It Was Going So Well, Until This Appeared on the Field…

Training for a halftime performance can be like training for a race.  You may not realize that bands do physical training to get in shape for all of the running they do on the field.  They have to run around in precise formation carrying heavy instruments, sometimes in the heat or cold.  They practice for weeks on these intricate routines.  For this performance, all that practice was paying off until this happened.    Who put that cone there?

Just What is March Madness?

Final FourEvery March basketball fans everywhere are glued to their TV’s or any other device to watch the annual NCAA basketball tournament. It’s affectionately called March Madness and fans love it.   Some take time off from work to catch the games and some watch or listen at work. (Uh oh.)  The lengthy tournament includes upsets and wild overtime games and that’s why it’s “Madness.”


The phrase March Madness has become really well known in the last few years but it actually goes back a long way and is attributed to Henry V. Porter, assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association.   Porter first used the term to describe the Illinois High School basketball tournament.  In 1908 the Illinois tournament was at first a small invitational tournament but in the late 1930’s grew to include 900 teams and attracted sell-out crowds.   Porter was a teacher, principal, coach, and he was also a gifted writer. In 1939 wrote an essay about the tournament for the IHSA magazine entitled “March Madness.”

Some attribute using March Madness to describe the wildly popular NCAA tournament to broadcaster Brent Musburger.  He heard the phrase in relation to the Illinois High School tournament and though it was the perfect way to describe the NCAA tournament.    I have to agree, and I love watching the madness every year.

If you know any sports fans that can’t get enough of the madness check out these great gifts.

Final Four Weekend Party Ideas

Final Four PartyFinal Four weekend is almost here and if you have a team still in the big dance you may be planning a watch party for your friends.  Here are a few ideas to make it fun:

Texas Theme:  The Final Four tournament is being held in Arlington, TX, and since you can’t be there in person, you can bring Texas to you.  Serve Tex Mex dishes and round up some brews from the Lone Star State.  Throw in a couple of cowboy hats and stars and you’ll feel the Texas spirit.

Games:  Just like the Super Bowl, if you have a good-sized group you can prepare some basketball themed games and give prizes for the winners.

Final Four Squares.  Draw a 10 by 10 square grid. Write the numbers 0 to 9 across the side and top. Write one team name across the top and the other on the side. Guests write their names on one or more squares depending on how many guests you may have. At the end of the game take the last digit of each team’s score and the intersection of the two is the winner.

Final Score:  Guests guess the total of the two final scores.

Final Four Trivia:  Prepare some trivia questions on the final four tournament or the teams.  Whoever gets the most right is the winner.

The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy your guests.  How do you watch the tournament?  Do you enjoy it with friends?  Let me know in the comments!

Cajun Burgers

Put a little zing into your game day with these fantastic spicy Cajun Burgers.

Cajun BurgersIngredients

  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning Blend (recipe above)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Sautéed onions, optional


Combine all seasoning blend ingredients in a small bowl or sealable

plastic bag; mix well.

In a bowl, combine the first eight burger ingredients; shape into

four patties. Cook in a skillet or grill over medium-hot heat for

4-5  minutes per side or until burgers reach desired doneness.

 Serve on buns; top with sautéed onions if desired.

If this recipe sounds delicious you’ll flip for these great grilling cookbooks from Taste of Home.

Creative Tailgating Ideas

Alabama FabricAny Crafty Tailgaters Out There?

If you are creative there are hundreds of ways to spruce up your tailgating party.  There are all types of team logo fabrics available now, for the NCAA, NFL, and NBA, etc…  You can make fantastic table cloths, aprons, decorations, stadium blankets, and much more.  Hancock Fabrics has a great selection of team fabrics and in most cases have multiple choices for each team.  Some items need little or no sewing, so those that are “craft challenged” can make them too. They also have patterns if you prefer not to do it on your own.  

Check out the selection here.  Just search for your team and see all the great possibilities.

Have you made any items for your tailgating parties?  Let us know in the comments.


Dr. Naismith You Look Good

James NaismithArt Meets Basketball

One day while reading facebook posts I ran across a post about Dr. James Naismith the inventor of basketball. One of my high school classmates, Melissa Rau, wrote a post about creating a Naismith sculpture. Dr. Naismith was being inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame and Melissa was chosen to design and create the sculpture that was placed in the Hall of Fame. I love basketball and I thought this was fascinating. I just had to know more about it, so I contacted Melissa to get the scoop. Here’s what I found out:

Janet: How did you find out about the opportunity to do the James Naismith sculpture?

Melissa: The Great Overland Station in Topeka sponsors an annual event each year inducting famous Kansans into the Kansas Hall of Fame. James Naismith was one of their honorees for 2013 and I thought he would be an interesting subject to pursue. He was an outstanding man and an icon in the world of basketball and people love him. I wanted to show people what he looked like, and what it would be like to stand next to him. I wanted people to understand what he would have worn, what it would have been like to meet him, what made him tick.

Janet: Tell me how you got involved in this type of work.

Melissa: I have always been an artist and have enjoyed a life-time of creativity in many different forms. About twenty years ago, my mother began sculpting out of polymer clay and began a long career as an artist creating 17 inch tall historic figures. I learned the art of doll making from her over the past many years. Always being a history fanatic, I was challenged to create life-sized, realistic figures which told a story about each one.

Janet: Explain a little about the process in creating this type of sculpture and how you learned it.

Melissa: Each historic figure is completely researched prior to the beginning of each piece. I have to decide what story I am trying to tell about the figure, what expression I want to convey, what feeling it is I am trying to express about the figure. I examine and collect as many photographs of the individual that I can so that I can sculpt a figure from all different angles. The faces and hands are hand sculpted out of polymer clay, and painted. The bodies are a metal and wire armature. The clothing and accessories are hand-made by me or antique pieces are hand selected. Each piece takes approximately six weeks from beginning to end, not including the research time.

Janet: Do you have other sculptures on display?

Melissa: Sculptures of Wild Bill Hickok and Amelia Earhart have also been displayed at the Great Overland Station and various other museums and events.

I am so impressed with the amount of research that is done to make the figures accurate and the detail is amazing. Thanks Melissa for your wonderful Dr. Naismith sculpture and for telling us what it takes to create these figures.

Melissa Rau Bio: Melissa is a talented artist and creates in many artistic forms. In addition to her historic figures, she also has a line of whimsical figures, Santa’s, witches, elves, etc. Each one of her whimsical figures is depicted to remind us of images from old Victorian postcards. Melissa’s works can be found at

Oh the Baseball Memories

I still love this one.  Classic!




















New Bag Policy at NFL Stadiums

What can you take into an NFL stadium?

The NFL has adopted a new policy on what type of bags you can take to the game. You can either take in:

1)  a clear plastic bag that in no larger than 12” x 6” x 12”, or

2) a small clutch bag approximately 6” x 4”.

Here is the full policy. They are implementing this policy to enhance public safety and make it easier for fans to gain access to all stadiums.

For those of you that always carry a big bag you’ll have to decide what is most important and probably reduce the amount of “stuff” you take with you. I know it’ll take me a while to sort my belongings but if it makes us safer, I’ll be glad to.

If you want a stylish clear bag check these bags out.

What do you think about this policy?  Let us know in the comments.


College Traditions: What’s up with that Tree?

Stanford TreeYou know the tree I’m talking about. The quirky tree that dances around at the Stanford football games. I’ve always wondered why they have a tree as a mascot when they are the Stanford “Cardinal.” Right? The “Cardinal,” the color, not the bird has been their official mascot since 1975. Prior to that they were the “Indians,” but in 1972 it was declared offensive, so they decided to adopt a different mascot. In 1975 the Stanford band did a halftime show suggesting several mascots, and the tree was one. It represented “El Palo Alto” the tree that appears on both the official seal of the University and of Palo Alto, CA.

For a few years, the role of the tree was usually performed by the band manager’s girlfriend. But in the mid 80’s they adopted a rigorous tryout process for the tree. You had to prove you had the right stuff to be the tree and they sometimes performed dangerous stunts to prove their worthiness. At some point the school stepped in and put a stop to the outrageous stunts for the students’ safety. Adding to the quirkiness, is that each year the student who wears the tree gets to design the costume, so you never know what it’s going to look like from year to year. It’s always interesting on the farm.

So there you go, the next time someone asks you about that tree you’ll know the full story.

If you want to know more about college traditions check out Stan Beck’s ”

What are your favorite school traditions? I need ideas for future articles! Please let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you.

“Inch and Miles” by John Wooden Book Review

Inch and MilesIt all started one day when I found out that John Wooden was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. He was promoting his childrens book “Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success.” My son was just at the right age at the time for the book, so while we were at an event at the time, my husband went to get the book and have it signed by Mr. Wooden. Well, we were thrilled to get a signed book and just as thrilled when we brought the book home and read it.
The book is based on Mr. Wooden’s “pyramid of success” that he used for years while coaching. Inch and Miles have the assignment of finding the meaning of success, and on each part of their journey they explore one of the building blocks of the pyramid. Inch and Miles learn about doing your personal best, hard work, enthusiasm and many more wonderful values. This is one of those books that you can read over and over and it never gets old. This is a wonderful gift for young athletes or really anyone.  The content is relevant and timeless. Go check it out here. If you’ve read it let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’ll see you later. I’m off to do my personal best!