The Coors Light ‘Below the Chop’

An amazing feature of our new SunTrust Park is the area called, the Coors Light ‘Below the Chop’.  As you can probably figure out, the new Coors Light ‘Chop House’ is above this, and this ‘Below the Chop’ area is field level, and out in right field.  This is a nice sized space for fans for a premium cost, and for private parties.  As you can imagine, it’s very popular already.  This area has a bar, food buffet area, and 2 rows of bleachers that have drink coolers that will keep your drinks cold on a hot day.  There are also restrooms so you don’t have to go far away from the action.  Everything you need is close by.  The Coors Light sign you see here is designed with baseballs.  Of course, the tables you see here are appropriately themed as well!  Take a look to see what else this area includes!

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Creative, huh?  I thought so.

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View from right field!  No heckling Bryce Harper.  LOL

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Plenty of seating with drink coolers (those holes you see in the tables!) to keep your drinks cold on a hot summer day!

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The view from the Coors Light ‘Below the Chop’
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Bar area

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This wall is painted with our famous outfielders throughout the years including Dale Murphy, Hank Aaron, Andrew Jones, and David Justice.  There is a space for our current outfielders to be written on the wall depending on who is playing that day.

 

 

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I hope you get a chance to see a game from this new premium space!  For more go to Braves.com/belowthechop

 

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How To Get to SunTrust Park: Important Things You Need To Know

I wanted to pass on some important information from the Braves about how to get to and from SunTrust Park on game day!

The Atlanta Braves have put great thought and detail into how to make getting to SunTrust Park the best experience for you!  The Braves have joined in partnership with Uber, Waze, and Cobb County to help get you to the ballpark easier and help manage the traffic during game days.  They are excited to pilot new technology with the Uber app, and the updated MLB.com Ballpark App, to help make the entire process easier from purchasing your tickets, and planning your trip to and from the ballpark.

New Partnership with Uber:

“Uber announced the pilot of new technology that will make the pick-up experience fast and more efficient at SunTrust Park.”

“Riders leaving SunTrust park will be directed to the Uber Zone, which is located steps from the ballpark along Windy Ridge Parkway, through in-app messaging and physical signage. At the Uber Zone, fans will open their Uber app, set their destination and request a car as usual.  Instead of having to navigate to find a specific car and driver, riders will see a personalized PIN cole in their app and can simply give it to the next available driver in the Uber Zone.”

For game day travel, you are encouraged to make a plan in advance of your trip to SunTrust Park.  This can be done in 3 easy steps, and can be completed through the updated MLB.com Ballpark app.

What You Need to Know:

 Buy your ticket in advance!  The Braves have transitioned completely to PAPERLESS TICKETS.   Tickets can be purchased through the MLB.com Ballpark app where you will receive a barcode that will be scanned on your phone as you enter the gates.  You can also purchase tickets at Braves.com, or calling the Braves ticket office at 404-577-9100.

Buy your parking in advance!   When you purchase your game tickets, please also select and purchase your parking!  This will give you better choices of where to park and ultimately save you money.  There are 14,000 spaces around the ballpark, but purchasing before you arrive will give you customized directions and a pre-purchase discount.  Many lots will require a pre-payment, although some will accept credit cards at the site.  Plus, if you have bought your parking in advance, you will have the added benefit of the Waze app to help you get there.

Use the Waze App!  Because they are partnering with the Braves, Waze will be receiving real-time traffic information and updates from Cobb County to help spread out traffic in such a large area and help you maneuver around and find the best way to your parking lot (another reason to buy parking in advance).  Cobb County and Waze will be able to get you around trouble spots, much more than a smartphone map app, because it is customized to help you get to a Braves event.

To also help reduce congestion, The Cobb County DOT is assisting with traffic manageability by offering The Cumberland Circulator.  This transit system will have new routes to help you on game day, make daily traffic a bit more manageable, with enhanced mobility and frequency.

There are 14 access points to get in and out of the ballpark area, minimizing impact on everyday commuters.  There are 14,000 parking spaces available around SunTrust Park.  5,000 more parking spaces than at Turner Field…. for a ballpark with 8,000 less seats!  

I’m ready for new season in our awesome new ballpark!!  Let’s Play Ball!

For more information, go to Braves.com/transportation

 

 

The Kids’ Area at SunTrust Park

The Braves have worked very hard to include a fun space for our kids!  As with the rest of the ballpark, this area has been well thought out and carefully designed.  Now when your kids come to a game, they will get to enjoy so many amenities that SunTrust Park has to offer.  The Braves, in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, have come up with a fabulous kids’ zone called ‘Hope and Will’s Sandlot’. It is located behind sections 151-155!

As always, there is a Braves Kids Club membership so your kids can be a part of the team!  A premium membership is $25 (per membership) or there is a free membership option as well.  When you buy a Premium Membership, there are several really great benefits and prizes that include a Dansby Swanson jersey and much much more.  Check out all the info at Braves.com/kids.

And be on the lookout about how you can reserve your times in advance for all the fun games and activities you will see here.

In the meantime, let me show you around….

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The ‘Hope and Will Climbing Tower’ is a fun climbing tower has a large Braves helmet at the top (seen below)!  I’m sure we’ll be spending a great deal of time here.

 

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You will see here a close up of the “loading dock” for ‘Hope and Will’s Pop Flyer Zip Line’!  It looks like loads of fun!
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This is ‘Hope and Will’s Pop Flyer Zip Line’.  This is the loading area where fans get strapped in and zip line down.  The building behind this is a hotel that will open in 2018.  What a great space!

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This is a great view of the First Base Dash, (where you can time how fast you can run), the Pop Flier Zip Line, and Climbing Tower.  The building you see to the right of this frame is a hotel that will open in 2018!

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Kids have their own Braves Clubhouse Store!
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I loved this game as a kid!  This is Hydration Station.  Players get to race by spraying water in the holes, (which raises the baseball),  to see who gets to the top first.
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Batting Cage, ‘Batter UP!’
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At ‘Strike Zone’, you get to see what it is like to hit a home run at SunTrust Park!
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‘Strike Zone’
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‘Chop A Mole’!!

 

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This is a game called, ‘Pick ‘Em Off’… Players will shoot a ball into the hole and whoever has the most balls go in, wins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kids even get their own snack and dinner spot!  I’m sure we will be spending a great deal of time here, too.

Thanks for letting me show you around the Kids’ area!  It’s going to be a really fun season!

See you there!

Go Braves!

SunTrust Park Open House

The Atlanta Braves A-List members, a.k.a. season ticket holders, we were given a chance to explore and enjoy all that the new SunTrust Park has to offer at their ‘SunTrust Park Open House’.  The ballpark is beautifully built, thought out, and elegantly designed.  And to think this all started from a field of dirt just 3 years ago.  The Braves staff have been working around the clock to have this incredible ballpark ready for us for the Open House but more importantly, by our Home Opener…April 14th!  Let me tell you, it will not disappoint!

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During our time at SunTrust Park, we were given a chance to find our seats, test out the new concessions, and watch the first game ever to be shown on the big screen which was a Braves Spring Training game being played in Orlando.

The new kids area, Hope and Will’s Sandlot, was up and running and complimentary for the day.  It has a new Pop Flier Zip Line and Climbing Tower as well as other fun games…some I used to play as a kid.

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Pictured here is the ‘First Base Dash’;  runners are timed to see how long it takes to run to base, and up above that is the ‘Pop Flier Zip Line’.  Behind this is a hotel that will open in 2018.
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Chop A Mole!  🙂 One of many games located in Hope and Will’s Sandlot
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Field Level

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The building you see here to the top right is a hotel that will open in 2018!  Great location!
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This is in the Plaza area leading to The Battery Atlanta.  See the black on the ball?  Those are screens for live media coverage!
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Coors Light Chop House Outdoor Seating Area
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This is a view from the Coors Light Chop House!  See those little holes?  Those are drink coolers!  Yes, little drink coolers where you can place your drink and it will stay cool as you sit and watch the game.  This is 1:30 in the afternoon and this area is already in the shade. 🙂  Everything has been thought out for the best experience for you!
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This.  And so much more!  Get ready to eat, my friends!

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Delta Lot Landmark!

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Words cannot describe my level of excitement for this new ballpark and the start of a new season.  MLB owners are referring to our new ballpark as “revolutionary” and I totally agree!

Please stay tuned to more posts about our new amazing ballpark…So much more to come!

A Boy and His Dog

I am in awe of the effect dogs have on people.  You see the joy, the smiles, and the stress just melt away when a dog is around.  Whenever I am at the ballpark with our dog, Sammy, people will often approach to say hello.  He is very sociable, loves everyone, and enjoys the attention.  He’s like a “people magnet”.  🙂

The road to finding our Sammy wasn’t easy.  Over the past couple of years, our son had been experiencing some anxiety and was having a hard time with friends in school.  He had also fallen in love the with the Disney ‘Air Bud’ movies, starring Buddy, the Golden Retriever, ultimately falling in love with breed.  My son has watched the ‘Air Bud’ movies so much, that he started to want a dog.  Not just any dog, but a Male Golden Retriever.

We also had a friend with a white English Buttercream Retriever that was so calm and wonderful.  That dog would put his head in my son’s lap.  He loved it!  It was priceless and further drove the point home that my son wanted this type of dog.

It became clear to us that a Golden Retriever would be perfect for our son since we knew that these were great companion dogs, can ease stress and anxiety, and could possibly one day end up serving as a therapy dog, something I had always been interested in.  We knew that Goldens can sense distress in people and care about you with a heart of GOLD.   But seriously, having this kind of dog might help ease my son’s anxiety.

So, we began searching.  We searched high and low, specifically for a male Golden Retriever.  We searched every rescue place in town.  We paid application fees, we had home visits, we tried everything.  I think we tried 5 or 6 rescue organizations, as well as the Humane Society.  We found nothing.  Even the rescue volunteers we telling us that with the dogs they had, who had a lot of problems, they didn’t have a dog with the right fit for us.

This went on for 9 months…

It was heart wrenching…

We were SO ready for this dog. And not just ANY DOG, but the RIGHT DOG.  We had started to give up hope.

Out of desperation, one night I posted on Facebook that we were looking for a male Golden Retriever and if anyone knew of anyone that knew of anyone that had one, I would be forever grateful.

Within hours, My friend replied that she had a friend with a male Golden puppy that was available…. WHAT???  Seriously???

That friend owned a Male and Female Golden, and they had delivered 9 puppies, 4 months ago.  We were so thrilled!

We were able to visit and take home our 4 month old puppy, Sammy, like the same day!!!   It was awesome because we also got to meet Sammy’s mom and dad.   I was reminded that timing is everything.  If we, or the dog’s owner had been in a different place in our lives, then we would have missed this wonderful opportunity.  It was truly meant to be.

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Meet Sammy-7 months old and 79lbs.  He’s going to be huge.  His dad is 110 lbs!

We have had Sammy now for 3 months and he has been so much fun!  My son, who is now 11 years old, has been wonderful with him.  Our boy is more responsible than I have ever seen him.  He takes Sammy outside to go to the bathroom, he feeds him, makes sure he has his water.  He will take him outside to play ball and run around.  At the same time, this dog will put his head in my son’s lap and rest.  Just what he’s always wanted.  We have taught Sammy to fetch, catch a ball in his mouth, shake hands, walk on the leash, etc.  When my son comes home from school, he will say with excitement, “SAMMY!” and then say, “Oh… Hi Mom!”  🙂

I see so much more happiness, and less anxiety, in my kid because of this sweet, insightful, dog.  There is a bond there, a love for each other.  I will bring Sammy to my son’s baseball games and Sammy totally knows which one he is on the field.  Sammy is so loyal and wants to be with his people.  I see the excitement in my son now and I think about all the months that we searched, tried, cried, and wanted to love on this wonderful creature.

And…I am touched at what sweet, intuitive, dogs they are.  Just today, I brought Sammy with me to see my son’s game.  There were several kids that came up to Sammy to say hello, which of course I encourage. But, there was a special needs child in a stroller that showed interest in Sammy. I told them it was okay to say hello and brought Sammy over. This child started squealing and flailing his arms out of pure excitement of seeing this dog. Sammy was so wonderful and gentle with him, letting this child touch his face and rub him. Then Sammy, sensing how much joy this child had, layed down, rolled over, and wanted this child to rub his belly. He had not done that with any of the other children that came up to say hello. It was positively precious.

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Post Game Water Break
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A Boy and His Dog

I will say that with Goldens, training is absolutely essential.  I heard an awful story of a Golden that was turned over to a rescue organization because he was too wild for the kids. This dog had been banished to the basement and was never allowed to join the family.  Basically, all he needed was some training.

They can be strong and they are big.  If they are not taught correctly, they can be difficult.

I know having a dog with babies and small kids can be challenging, but if proper dog training is done and practiced each day, you can have a DREAM DOG.  We have been through puppy training with Sammy and will continue on as he gets older.  These dogs are so smart and pick it up super quick.  It is so important to teach them the appropriate way to act.  Just like we do with our children…

So, was all the waiting and searching worth it??

You bet. 🙂

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My Boy and His Dog

The Final Game at Turner Field

What a fun and meaningful day.  It was a bittersweet day.  We are excited for things to come but sad to say Goodbye to a place where we have spent so much time.

I’m really proud of the Braves Organization for working so hard to make this day so special for all of us, as we are life long Braves fans.

I loved seeing the alums during pre-game like Javy Lopez, Chipper Jones, Marcus Giles, Rafael Furcal, Adam LaRoche, Andruw Jones, Brian Jordan, and Gary Sheffield.  We all loved the moment when Greg Maddox, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine walked in together from Centerfield to throw out the first pitch.  To have Timothy Miller sing the National Anthem as well as ‘God Bless America’ was a special treat.

I’m so happy that our Braves are playing strong baseball, winning their last 12 out of 14, and ended the season well.

And of course, how perfect that Hank Aaron would throw out the final pitch to Bobby Cox in a great closing ceremony!

Thank you to the Atlanta Braves, for a very proper tribute.

So now we say, so long Turner Field!  A new chapter begins at SunTrust Park!  Go Braves!

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Our Memories at Turner Field

Our Memories at Turner Field…  Where do I start?  There are too many to count.  I truly can’t believe that we are about to go in to the last weekend at this ballpark.  I am excited about SunTrust Park and all of the new awesomeness that we are about to experience, but, I am a little sad to say goodbye to a place where we have spent so much time.

My husband and I attended the second game ever at Turner Field in April of 1997.  We were only dating at the time.  Our first date had been to a Braves game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium just the summer before, now our life together was to continue at Turner Field.  Since then, we have gotten engaged, married, and had 2 children, who are now 11 and 15 years old.

Over the years, we have attended MANY MANY games.  When we aren’t attending, we are watching the game on TV.  We started bringing our children when they were young, but only 2-3 times a year.  As they got older, we started attending more and more games and ultimately found ourselves becoming A-List members and attending 20+ games a season.

Our babies attending their first ballgame when each was around 4 months old.  They both sat so still and were in awe of everything going on around them.  They have loved it from the beginning!

As I look back at the number of years we have attended games, I am amazed of how many friends and family members we have run into there and attended games with.

I think about how many times we have run the bases, both on the field and up in the Coca-Cola Sky Field area, or how many times we have pitched or hit a ball in Scout’s Alley, or how many times my son has played foam baseball in the Children’s Healthcare Family Zone.  I wonder how many times my daughter and I have gotten our face painted, how many times we have walked around the warning track, chased foul balls, or have been on our feet cheering our guys on to win.

We have celebrated our wedding anniversaries, our children’s birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, large groups from our youth group at church and school, etc.etc.

The list goes on and on……

I think about the number of hotdogs, pizzas, chicken fingers, bags of cotton candy, ice cream cones, and King of Pop popsicles we have eaten.  The number of posters that my children have made to support their favorite players, the number of balls we have caught during batting practice, and the number of players that have thrown a baseball to my children, which is an absolutely precious gift.

I think about the time my husband caught a homerun ball, hit by Evan Gattis, in his glove in centerfield on Father’s Day!  And the time a homerun ball, hit by Freddie Freeman, bounced on the seat behind me and I reached up and caught it barehanded.

I think about the number of post-game concerts we have stayed for, the number of fireworks displays, and the number of rain delays we have sat through…

But most importantly, the number of hours we have spent watching our favorite game, cheering on our favorite team… together.

My children will remember growing up at this Ballpark.

I’ve always loved it that when we were at a game, my childhood or current friends would send me a message saying, “Hey!  We are at the game, are you here?”  They knew we would be there, and this has prompted some very fun reunions.

At the start of this season there was so much negativity surrounding how the Braves were playing and attendance has been low, so we have been able to “stretch our legs” a little bit at games this year.  But now, I am THRILLED that the team is playing FANTASTIC baseball, winning their last 10 out of 11 games, and there will be a sold out crowd at the Final game this Sunday to celebrate the final game.  I’m so proud of our team and always proud to be a Braves Fan!

I feel a little nostalgic to say ‘so long’ to Turner Field, but so excited for the next chapter at SunTrust Park.  This team is going to take us very far in the years to come!!  Just Wait!

So, Thank you to The Atlanta Braves and Turner Field for making the last several years really fun and enjoyable for our family.

Our Memories are Priceless.

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Always a Great Fireworks Show!
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We got to meet Steve Avery!!
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We were chosen to be a part of a pre-game parade and Matt Wisler was warming up!
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Paul Byrd stopped to take a picture with me. He is the nicest guy! He does a great job reporting about the Braves.
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The Braves treat their season ticket holders very well and gave us a ‘Play Day’ at Turner Field.  They fed us, let us play catch on the field, and gave us a tour of the ballpark.  This is the Braves dugout (in the rain)
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In 2015, our son was chosen to be the Honorary Team Captain for the game that night which meant he got to go to home plate and meet the umpires and both managers! He was so happy.

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An autographed ball by Fredi Gonzalez and Andrelton Simmons!  Andrelton threw a ball to my daughter during batting practice the day before and on this day he signed it!  We loved him!

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This was our son’s birthday/last day of school/5th grade graduation day, so, of course, we were headed to the Braves game that night!  He was so excited!  The Braves found out it was his birthday/5th grade graduation so they upgraded our seats to 4th row by the Braves on-deck circle.  It was such a special treat!
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I’ve always thought this was supercool!
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Batting Practice

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My family. 🙂  We were at the Lead-off Luncheon at Turner Field with the Braves players and coaches back at the beginning of this season.  A really fun day!

 

Quick 10 Minute Quesadillas

Always on the run?  Here is another quick 10 minute meal.  This time, yummy Quesadillas!  A crowd pleaser for sure!

You will need:

  • a package of large flour tortillas
  • 1 lb. of ground beef or ground turkey
  • shredded cheese of your liking.  I like Mozzerella, Cheddar, Mexican style
  • diced tomato, if desired
  • sour cream, salsa, guacamole, used as dips
  • Tortilla Chips

Brown ground beef or ground turkey, your choice!  As your meat is cooking, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and minced onions.

When your meat is all cooked… drain.  While your meat is draining in a separate drainer, wipe the excess grease out of your skillet with a clean cloth or paper towels, careful not to burn yourself.

Spray skillet with non-stick spray.  On low/medium heat, add a tortilla in the skillet, spread the cheese FIRST, this will help everything adhere.  Top with meat, sprinkle AGAIN with shredded cheese on the other side of the meat, and diced tomato, if desired.  Place another tortilla on top of the meat mixture and spray with non-stick spray (for flavor and to keep it from getting too dry).  Cook on Low/Medium Heat for 3-4 minutes until all has melded together, pressing with your spatula so everything will stick together.  Tortillas should be sticking to the meat mixture, compliments of the cheese.

Remove from skillet and put on a plate…cut quesadillas into quarters or eighths, depending on who you need to feed.  If you need to cook more, just repeat steps above.

My family loves these so I will make the first large quesadilla and put in the oven to keep warm while I am cooking the second.  This way everything is warm at the same time.

I love to serve this with tortilla chips and sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole for dipping.

You can get super fancy with this and serve with rice, beans, tortilla chips, etc.  This is also a very simple, quick, filling way to get some protein into your kids after those practices or during the weekend when you are at home watching your favorite sporting event.

Enjoy!

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Place the tortilla in a warm skillet and top with your choice of cheese.
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Then add a layer of ground beef or chicken, if you desire a cheese quesadilla, you can skip this step.
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Add another layer of your favorite cheese(s).  Putting cheese on either side of the meat will help the quesadilla stick together.
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Dinner is done!  Serve with tortilla chips and your favorite dips (quacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese sauce, etc. etc.)  A crowd pleasure for sure.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Make Your Practices Count

We’re back at it!  Fall Baseball has started up.  Softball too.  We are so busy running from one practice to another… and Marching Band also.  We will sleep when our kids are in college.. hopefully.  LOL  This is why I haven’t posted in a while…life has been so busy for us.

With our season underway, it got me thinking about how busy we are and how to best use our time.  Our practice time also.  We’ve seen several different coaching styles through these last 16 seasons that our kids have played baseball/softball.  Most of them my husband and I were in charge of.  Some teams, we have been coached by others.  It’s interesting to see the differences in coaching styles but this is what I’ve seen work best.

Know the names of your kids!  Coaches, as you are starting your new season, as a mom…. I beg beg beg of you to learn and know the names of your kids on your team.  I know this sounds simple… but after several weeks, our son’s coach was STILL calling my son by the wrong name.  He saw it in writing, he was corrected dozens of times, but wouldn’t you know… he STILL called my son by the wrong name.  This is not going to make the kids on your team happy or make them feel like they can trust you when you are shouting at them from the dugout and not calling them by their REAL name.  It doesn’t make their parents too happy either.  😉

Have a Practice Plan and Stick to it.  Seriously…Write it out.  Schedule in every little thing.  Do you need to talk about something?  Schedule adequate time.  Do you need to teach a certain skill?  Allow time to teach and execute.  We’ve seen so many practices where kids are on the field standing around where one kid has batting practice.  There are so many things to work on.

Set Skill Stations!  Depending how many coaches you have or talented baseball dads that can help (please don’t ask just anyone), it’s a good idea to have small groups go to 3 to 4 different stations to work on basic fundamentals.  This way all of your players are working on something at the same time and no one is standing around.  Rotate stations about every 10-20 minutes until everyone has had a chance to be in all stations.  It is so important to practice the basic fundamentals at every practice for success in a game.  And don’t waste your time practicing something that really doesn’t matter (like pick-off plays) if your team can’t do the basics like catch a fly ball or throw accurately to get someone out on base.

Suggested Stations include:  fielding ground balls (every practice), catching fly balls (every practice), batting (every practice), throwing accurately (you can work on this in the fielding ground balls and catching ground balls station), catching infield pop flys, pitching, catching, base running, bunting, etc.  Your stations can be set by the need of the team that week.  My husband used to bring a hand held size notebook and when he would see something in a game that needed to be worked on, he would write it down and address it at the next practice.   (schedule it in) 🙂

Develop your Pitchers and Catchers!  The success of your team will revolve around your pitchers and catchers!  Develop them.  Teach them.  Practice with them.  Give them the experience.  You will need plenty of players that can do this.  Give them a chance.  And you might even uncover a hidden talent that a kid didn’t even know they had.  Even if you don’t have the strongest team, the success of your team will revolve around your pitchers and catchers!  It makes me crazy to see coaches using the same 2 or 3 kids as pitchers AND catchers.  This will wear out their arms.  Please don’t let this happen to you or your kid.  See my post on How to Prevent Little League Elbow

Don’t Talk Too Much!  If you need to explain something or talk to your team, allow time for that.  Often times, we have seen coaches that will talk and talk and talk and lose valuable practice time, instead of cutting off their speech at a suitable amount of time, when their team is zoning out.  If you talk too much, your players will lose interest.  And I’m a big fan of the best baseball players being the best listeners!  Is your athlete coachable? But… speeches should be efficient, effective, short, and sweet.

Parents are happier when they see their kids working hard at practice instead of seeing them stand around at the chance of a ball coming their way.  Parents also want to feel better at how they and their child are spending their time.  As a coach, you want to teach your players the game of baseball by working on the skills needed to play. The game of baseball/softball can be slow… and practices can be also.  If you let it.  Let’s give our kids the tools needed to play in such an efficient way because, let’s face it, we’re all busy, and time is short.

Enjoy.  Live.  And Play Ball.