The Sojourner

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Being a Sports Mom and a GIVEAWAY!!

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Cody at practice
 As those of you with children in sports know, these sports can become all-consuming, especially as they advance into high school sports. My son began playing football while we still lived in Mexico, but it was very tedious to make the long journey across the border several days a week for him to play Pop Warner football in Yuma, AZ. After we moved to Arizona, we were very excited to find that the local public schools open their doors to homeschoolers to play sports. So my son then began with football in his Freshman year. Practices and workouts began as early as January of his 8th grade year and continued for most of the summer as well.

Freshman football was disappointing for my son - he fractured his hip before halftime in the first game of the season!! He was heartbroken, but he faithfully attended every practice and game - on crutches - and remained a part of the team. He was finally able to play some in the last two games of the season. And I learned way more about avulsion fractures of the hip than anyone, other than a doctor, should need to!!

Working hard
 Workouts for JV Football began in April with Spring Football, followed by Weight Camp in the summer and then regular football season which runs August through October. Since my son needed to take a weight-lifting class for football, he ended up taking a wrestling/weight-lifting class which got him interested in Wrestling. As soon as football ended, wrestling began and ran through February, at which time individual free-style wrestling began. Also, in January, Varsity Football workouts began early in the mornings. As homeschoolers, we had to "fit" school in between the morning workouts and the afternoon wrestling workouts and, later, football practices.
Ready, set....
Again, Spring Football began in April and ran right into Summer Weight Camp (mornings) and Wrestling Camp (afternoons). This summer also included a 5-day football camp up in the mountains. With this many hours per day of working out, my son's nutrition needs are pretty intense. He needs to consume, on average, about 5,000 to 6,500 calories per day and drink TONS of fluids (we live in the desert!!)

Watch out, here he comes (on the left)
As a mom, I can help my son perform his best by understanding the significant role sports nutrition plays before, during and after a game/practice to fuel his sports performance. Several things are key to fulfilling his nutritional needs. First, he must consume a lot of protein and carbohydrates. I supplement his diet with whey protein shakes at least once a day. I cook all of our food from scratch so he is getting the best, freshest food possible. His diet includes a lot of brown rice, whole wheat pasta and potatoes (white and sweet with skins on). I also cook chicken, beef and, occasionally, pork, as well as lots of beans and grains. I grind wheat and bake fresh bread on a regular basis. And I am able to buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for a very reasonable price thanks to living in AZ.

In order to replenish a lot of the fluid and electrolytes he loses every day, I keep a big stock of Gatorade in the house and buy whenever there are sales. Plus he drinks A LOT of filtered water every day, all day long.

He's a big guy now
Unfortunately, this past Wednesday, my son injured his knee during practice. After several hours in the Emergency Room (where his primary care physician sent us), we don't know much more. He is scheduled to see his orthopedic specialist on Monday where we will hopefully learn more specifically what his injury entails. We are hoping and praying that it is only a strain/sprain of his MCL and not a tear. He is really hoping to get back to playing football before the season is too far along. And again, I am learning way more about MCL injuries than your average person!!

For now, he is still attending practices and scrimmages, on crutches with a knee immobilizer. He is supporting the team and remaining part of the team, in hopes that he will soon be back on the field with them. Injuries are part of the sport, and as hard as it is on him, it seems to be just as hard on me as the mom. I am, behind the scenes, supporting him and helping him in any way I can. My role runs more towards making sure he ices his knee, takes ibuprofen, eats sufficiently and has plenty of Gatorade and water since he is still out in the heat for several hours each day.

but I remember him like this!
Sports injuries really are hard, but as long as his passion runs towards sports, I will do everything I can to assist him in pursuing his passion for football and wrestling. We are hoping he will be able to earn a college scholarship through his sports endeavors and are praying for safety and healing along the way.

If you are a sports mom, you understand how it is. If not, you never will. The vital role you play in your young athlete's achievement and success is immeasurable. Through nutrition, family scheduling or just being someone to lean on during challenging times, every mother wants to support her aspiring athlete as they BECOME the best athlete they can be.
For more information and to encourage moms to support their athletes as they BECOME Gatorade will donate one dollar up to $10,000 to the Women's Sports Foundation for every pledge they receive at Gatorade Moms. Visit the Official site for Gatorade here.

Would you like to win $100 Dick's Sporting Goods gift card? Just leave me a comment sharing how you help your child athlete become the best they can be and see the rules below for another chance to enter.  This sweepstakes runs from 8/29 until 9/30.

There are also additional chances to win $100 Dick's Sporting Goods gift card over on the BlogHer Promotions & Prizes section, so go check it out.

No duplicate comments. 

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry 

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post  

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment 
on this post 

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on 
this post 

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about 
an alternate form of entry. 

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older 

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. 

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be 
 Visit the Official Rules here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

TOS Review: Aletheia Writing Magazine

Aletheia Logo - Oval border 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I was chosen for this review.  It is called Aletheia Writing Magazine and I knew it was for Christian teens, but that is all I knew to start with.  Then I received this beautiful full color magazine in the mail and couldn't wait to dive in and read it.  But first, I learned that Aletheia is Greek for TRUTH!!  So that makes it a very cool name for the magazine.

This publication is "committed to offering readers a quality literary and artistic publication that nurtures spiritually-minded creativity from Christian teens across the country."  Aletheia Writing Magazine provides a top-quality opportunity for Christian teens who love to express their creativity through poetry, short stories, and art to be published in a fantastic publication.

Aletheia Spring 2011 Magazine Cover

I read through every single page of this magazine (it was hard to put down once I started) and was so very impressed with the talent and creativity of these teens who had submitted work to Aletheia Writing Magazine.  The magazine is chock full of poems, stories, artwork, book reviews and photography by teens from all over the world.  There is a monthly Writer's Challenge, as well as articles that give a glimpse into the lives of professional writers and/or illustrators.

My daughter, who is 15 and the writer in our family, really liked the magazine.  She thought it was very professionally done and that teens would feel very proud to have their work published in such a magazine.

There is a link on their home page where you can read the Spring 2011 Issue for FREE! You can subscribe to Aletheia Writing Magazine for only $26 per year and that includes 4 issues per year of a beautiful and inspiring 40-page full-color magazine (including shipping and handling).

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of Aletheia Writing Magazine.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tri-Cross Board Game Review

Tri-Cross Logo
In our family, we love to play games!  So I was thrilled to find out that I was chosen to review Tri-Cross, a new strategy board game for families with short attention spans.

This is a very beautifully and professionally made board game that was designed to utilize the strategy of games like chess, checkers and dominoes, but in a much-less-than-marathon time frame.  In fact, this game plays in just about 5-10 minutes, which means you can play multiple times, employing different strategies and still be done in time to make dinner!  Then you can employ the more difficult version of play (face down) and go again.  Although it says for ages 8 and up, there are some younger kids who could learn and play this game with their families as well.  Kids who like chess and checkers will probably like Tri-Cross as well, if not more.

Tri-Cross was first created 25 years ago by a father who wanted to design a game that could be learned and played out within a short period of time and also become increasingly challenging.  He made and sold a few hundred of the games, but then let it sit on a shelf until 2007, when his sons encouraged him to put the game back out on the market.  In 2008, his son took over the reigns and the game started to gain traction.  The company is called Games for Competitors and they have several different versions of the game available, including an Eco-Edition/Travel Edition in which the board and bag are made of organic cotton and canvas.  They fold up nicely into a travel size version.  All inks are non-toxic and the sizes of the board and bags were decreased to save on material waste.
Tri-Cross Eco Board Game
Tri-Cross won the Mom's Choice Award in 2010 and the Eco-Edition won the Dr. Toy's Best Green Product Award in 2010, as well as Creative Child Magazine's Game of the Year Award in 2008 and Dr. Toy's 100 Best Products winner.  Truly an award-winning game!
Mom's Choice Awards 2010
Dr. Toy Winner - Green Product 2010
Because the game can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first, they provide some very nice video tutorials on their website to get you started, both with the beginner version and the advanced version. 

I have to say that Tri-Cross has the potential to become a classic like chess, checkers and even Monopoly!  It has all the elements of a great game, is fun to play and is made to a very high quality standard.  Once you get the hang of it, it is quite easy to teach to new players, yet also tests memory and logic to a very high degree.  I look forward to many more years of playing this game with my 17-year-old son!  And I am very thankful to the Burns family for giving us this great way to connect and spend quality time together!!

You can purchase the Standard Edition at your local game store or online for $24.95.  There is also a Wood Edition available for $35.95 and the Eco-Edition which is $19.95.  They also donate 10% of every purchase of their Eco-Edition to the Captain Planet Foundation.  There is a list on their website of all the local retailers that carry Tri-Cross, too.  You can also connect with Tri-Cross via their Facebook page.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of Tri-Cross from Games for Competitors.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rooted and Grounded: TOS Crew Review

Several years ago, I had the privilege of reviewing another product for Deeper Roots Publications, Discovering Our Amazing God, which was for Middle School.  This year, I have the awesome blessing of reviewing Rooted and Grounded: A Guide for Spiritual Growth, which is for High School.

I was so very excited to be chosen for this review because I was really struggling with what to use for our Bible curriculum for this year.  Last year, I received another great Bible curriculum to review and we used it all year and I loved it!  However, the funds were just not there to purchase another from that same company.  When Rooted and Grounded came up as a review product, I prayed that God would allow me to receive it if that was what He wanted us to use this year.  And I did!  

The first four weeks of our school year, I used the curriculum with my two teenagers.  Then, to my utter joy, my husband has taken over the Bible teaching with my kids!  This is SO wonderful - he should be the one leading our family spiritually and this is a big step in that.  Plus, he has SO much more knowledge of the Bible (he is an ordained minister and pastored for 7 years), so he is making the study so much more involved and my kids seem to respond so much better to him.  I am SO blessed!

I received the Teacher's Guide, Student Workbook, Test and Answer Key, and Scope and Sequence.  These are beautiful books with great drawings that make them a pleasure to look through.  The Teacher's Guide includes everything from the Student Workbook, as well as "Prayer Reminders" for Unreached Peoples for each lesson.  It gives some background about the people group, as well as how to pray for them.

There are also included Memory Challenges, Review Pages, Writing Opportunities, and opportunities for Journaling.  I also love that the complete text for all the scriptures used in the study are included in the green pages in the back of the book (for easy reference) in both King James Version and New International Version.

We have enjoyed using this curriculum for a while now, and I am very pleased to be able to continue it throughout the entire year.  I believe it is appropriately written to target the 10th, 11th and 12th grader, challenging them as they grow spiritually.  Some of the things that I like best about it is that it "moves the students from Biblical knowledge to spiritual application and encourages personal ownership of spiritual truth."  Yes, I am quoting Deeper Roots, but I totally agree with it and couldn't have said it better!

I also love that it encourages a lot of discussion about the lessons between the teacher/parent and the students.  Sometimes it is hard to get our teens to engage in a discussion about Biblical things, but this curriculum opens the door to some good discussions.  If you look through the lesson titles, you can see a good overview of what is covered and where this curriculum is headed:
Lesson 1—Be to the Praise of His Glory.
Lesson 2—Walk as Jesus Walked.
Lesson 3—A Pure and Holy Life
Lesson 4—The Love of God for Others
Lesson 5—Servanthood
Lesson 6—Unrealistic Expectations

Lesson 7— God Is Faithful
Lesson 8—The Forgiveness of God

Lesson 9—The Forgiveness of God
Lesson 10—God Knows Youl
Lesson 11—Christ Accepts You
Lesson 12—God’s Awesome Power

Lesson 13—Don’t Worry or Be Anxious
Lesson 14—Submission and Obedience to Authority
Lesson 15—God Is Worthy of Praise
Lesson 16—The Mystery of Prayer

Lesson 17—The Privilege of Prayer
Lesson 18—The Pattern of Prayer
Lesson 19—The Test of Faith
Lesson 20—The Attitude of Christ
Lesson 21—Christ Must Increase–I Must Decrease

Lesson 22—The Way of Greatness
Lesson 23—Seeking Kingdom Treasure
Lesson 24—A Good Soldier
Lesson 25—Honor All Men
Lesson 26 - Work With All Your Heart

And if you are now wanting this curriculum for your students, here is the basic info on how to order.  You can easily go to Deeper Roots Publications website and check out all of their homeschool curriculum.   They also have many FREE downloadable samples of their different curriculum so that you can see for yourself whether it would be a good fit.  Rooted and Grounded Teacher's Guide, which has 332 pages and is spiral bound, is just $39.50.  The Student Workbook, which has 256 pages and perfect bound, is $23.95, and you can get the Test and Answer Key for just $3.95.  The Scope and Sequence is FREE online, so you can just check it out for yourself.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of Rooted and Grounded: A Guide for Spiritual Growth from Deeper Roots Publications

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Review of Buffalo Meat

Free Photo of a Buffalo (Bison). Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart 

Thanks to a friend, I tasted buffalo meat for the first time last week.  In exchange for a little work I am doing for them, my friends have given me some buffalo roasts and a few other cuts of buffalo.  Getting "paid" in buffalo meat works just fine for me!!!  They also have some elk I may get to try soon.

The reason I have never tried buffalo meat before is the cost - it is $9.99/lb when it is on SALE at Sprouts!  WAY out of my budget normally.

So last week, I cooked one of the roasts in my crock pot just like I do a beef roast, with some potatoes and carrots.  It was VERY good!  To me, it was hard to tell any taste difference from beef, but the meat was SO lean, I had to make sure it had water so that it wouldn't dry out.  It was tender and delicious!

Last night, I cooked up some picadillo which is whatever you have on hand (meats, veggies, potatoes) chopped up and cooked together with some salsa and spices.  You can serve this in many different ways, but we made tacos with it.  The buffalo was tender and very yummy!

Well, I decided I needed to find out about the health benefits of eating buffalo meat, and here is what I found:

Buffalo meat has 70-90% less fat than beef.
Buffalo meat has 30% more protein than beef.
Buffalo is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), an omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (good fat), which stabilizes blood pressure, enhances metabolism and reduces body fat while preserving muscle mass.
Buffalo meat contains less calories and is lower in cholesterol than beef.
Buffalo meat has more iron and B-12 content than beef, and has 4 times higher vitamin E than grain-fed beef.

WOW!  That's alot of health benefits!  I think I REALLY like buffalo meat now!!
Have you ever tried buffalo meat?  What did you think?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our First Varsity Football Game

Last night, Cody played in his first official Varsity Football game!!  Wow, how much different the varsity games are from the Freshmen and JV!  It is SO much more exciting with the bands and cheerleaders, as well as the huge difference in attendance, even at an away game!  We didn't get the win, but the game was still fun!

This was actually the second game of the season, but the first game Cody was able to play because of his knee injury a few weeks ago.  He didn't play much in the first half, but he played most of the second half and did a good job on both defense and offense.  He even recovered a fumble by the other team for his team!

He came away from the game with a swollen and bruised elbow, as well as an extremely sore knee - so we did lots of icing last night and this morning.  Still sore today, but better.  He had practice this morning to review the film from the game and to do some running.  Now he can rest and relax the rest of today and tomorrow.  However, he still has practice on Monday - even though it is a holiday!!!!  Just doesn't seem fair, but I know the coaches are serious about getting their team to a place where they can win a game.

Such is life for the serious athlete!