step 5:  Trim the ends of the tissue paper.  We cut ours into a triangle, but you can make your edges rounded for a softer look.  You need a good sturdy scissors to trim this since you are cutting 12 pieces of tissue paper that have been folded over many times…  With a triangle shape you can just start from the edge and trim to the middle on both sides using straight cuts.  With a round edge, you need to be careful that you can trim evenly around the end of the Pom.  Trimming the edges makes the Pom appear ‘fuller’ by adding dimension to the edges.



This is where we stopped for the majority of the Poms until the day of our event.  We chose to transport them flat to the venue and were going to “fluff” them that day.  If you manipulate these Poms too much, like moving them from location to location before hanging, they will actually flatten out – especially if you can’t suspend them from the ribbon right away…


Step 6:  Open the accordion fold on one side of the floral wire and make it look like a fan.  Carefully fluff the Pom by separating each layer upward for ½ of the layers in your Pom.  Tip – to get the fullest Poms, you will need to gently work to separate the layers of tissue paper right near the center – near the floral wire.  You may need to play with these layers a little bit to separate the layers.




Step 7:  Repeat on the other side so it looks like you have a ½ circle of fluffy Pom.  Remember, you are working with tissue paper which is very thin and easily ripped.  You need to be gentle.  Every now and then, you will more than likely put a rip in the tissue paper.  This is OK as you won’t be able to tell on the finished Pom.


Step 8:  Flip the Pom over and fluff the other side.  Be careful that you don’t completely smash the first ½ you fluffed.  At the very end, you can certainly do a final ‘fluff’ to even out the sides and make it as round as possible.


Step 9:  Hang your Pom from wherever you are going to and do a final ‘fluff’ to separate the edges and get your final fullness in the sphere.


Step 10:  Enjoy!

Because the color combinations are only limited by the colors of tissue paper, this project is very versatile for any event you may be hosting.  We think this would be perfect for a Baby Shower, Baptism party or First Communion party!

Take time to try this easy DIY project for your next event or get together and let us know how your Poms come out.  We’d love to hear from you!

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.