My Top 5 Favorite Childhood Ice Cream Truck Treats

Although the ice cream man comes year-round in South Carolina, we are starting to enter the time of the year where ice cream trucks start visiting neighborhoods across the country. Growing up I loved the ice cream man, even declaring that one day I would like to be one when I grew up. Somehow the marketing industry got in the way.

For tonight’s blog post, in celebration of ice cream truck season, I wanted to countdown my top five favorite ice cream truck treats. Although the offerings of ice cream trucks vary wildly throughout the nation, it seems like most have a portion of universal treats. Those will be the ones I focus on for this post.

Sidney with our niece and nephew making important decisions at the ice cream truck.

5. Drumstick – Every ice cream truck seemed to have a version of the drumstick. As a kid, I viewed it as the “sophisticated” item of the lineup. Even though I didn’t really care for cones at the time, I still got it every now and then because of the coolness factor. With chocolate, nuts, cone, and a fudge bottom, it just seemed like the obvious option as well as what the older kids were getting.

The sophisticated ice cream truck choice.

4. Classic Ice Cream Sandwich – If an ice cream truck doesn’t offer an ice cream sandwich, it really isn’t an ice cream truck. One of the most traditional and affordable selections you can choose from a “frozen dessert factory on wheels” is the classic chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich. If I was in a glum mood on a summer day, I would opt for one. True, it wouldn’t be my first choice but it wouldn’t disappoint. I enjoy the consistency and the fun of peeling away one of the wafers and eating it by itself.

It is a law that all ice cream trucks must carry ice cream sandwiches.

3. Strawberry Shortcake Bar – Eating a strawberry shortcake bar can simply be described as “pleasant.” Honestly, who was the genius who came up with these? Cake pieces cover vanilla ice cream that coats a strawberry flavored center…delicious! When eating one of these bars you didn’t have to worry about a brain freeze and you could bite down without irritating sensitive teeth. You also don’t have to worry about it melting as fast as other selections. But it really all does come down to the taste. Strawberry shortcake bars are sweet and light. Out of all the items on this list, a strawberry shortcake bar is the treat I would most like to enjoy as an adult.

I sure enjoyed these. Sweet and pleasant.

2. Snow Cones – I think we all have a memory of getting a snow cone from an ice cream truck. Sure they were hard as rocks but I think that was part of the appeal. While a friend would devour his popsicle in a few minutes, I would have my snow cone last me throughout the night. After working on it the traditional way, I would usually remove my rainbow block of ice from the cone and place it in a bowl, stabbing at it with a fork. The best part was always the melted “juice” that was left behind.

There is nothing like an ice cream truck snow cone.

1. Character Ice Cream Pops – “Who is it going to be?! Who is it going to be?!” As the ice cream truck grew closer, my friends and I wondered whether it would be a Ninja Turtle, Mario, Power Ranger, or Looney Tunes character. By “it” I mean the special character ice cream pop that would always be offered on the ice cream truck’s menu. Growing up, our truck would only offer one option but it would always rotate, adding to our suspense. The “ice cream” (notice how I used quotation marks?) was yummy and the gumball eyes or nose always added an extra bonus, even if they were more non-edible than the gum you used to get in a pack of baseball cards. These pops were novelty items at their absolute best and I was always a sucker for them.

These were a major part of my youth.

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Keep your ears open because that ice cream truck jingle might be audible this weekend. If I am missing out on any frozen confections that should be included on this list, let me know. Don’t Blink.

When They Go Low, We Go…?

For those long time readers of Don’t Blink, you know I don’t get political in this blog. As someone who leans more toward the middle than anywhere else, I don’t find the need to alienate my readers. However, even though I won’t take a position on policy, I will comment from time to time on political trends and controversies.

A lot has been made about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend. The biggest point of contention was when a comedian took the stage and grilled Sarah Sanders, our country’s press secretary. With President Trump opting not to attend such social functions as the WHCD, the target naturally fell on the back of Sanders, who was present at the dinner.

I won’t speak about my personal opinion of whether the comedian’s routine crossed the line. However, I will say this: In Washington these days, no side can lay claim to taking the high road. This isn’t even disputable. Michelle Obama once tried to say “When they go low, we go high.” Nonsense. It doesn’t matter if you support the Democrat or Republican party, both sides resort to the lowest of the low. None of us have a firm grasp on that elusive moral compass.

On the campaign trail, President Trump made it clear that he was not a typical politically correct politician. He made numerous inappropriate comments and offended many. But instead of allowing his missteps to get the best of him, the other side, including the mainstream media, played right into Trump’s strategy and got into the mud with him. Despite Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned speech, no one went high.

The hatred directed at Trump from his political enemies and the mainstream media seemed to have an impact that helped our current president. In addition to other factors that led to the biggest presidential election surprise ever, many people adopted an attitude along the lines of “The more you hate him, the more I like him.”

When I was reading about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a tweet was embedded in one of the articles. It served as a reminder and warning for those who don’t want to see President Trump in the White House through 2024.

Those that don’t want Trump past 2020 (if he makes it that far) must heed this warning.

The venom directed at the current administration is intense. The media, the Left, and Twitter warriors are mad that President Trump is able to employ the same behavior and nonconventional strategy he used on the campaign trail in our country’s highest office. But adding an even stronger layer of poison to their venom is frustration. No one ever anticipated, especially this blogger, that President Trump would enjoy as much success as he has already achieved. It drives so many of us bonkers. He was supposed to be removed from office within his first year, right?

But here is the thing: I don’t think his breakthroughs will be enough to get him re-elected if he continues to throw an unconventional attitude in all of our faces. At the end of his first term, voters could very well be sick of the Trump demeanor.

However, this will only work if people who don’t support Trump heed the warning of Tim Young. Right now, there is no difference between the two sides. Both sectors are guilty of mud-slinging, and the anger from people who despise Trump is threatening once again to have a reverse-effect. To those who want Trump out of office in 2020: Give credit where it is due, don’t let social media get the best of you, and don’t stoop to the level that you profess to hate. Don’t Blink.

The Mystique of the Blue Angels

Yesterday, our family went to a Blue Angels air show.

Well, kind of.

This past weekend was the Wings Over Myrtle Beach event. In addition to the Blue Angels headlining the show, numerous other cool planes took to the air to demonstrate precision flying and mind boggling stunts.

I had little idea of how big of a deal this was until Saturday. One of our local Myrtle Beach stations, WMBF, broadcasted live from the Myrtle Beach international Airport for EIGHT WHOLE HOURS. If a station was willing to summon its entire fleet of anchors and reporters and have them go live for an entire Saturday, I reasoned, it must be a pretty enormous community event.

Upon watching the first half hour of WMBF’s coverage, I no longer had any doubt of the air show’s magnitude. I observed thousands of people, saw backed up shuttles, and could practically feel the enthusiasm through the TV.

This is a photo I took of the Blue Angels up in the sky on Sunday.

However, even though I now understood that Wings Over Myrtle Beach would captivate our community for the entire weekend, I didn’t have an overwhelming desire to be at the airport to watch it in-person. My wife was a different story.

Remember how I said that WMBF devoted an entire eight hours of live coverage to Saturday’s show? Sidney watched 7.5 hours of it.

Watching the planes drop like rocks in freefalling mode was really cool. This was another photo I took on Sunday.

That girl was absolutely swept up by these incredible planes that would own the sky, zooming through it one moment and dancing in it the next. She ate up everything the WMBF expert on the set said (and she retained it all too). She constantly looked up additional information about the planes on her phone. She would look at me and say, “How cool is that?!” She was obsessed.

The only 30 minutes she didn’t watch WMBF’s coverage, you ask? It was when she was outside in our front yard watching the conclusion of the Blue Angels via our driveway. Believe it or not, from our house we could see the aircrafts when they reached a certain height.

Sloan and I relaxing in our front yard during the Blue Angels show on Saturday. My eyes may have been closed but Sid’s were definitely not.

The way Wings Over Myrtle Beach worked was that two shows were performed over the weekend. One on Saturday, one on Sunday – both exactly the same. You bet Sidney wanted to get to the airport to watch that second performance. But when you have a little one who isn’t prone to sitting out in the sun for several hours and who doesn’t necessarily enjoy the sounds of flying machines flirting with the sound barrier, you have to think of an alternative option.

Thus, yesterday, we did the best we could to quench Sid’s thirst for daredevil aviation. A few minutes prior to the Blue Angels performance, we drove close to the airport and walked to the Highway 17 bridge. We met Sidney’s sisters along with our niece and nephew who were already on the sidewalk gazing up at the sky. Soon, the Blue Angels took to the sky.

Our crew ready to watch the Blue Angels on the bridge.

We were at a great vantage point to watch the show. Although we couldn’t hear the choreographed music, listen to the announcer, nor sense the special atmosphere that was generated within the gates of the event, we still got to see some pretty legit flying. The planes rocketed right over us several times, flying in perfect unison just 18 inches apart from each other. They were so close to the ground that we could clearly identify the number that was painted on each of the six planes.

A look at where the air field was from where we were standing. Don’t worry, the planes zoomed over right where we were several times.

The biggest takeaway for me was the talent of the pilots. They perform incredible feats that depend on precision, teamwork, and guts. I couldn’t even fly a straight line as a passenger in one of those things let alone pilot one or not lose my lunch the second the plane did anything remotely daring.

Watching the planes cruise.

I am pretty sure Sidney had about 15 different takeaways from watching the action. Although we just watched it from the bridge, she was beaming the whole time. She was the guide of our group, explaining to us all what was happening and why things played out the way they did. She was so happy that we went.

I enjoyed watching the Blue Angels with Sidney and Sloan.

By no means did I become a major Blue Angels fan over the weekend but I did discover what all the buzz and enthusiasm was about. I also got to enjoy something with my wife that she had a genuine passion for and in the end, that was probably the best part. Don’t Blink.

Imagination Thursday Rundown

When I write next week’s Thursday Rundown, it will already be the month of May! But that Thursday Rundown is not the one that is important right now; it is this one! Let’s get started…

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – A year ago, I briefly mentioned Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library but tonight I want to outright promote it. The program is probably the greatest thing ever. You sign up your baby online and from that point until she turns 5, a book will arrive in the mailbox every month. It is 100% free. The books that you will receive are all age appropriate and are a mix of classic children’s books and more modern selections. Sloan’s little personal library is rapidly growing but her Imagination Library books are some of the ones we read to her over and over. If your state is part of the program (South Carolina is), I highly recommend signing up your child.

Sloan “reading” the Dolly Parton Imagination book she received in the mail this week, “Let’s Count.”

Paducah, Kentucky – Late April is the time of the year when I reminisce about the cross country trip I took with my dad when I moved to Myrtle Beach. Four years ago on this date we inched close to what would become my new home, calling it a day and parking the U-Haul in a place called Paducah, Kentucky. We spent the evening relaxing in Paducah’s downtown area eating steaks and admiring the atmosphere. After our food settled, we were ready to head back to our hotel as the 600+ miles we had traveled that day started to catch up with us. As we waited for a cab, we watched a horse-drawn carriage trot by.

A few photos from our short stay in Paducah, Kentucky.

Thanks For The…Umm…Compliment? – Our social media program has received a lot of recognition over the past four years but I don’t know how to take the latest “honor.” This week, a web estate auditing company called eQAfy released findings on the data it collected on the social media programs of all universities in the country. It turned out that our #CCUSocialMedia program leads the entire nation in total Instagram posts. I rather be at the top for engagement or followers (such reports will come out over the next couple months) but I guess this latest report shows that we are definitely active on what I think is the most relevant social media channel in higher education.

When notified of our “accomplishment,” our Twitter account responded in this way.

Subway Wraps – Did you know Subway now offers wraps?! As the restaurant chain continues to struggle, the company is doing all it can to offer enticing promotions. Any Subway sandwich on the menu can be turned into a wrap and you can choose between tomato basil or spinach flatbread. This past Saturday, our family walked to a nearby Subway for dinner and my wife decided to try one. Sidney opted to “wrapicize” an Italian BMT and she really enjoyed it. I went with a standard sub but perhaps next time, especially if I go for lunch, I will go with a wrap. Dang, I love Subway!

After ordering our food at Subway, we walked back to our house to eat. If you look in the stroller, you can see the evidence.

Quick Sports Take – Lebron James’ game winning shot last night was nice, but I sure hope the Pacers win the next two games and eliminate the Cavs in the first round. As for the bigger picture, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics in the Finals. The NFL Draft is tonight and while I enjoy Mel Kiper, my interest level isn’t there to watch past the first few picks. In the MLB world the Seattle Mariners are 13-10 which makes me happy, even if I haven’t watched a game yet this season.

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Seems like seasonal weather has finally arrived for most people in the country, including my family out in Washington. Hope everyone has a great weekend! Don’t Blink.

Our Fierce Fighter

From time to time in Don’t Blink, I will refer to Sloan as “brave” or “strong.” Although I do my fair share of proud dad gloating, those characteristics I just mentioned are rooted in indisputable fact. Last night, my wife gave public legitimacy to the courage of our daughter.

Last night, Sid wrote this Facebook post.

In my wife’s social media post, she eloquently described the feelings of helplessness and despair that consume a parent when caring for a critically sick child. She expressed it better than I could, making it silly for me to even attempt to do the same in this blog.

However, based on the discussion I had with Sid after she published her Facebook post, I feel like I can offer a brief epilogue to her beautiful words.

Sidney and I kept quiet during and after Sloan’s Pyloric Stenosis battle. We didn’t want to scare relatives and friends. We didn’t want to solicit a storm of social media sympathy. We didn’t want to relive and answer questions about a traumatic experience.

During Sloan’s bout with Pyloric Stenosis and for over a year afterwards, we kept it between immediate family. Sidney and I are so thankful for the support of our parents. This photo shows our moms and dads with Sloan at MUSC.

They say time heals everything. Although I might not go as far as to say everything, I do agree that it heals most. A year after Sloan’s surgery, we have come to grips with what happened. At this point, we are more amazed at the talent of the surgeons who made her better than distraught over the unlucky condition she was dealt.

Sidney felt it was time to say something. After I read what she wrote, she asked me what I thought about it. I told her she did a great job. She explained that her main purpose in letting others know about Sloan’s sickness was to shed light on Pyloric Stenosis and reach out to parents who might have a child with the same condition.

Sid and Sloan resting the night before we left for MUSC Charleston.

Here is where I come in…

Pyloric Stenosis is a rare condition in infants that blocks food from entering the small intestine. In fact, the condition is so rare that under 200,000 infants are diagnosed with it each year. Food can’t enter the small intestine because muscles thicken and become abnormally large. Because food is denied entrance to the small intestine, the body does the only thing it can…it sends the food back up. Sloan would vomit violently, discharging the formula (or any other liquid) we had given her shortly before. It doesn’t take a doctor to conclude that it is a bad sign when the body can’t digest food.

Luckily, the condition is treatable. Skilled doctors can cut away at the thickened muscles and create a pathway for the food to enter. In Sloan’s case, she was initially misdiagnosed, with doctors originally telling us she didn’t have Pyloric Stenosis. This of course added misery to our experience (especially Sloan’s) but once medical professionals were able to see the blockage, we took Sloan to MUSC in Charleston for surgery. More on this in just a minute.

Sid feeding Sloan her first bottle after surgery.

What Sid and I want to do is to let parents who have a child with Pyloric Stenosis know that things will be okay. Once your baby undergoes surgery, which we understand is very scary in and of itself, he/she will go from throwing up at all hours of the day/night to returning to a happy baby who digests food normally.

Watching your baby constantly throw up is awful. Seeing your baby dehydrated and hungry is painful. Observing your baby hooked up to an I.V. is disheartening. Sending your baby off to surgery is downright frightening. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When we were going through this, our little family was blessed to have a couple who went through what we did. The husband offered me assurance and the wife offered Sidney assurance. Before Sidney rode in the ambulance with Sloan to Charleston, the wife gave Sid a pep talk, letting her know that relief would soon be in hand. It was comforting and it meant the world.

My mom holding Sloan in the MUSC hospital room.

It is our turn to take the role of the special couple that helped us. To anyone who reads this post today or years down the road who has a baby with Pyloric Stenosis or knows someone with a baby who has the condition: Please reach out. It doesn’t matter if you read my blog regularly or if you stumbled upon this post via a Google search…we would love to help you and pray for you.

This is Sloan being wheeled out of MUSC on a wagon after receiving a clean bill of health.

The person who has forever entered our prayer life on a nightly basis is Dr. Robert Cina of MUSC. We thank God constantly for his talent and skilled hands. He is the head surgeon who performed the successful surgery on Sloan, healing her completely. We are also eternally grateful to the entire MUSC pediatric staff for their care and compassion. Of course we will never be able to thank our parents enough for being with us every step of the way. Although the worst of Sloan’s Pyloric Stenosis episode only lasted for about a week, we certainly needed our support system.

Sloan is a healthy little girl who brings us so much joy.

Sidney planted the seed last night for us to give back. Hopefully, we will have many opportunities to do so. Don’t Blink.

Getting Nostalgic About Game Boy

I have made it well-known that my parents did not believe in buying us gaming systems growing up. If we wanted to play Nintendo or Sega, we had to convince one of our friends to let us play it at their house. However, there was one “exception”.

Although I don’t know if you can call it a gaming system per se, the three of us Reser children did have Game Boys growing up. One Christmas, Santa surprised my sister and I with the handheld gaming consoles at our grandparents’ house. A few years later my brother would get one as well. Whatever amount my parents paid for the Game Boys, I am sure every cent they spent was returned to them tenfold within the first year we had them based solely on how they got us to shut up on car trips.

This past Saturday marked the 29th anniversary of the Game Boy release. It made me reflect a bit on the hours I spent with my own through the years.

I learned about Game Boy’s 29th anniversary via Timehop.

It is funny, but the Game Boy game I hated the most ended up becoming the one I liked the best. Santa gave me my Game Boy when I was probably 7 or 8. At the time, the only game that came with it was Tetris. I remember spending that Christmas trying to figure out how to play it. My young brain couldn’t grasp the concept of positioning the shapes to make lines so I resorted to stacking the blocks as quickly as possible, recording successive Game Overs in record time. It was a steep learning curve, one I had little patience for at the time.

However, as time went on I understood and embraced the intellectual challenge of Tetris. As I entered my late teens, I resurrected my aging Game Boy and played many riveting games of Tetris. My friend and I performed road construction over the course of a couple summers after high school. The work would take us on long road trips to work sites. We would pass the time by taking turns on the Game Boy, seeing who could record more lines than the other. When we turned the Game Boy off and actually started doing the road construction work, our brains would still be in “Tetris Mode,” organizing blocks in our heads as we removed road stripes from the pavement.

The Game Boy is a classic toy that occupied many hours of my time as a child (and as a young adult).

Between my Tetris frustration and my Tetris Nirvana, I played a lot of Super Mario. It was a great game, one I took pleasure in beating after much practice. Donkey Kong was another Game Boy classic that I pursued endlessly. Much to the chagrin of my parents, I tried to sneak games of Mortal Combat in every now and then. Of course I devoted a lot of hours to the sports games as well, playing ones such as Big Hurt Baseball, NBA Jam, Madden, and NCAA Basketball.

This is my brother’s Game Boy but my Donkey Kong and Madden 1995 games (thanks for taking the photo, mom).

My parents had rules for our Game Boys. The sound was to be muted at all times while in the car, we had to share the games, and we couldn’t play longer than hour stretches. If I got too worked up while playing, which happened often, my parents would tell me to turn the Game Boy off, saying that the machine “needed a rest.”

I fondly remember the red battery light of the Game Boy, the up-to-down scrolling Nintendo logo that would appear before you started any game, the black Game Boy case I had, and the simple control layout of the console. Ahhhhh, good times.

Even though I haven’t played Game Boy in probably 10 years, I could still pick one up and play it as if I was riding a bike. Perhaps for next year’s 30th anniversary I will try to get my hands on one and play for old time’s sake. Don’t Blink.

Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival

Over the past few years, I feel as if the food truck concept has been romanticized. Social media, movies, and news organizations hail them as quirky mini restaurants on wheels with delicious and creative food. Brightly colored food trucks with social media handles plastered on them have become commonplace on our nation’s streets.

With the success of food trucks, it didn’t take long for event organizers to ask a question: What is better than a food truck? Easy! How about a couple dozen food trucks?! Thus, the birth of food truck festivals.

The second annual Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival was held this past weekend. The backdrop for the fest was the ocean (this is not my photo).

This past weekend, the second annual Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival took place. As someone who has found himself swept up in the hype of food trucks I described above, it didn’t take much convincing when Sidney asked me if I wanted to go. So, on Saturday, our little family, plus my in-laws, ventured to downtown Myrtle Beach. Hearing about large crowds and a food shortage that plagued last year’s event, we made sure to show up right when the festival opened at 11 a.m.

Sid and Sloan at the second annual Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival.

Because we showed up right when it started, we had an unobstructed path to browse the 30 (yes, THIRTY) food trucks that had parked on the site of the old pavilion, right next to the boardwalk. The selection covered all genres from sandwiches to burgers to burritos to pastas to fried foods to noodles to desserts to anything else you could imagine. Alcoholic beverages were available, a band was playing, and kid activities were offered. It was a neat setup.

I enjoyed BBQ chicken macaroni and cheese from the Downtown Curbside Kithcen.

Here is what we ended up deciding on:
Me: BBQ chicken macaroni and cheese from Downtown Curbside Kitchen (based in Charleston)
Sid: Buffalo chicken flatbread pizza from Charleston Flats
Brenda (mother-in-law): Classic grilled cheese sandwich from EZ Cheezy
Mr. Sid (father-in-law): Sausage dog
Sloan: Bucket of Fries
Shareables: Funnel cake and deep fried Oreos

This is the food truck I got my mac and cheese from, Downtown Curbside Kitchen.

As I put together a plan for my food festival experience, I envisioned splurging and purchasing at least two different entrees. However, the mac and cheese dish I got came with homemade chips and a mini Moon Pie, draining my enthusiasm (and stomach space) to buy something else. I still ate half of Sidney’s pizza and a good portion of Sloan’s fries though.

Sidney’s buffalo chicken pizza from Charleston Flats.

Our desserts, fried batter at its finest, also made me think twice about visiting a second food truck. It was for the best. I got to sit comfortably with my girls and in-laws as we chowed down and sipped adult beverages while enjoying the band.

These deep fried Oreos were on point.

For the most part, the food was good. Not exceptional cuisine by any means, but it did hit the spot. As I alluded to above, pop culture attributes food trucks to offering mouth-watering and unique food. I would say that once you take off the rose-colored glasses, the “unique” part of the description is usually more true than the “mouth-watering” part.

This is the E.Z. Cheezey Grilled Cheese food truck that Brenda got her sandwich from.

We had a good time at the Myrtle Beach Food Truck Festival and would go back again. I think arriving early was a key to our enjoyment and I can imagine we will be early birds again in 2019. Don’t Blink.

Remember Maury Povich Thursday Rundown

Good evening to everyone taking a couple minutes to read Don’t Blink. Tonight is the Thursday Rundown so let’s get started…

Latin Food in Myrtle Beach – Last Saturday, Sid and I had the chance to slip out of the house for an hour to go to dinner while my in-laws looked after Sloan. We went to a brand new place right next to our house called Sol Y Luna. Specializing in Latin food, the cuisine is well-represented by the atmosphere. Right when you walk in the small eatery you can immediately sense a vibe, exactly what you would expect from a cantina. Sidney ordered a burrito but I was a bit more adventurous. I went with the pollo en coco, which translates to coconut chicken. Although it was nice to try something that you normally can’t get in Myrtle Beach, Sid and I weren’t blown away by the food. But we still had a fun time enjoying our dining experience together.

I look at the exterior of Sol Y Luna along with our entrees.

Another Photo of Sid and Sloan – This is a Don’t Blink exclusive. I took this upside down photo of mommy and daughter last night. Sid was making Sloan laugh hysterically as they rolled around playing on the floor. Sidney calls Sloan her best friend and whenever I watch them together it is easy to see why.

Sid and Sloan playing hard.

Southwest Airlines Death – I wanted to offer my sympathies to the woman who lost her life on the Southwest plane that had its engine explode. Can you imagine sleeping on an aircraft only to wake up and find yourself half way out the window? The horrific bad luck that targeted Jennifer Riordan makes me very sad. I am inspired by the pilot who performed a successful emergency landing but I can’t stop thinking about Riordan and her family.

Toys R Us Disappointment – Aside from a last ditch effort from a bidder to buy the floundering toy chain, Toys R Us will soon be a thing of the past. Stores across the country are holding going out of business sales. Over the weekend, the three of us went to our local Myrtle Beach location to grab some deals. What we walked into was an underwhelming marketing ploy. The closing signs were plastered everywhere but the prices to reflect it were nowhere to be found. If the merchandise was in fact on sale, most of it was 10% off. Some select inventory was marked off at 30%, the biggest discount that was offered. My issue with this is that my wife went to Toys R Us well over a month ago and the discounts were the exact same. At the pace the sale is going, they probably won’t get to 50% until after Christmas. 

A photo I took of the Myrtle Beach Toys R Us.

Funny Advertisement – Earlier this work week, I found myself behind this car. I think the person inside is the guy Maury Povich calls up to administer the paternity tests on his talk show. All jokes aside, the advertisement did its job by capturing my eye and drawing a laugh.

I got a laugh out of this advertisement.

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Hope everyone gets some nice weather this weekend. I appreciate your support of my blog and I look forward to touching base next week. Don’t Blink.

Kettle Corn Ice Cream

Looking at my Timehop app on my phone always seems to spark ideas. When glancing at it today, two separate events inspired me to think of a product that would likely do extremely well. Let me explain.

Five years ago, I wrote about kettle corn. Why? Well, because my name is Brent Reser and I write a blog that deals with random, miniscule topics that no one cares about. To be honest, I was inspired to address kettle corn because I had ate it the night before I wrote the post and I found myself flooded with nostalgia. As a kid, I always knew I was at a legit event or festival if the sweet aroma of kettle corn was in the air.

This was me five years ago enjoying some kettle corn in my office.

On this day three years ago, I achieved one of the greatest accomplishments of my life when I successfully completed the Waterdog Challenge at a local Myrtle Beach ice cream shop. I managed to stuff down an ice cream platter that consisted of SEVEN scoops of ice cream and FIVE toppings. I faced adversity and doubted myself at times but when the clock expired I had consumed the entire ice cream mountain, including the waffle plate it was served on.

I received a t-shirt (I am pictured with the store employee who conducted my challenge) for completing it.

So, as I reflected on my kettle corn obsession and my ice cream eating gluttony binge, a pretty spectacular idea occurred to me.

(my brain) Kettle corn, ice cream. Ice cream, kettle corn. Kettle corn, ice cream. Ice cream, kettle corn. Kettle corn, ice cream. Ice cream, kettle corn. Kettle corn, ice cream. Ice cream, kettle corn. OH MY GOSH…how about kettle corn ice cream?

I am going to go out on a limb but I think a kettle corn flavored ice cream would be a huge hit. I am thinking big enough and original enough that Baskin-Robbins might be calling to buy rights to it. Perhaps nothing carries with it a more signature taste than kettle corn. Of course there are many products that capitalize on a sweet and salty taste but kettle corn’s flavor seems to pack with it a hint of something extra. As I mentioned above, kettle corn is synonymous with special occasions and big events. When you eat it, not only are your taste buds treated to a flavorful sugary adventure, but your mind conjures up pleasant memories.

Folks would be willing to try kettle corn ice cream in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t be one of those deals where someone would say, “Well, I like kettle corn and I like ice cream but I don’t think I would like kettle corn ice cream.” (Which reminds me, I don’t think I have ever written about the grape Kool-Aid Pop Rocks blizzard I had at Dairy Queen several years ago…it was bad). To me, kettle corn ice cream seems like a natural combination.

Am I on to something or is it just another one of my failed harebrained ideas? I honestly think it would do well, once the obvious question is answered: What would be the perfect topping for kettle corn ice cream? Don’t Blink.

Spying on Sloan at Daycare

When a “Big Brother” season is airing, Sidney and I will supplement watching the actual episodes with viewing the live feeds of the Big Brother house that are active 24/7. Watching the unfiltered, raw content is pretty entertaining.

However, it is the month of April and “Big Brother” won’t return until June. But don’t worry about us, we have something even better to watch than the Big Brother live feeds; we have the Oxford Children’s Academy live feed!!

You can see everything that goes on within the walls of Oxford Children’s Academy, even if you are miles away!

When we changed Sloan’s daycare provider, we entered a technological renaissance. We now check her in electronically, view her daily logs online, and receive notifications the second she enters or leaves the center. But the best modern tool we have gained with the switch is the live streaming service.

Whether on a computer or from my phone, I can check on Sloan whenever I please, thanks to a camera that is set up in her classroom that pans the entire area. The Oxford Children’s Academy partners with Watch Me Grow, a streaming video system service built specifically for childcare centers. Watch Me Grow is the industry leader and for good reason. The product delivered is not a rinky-dink, convenient store black and white shaky picture. Rather it is a colorful and comprehensive clear look into our daughter’s classroom.

It didn’t take us long to start taking advantage of the resource. The first time I logged in and saw Sloan’s vibrant classroom with babies crawling all over was pretty cool. Up until that point, I had always wondered what Sloan did and how she interacted with others at daycare. I now had an idea.

I didn’t know it before, but watching babies play together and do silly things is so much more pleasurable to watch than adults cussing at each other and engaging in drunken behavior (i.e. Big Brother live feeds). Better yet, having your baby daughter as one of the stars of the production makes it that much more entertaining…

Perhaps too entertaining.

Like with all good things, moderation is key. It is easy to become preoccupied with the live feed in a way that you are constantly signing in to check on your baby. If you lack will power or are just completely obsessed with your child, the streaming option could be your own worst enemy. Nobody wins when you sacrifice all productivity to watch nap time.

Even when we can’t be with Sloan at home, we can still see her at daycare.

In my case, I try to use the daycare live feed as a reward. I will challenge myself to tackle several items on my checklist before briefly scoping out the action in the Little Clouds (name of Sloan’s age group) classroom. If I work hard enough, this incentive usually allows me to view Sloan 3-4 times per day, with the lunch hour included in that allotment. I try to look for just a minute or so but it is enough to give me a boost. When I am done I find myself more motivated to get back to work because of the peace of mind and happiness I received from viewing my daughter in a safe and nurturing environment.

The live stream at our daycare is great for spouses. Sidney and I update each other on how Sloan is doing during the day. Because we sign in at different times, we help paint a more comprehensive picture by “comparing our notes.” Usually our updates tilt toward the humorous side (Sloan is stealing someone’s snack again/How embarrassing, she is eating her socks). The live feed even allows us to monitor each other! Yesterday evening I went to pick up Sloan. I started looking in her cubbie and around the classroom for her shoes. All of a sudden I had an incoming call. It was Sidney. Before I could say anything, she told me she didn’t send Sloan with shoes today. Because she was watching the stream, she was able to put me out of my misery before I embarrassed myself too much looking for shoes that weren’t there.

Despite all the positives I listed above, the most redeeming quality of the live feed is this: Sloan’s daycare is confident and transparent enough to install cameras that allow picky and protective parents to watch every single moment that occurs in those classrooms. In my opinion, that is comforting.

The Oxford Children’s Academy show will go on! I know Sid and I will continue to get plenty more laughs and assurances out of it. Move over “Big Brother,” we are watching something much better. Don’t Blink.