Mom, can I have a dollar? How to stop the season-long cash trickle.

It happened every time we went to the rink or the fields. The second my kids spotted the concession stand or the video games, the begging would begin. At one point, I thought my name actually was Mom-Can-I-Have-A-Dollar. Between pretzels and the air hockey table, I was getting soaked for $5-$10 bucks every time we went to a practice or a game. With three kids playing a couple sports each, that’s like an extra ice bill. So here are some tactics we figured out to keep the kids from sucking up every last dollar and learn a little personal responsibility.

Playing field play date
It’s really helpful to have a ready-made rink rat playmate, so call and see if Evan’s little brother is coming to the game today and plan a rink play date. Even if the kids aren’t exactly the same ages, they’ll still have fun together and might actually look forward to hanging out at the games. And they’ll stop bugging you for money. Read the rest of this entry »

On the road again. And again. And again.

Traveling to tournaments and away games can be a lot of fun and make for good team bonding. It can also be a living hell along the lines of National Lampoon’s Vacation, at least for the parents. We’re midway through a seven trip summer and each time I hit the road, I encounter something new. Here are a few of my better ideas to make road trips more vacation-like.

Making the most of the hotel breakfast

Save the time and expense of going out for breakfast by booking a hotel that provides a breakfast bar. It’s worth an extra $10- $20 a night. If your team has a really early game time, ask the hotel manager the night before and they will usually open the breakfast a little early for you, or at least put some bagels or something out. A few other ways to maximize the breakfast bar:

Peanut butter and wheat bread

Peanut butter tubs and bread for an afternoon snack, courtesy of hotel breakfast bar.

  • Grab a couple extra peanut butter and jelly packets and a whole wheat bagel or a few slices of bread to make a sandwich later.
  • Do they have yogurt and milk in cartons? Throw one in your cooler.
  • Take a banana or apple to eat in the car if there’s not time for anything else.
  • Hard-boiled eggs have good protein to kick start the morning or to save for later in the day. Grab a salt packet, too.

Read the rest of this entry »