Five Fun Ideas for $5

Lucky for us, we live just a couple minutes away from a Dollar Tree. Pre-Sloan, I would frequent such stores for specific products, but these days we visit our neighborhood Dollar Tree on a more regular basis. Why? It is a great place to entertain a toddler…both in-store and out.

On days when it is chilly and I want her to expel some energy at a place other than the trampoline park or indoor playground, I might take her to the Dollar Tree. I will let her loose in the store with a $3 budget and let her shop! While she picks out her lollipop, knockoff barbie doll, and unicorn poop, I pick out some items on my own that I know will translate into a few minutes of entertainment at home.

In tonight’s blog post, I want to share five items that I have recently purchased at the Dollar Tree that have helped Sloan have a good time at the house during these “cold” Myrtle Beach days.

A look at our neighborhood Dollar Tree.

Silly String – I introduced Sloan to silly string just this weekend. Things got off to a rough start! Sloan started to cry when Sidney sprayed me with it. However, we told her there was nothing to be sad about and she calmed down. We put out an intimate object for target practice and Sloan loved it.

Sloan was introduced to silly string this weekend.

Bath Fun – We really never have a problem getting Sloan to take baths but we have found a way to motivate her to quickly hit the tub instead of stalling. The Dollar Tree offers bath toys, bath bombs, and bubbly soaps. She gets a kick out of throwing a bath bomb in the water and watching it transform into a colorful, aromatic experience.

We get Sloan bath bombs to add another element to tub time.

Kinder Eggs – I didn’t know much about Kinder Eggs until I let Sloan try one but I am now very aware! A Kinder Egg has two halves––one with sweet cream and wafer bits and one with a toy. It is an extremely tough call but I would say Sloan likes the candy more than the toy because she does her eating first, usually licking the egg completely clean. We then assemble the basic toy, which usually comes in a few parts, together. You can buy a Kinder Egg anywhere, but they usually cost a little more than a dollar. So, I guess it goes without saying why we purchase them at the Dollar Tree.

Sloan is obsessed with Kinder Eggs.

Fun Based Off YouTube – Sloan enjoys a YouTube sensation named Ryan. In one of his older videos he participates in a classic “Minute to Win It” challenge with family members. Two teams race to pull out all the contents of two full Kleenex boxes one tissue at a time until both are empty. At the end, they throw the tissues in the air to simulate a snowstorm. Because Sloan has seen this video so many times she was overjoyed when we recreated it for ourselves. Thanks to $1 148-count tissue boxes at Dollar Tree we had more than a snowstorm––we had a blizzard!

I re-created one of Sloan’s favorite scenes from the Ryan YouTube series.

Toothpaste – I think Sloan is the only toddler who finds brushing her teeth fun and the only one who will do it for five minutes at a time. At the Dollar Tree, a wide selection of toothpastes with princesses and Mickey Mouse are available. Letting her choose one of these fun pastes goes even further to promote her commitment to good oral health.

Sloan loves to brush her teeth and has fun choosing her toothpaste at Dollar Tree.


These five ideas combined will give you at least two hours of fun with your toddler. For $5, that is pretty good! Well, technically it is $6 because you will have to buy two Kleenex boxes…but you get the idea! Creativity awaits at the Dollar Tree. Don’t Blink.

Cookie Monster Thursday Rundown

We have had a week full of 70 degree days. Not bad for January, right? Time for me to step out of the oppressive humidity and start my latest Thursday Rundown. Here we go…

Cookie Monsters – Do you know someone who is selling Girl Scout cookies? If so, please send them our way. PSYCH! I hate turning down youth fundraising efforts but we exhausted our Girl Scout cookie budget when Sidney purchased SEVEN boxes from someone at school. Needless to say, our pantry is well stocked. If you like trefoils or peanut butter patties, feel free to stop by our house.

Sidney left one box in her classroom at school.

Weekend of Movies – Over the weekend, our household went hard on 2020 award-nominated movies. We watched “Marriage Story,” “The Two Popes,” “The Joker,” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” They are all very different movies with different storylines and themes. I think I was most surprised by “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” because it wasn’t anything like I thought it was going to be…something I should have expected out of a Tarantino film. To be honest, none of the movies stood out to me as an Academy Award Best Picture film.

Me holding “The Joker” DVD that we rented from Redbox.

Fun Blizzard Flavor – On Friday night, we celebrated the weekend by ordering Blizzards from Dairy Queen. I gave Sidney a case of dessert envy when I opted for a new flavor called Oreo Cookie Jar. It contained Oreo cookies (big surprise), chocolate chip cookie dough, and hot fudge. It was so good that Sid got one the next night!

This was my Oreo Cookie Jar Blizzard from the other night.

1,095 Days Ago – A couple of significant (but not really) events occurred three years ago this week. First, I tried MOD Pizza for the first time. After enjoying my first pie all that time ago, I still feel the same way about the concept and restaurant itself…I love it! Second, I received a very unusual package in the mail. When I opened it up, I was the brand new owner of a potato! My fellow higher education social media professional at the University of Houston sent me the special gift from a service called Potato Parcel. Yes, completely bizarre.

On Jan. 15, 2017, I tried MOD Pizza and received a delivery from Potato Parcel.

The GOAT – When I wrote about the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament last week, I admitted that I didn’t know if I would watch each hour-long show in its entirety. Well, I did, and I am happy about it. I enthusiastically rooted for Ken Jennings each night and to see him come out on top this past Tuesday was a thrill (I realize I am a nerd) for me. It was also a pleasant surprise because I did hear a spoiler that James won the tournament. How can you not be happy for Ken? In my opinion, you can’t find a millionaire with a better personality than him. Congrats, Mr. GOAT.

Ken Jennings is a very, very smart man (photo courtesy of ABC)


We are now 4.16% through 2020. Be careful or the year will fly by! Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Don’t Blink.

Sticking Up for the Clemson Mascot

I admit it, I feel bad for the Clemson Tiger. For the past 48 hours, the big pop culture story has centered on the mascot of Clemson University. During the CFP National Championship game, there was a lot of social media chatter about the differences in appearance between the LSU Tiger mascot and the Clemson Tiger mascot. Unfortunately for the Clemson feline, public opinion of him was rather harsh.

The appearances of the LSU Tiger (left) and the Clemson Tiger (right) was a hot topic during the CFP National Championship game.

In response to ridicule directed at The Tiger (official name of the Clemson mascot), an LSU fan (of all people) set up a GoFundMe account to purchase a new mascot suit for the Clemson athletic department. The fact that a Louisiana State fan created a GoFundMe account as an act of pity hurts just as much as him writing “It seems that the University purchased their mascot costume from the clearance rack from TG&Y in 1981.” Ouch.

This was one of the G-rated memes that circulated on social media.

But I am here to defend The Tiger. Yes, Clemson’s mascot was the punching bag for social media jokes on Monday night. However, was it warranted? It goes without saying that Mike the Tiger (the LSU mascot) looks more modern and polished but does that mean his worth as a mascot is greater than The Tiger? Hardly. Although a national audience sided with LSU’s costumed depiction of a striped cat, I don’t find many Clemson fans who object to the appearance of The Tiger. Sure, Clemson would have liked to win the social media “beauty contest” that took place on Monday night but at the end of the day their campus and fan base resonates with their mascot in its current form.

With that said, I also wanted to add some personal insight. Creating and PAYING for mascot suits is much more intense than most people think. During my time at the University of Montana, one of my responsibilities was to serve as the mascot coordinator. Monte, the costumed grizzly bear that serves as UM’s mascot, was constantly in need of suit maintenance because of his extreme stunts and a schedule that saw him make hundreds of appearances each year.

Monte and I at the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

Anyway, providing the necessary upgrades wasn’t always easy. Creating a mascot suit is a science that needs to be handled by talented professionals. At Montana, we worked with a national company that did mostly good work but every now and then we received something that looked off brand (for example, during my time with the athletic department we had a Monte head that was never used because it looked like he was smiling). To keep costs manageable, we usually wouldn’t order an entire suit all at once. Believe it or not, a mascot costume costs thousands of dollars. So we might purchase hands and arms one year, a head the next, and then surplus fur and shoes after that.

Mascot suits are expensive!

Hold on. Doesn’t the university or athletic department pay for all maintenance? Not necessarily. At UM, we had a mascot account that was funded by the paid appearances that the student performers made and any donations our program received. Those monies funded any costume purchases. 

In closing, don’t judge the appearances of mascots too harshly. They could be well-loved by their fan base just the way they are or the funds might not be there for a makeover. I am personally fond of The Tiger’s unique look. Don’t Blink.

Avoiding Mouth Burns

Last night I was at the 810 bowling alley in Market Common. I bit into a chicken tender and the pain was instantaneous. While the breading was warm, the chicken itself was scalding hot. The roof of my mouth was burned immediately. I rolled my eyes, knowing that the burn would linger for a couple days.

Although I would take a minor mouth burn before a canker sore (I get them really bad), there is nothing fun about burning your mouth. It causes you to curse at the food you are eating and to take a step back from the rest of the meal. Trying to get some relief with cold water only agitates the burn more. You go to sleep that night only to wake up the next morning with a couple seconds of obliviousness before you feel and remember the burn. Eating other food throughout the day is compromised by the nagging wound in your mouth. It just sucks.

Throughout my life, I have tried to take precautions against mouth burns. Some people might view these measures as “tacky” but I prefer to avoid incinerating my mouth tissue. A few of the tactics I employ…

1. Drop ice in my soup or hot liquid – Using my spoon to scoop a couple of ice cubes out of my water glass is the best way to take the guesswork out of using the tip of your tongue to test the temperature of a piping hot cup of chicken noodle soup.

2. Place an entrée that just came out of the oven into the refrigerator – Oh my sister used to hate this. Sometimes I would take my entire dinner plate and throw it into the fridge immediately after I dished up. Although it seems counterproductive to some, I try not to take any chances. After a few minutes I would take my plate out and eat the cooled food.

3. Cut the cook time in half – Ask my wife about this. If I am microwaving something, I will usually cook it for a shorter amount of time than prescribed. If potato skins are supposed to cook for two minutes, I am throwing them in there for 90 seconds. I tolerate an ice crystal or two better than I do intense heat.

I realize some of these methods might be unconventional but hopefully you can understand my distaste for mouth burns. Now I turn it over to you. Two questions: How do you treat mouth burns? What do you do to cool down a sizzling dish? Remember everyone, small bites! Don’t Blink.

The Drink Machine Draft

After work last Friday I wasn’t interested in a cold one, but if I was, it wouldn’t have been in the traditional sense. When the work week concluded, Sidney and I made a trip to Walmart to pick up a present for a birthday party that Sloan was attending. As we exited, we picked up a DVD at the Redbox. As we were making our selection, I noticed the drink machine right next to it.

I studied this drink machine after we selected our Redbox DVD.

The best way I could describe the variety of this drink vending machine was beach-inspired. Absent of any colas or other dark sodas, the mix was truly a summer oasis of fruity and tropical concoctions.

More than two years ago, I wrote a unique blog post that took the form of a draft. Using a random vending machine in the humanities building at Coastal Carolina, I ranked the 51 items behind the glass. Because of the fun contents of the Walmart drink machine, I felt like I would do the same thing tonight (fortunately, I only have nine items to rank this time).

An up close look at the drink lineup.

1. Hawaiian Punch – It is the first selection on the actual drink machine lineup for a reason. Folks, Hawaiian Punch is good––but it is even better in a can. You won’t find Hawaiian Punch everywhere, it simply isn’t that mainstream, so when you do it is imperative to take advantage of it.

2. Grape Crush – I have a memory of getting into a burning hot car on a sizzling summer day only to open a can of grape soda for some refreshing relief. Call me a kid, but I still love grape soda to this day.

3. Orange Crush – Although I would grab a Crush of the grape variety first, an orange flavored one isn’t far behind. Like grape, orange soda takes me back to my childhood and I like that.

4. Sun Drop – Dr. Pepper’s answer to Mt. Dew, Sun Drop is a novelty in the same way as Hawaiian Punch––you just don’t see it that much. But when I do, I like to take a chance on it.

5. Cheerwine – I enjoyed Cheerwine the moment I tried it for the first time five years ago. Although I don’t have the history with it like I do the other products on this list, I would still choose this drink before half of the others in the machine.

6. 7UP – In a Sprite dominated world, we sometimes forget about its main lemon lime soda competitor. Not I! The crisp, clean taste of 7UP wins me over from time to time.

7. Schweppes Ginger Ale – If you can believe it, I never tried Ginger Ale until my wife had me sample it in 2016. Because Sidney is drinking the stuff like crazy during her pregnancy, I would take a couple sips myself and then give her the rest.

8. Blue Mist Bottled Water – I think it is kind of boring to select bottled water in any spot other than last in a drink machine draft. However, when your bottled water is named “Blue Mist” it does capture my curiosity enough to promote it one spot above the lemonade.

9. Country Time Lemonade – Sugary and sour is how I remember Country Time Lemonade when it was offered in the drink machine at my middle school. I doubt it has changed over the course of 20 years.

Did I nail it with this draft? Do you need to make a stop at the Walmart on Myrtle Ridge Drive? At the very least, are you thirsty? Okay, good. Don’t Blink.

Legacy Thursday Rundown

Good evening! I hope 2020 is off to a good start for everyone. What do you say we get started with my latest Thursday Rundown?

Sidney Update – I haven’t provided too many updates on Sid’s pregnancy so I thought tonight would be a good opportunity to shed some light. My wife will turn 33 weeks on Saturday. She describes herself as “very pregnant” and is at the stage where it is hard to sleep or just be comfortable. She is going to the doctor once a week and has become good friends with everyone in the office. Tomorrow we will get to see our baby as Sid will have her first ultrasound in a few months. Please pray for Sidney and our baby over the next few weeks.

As Sid inches closer to giving birth, we are preparing to welcome our new baby.

Gym Coverage – Three months ago, I wrote about how the gym I exercise at changed from Gold’s Gym (corporate based) to Iron Legacy Gym (independent). Well, this week the name change and the rich history of the gym was covered extensively in the Myrtle Beach media. The Sun News published this article on the gym and then Meredith Helline of WMBF did this AWESOME story that prominently features the owners, Ted and Nancy Capp. The story does a superb job of detailing the authentic 1980s vibe that Iron Legacy proudly rocks. You also find out about the famous celebrities that have worked out within the Legacy walls. Even if you hate gyms, I am sure you will enjoy these stories.

It is great to see my gym, Iron Legacy Gym, receive the recognition it deserves (photo courtesy of the Sun News)

Memory – It is funny, sometimes you totally forget about aspects of your childhood until your own kid reminds you of them. For Christmas, Sloan received a Peppa Pig matching game. I had not thought about this popular and simple children’s game for a couple decades. But once I started playing it with Sloan I reminisced about a few of the memory-based games we had in our house growing up. Like Sloan, it was one of the first games I played. Although our daughter doesn’t play exactly by the rules, it is fun to sprawl out on the living room floor and let Sloan run the show.

Last night, Sloan and I played the Peppa Pig matching game. Sloan “won.”

Build-A-Bear – Some of you might be familiar with it while others may not. There is a chain called Build-A-Bear that allows customers to make their own teddy bear. You get to stuff it and choose its clothes. Last weekend, Sidney’s parents took Sloan to the Myrtle Beach location as a reward for finally becoming potty trained. Sloan had a fantastic time building her own stuffed animal and when one of the store employees asked her to name it, she didn’t hesitate when she responded with “Susie” (we have no idea where she got that name from). Susie now resides in our daughter’s crib with roughly 15 other of Sloan’s stuffed friends.

Susie is sandwiched between Peppa and George in Sloan’s crib. On the right is Sloan at Build-A-Bear.

Top Drinks – Well, it definitely didn’t make my Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019 but I still had fun writing about my favorite drinks. A year ago on this date, I ranked my top 5 favorite beverages. The picture below gives you a hint on some of the drinks that made the list but if you are curious to learn what was ranked at the top (because I know you are dying to know), you have to go read it. My mission, as always, is to provide content that has a vital impact on your life (#sarcasm) Cheers!

A year ago on this date, I counted down my 5 favorite drinks.


I appreciate the time you took out of your Thursday evening to read my blog. Our big event on the calendar is attending the birthday party of Sloan’s friend, Stevie Blair. It is always a good time! I will catch up with everyone next week. Don’t Blink.

My Thoughts on Jeopardy GOAT

Perhaps I am jumping the gun, but I do have a couple thoughts about the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament that made its debut last night. As an avid Jeopardy fan who has written about the show too many times to count, it feels like I have an obligation to speak up.

The Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament is a pretty cool concept.

But first, a very quick rundown on how Jeopardy GOAT is organized. Three of the most prolific champions in the show’s history––James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter––are battling it out for the title of Greatest Ever and a $1M prize. The brainiacs are playing nightly 1-hour matches that consist of two jeopardy games played back-to-back. The scores from both games are combined and the person with the highest value wins that match. Here is the kicker, there won’t be a champion until a contestant wins THREE matches. That means Jeopardy GOAT could run for SEVEN nights assuming that James, Ken, and Brad each win two matches. That’s a lot of Jeopardy!

Before I elaborate on the structure, let me give credit to Jeopardy on where they got it right. I think they nailed it with the contestants they chose. I am sure they have competition performance numbers to back it up, but just from a fan’s subjective opinion, you can’t get more iconic than James, Ken, and Brad. They have separated themselves from all other Jeopardy players and have earned spots on this grand, primetime stage.

Now, let’s get to the structure. After last year’s Jeopardy All-Stars tournament focused too much on fluff and not enough on game play, I was hoping that the show producers would make adjustments for this year’s special tourney. Well, they did. However, they overcompensated.

As much as I hate to say it, I was fatigued at the end of Tuesday’s show…and that was just the first night! Watching back-to-back Jeopardy games is a bit exhausting on the brain, especially when you are trying to keep up with the three best players of all time. I am accustomed to watching a regular Jeopardy episode on DVR, a 20-minute time investment (fast forward through the commercials) that provides me with the perfect amount of intellectual stimulation. But 60 minutes and 122 clues?

In my opinion, one night would have sufficed to crown the Greatest Ever. When I realized that the tournament would go three nights, I thought it was overkill. When I then at the end of the first episode that it would go a MINIMUM of three nights with the possibility of seven nights, I thought it was ridiculous.

With that said, I think the intangibles hit the mark. The set looks good, the accelerated theme song is a nice touch, and the three contestants––although competitors––have excellent chemistry with each other. And, of course, Alex is Alex.

I am going to try to watch the remaining episodes but I can’t commit to it, at least not when it originally airs. I am totally in the corner of Ken Jennings when it comes to who I want to win and I was delighted to see him take the first match last night. For those of us who think this series is being drawn out too much, let’s hope he wins the next two nights as well. Don’t Blink.

Past Jeopardy Blog Posts:
The End of James Holzhauer’s Run
Keeping Score
My Opinion on Jeopardy Champion Austin Rogers
My Misguided Jeopardy Judging
The Five Things I Hate About Jeopardy
My Disdain for the Current Jeopardy Champion

Taking a Gamble on a Birthday Gift

For 80 years, my mom’s family owned an Italian restaurant in Walla Walla, Washington. Although three different generations ran the place, my grandpa was in charge for the longest tenure. On Sundays, when the Pastime Café was closed, my grandpa would take me to the restaurant as he inspected it to make sure all was well. He let me play the arcade games in the bar, raid the candy counter, and eat all the ice cream I wanted.

But perhaps the best part of the outing was when he would go to the Washington Lottery scratch off machine, feed it a $20 bill, and let my siblings and I choose a diverse selection of tickets. We would then go back to the house, run to the kitchen table, and then use coins to scratch them off. If we uncovered a winner, my grandpa would pay us from his own wallet on the spot. I still remember the time I won $50…it genuinely felt like I had won the real lottery!

Long after my grandpa was no longer around to accommodate my taste for scratch offs, I would sometimes be successful in funneling my mom a couple dollars to buy me a ticket or two. The thrill of potentially hitting it big was alluring to me, a feeling that lasted for a couple years after I turned 18 and could buy them myself. However, I soon accepted the dismal odds of ever winning anything of value and stopped buying them.

I have had a love-hate relationship with scratch offs.

Well, for the most part.

This morning, I stuffed a birthday card with South Carolina Lottery scratch offs. Although I no longer waste my income on a long shot chance of winning a large cash prize, I do like to let my family and friends dream when a special occasion of theirs comes around!

Over the years, I have “gifted” scratch offs to people I enjoy. Blame it on my upbringing as an underage gambler but I think they make great presents. Scratch offs are perfect for men and women, they don’t need to be wrapped, and they are readily attainable at any local gas station or grocery store. When it comes to the recipient, it allows the person to have some fun without any investment. In other words, it is all gravy. No sweating it out over whether you are going to win your money back or not!

In addition to the scratch offs I purchased for the person celebrating their birthday today, I might have also bought a scratch off for myself

Of course the therapeutic thrill I mentioned above is what makes scratch offs really stand out. Besides the soothing feeling you get when you rhythmically scratch the ticket, the “what if…” train of thought that one gets when playing is the best. That moment when you have scratched most of the ticket and only a “7” or a teapot symbol is separating you from a few thousand dollars is the best! (until you lose).

If you are ever in a bind for a birthday gift, consider sticking some scratch offs in a card. You never know, if the person you buy them for wins a ridiculous amount of money they might share it with you. Don’t Blink.

My Holiday Break with Sloan

The evening I got off work to begin the holiday break, I wrote a blog post detailing a few things I wanted to do over the next nine days. A couple of those items included binging a Netflix series with Sidney (check! We watched season two of “You”) and watching as much college football as possible (check! Watched more football in a week than I had in a couple years). But there was a third goal I outlined in the blog post that I feel I crushed more than the previous two…

Spend as much time with Sloan as possible.

With this objective, I wanted to especially get her out of the house. When it was all said and done, we had a very active break! I figured I would document what we did for tonight’s blog post.

Sidney, Sloan, and I kicked off the break by baking cookies. We cranked up the Christmas carols and let Sloan take point, only intervening when she started to eat too much cookie dough.

Sloan and Sid worked together to bake cookies just prior to Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Sloan waited for Santa by hanging out with her cousin, Henry.

Henry and Sloan waited for Santa to come!

Sloan was completely overwhelmed (in a good way) on Christmas Day. She celebrated the holiday by enthusiastically ripping open gifts with a mile-wide smile.

This smile says it all, doesn’t it?

A Christmas gift Sloan received from Santa was a bike. Starting on Christmas afternoon and lasting throughout the rest of the break, Sloan and I would go outside in front of our house and ride it. She picked up on it fast!

Sloan got a lot of use out of her bike during the holiday break.

Throughout the time off, Sloan spent a lot of time with her best friend, Jacqueline. On December 26, Sloan and I went to Savannah’s Playground and met Jacqueline and her mom, Susannah. The temperature was in the mid-70s and the girls played hard.

Sloan and Jacqueline took advantage of beautiful weather by spending the morning at Savannah’s Playground.

We found ourselves at the mall a couple times so we balanced out our shopping/returning activities with time at the shopping center’s indoor playground and on the coin operated rides.

While adults swarmed Coastal Grand Mall like crazy people, Sloan took a more laid back approach.

With the weather holding for most of the break, we hit up more than one outdoor playground. I took Sloan to the Carolina Forest Playground where she ran around with Henry.

Sloan had a fun-filled time with Henry at the Carolina Forest Playground.

Sloan got her game on when Sidney and I took her to Dave and Buster’s for lunch and fun. She bounced around from game to game, staying true to her independent persona as she preferred to play with little help from her parents.

Sloan had a blast at Dave and Buster’s.

A special treat came Sloan’s way when she was invited to swim with Jacqueline at the Marriott’s indoor pool. The two girls paddled around the heated pool and ate snacks afterwards.

Sloan and Jacqueline swam at the Myrtle Beach Marriott pool.

One day during break I did a workout at the Coastal Carolina University track. I brought Sloan along and she showed me how it was done!

Sloan ran with me at the CCU track.

Sloan and Jacqueline got together once again when we met at Rockin’ Jump for a morning at the trampoline park. After they jumped their hearts out they did the obvious…eat snacks!

Sloan and Jacqueline concluded the holiday break by visiting the trampoline park.

Besides the activities listed above, we also filled our break with reading books, hanging out in the playroom, going to church, and spending time with her grandparents. To be honest, I almost didn’t feel bad sending Sloan back to daycare because we couldn’t have done anything else to make the break more fulfilling. We took advantage of every moment and made many memories to end 2019. I am so thankful for my little partner-in-crime. Don’t Blink.

First Thursday Rundown of 2020

Welcome to 2020, everyone! I hope you had an awesome holiday yesterday and that your year is off to a positive start. Yes, I will be writing Thursday Rundowns in 2020. See below for proof.

Life’s Little Instructions – I am bringing back more than Thursday Rundowns in 2020. Those who follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram know that I share advice from a page-a-day calendar called Life’s Little Instructions. Heck, if you even read this blog you know my admiration for Life’s Little Instructions because I write about them often. Well, this is the 14th year I have had Life’s Little Instructions, the 12th year I have shared them on Twitter, and the 8th year I have shared them on Instagram. Hope you enjoy this year’s advice!

Life’s Little Instructions have returned in 2020.

Sloan Got a Bike! – I had an incredible holiday break with Sloan as we did so much together! I will write more in depth about the whole nine days in the near future but I did want to share one memory from the break tonight. Her big Santa gift was a bicycle! From Christmas Day through New Year’s Day, we would go out in front of our house and practice riding it. The strides she made in that short time were incredible. She is now a pro at using her little legs to peddle up and down our street.

Sloan is a quick learner. She sure loves her new bike.

Christmas Gift for Sid – My wife and I have a simple Christmas Eve tradition. Late in the evening we drink hot chocolate, listen to Christmas carols, and exchange presents. We always set a low limit for how much we spend on each other but it is nonetheless fun and special. The “big” gift I got for Sid this past Christmas was a pair of blue light omitting glasses. These bifocals block the exposure of blue light from televisions and smart devices, lessening strain on the eyes. Sid has complained lately of headaches and hazy vision after looking at her classroom’s smart board and personal iPhone for extended periods of time. She suggested I “surprise” her with the blue light omitting glasses and that is what I did! Who cares if she had to exchange the pair I got her (pictured below) for a more stylish version, right? So far Sid is pleased with the extra eye protecting.

A look at the blue light omitting glasses I got Sid from Dillard’s.

Our Winter Break Netflix Series – When I wrote about our plans for the holiday break, I mentioned that Sidney would probably select a Netflix series for us to binge. My prediction proved correct as we watched the entire second season of “You” over the span of a couple days. In my opinion, this newest season was much better than the first. Biggest reason why? The characters! I enjoyed getting to know Forty and Will (the real Will, not Joe) and several other supporting characters were engaging as well. The constant commentary and dark humor from the narration of Joe was even more spot on and hilarious this time around. As with the first season, you were kept guessing about the twists and turns up until the very point that they actually happened. If you watched the initial season and was lukewarm about it (like I was) give it another chance with the second season.

Season 2 of “You” is pretty good!

Staying Up Until Midnight – On New Year’s Eve, I tweeted about the probability that we would stay up to see the ball drop. After two straight years of falling asleep prior to 12 a.m., I didn’t know if we would break the streak this year. We did! I contribute it to the fact that we weren’t exhausted or jet lagged from holiday travel. Our NYE evening consisted of eating appetizers, drinking soda, watching Netflix movies, and then tuning into Ryan Seacrest’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” coverage from about 11:50 p.m. to midnight. What an accomplishment!

I questioned whether we would make it until midnight.


Not going to lie, it was a little tough going to work today. However, the silver lining is that tomorrow is Friday! Have a great night, everyone. Don’t Blink.