Moms of Marathon #momcrushmonday

When it came time to write another post for our #momcrushmonday series about moms in our area who ROCK…I immediately thought of the South High Marathon Dance. With less than a week to go until the big day, you can feel the energy rising in our community.

South High Marathon Dance

I started thinking about the dancers and the hard work they’re putting in this week. Bags are being packed, last-minute phone calls are being made for fundraising efforts, and that last bit of hot glue is being reapplied to costumes.

And behind every glue gun, helping to load those suitcases in the car, braiding hair, and counting up all the money…is a mom. (And a dad or aunt, uncle, grandparent of course, but today we’re crushin’ on the moms.)

If you’ve experienced the dance, think for a moment about just how many moms are behind the scenes at SHMD.

You’ve got the moms of alumni who’ve been sticking around to help out at the snack bar or in the kitchen even though their kids graduated years ago.

You’ve got the alumni moms who come back to the dance every year to volunteer with little ones in tow.

Andrew Quinn training for Production Crew at SHMD!

You’ve got the moms of younger students helping with events at elementary and middle schools to inspire the future dancers and contribute to the cause.

You’ve got the moms of current students running the kids to marathon meetings, scrambling to pick up donations, and helping with every little SHMD detail.

You’ve got the recipient moms– the moms who wrote in to the dance to ask for help and support. The mom whose heart aches for her child and needs to be surrounded by our community.

And, of course, you’ve got the mom who’s a combination of a few of these!

That’s a whole ‘lotta AMAZING moms in one place. (By the way, I think you Marathon Moms should create your own Facebook group because if you pooled all that talent, drive, and dedication, you’d have one powerful bunch!)

My next step for writing this article was to seek out a mom to feature. But which type of Marathon Mom would I choose? I sent out a Facebook message asking for nominations of a Marathon Mom, and the response was overwhelming. I couldn’t possibly pick one. So, I’m featuring all of them. 

Please know the moms wanted this post to be a thank you to all the Marathon Moms out there. The best part about these moms is they don’t want the credit- they’re the behind-the-scenes types. 

They all- every single one of them- denied being a true Marathon Mom. Each one sent me the name of someone else they thought better deserved the recognition. They were in utter shock they had been nominated. (Um, the red and blue nails and the SHMD profile pic sort of gave you away, Mamas.)

When I asked the moms to send me a picture of them at the dance, I received responses like, “Well, I have a picture of my kid at SHMD, but not one of me.” The Marathon Moms are working their tails off, never stepping forward to take the credit. They do it all for the kids, and for our community. And that’s the best kind of mom.

Who are the Marathon Moms?

Tracy Capozucca

Wife of Joe Capozucca, mom to two daughters, Maddie (11th grader) and Jillian (6th grader), and Slugger, the family dog.

For Tracy, the dance quickly becomes a family affair. They all help to spread the word about SHMD to friends and family who may want to make donations. The Capozucca’s business also donates items to the silent auction, and the entire family helps to raise money for the dance.

Tracy and her daughter, Maddie

Trish Myott

Trish’s family is seriously dedicated to SHMD! Her husband Tom is a teacher at South High in the Art Department and an advisor of SHMD. Her oldest daughter, Mackenzie, is an alumni who was a SHMD Chairperson her last two years of high school. Her youngest daughter, Allie, is currently a SHMD Chairperson as a Sophomore at South High. They have three male rescue cats, which Trish lovingly refers to as their Fuzzbutts- Baby, Bubka & Koda. (I’m honestly surprised they don’t own a bulldog named Southy!)

After 12 years of face painting, Trish passed the torch to her crew, Amanda Chovan, Jenn Pease and Collene Streicher. She says it was a difficult decision to make because she loved painting all those little faces and looked forward to an ever-growing group of “regulars” that would come see her. But, in 2014, she was asked to get involved with the SHMD Garments aspect of the dance. She worked on designing, ordering and selling all the retail merchandise with John Van Wie and Mary Mann. She realized after two dances of working garments and face painting, she just couldn’t do both any more. She says she hasn’t found the recipe to clone herself yet. (Trish, please share if you ever find this recipe!)

SHMD Garments is a large aspect of the dances’ fundraising efforts. She says they start brainstorming as early as a few weeks following the dance for the next dance- it’s a year-round commitment- and they love it! (Don’t worry. I’ve already worked on convincing Trish to add a Marathon Moms t-shirt to the order next year.)

The Face Painting Committee at SHMD

Tieka Harrington 

Tieka is married to John Harrington, and they have two daughters Jillian, a freshman at South High, and Janessa, a seventh-grader. They have been residents of South Glens Falls for 18 years. Jillian was a recipient of the dance in 2014.

Tieka runs a booth with Karrie Cook at SHMD in the old gym. They offer colored extensions, hair wraps, colored spay for the boys, cornrows, and braids. Each year they try to come up with something new and exciting. She says, “All these people come out to support marathon, and we get to help them show it by giving them red and blue spikes or cornrows with bulldog charms dangling off. What better way is there to show bulldog love?”

Her oldest daughter is now old enough to participate in the dance, so they try to come up with different ways to raise money throughout the year. Her youngest daughter sells raffle basket tickets for the middle school so she can dance during the hour provided for grades 6-8.

Megan Quinn 

Megan is an alumni of South High married to a fellow alumni, Nick Quinn. The two serve as lead members of the Production Crew each year. They have two boys, Andrew (4) and Peter (6 months). Megan says the boys are the most spectacular thing to ever happen to her. (We know EXACTLY what you mean, Meg!) Megan’s family and the entire Production Crew are excited to celebrate the 40th year of SHMD.

SHMD Production Crew

Caitlin Collins

Caitlin has four children, Aidan (11), Avery (8), Annalise (7), and Aubren (4), who all attend South Glens Falls schools. This year’s dance will be her 18th. She’s returned every year to volunteer as an alumni, but this year her son, Aidan, is also a recipient.

Caitlin says, “It’s a completely different feeling this time. It’s surreal. The dance is always an emotional event, but this year definitely takes the cake for us. It’s such a relief to know your entire community is supporting you.”

T-shirts made by Aidan’s family to wear at this year’s SHMD

Sandy Mahoney

Sandy is married to Tom Mahoney. She works at Fort Edward School and as an EMS Supervisor at The Civic Center. In her spare time, she teaches EMS courses at Skidmore College and is a director at the Moreau Rec. They have one son named Logan (10) who attends Harrison Avenue Elementary School. 

Sandy gives back to the dance by being a part of the security team. Her son Logan was inspired to start a mini-marathon at Harrison Avenue shortly after his grandfather passed away and his grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Logan wanted to find a way to help his grandmother, so he talked to his principal, Mr. Palmer, about hosting a mini-marathon event at the elementary school. Logan and Sandy worked with the SHMD advisers, the Harrison HSA, and they went looking for support in the community. Logan met with business leaders to ask for t-shirt sponsorships. He gained support from Dan and Kelly Hutchins of Superior Power Washing, Joe Gross, and Jim and Belinda Hunt, and ARCA Ink. They coordinated a DJ, a design for the shirts, and a date to hold the first Harrison Avenue Mini-Marathon Dance. Logan’s grandmother insisted the money be given to others who needed it more. (Grandmas rock, too!)

Logan has written letters to family and friends for donations, raising over $2,500 in 5 years! Sandy grew up in a family of volunteers, and she says it’s a great feeling to watch her child continue this tradition. She and Logan love to spread the word about the dance when they travel. She says the dance has truly reached all aspects of her life. Sandy is proud to be part of SHMD!
 

Melissa Rivers

Melissa and her husband John have a six-month old named Benjamin and a cat named Max. They live in the village, and Melissa has been a teacher at Oliver W. Winch Middle School for thirteen years. She and her husband are both members of the South Glens Falls Fire Company. John’s a firefighter, and she’s in the auxiliary.

Melissa is part of the core alumni committee and works with a small crew to run the alumni merchandise table. They have input on the shirts, take part of the ordering/inventory control, and count all the money donated through the alumni.

Tracy Langdon 

Tracy was born and raised in South Glens Falls and says she grew up with the Marathon Dance. Now she is raising her daughter, a current dancer, in her family home. Tracy works to sell 50/50 tickets, volunteers to work the garment booth, and will be working with the kitchen crew this year.

Check out our interview with these Marathon Moms. Each has a unique perspective on the dance, and I think you’ll find it very familiar if you’ve experienced SHMD!

Trish Myott with South Glens Falls student, Declan Cohan

What was your first experience with SHMD? What are your goals to continue working with the dance?

Tracy C: I always thought SHMD was an amazing event, but it wasn’t until Madison became a dancer in her ninth-grade year that we experienced how remarkable the dance is. It was that year we nominated a very special person to be a recipient, and they were chosen. Our family experienced first-hand how the marathon helped this family financially when they needed it and gave the emotional support they needed. I would like to be able to donate more of my time working at the dance in the future.

Trish: I moved a lot. I was a Bulldog the first year and a half of my life, then a Scot, then a Fort, then a Tiger. Fast forward to when Tom & I met in May ’91, he was hired at South High in the Art Department. That fall, working with his mentor Bill McCarthy, he became very involved with the dance as an advisor-in-training to Bill.

Now, he told me stories about the 4 years he’d been a part of Marathon as a dancer, but I didn’t truly get what the big deal was about this “little dance” UNTIL he brought me to my first one in March of 1992. I helped out as a volunteer for whatever was needed- bringing food to the cafeteria, pushing carts of orange slices out to the dancers in the gym, running to Abbott’s for bags of ice, sweeping hallways, taking out the trash with Gibby (custodian), room monitor, fetching food for the DJs, and making posters.

In the next few years Tom and I were involved with the shirts for the dance, (alumni, dancer, etc.) which involved printing, folding and delivering t-shirts prior to the start of the dance. (Our old BANANA TEES screen printing days!) Back to my first Marathon experience- All I can say is those two days forever changed my life as well as the recipients’ lives. I couldn’t imagine not being there and being involved, and we have been blessed to be a small part of this amazing community we call our home.

I am incredibly proud to say our daughters have been, are, and will always be, a part of SHMD. They were born into it. My oldest, Mackenzie, went to the 1998 dance BEFORE she was born. I was there 8+ months pregnant, big as a house! The DJ, Jerry Moller, named her Buddha Baby. Dave Powers (50/50 Tickets) and Steve McNaughton (EMT) wanted me to do a few laps around the track so we could have our “1st Marathon Baby” born at a dance! So to say it’s in their blood isn’t far from the truth and they love it as much as we do … WE ❤️ SHMD!!

After our daughters were a little older, I realized there really wasn’t much for the dancers’ younger siblings or other kids to do while the dance. I decided to set up a face painting booth with the other vendors in the old gym and take donations to give to the dance. My first year (2005), I was thrilled to raise over $100! Every year following it got bigger and better! Later on, a couple former South High students joined me on the Face Painting Committee. Because it was such a hit with the little kids, adults and alumni, I needed help keeping up with the line of customers!

I know my family will always be involved with the dance in the future. I see myself continuing to work with the Garments Committee, even after Allie graduates high school in 2019. Our group has fun and we work so well together…bouncing ideas off of each other, coming up with concepts for designs and finding the next “must have” SHMD merchandise.

The Myott Family

Tieka: My first experience of SHMD was all the talk going around town about this amazing event that took place right where I was living. Once my oldest was in elementary school, that’s when I saw what this event was really all about. I couldn’t believe the amount of people Marathon helped and how many lives it affected in such a positive way. At that point, I knew I wanted to do whatever I could to help. I was a Girl Scout leader at the time, and I was sharing with Chris Whorf (another girl scout mom) how I would love to help raise money but didn’t know exactly what to do and how. I owned a salon, but I knew they already offered haircuts at the dance. The popular hair trend that year was feather extensions. Chris talked with her husband Jim, who is a big part of SHMD, and the next thing I knew I was running a booth at the dance and putting in hundreds of extensions!

One of my main goals is raising enough money to give back what SHMD gave to us. My daughter Jillian was a recipient in 2014, and I would love to be able to pay back what was given to her. She has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and an immune disorder. She went through one of the hardest years of her life 2014. She had some surgeries and missed over half a year of school. What SHMD gave her and our family in hope and spirit, I can never replace. But, to be able to work my booth and raise money to give back to other recipients- I will do it as long as I can. I will never stop being involved with the dance. What they have done for us and so many others, and what they will continue to do, is something I always want to be a part of. If there ever comes a time I can’t do my booth, you will find me somewhere else in the building volunteering.

Jillian Harrington with the dancers

Megan: I was born and raised here in South Glens Falls, so I have been around the dance since I was born. My dad and his whole family are alumni (including my grandmother!).  I started out like every one else, waiting patiently for that 5th grade D.A.R.E hour with “Officer Jeff” in our over-sized adult XL shirts. After that, I attended every dance in between because my brother, Matt Lemery, was a dancer. Finally in 9th grade I got to be a dancer myself. I was a chairperson in 11th and 12th grade, and it was the best time of my life. After I graduated, I returned as an alumni and met my husband through Deep Run Marathon Dance. We came up with the idea to bring in some video cameras in 2009. With the expertise of Josh Jacobs a few years later, the production team blossomed into what it is today. I hope to stay as involved as I can as my children come up through the SGF school system. My passion is the production team, and I have made myself a nice little home there.

Megan and her son, Andrew

Caitlin: My first experience with SHMD was in 5th grade, dancing with my class. I’ll never forget it. It seemed huge then, and to think of how big its gotten now, it’s just crazy! I participated as a dancer from 2000-2003 and have been returning each year since to volunteer as an alumni with my father who volunteers for security- this is his 23rd year!

I will return every year to volunteer. Looking forward, I can’t wait for the day my children get to participate as dancers. This year especially shows them how much of a difference you can make in someone else’s life, and I hope to continue to show them how to pay it forward.

Sandy: I am a South High alumni, and always did the work behind the scenes. When I graduated and came home from college, I began volunteering as an EMS person then on the Security Team, which is where I still volunteer today.

I’ll continue to give back to the dance and help with the mini-marathon as much as I am needed, even as Logan moves on to the middle school. I know Logan is already thinking of ways to fund-raise while in the middle school. 

Melissa: My first Marathon Dance was in 1995. I was a freshman, and at the time 9th grade was still in the junior high. I really didn’t know a lot about the dance, but my friends and I were excited to get involved. After that first dance, I was hooked. I participated throughout high school, then returned as part of the alumni organization, never missing a dance. 

I hope to remain involved in the dance in some way as the future unfolds. I enjoy my current role, and look forward to being involved as a parent. The elementary schools and middle school do so much to raise money now, and I’m excited for Benjamin to get involved! He will definitely be visiting the dance this year with his Grandma. The plan is to raise a SHMD kid!

Tracy L: My first experience with Marathon was when I started dancing as a freshman in 1988, and I continued through my senior year. In 2013, when my daughter was in the middle school, I started volunteering for the 50/50 table. My goals are to continue to support this amazing dance in any way I can.

What do you think is the most special part about SHMD?

Tracy C: The most special part of the dance is our community’s involvement and the involvement of the surrounding communities. It’s moving to see all of the support being given to the dancers, and most importantly, the support given to the recipients.

Trish: There’s too many special parts about SHMD to pick just one, but as a resident and a parent in this wonderful community, I love that we all (students, parents, teachers, administration, businesses, SGF and surrounding community members, etc.) come together with the same mindset and mission- to help change lives for the better. KINDNESS IS POWERFUL & ADDICTIVE. Once you experience SHMD you just can’t stop!

Tieka: Wow that’s a hard one because I don’t think there is one special part. First, how amazing is the amount of work that goes into setting up the marathon each year? The number of people it takes to pull off an event of this magnitude is pretty special. What happens behind the scenes and the amount of hours, days, weeks and months it takes to prepare is something no one can explain. That, to me, takes some pretty special people. Then the dancers themselves- they go out and collect money, come up with ideas to raise that money, make props and participate in skits, and stay up for hours dancing and encouraging each other to charge forward through each hour. Those kids are pretty special. They come together for the good of the recipients and put everything aside to dance their hearts out for people who are in need. Let’s not forget the recipients. They share their life stories and open their hearts to feel the love these kids are pouring into them. Over 800 kids dance for these special people. I have been on many sides of Marathon, and during all of them I would say it was more than special.

Megan: The most special part of the dance is the thought that these children, out of the goodness of their heart, have chosen the recipients for one reason or another SOLELY because they want to help. No preconceived notions. No outside opinions, no adult interference. Just the pure, loving hearts of children who were brought up in a community who is so very proud of them for doing something so amazing.

Caitlin: There are so many amazing parts, it’s hard to pick just one. The dancers, the difference they’re making, the money they raise to help others, the community coming together (regardless of differences) to offer their support, the volunteers who give up their entire weekend to make it all run smoothly. I guess the most special part would be everyone who pulls together and makes SHMD work. Each piece is necessary to form the whole puzzle.

South Glens Falls student and 2017 SHMD recipient, Aidan Collins

Sandy: As a representative of the Moreau Recreation Center, I experienced the feeling of being chosen by the students as a recipient and seeing the compassion shown by all at the dance. The best part is knowing that the students of our town are so dedicated, caring, kind and compassionate when it comes to giving. They know the true meaning of kindness and what it can do for others. Being kind to others always stays with you, and I think being a part of SHMD teaches kindness and compassion. That feeling will stay throughout the dancers’ lives. 

Melissa: The recipients are the heart of the dance. They are the reason we all come together each year. At the end of every Marathon Dance, look at the dancers’ faces. They are exhausted, but when they see those recipients up front, and hear just how much the money raised will make a difference in their lives, exhaustion quickly fades to pride. That pride and love shines from their eyes and eventually streams down their cheeks. There is no greater feeling than that.

Tracy L: The most special part about SHMD is listening to the recipients’ stories and then when they express their gratitude toward the dancers and alumni. This dance started out so small, and now the community comes together and makes the dance what it is today.

From a mom’s point of view, why is it so important for our kids to experience this dance?

Tracy C: The dance gives my entire family time to reflect on our health. Although we weren’t recipients, nine years ago I was diagnosed with cancer, and our family did receive some financial support and a lot of emotional support from the community. It made a horrible time much easier due the support that we got at that time. SHMD is important to our entire family because we know what it’s like to need help when you already feel so defeated.

Trish: It teaches compassion and understanding for others. It builds everlasting friendships and bonds. It fills their hearts with love and kindness! When those dancers take to the gym floor, they become one. They know what they are there for, and they know they can accomplish anything they put their minds to. There are no differences between classes (freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors). There is a spirit of camaraderie. They are one big unified team and they pump each other up to not stop and just keep going. As parents we try to teach our children to be kind to everyone, and this dance only helps to foster what we’ve been teaching them.

Tieka: When I try to explain SHMD to someone who has never seen or heard about the dance, I tell them it’s not something I can explain. It’s something you must feel. When you walk in those doors and see 800+ kids coming together and dancing for the same cause, it will take your breath away. It will bring tears to your eyes. As a mom, that’s what I want my kids to experience. As dancers, I want them to experience the hard work of raising money for the recipients. I want them to experience the blood, sweat and tears of making props and working with others to come up with ideas and see that plan through. I want them to experience the bond of hundreds of kids coming together to help others in need. Most of all I want them to experience the love that pours out of those recipients. These are moments, memories and bonds they will never forget.

The Cook girls

Megan: It’s such a unique experience for them. It’s a time where cliques don’t matter. Where it doesn’t matter who your friends are, or what sports you play, or what your grades are. For a brief moment in time they are working together as one unit to create a better world for people in need. It’s important for kids to know compassion and acceptance, and that is exactly what they experience at marathon.

Caitlin: It shows children you can make a difference. That you and your actions matter. It brings a sense of community and pride- things that kids need to feel and experience. And it shows them that as a community, we support and help those who need it.

Sandy: I love seeing my son show compassion, caring for others, and never-ending kindness. It is an everyday reminder to be kind, to give to others that may be in need, and to realize you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. The students of SGF show us how easy all of this is when you work as a team. They pull the community together with their hard work. These are traits I would love my son to have and carry forward in his life.

Melissa: I’m only six months into my own experience as a mom, but I do get to see many former students taking part in the dance each year. I think getting involved in something so incredibly selfless and raising money to help those in need helps kids play an important role in their community. It helps them develop into caring, compassionate adults, who recognize the importance of helping others.

Tracy L: Marathon is important for the kids because it makes them appreciate and realize what they have in a community as wonderful as ours. It shows them how to share compassion, love, and respect for those they’ve never met before. It’s a profound feeling.

Thank you to all the Marathon Moms out there! We see your hard work and dedication to your kids and to all the kids in our community. You are amazing role models for future generations of SHMDers.

To donate to the dance and to watch it live March 3rd and 4th, visit www.shmd.org.

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This series is dedicated to awesome local moms in our region. The goal is to take a moment to shine the spotlight on deserving moms. Why? Because we are the best support for one another in this journey of mommyhood. It’s not easy to balance being a mom with everything else life has to throw at us, and all too often we can feel like we aren’t enough. On Mondays, we say YOU ARE AMAZING, MOMMA! So if you know of a mom who rocks it, please use the contact form to let us know. We’ll set up an interview with her, and feature her in one of our posts!

5 Reasons to be More Like a South High Marathon Dancer

If you live in our community and haven’t heard of the South High Marathon Dance…well…I’m not sure that’s possible. Just in case it’s your first time reading about this event, let me start out with a little background info.

Basically, every year for the last 39 years, local high school students worked to raise money for our community. (Not just South Glens Falls, but all the surrounding areas as well. Chances are, if you haven’t been impacted by this dance, you know someone who has, even if you don’t live in SGF.) In 2016, they raised over $760,000. Yes, that’s 3 zeros after the comma. Whatever you’re picturing when you read about 800 kids dancing for 28 hours straight, this is better.

Yes, there’s sweat. Yes, they’re tired. But this dance isn’t just about overcoming exhaustion. In fact, this isn’t something one can describe with words.

Truly, the dance is a feeling. A spirit. A movement. You have to be there to feel its heartbeat. Pictures, words, numbers- they don’t speak to the magnitude of this thing. The kids are pouring their souls into showing spirit, however difficult it may be at 3 in the morning, to show solidarity and support for local people in need. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out the 2017 promo video.

Let’s stop to think about the magnitude for a minute. These are teenagers. They are the embodiment of all the qualities we hope our children will show someday. They are not only role models for younger children, but also for us as adults! In a world where bullying and negativity about youth plague the news every day, here’s an example of a group of young people working tirelessly to raise money and lift the spirits of others.

I was a dancer myself, and I return to the dance each year in whatever capacity I can. Each year I tell my fifth-grade students how lucky they are to have the opportunity to participate in this event when they get to high school. I talk to them about how we can carry the feeling of community into our everyday lives. How can we be more like the dancers? What are they teaching us about how to move forward after this event? Adults and kids alike can learn from the dancers. Here are 5 ways to be more like a marathon dancer:

1. Give everyone a hug or a high five.

When you arrive at the dance, you’ll notice a lot of hugging and high-fiving. Tons of smiles are being thrown around, and you’ll probably hear some random cheering in the hallways. If you look really closely at what’s happening, you realize what they’re doing is spreading the spirit…with everyone. The kids genuinely want everyone at the dance- visitors, other dancers, recipients, to feel good.

They have a heightened awareness that their actions are contagious, and they choose to spread kindness and love.

We could mimic this in our own lives! When you’re feeling good, smile at someone. When you think of a compliment, say it out loud. You never know what someone else is going through. You never know what one small gesture could mean.

2. Just keep dancing! (Even when times are tough.)

Remember your last all-nighter? Well, these kids stay up from when they start the school day Friday morning at 8 until Saturday at 11pm when they finally arrive home and collapse on the bed. They’re also moving nearly the entire time from when the dance starts Friday evening until when it stops Saturday night.

As a dancer, the worst time for me wasn’t during the night. I still had adrenaline running through my veins during the night. For me, the most difficult part was Saturday, late morning. The rush from the excitement of being at the dance had worn off, my legs had gone numb, and I couldn’t quite muster that SHMD spirit. 

Every dancer probably has some negative thoughts and wonders how they’ll keep going, but somehow they do. Maybe they catch a glance of a recipient, or maybe they see a younger student watching them, dreaming about someday when they’ll get the chance to dance. Somehow they summon the strength to push on through that rough patch, and don’t we all need to do this at one time or another? We can learn from their determination.

3. Work, work, work.

The kids don’t start working on Friday night of the dance. Their efforts begin months, sometimes the entire year, before the dance begins. Students collect bottles, make phone calls, save coins, plan fundraising events, sell baked goods, etc. Whatever they can think of to contribute to the dance, they do it. No one has to remind them. They are a group of motivated youth putting in the time and effort to benefit someone else. 

I happen to absolutely love my job, but there are days when even I wish I could hit the snooze button. (Though my newborn doesn’t always let me do that!) Next time you’re tempted to grumble about extra work, think like a marathoner. You’ve got to keep working, even when the goal is long term. Keep working even when there’s not going to be any gratification today. These little steps and small contributions on the days when you aren’t in the mood are the ones that make a difference in the end.

4. Put others first.

The dancers have one main motivation for all this hard work and dedication: The recipients. They know to smile and say hello to anyone in a yellow shirt because that person has been selected as a person in need. But beyond treating the recipients with respect, the students treat the visitors to the dance, the alumni, and each other with respect. There’s a feeling that we’re all on the same team, and of course, we are.

Every day I urge you to consider what you might have in common with those around you. Smile at one another, open the door for someone, encourage someone, spread a positive vibe. We all need to feel supported and welcomed, and we can use these small gestures to help others feel the same.

5. Have a passion.

The first 4 reasons to be more like a dancer are driven by the passion these kids have for working toward a common goal. If we carry that same passion to use to push us toward our goals in life and toward helping others, the world will be more like SHMD.

So dancers, kids, adults- let’s remember the spirit of this dance, the way it makes all of us feel, and let’s carry that into our community every day. Let’s remember to always be considerate of one another, knowing at any time we could be the ones in need of support. 

To support the dance, please visit www.shmd.org to donate.

If you can’t visit the dance, tune in to the site to see it streaming live March 3rd and 4th. Here’s the schedule of events. The best time for kids to watch the dance is during the costume parties, and of course you won’t want to miss the ending when the recipients speak and the grand total is announced. 

Have you had a positive experience with a dancer? Use the contact form below to share! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this amazing event.

Photo credits: www.shmd.org and Karrie Cook

#momcrushmonday Karrie Cook of ASKKA Tent Rentals

Welcome to the very first post in the #momcrushmonday series!

This series is dedicated to amazing local moms in our region. The goal is to take a moment to shine the spotlight on deserving moms. Why? Because we are the best support for one another in this journey of mommyhood. It’s not easy to balance being a mom with everything else life has to throw at us, and all too often we can feel like we aren’t enough. On Mondays, we say YOU ARE AMAZING, MOMMA! So if you know of a mom who rocks it, please use the contact form to let us know. We’ll set up an interview with her, and feature her in one of our posts!

When it came to writing this first post, I knew exactly the mom to start with. Karrie Cook is a friend of mine from our college days when we worked like crazy to get our teaching degrees. I thought my life was so hard back then. I had to drive all the way to Albany to take classes, I had loads of homework and reading every night, and I had all these responsibilities, like keeping my apartment clean and working shifts at my retail job when I wasn’t in school.

The Cook Family

What I didn’t notice at the time was my friend Karrie. She probably had bags under her eyes because she was doing all the same things, except she ALSO had 3 kids! I didn’t notice how tired Karrie must’ve been. And to be honest, she wouldn’t have let anyone notice.

You see, Karrie is the type of person who will drop off a basket of baked goodies at your house without leaving her name on it. She’s the type of mom who comes into your school after you’ve gone home for the night to secretly decorate your classroom door. (Yes, she really did that when I had her daughter in my class.)

She’s the mom who, when I interviewed her for this post, didn’t even think to mention the fact that she spends hours helping her daughter Kassi make and sell baked goods to benefit the South High Marathon Dance. She didn’t mention how she volunteers to braid hair to raise more money during the dance. She didn’t mention she ran a Ragnar. She’s the mom who will blush when I hit publish on this post because she doesn’t seem to realize how much she ROCKS.

Oh, and by the way, she runs a family business while she’s at it. If you’re ever in need of party rentals- tables, chairs, tents…she’s your gal! I told Karrie this was the reason I wanted to write about her. As a former business owner, I know the toll it can take on…well…just about everything else you have going on in your life! You want nothing more than to make your customers happy, and word of mouth is everything. That means you’re giving 100% all. the. time. To do this AND have a family who has such a presence in the community is simply awesome. Plus she actually physically installs these tents. Talk about superwoman!

Here’s the chat I had with the fabulous Karrie about life as a mom and business owner.

Tell me little about your business. What are your goals for the business?

Karrie: I own a tent rental business with multiple assorted party needs (tables, chairs, linens, chill tables, beverage dispensers, etc.). 2017 brings us into our 5th year of operation! The shop is located on Ridge Road in Queensbury, and my office is in South Glens Falls. My ultimate goal is to continue providing an excellent, reliable, and affordable service. I hope to expand our wedding line in the next couple of years by purchasing a larger tent that can accommodate over 200 guests!

What inspired you to start your business? What initial steps did you have to take to get started?

Karrie: Initially it was my husband’s idea. He is a full time correctional officer, but runs a small, successful lawn care company. I completed my Master’s program in hopes of “nabbing” a teaching job, but as it turned out, there were a few speed bumps in my path. I haven’t tossed the idea of teaching out of the window completely, as I have a genuine true love and compassion for young eager minds, I just am filling my time tending to customers and sharpening my business sense.

Sidenote from me: Karrie is such a caring and kind teacher! She knows I believe she will eventually find her way back to the teaching world. 🙂

Volunteering at SHMD

Help us understand your business industry. What is it all about? Who is your target audience? Why would someone be interested in using your service or purchasing your product? What makes you stand out among the rest?

Karrie: I provide party rentals (tents, tables, chairs, etc.) for a wallet-friendly price. I have five in my family, and I understand the importance of stretching my dollar as far as the next guy! I want people to know they can count on my business not because of how reliable we are… but also because we won’t rob them blind of their hard earned money. The way people talk about us after an event is the best referral! We strive to meet the needs of every customer, no matter what. Our customers come first! I provide a great service for grad, birthday, & bridal parties, baby showers, weddings etc. What makes us stand out? We are a husband and wife team. We both share the same work ethic, and we aren’t satisfied unless our customers are.

Another side note from me: Can you tell how genuine she is? And this is all true. She fully equipped my baby shower, and it was simply beautiful. She set the entire thing up, I didn’t have to lift a finger or think about it at all. She listened to my ideas, and had every thing I needed and more. 

My shower!

Tell me about a failure, challenge, or a time you had to overcome a fear during your business journey.

Well…unfortunately there is always an incident where no matter what angle you work, that frown can’t be turned around. I honestly can’t recall “that epic fail”… I know in my heart if a client is displeased, so I go out on a limb to try to fix the matter at hand. I am genuine in trying and will offer extra free items or a percentage off the bill. Challenge? My heart always races the last two weeks of June and first two weeks of July. On a personal level, consider me off the grid! My kids eat a ton of takeout (which they don’t mind). Scott and I have our nose to the grindstone and are popping tents up all over to celebrate that year’s graduates.
 

What motivates you? What has been your greatest inspiration?

I feel incredibly motivated because, as corny as this sounds, lifting up a 20×40 tent, carrying poles, chairs, tables, etc. is what I consider manual labor at its hardest. Combine that with setting up in the hottest months of the year, and I’m getting paid to work out! It’s like a free gym membership with a nice financial kick-back. Don’t get me wrong… it’s not a bowl of cherries! Remember I work with my spouse, carrying heavy things in 90 degree weather…we don’t always see eye to eye. But we do respect each other as “work partners”. I do feel blessed for our combined success. My husband inspires me… he is LEGIT a work horse!

What are the next steps for your business? Do you have any upcoming changes or projects in the works?

 I project in the next year or so purchasing a high-peaked wedding tent. I’m dreaming big, but I hope to purchase a 60×100 or at least a 40×100. Nothing is worse than telling a bride, who is very interested in working with me, that I can’t accommodate her needs because I currently own a 20×70 wedding tent. It is very lovely, but too small for anything larger then 80-100 guests.
 

How has owning a business impacted your family? What advice would you give other moms looking to start a business?

I think being in business has shown our girls you have to work really hard to be successful. Sometimes things run very smooth, sometimes they don’t. It’s important to have a strong and focused disposition that will (positively) carry you through the rough stuff. My advice: Devise a plan. Start small. Before you take on too much, be sure you have the support and resources to not drive yourself bonkers with work overload! Keep it intimate and remain true to your own values, even if you are making a TON of money. Don’t forget where you came from, how you started, and who helped you get there!

Where is your favorite local place to visit with your family or shop for your family?

My favorite place to visit with my family is FREE, and in about 40 minutes I can be there. Log Bay in Lake George has always been a special place to me ever since I was a child and my parents took my brother, sister and I there. As a mom, many years later, I truly enjoy disconnecting from a hectic day by driving in to catch the sunset and take a swim with Scott and the girls. We aren’t on our phones (maybe to just capture the beauty of the sunset). We are enjoying the beautiful water and the tranquility of the lake and its surroundings. My husband and I may be guilty of popping open an Angry Orchard and relaxing in a naturally beautiful landscape, which we are so blessed to have in our backyard.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Karrie for being our very first #momcrushmonday spotlight! We are totally crushin’ on you, Momma!

You can find out more about Karrie’s tent rentals on www.askkatentrentals.com  (site design by yours truly!)

Contact Karrie on Facebook for information on how to support Kassi’s fundraising efforts for the South High Marathon Dance! 

Amazon Prime Valentines (That make you look like a total Pinterest Mom)

Remember Valentine’s Day as a kid? Your mom probably sent you to school with 24 character valentines in that little cardboard box. You’d write a name on each one, fold it in half on the perforated line, and stick it closed with the heart stickers included. If you were really lucky, your mom would splurge for the ones with a lollipop, and all your classmates would get super pumped when you put a heavy valentine in the handmade mailbox.

Nowadays, the stakes are higher. You see one of your friends posting on Facebook about the valentines she’s starting to craft 2 weeks beforehand. It involves baking, glitter, a Cricut machine, and a full page photo cutout of her kid holding said baked good. You look at the calendar. CRAP. It’s February 10th. You start to tell the kids to get ready to head out to the store when it hits you. AMAZON PRIME. You can stay in your PJs AND still craft a valentine like one of those Pinterest moms!

I realize using Amazon Prime isn’t exactly as great as supporting local small businesses, but sometimes we have to allow for a little two-day shipping in our lives. And…I do get a little commission from Amazon if you use my links, so I guess you could say part of your purchase goes to support a local family. Not to worry. I have another post planned with more local valentine ideas for those of you who would like to step up the Vday game and are also willing to leave the house. 

Each of these Valentines have only two steps:

Step One: Click BUY IT NOW.

Step Two: Click PRINT.

Before we start, here are some extras you might need to add to your Amazon cart to jazz up any of these valentines. The Washi tape is the best because you can simply stick the gift to the printed card, and it’s done!

 

I’ve got my eyes on you!

You know every kid is going to be walking around the classroom with these on after these fun valentines are handed out. It’ll be the perfect photo op! Simply buy, print, and assemble. Sadly, the heart shape won’t ship in 2 days, but the 80s style are just as fun!

Free printable card here!

I hope your Valentine’s Day packs a punch!

Who doesn’t love the ol’ punch balloon? Forget the candy! If I was a kid, this would be my favorite valentine. Who am I kidding? This would be my favorite as an adult too. It’s very therapeutic.

Buy balloons here and they’ll be at your doorstep in two days. You may want some clear party bags as well.

Print the adorable card here.

I’m wild about you!

Remember tearing through those paper Valentines looking for the best stuff that came with them? Might as well give the kids something they’ll save! The flinging lizards would be a sure hit. By the way, I don’t think these are only boy valentines. Girls like stretchy creatures too!

Print the Valentines here- 3 styles to choose from!

Hope you have a colorful Valentine’s Day!

This could be used with crayons, highlighters, gel pens, whatever! You could tie up a few with twine or put the whole thing in a bag and top with this card. Here’s the printable!

 

I’m crazy for you, Valentine!

Crazy straws are the BEST. Here’s your printable from Ginger Snap Crafts.

You’re the balm!

The girls will go crazy for this one or this one! It’s cute and useful, especially in February in upstate, NY. If you get the tube chapstick, stick it onto the printable with Washi tape!

Hope your Valentine’s Day is a ball!

Trust me, the teacher will love you for this one. 😉 Print the topper here.

Simple and meaningful tradition

My mom is so thoughtful. She used to wrap up a little something for me to open the morning of Valentine’s Day. It was usually a cute pair of pjs with hearts all over, and I always loved that tradition! As I was on the hunt for Amazon Prime valentines, I got sidetracked looking at a few cute traditions for Vday and thought I’d share! Isn’t this SO sweet? 

I know. I totally have to do this. Here. Add the supplies to your cart while you’re at it:

 

Hope this helps save you a few bucks, a trip to the store, and also scores you points with the little ones. Have any other ideas for quick and easy Prime valentines? Send ’em our way! 

Easy Valentine Ideas Guys Will Love

I admit, I was much more creative with gifts for the hubby in past years. Now I’m busy planning the baby’s outfit and photoshoot for Valentine’s Day, and I need something quick to let him know he still has a spot in my heart even though I’m pretty obsessed with the newest little Valentine in my life.

Here are three ways to win your guy’s heart this Valentine’s Day: 1. Beer. 2. Food. 3. Socks. (How do they get holes in those things SO quickly?) And the best part is…you can find each of these things locally, which means you can show some love for our community at the same time!

Up first, BEER.

We are beer connoisseurs in this house, so I know I can never go wrong if I pick up a good brew like this one from Argyle Brewing Co. (And they were super sweet when we showed up with a baby in tow.) We have plenty of options for good beer locally, and this crafty (pun intended) Valentine couldn’t get any easier to make! 

Print these beer-themed Valentines and stick them to your beer bottle or growler. You could print with a home printer and use tape or a glue stick to attach them over the existing label, or if you want to get really fancy, print them on actual labels to stick on the bottle. 

{Like the shelf in the background? Shout out to Adirondack Upcycled for that beauty.}

Next, FOOD.

I love this idea for giving him a couple of big ol’ muffins! I’m thinking Rockhill Bakehouse might have the perfect, giant muffins for your hunny if you’re not into baking. 

Here’s a similar printable for your muffin.

Or, you could order 6 specialty cupcakes and chocolate-covered strawberries from Baked by Jordan. She is running a Valentine’s Day special, so place your order now. ($25 for 6 of each) What a treat! 

6 Cupcakes & 6 Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Baked by Jordan!

Here’s a printable for the cupcakes!

And last, SOCKS. 

Because what guy doesn’t need socks? Mine wears his down as soon as he gets them. Stop by Fountain Square Outfitters for a quality pair, and tie them up with some twine and this adorable Valentine.

What are you and your sweetheart planning for Valentine’s Day?

DIY Freezer Smoothie Packs

Each morning I find myself wondering what to do with that extra 20 minutes of quiet time before the baby wakes up. 

Oh wait. I don’t have extra time in the morning. I’m usually running out the door with my school bag, a diaper bag, my lunch (if I remember), my pump bag with all the parts and a cooler, a baby, and a rag to clean up the spit up all over my shirt. On a good day I’ll remember to grab a stale granola bar for breakfast.

So last week while looking longingly at the ice cream in the freezer aisle, those smoothie freezer packs caught my eye. They seemed so convenient- pop in the blender with some milk, and I’m out the door with a nutritional {yummy} breakfast in hand. The problem? They’re kind of expensive considering I could grab some frozen berries and yogurt for much less. Couldn’t I make this a DIY? I’d put together my freezer packs on Sunday and be set for the week.

 

Now I’m all for Sunday meal prep, but no one wants to spend all of Sunday in the kitchen. This took about 10 minutes in the morning to get the ice cube trays packed with yogurt and coffee, and about 10 minutes in the afternoon to chop and throw everything in baggies. Total prep time: 20 minutes. That’s my kind of food prep!

Tips for prepping

  • Freeze the yogurt in an ice cube tray! This is one less ingredient to measure out in the morning, and the little cubes of yogurt actually held together when putting in the freezer bag. No mom needs another mess to clean up in the kitchen, so put the yogurt in a bag and cut off the end to help squeeze the yogurt into the tray neatly.

  • Brew a pot of coffee and freeze that into cubes. If you pop some coffee cubes in your smoothie, you’ll have that extra flavor and won’t have to worry about carrying a coffee in one hand and a smoothie in the other.

  • I didn’t add peanut butter to my freezer packs, but if you want to save some time, I’m sure this would work out just fine.

The basic formula

You don’t need to use these exact recipes. Basically you’ll need 1 1/2 cups of fruit, 1 cup of greens (optional), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, and 1 cup of milk or almond milk. Add protein powder, chia seed, flaxseed, coffee, peanut butter- whatever you like. 

To save time, freeze yogurt into cubes ahead of time.

Throw all the greens and fruit together in the bags and freeze. Frozen fruit works, it’ll help make your smoothie nice and cold! I’d throw the peanut butter in there too.

Measure your dry ingredients into baggies for the pantry- usually 1 tbsp of chia and flaxseed and 1 scoop of protein powder.

 

In the morning, dump the fruit into the blender with the dry ingredients and milk. Almond milk is our favorite, but you could use any milk or skip the yogurt and add juice.

I LOVE my single serve blender (only $15) because I can take the cup with me to work. To be honest, one day I totally forgot to make the smoothie and only had 2 minutes to spare. I brought the enitre blender with milk in it and the smoothie packs with me to work- problem solved!

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

2 yogurt cubes, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 banana, 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, 1 cup milk

Banana Mocha Smoothie

2 coffee cubes, 2 yogurt cubes, 1 banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 scoop protein (chocolate or mocha flavor is best!), 1 cup milk

Green Super Smoothie

1/2 cup spinach (snap stems off), 1 banana, 2 yogurt cubes, 1/2 cup applesauce, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup milk

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?

Oatmeal M&M Cookie Mix Jar Gift {Perfect for nursing moms!}

Before you read any further…I know the title on the recipe card says lactation cookies, but I swear they’re not only good for new moms! They are a perfect treat for anyone, and I promise no one will even know how beneficial oatmeal and flaxseed are for milk production. Read on. 🙂

This works as a last-minute baby shower gift, a care package for a mom just arriving home from the hospital, or even as an after-school snack! (Leaving out the Brewer’s Yeast, of course.) It’s all set and ready to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. The Brewer’s Yeast is a nice bonus, but with the oatmeal and flaxseed meal, you’ll be giving this Mom a boost to her supply and a yummy dessert she can feel good about eating, so feel free to skip that if you don’t have time for a trip to the store.

The great part about this is the recipient of the gift only has to add a stick of butter, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 1 egg. Mix it up, bake it 10 minutes, and she’s on her way to enjoying warm, sweet, chewy goodness! This is a must for new moms who won’t have much time to put baby down and channel her inner Martha Stewart, but it is going to make her feel all sorts of warm fuzzies to be able to accomplish baking cookies with a new little one in the house.

Anyway. Onto the baking. Remember, I’m the world’s laziest baker, so I made sure to share a recipe with very few steps. If you’re making the jar gift, you can print out a pretty tag by downloading this picture file to print or this one with 4 copies of the card already sized for you. Cardstock would work best, or I printed mine on plain paper and used a mini clothespin to attach it to twine around a mason jar.

Layer the dry ingredients in order, using a spoon to pack and spread each layer. If you’re not making the jar gift, just toss all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. (Yup. It’s that easy!)

Now if you’re actually making these, mix the wet ingredients separately and combine with the dry. If you’re making the gift, you’re done once you’ve layered the dry ingredients into the jar!

Place 2 tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

I skipped the Brewer’s Yeast in this batch, brought them to a party, and everyone loved them. They were gone by the end of the night…unfortunately for me. I would’ve totally finished these off.

If you’re giving this to a new mom, a perfect add on would be Mother’s Milk Tea. You could even put together a whole themed basket for breastfeeding moms. You know what else has Brewer’s Yeast? Beer! You could include a growler of local beer with your jar of cookie mix. What’s your favorite trick for increasing your supply as a new mom?

Oatmeal M&M Cookies
Yields 24
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Dry Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup white sugar
  3. 1 cup flour
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  6. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 cup m&ms
  8. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  9. 2 tbs flaxseed meal
  10. 2 tbs brewer's yeast
Wet Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  3. 1/2 cup butter melted, cooled
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl
  3. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl
  4. Combine dry & wet ingredients
  5. Drop 2 tbsp dough onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes
  6. Let cool and enjoy!
Print
Glens Falls Mom http://glensfallsmom.com/

Family Game Night: Minute to Win It

My sister called the other night to ask if I would set up some sort of game night. Of course, I couldn’t just bring a bunch of board games. No. It had to be a real competition with clear rules and a scoreboard. And a grand prize. We take game night seriously!

I did a quick Pinterest search for family game nights and gathered a bunch of games based on the TV show, Minute to Win It. On the show, contestants have one minute to complete little tasks that seem nearly impossible.

We picked the games that would be the funniest to watch, plus a bunch we had played at a party on New Year’s. (Doesn’t hurt that we had a little practice with those!)

Instead of having to complete the task in a minute, we wanted to add another element of competition by noting who completed the activity in the fastest time. We gave 5 points to the first place time, 3 points to the second place time, 2 to third, and 1 to fourth. If we had a tie, those two faced off to determine the score.

I was the one who suggested leaving the most challenging task for last, allowing people to bet their points. I have to admit, I suggested this to benefit myself because I knew I’d end up low on the scoreboard, and I didn’t want to feel defeated before the games were done. (I’m good at a lot of things…coordination isn’t one of them!)

We had to grab a few supplies. Here’s what we bought or found around the house:

  • Plenty of ping pong balls
  • Solo cups
  • A pair of nylons
  • A tennis ball
  • An empty tissue box
  • A big belt (preferably the kind you can loop through the buckle so it fits all sizes)
  • A bucket
  • A clipboard
  • Four 4×6 index cards
  • A package of cookies
  • A slice of bread & some peanut butter
  • M&Ms
  • Straws
  • Poster board and markers for the score board

This should help you organize your next game night, and hopefully you perform better than I did in the lineup!

Cookie Face

Place a cookie on your forehead. You have one minute to wiggle that cookie down into your mouth without using your hands. It works best if the player is seated, and if your cookie hits the ground, start again. You might want to have plenty of cookies and a video camera on hand!

Movin’ On Up

Mark one of the Solo Cups as the special cup, or use a different color. I’ve seen a bunch of variations of this one, but we used 25 cups and started with the special cup on top. Moving cups from top to bottom, work that cup all the way back to the top again.

Straw Power

Place 25 M&Ms on a plate. Move the M&Ms one at a time from one plate to the other using only a straw. Prepare to be lightheaded from this one! Or if you’re like me, you won’t even be able to get one M&M to move. Oops! I blame it on the cheap straws we bought with the tiny opening.

Bouncy Ball

Line up 6 solo cups in a single file line in front of you. Stand facing the lineup of cups. Bounce a ping pong ball into one cup at a time, removing the cups as you go. It doesn’t count if you bounce a ping pong ball into the second one unless you’ve made it in the first. My mom dominated this one!

Knock Out

This was my favorite because it was hysterical to watch! Clear an area on the floor and set up 12 cups spread as far out as possible in a large circle. Have each player place the nylon bottoms on their head with a tennis ball in the toe of one of the legs. The object is to knock down all 12 cups one at a time. If they knock down 2 at a time by accident, put them both back up.

On the Rebound

One player holds a clipboard near their waist with a bucket placed at their feet. The other player tries to bounce a ping pong ball off of the clipboard and into the bucket. They must get 5 balls in to win, and it’s not as easy as it looks! (No help from the clipboard holder!)

PB & B

To set this up, place a slice of bread with peanut butter on the floor (or on a lower surface). Bounce a ping pong ball off a higher surface trying to get it to land directly on the peanut butter with one bounce.

Shake It Off (AKA Junk in the Trunk)

This is another event you’ll want the camera out for! Tape the empty tissue box to the back of the belt. Players should place the belt on their waist and load the tissue box with 8 ping pong balls. Players need to shake all 8 ping pong balls out of the tissue box.

At this point, we counted up each player’s points and had them make their bets on slips of paper to prepare for the final challenge!

The Final Challenge- Card Pull

We picked this game as the final challenge because it is so difficult! In one minute, players need to stack 5 cups with index cards in between each and remove the index cards one at a time from top to bottom, without letting the cups fall. If you do it right, the cups will land one inside the other. If you mess it up, hopefully you didn’t bet all those points!

5 Reasons Why I Love Glens Falls

You may have heard Glens Falls was named the best city in New York State for a successful 2017. Even though the article referred to it as Glen Falls (yeah, we’ve heard that one before), it points out GF is affordable and has been awarded a revitalization grant. Beyond that, there are so many other reasons to love this charming little city.

The beautiful historic buildings

Photo by Jason Checkla Photography

Next time you’re waiting in traffic at the circle, instead of turning up the tunes to drown out the noise in the backseat so you can review your to-do list in your head, look around and play a game of “I Spy” with your kids. If you’re on Ridge Street, you might spy an old clock on City Hall, built in 1900. Or you could point out the beautiful brickwork on the D.H. Cowles and Co. Building. They might be interested to know the original building on this corner burned in one of the three major fires in Glens Falls. If they want to know more, plan a trip to the Chapman Museum to visit the DeLong House and learn about the history behind our city.

The Farmer’s Market and Take a Bite

Strolling around the summer market on a beautiful Saturday morning, you’ll find fresh veggies, flowers, locally-produced products, and activities for the little ones. Refill your gallon of Battenkill milk, taste a crepe from Dickinson’s Delights, and pick up some fresh flowers for your kitchen table. We don’t have to miss out on these goodies in the winter because the market is held inside Sanford Street school. Find more information here.

Photo from Glens Falls Farmer’s Market

If you haven’t yet experienced a Take a Bite on Wednesday nights in the summer, it’s a must try! Local eateries set up booths with samples of food, dessert and drinks. Bring some cash because each sample costs a few bucks, but you’ll walk away feeling full after trying out all the local bites! The kids will love walking up and down the streets, and there’s often a band and other fun activities happening in conjunction with the food. On a nice night, the streets can be packed, but you’ll find lots of other moms navigating strollers since everything is held outdoors.

Photo from Shirt Factory GF

The beer

On your next date night, tour a few of the breweries and restaurants serving a variety of craft beer. Downtown GF has quite a few options now! Almost every place you stop is serving up good brews. Download the Untappd app to log your opinions about your tastings. Need a driver? Check out the Hoppy Trails Brew Bus! Here are just some of the restaurants and breweries boasting unique taps.

Crandall Library

Grab a coffee, head into the library, and find a quiet nook to read for as long as you like. Bring your toddlers to the playroom, your young ones to go on the computers or read to a therapy dog in the children’s area. Your teen will love the room where only young adults are allowed. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the library, take another visit. If books aren’t your thing, check out the DVD selection and look through magazines. Stop by the bulletin board to read about upcoming events at the library, including the infamous book sales where you can score books for almost nothing. We’re lucky to have this community hub downtown.

Photo by Jason Checkla Photography

Supporting Small Businesses

I could write for hours about the shops, restaurants, and activities run by local business owners. (Oh right, that’s the point of this blog!) As a small business owner in Glens Falls, I had the chance to talk to the people of our area daily, and I know they want to keep our businesses thriving. Whatever you do downtown, you can feel good knowing your money is going back to help our city.