5K School Fundraisers. Trick or Trot Your Way to $$$.

What school isn’t hungry for great ideas for a fundraiser? Wrapping paper, candy, candles.

As a girl, one year I went door-to-door selling scented candles. Each time someone would buy one, I was like God bless you. Now I like scented candles as much as the next person — but frosted glass and pictures of sad-eyed puppy dogs? Guess you can never have enough of those.

Breaking ground and new vistas for fundraising, our local elementary school holds a 5K the weekend before Halloween. The Trick or Trot 5K and Fun Run.

They make a huge profit and create a fun family event for the community.

This year’s race was last Saturday.



You can tell by the photos that it was cold. Cold for us Georgia folks away.

It was a beautiful day. As any runner knows, standing around in the cold before a race might not be the most pleasant but cold temps make running the race all the better.

Trick or Trot co-organizer Stephanie Keener said that there were 455 race registrants for both one mile Fun Run and 5K.

That’s a great turn out for any local 5K.


Though the Fun Run wasn’t timed, the majority of attendees participated in the mile race. Adults and children running, walking or skipping the distance.

Keener said that 169 folks completed the 5K.

Here’s a list of the top 11 Over all finishers.  I went all the way to number 11 to include the lovely Elizabeth Branch who was top finisher for the women. Woo.

1.    Zach Massey
2.    Alex Branch
3.    Jeremy Craft
4.    Jordan Hilsman
5.   Kingsley Sitzmann
6.   Dennis Sitzmann
7.    Rodney Whitacker
8.   Juan Rangel
9.   Thomas Hume
10. Jim Branch
11.  Elizabeth Branch

Below are the children of number 10 and number 11. So very cute and so very fast.

Like mom and dad.

Kate Branch (11) finished 2nd in her age group. Big brother Alex (12) finished 2nd Overall. AMAZING.



Trevin Peters (9) was the second place finisher in 4th grade. And second in his age group. AWESOME.

My son and I were signed up to run the 5K. As I stumbled to the coffee pot in the dark last Saturday, my mind was telling me to do the Fun Run because other than PE and rec league football, my 9 year old had not run any distance.

I discussed this with him and he agreed to the one mile.

We dressed. Bundled up in the car and headed to Rutledge where the race started.

As the car bumped over the train tracks out of town my son said, “Mom. I really want to run the 5K.”

I explained again how I didn’t think he was trained. Code for — you will have a meltdown half way through.

“Mom. I want to have a sense of accomplishment today, then wake up for my birthday tomorrow.”

What’s a mom to say to that?

Participating in an organized event and crossing the finish line is all about accomplishing something.

Never be discouraged — no matter your place. Everyone who completed the distance finished ahead of everyone who stayed in bed.

My son and I started the three miles and all was great till .87 miles when he asked if we were almost done.

That’s when I started pointing out the cows.




We got the to the turn around and I needed motivation for a nine year old who wanted to accomplish something.

But had forgotten that fact.





I reached in my sweatshirt pocket and felt some rolled up bills. Change from a twenty I broke earlier in the week.

As we walked along the asphalt, I pulled out the roll. “I will give you this money — no matter how much it is — if you finish without complaining.”

148.    Joe Miles,     48:37.7

149.    Jamie Miles  48:43.1



Keener said that she and her co-chair Kristi Fridell, worked great together in months of preparation before the big day.

“It was a lot of fun. A lot of hard work — but we were a great team.”

How much did the Trick or Trot raise for the school?

Are you ready?

The profit was over $11,000.

That’s a lot of wrapping paper.

Thanks so much to two very talented ladies.

Have you ever run — walked — a 5K with a child?  Bribery or no.


Linking up with the fabulous Greta@gfunkieds and Sarah@sundayspill for #iPPP.



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Cycling on beautiful day, who cares if the bridge is out?

“Where’s my bike pump?” I asked my husband after noticing both bike tires where flat.

“Oh. I took that to the office to pump up the cart tires.”

He took my bike pump to his office to pump up a dolley’s tires. Granted I hadn’t cycled in a year, but when I want to ride. I want to ride NOW.

“Call Joe,” my husband suggested.


After a few texts, I rode up and brought the pump back to mi casa rather than pump my tires up at Joe’s casa.

This turned out fortuitous because after I inflated both flat tires I came back outside to find .  . .


A flat.

Since the tire was fully inflated about 5 minutes ago, this can only mean one thing. A bad inner tube. Which can only mean one thing.

I need a new tube. And if I should find one in the house somewhere, I have to put it on my bike.

Good luck.

Now I have struggled through this before with the help of a cyclist on Twitter. A Good Samaritan biker tweeted me through replacing my tube — in less than 140 characters.

chainring tattoo

Take note of the chain grease all over my legs and all I had done was flip my bike to take off the tire.

All you pro-cyclists out there just remember — sticks and stones will mess the heck out of your spokes. And names will never hurt me.

With my tire fixed, I set off on a 25-miler.

On such a glorious day in such a glorious spot, I wondered why I pitch-a-b*tch about riding.


After taking this shot I rode up the hill to spy this.


And remembered why I pitch-a-b*tch about riding.

Only kidding.

I’m a cyclist. A recovering triathlete.

Crocodiles on the swim. Rabid hounds on the run. Bridge out on the bike. No sweat.

Actually I took the detour and prayed that there wouldn’t be any crazy hound lurking. Nothing will break your spokes like legs that become entangled as you fall after being drug from your bike by a pack of coyotes.

When I finally got home I’d been gone a little under two hours.

A truly awesome two hours. I’m willing to bet it will be less than a year before I take my bike out again.

What about you? Cycling yea or nay?


Linking up for iPPP with Greta @GFunkified and Sarah at @The Sunday Spill.


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My eggs have facial hair.

I’ll probably be the 85-year-old lady dying Easter eggs.

And carving pumpkins in the fall.

Luckily for me, I have one child still young enough to want to join me.


We put the tablets in the vinegar.



And filled them with a half cup of water.

Then dumped in the eggs.


Then my son started writing on the white eggs with the crayon.

So I had to try too.

I made my design on the egg.

You can’t see what I drew can you?


Since I was planning to dip it into the red dye, I drew a heart.


Then remembering it was Easter and not Valentines I drew a cross . . .


With a handlebar mustache.

No, silly.

I was supposed to be a cloth draped across the cross.

But it looks like the cross is wearing a mustache.

How about you?

Coloring any eggs this year?

Linking up for iPPP with Greta @GFunkified and Sarah at @The Sunday Spill.


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Yes, They Were All Sharpening Their Butterflies.

To me — February is the month of love.

I keep my Valentine’s flag flying on the porch and all my love coffee mugs on my counter all 28 days.

This post is about a week late, but it is in keeping with my month long celebrate the red-construction-paper-heart feeling.

Last week, as room mom I helped out with the Valentine’s party in my son’s class.

His teacher traditionally does a pancake breakfast every year, so I agreed to bring my griddle and cook pancakes with her husband.

I thought it might be fun to do a craft. Which left me frantically searching Pinterest on the 13th. I settled on these guys because they looked Valentiney and something we could tackle in a few minutes.


I headed up to the Dollar Tree and found all my supplies. Now I’m not a craft maven so I don’t usually have the confidence to improvise but I saw these cute pencils with pink and red hearts on them. I thought they’d be more festive than the craft sticks.

At home, I put one together in a trial run.

It was perfect.

*   *   *

We got to school early and helped set up the griddles. The students started arriving as did the other moms.

Our pancake batter was late so we decided to set up a craft station to manufacture my adorable pencils.

Except when I started taking out the supplies, it became clear that I left half of them at home. I only had one bag of eyes, one bag of hearts, one bag of candy, one bag of pipe cleaners and NO CUTE ADORABLE heart pencils.

Pooh. Pooh. And double pooh.

Never fear. We rounded up more pencils – the boring yellow kind — and I said a prayer that the supplies would last like the bible story of the little boy’s two fish and five loaves feeding the thousands.

My fellow room moms got to work.

While I searched for those danged pencils.




Yes, much to my amazement, the children excitedly crowded around and waited their turn to make a cute treat sans the cute pencil.


“I sharpened my butterfly,” Christian proudly told me.


They all ran over to the sharpener and sharpened their butterflies. They loved those danged things.

All I kept thinking about was how much cuter they would have been with the right pencils.

But you know what, it didn’t matter — they thought they were terrific.

It didn’t matter that Mr. Teacher’s Husband showed up an hour late because of a batter calamity.

We made pancakes.


Many were made and many were consumed. Along with bacon and orange juice.


A great time was had by all.

In spite of

Or maybe because of — the yellow pencils.

Ever had a class party catastrophe?

Linking up for iPPP with Greta @GFunkified and Sarah at @The Sunday Spill.


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Take the long way home. A field trip revisited.

All I have in my head after writing that is Supertramp.

I have immediately lost some of you who have no idea what or who Supertramp is.

And no it has nothing to do with Kim Kardashian.

Joke. I love her.


No this post is about an hour and a half school bus ride to Macon, Georgia with my son’s second grade class yesterday.



We got right up front. Well, my son and his two friends got right up front.



Once we boarded the bus, I was immediately ditched by my son and the next person boarding became my seat mate.



Robert would have been a great person to sit next to on a long flight.

He was very nice and didn’t say much.

The children were allowed to bring electronics on the bus because the ride was so long.

This kept them very quiet and I just stared out the window in hopes that my bus-sickness would subside.

 We made it through the cow pastures of Central Georgia to the Macon metropolis.


We learned lots at the Science Center about energy. I got the CRAP shocked out of me touching my son’s head when he was at the static ball. Just saying.

We learned about sound. I grooved out to the whale calls.

We visited the planetarium. My favorite part except when they showed how close that asteroid will scrape by earth on February 15.

Fourteen thousand miles looks pretty near-miss in outer space.


The seats were very comfy. It was very dark in there once the show started.

Yes, definitely my favorite part of the day.

Then we had lunch outside.


It had warmed up and was really nice.

Then back on the bus and 90 minutes home.

I sat with my son and another on the way back.

Nothing short about 70 miles on a school bus.

Yes, it’s a long way home.

Linking up for iPPP with Greta @GFunkified and Sarah at @The Sunday Spill.


And if you need a quick 70s pop music history lesson —

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Is this light a bad thing?

I am not a car person.

As in know-what’s-going-on-under-the-hood person.




This light has been on in my car for about six weeks now. It came on at some point in all the driving back and forth to see my ill father.

At first I panicked. Driving on a major interstate still four hours from home, my eyes drawn to its insistent glowing.


You are going to break down on the side of the road and never see your children AGAIN glowing.

Well, nothing went wrong.

And my urgent “got to take it into the shop the next day” become — as long as it’s still running. I’ll keep driving.

Right now I could draw sappy conclusions to how that is with us. Our bodies. Pushing them onward, ignoring all the warning signs because the still function.

We still get the children to school on time. Remember the dentist appointments and soccer games. We’re at our desk by 8:29:30 a.m. and make it to the store every night to buy something for dinner.

The little irritations with our spouse that turn into I can’t live this way emotional chasms. The child who pulls away because that’s what teens do and then they start staying out later and later and you sleep with the phone resting by your ear all night long.

No. I won’t type those things because that is obviously tired and cliched writing.

Even though I think it.


Hardly ever.

Only when I’m feeling tired and cliched, I guess.

Do you ever ignore, those bitty warning lights?

Linking up with Greta @GFunkified and Sarah at @The Sunday Spill



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O Christmas Tree were you always so ho hum?

Still in Florida.

Dad is a little bit better. But so many questions.

In periods of uncertainty, constancy is always welcome.

In my life tonight, stability is represented by that little Christmas tree pictured above.

It sits in the middle of a small lake (some might say pond) in front of the house I grew up in. Ever since I can remember, there has been a lighted tree on the lake this time of year.

When I was young, the entire neighborhood would gather on a Saturday morning. Adults would decorate the tree. Then a rope would be attached to the float and us children-folk would walk along the bank.

We pulled and walked and pulled and walked in a sort of tug-of-war with that danged floating tree.

As we tugged on our semi-circle journey around the pond, the tree would glide toward the lake’s center.

It looks so much bigger in person tonight than this silly iPhone photo.

Wanting to get the best picture, I walked all the way to the water’s edge and snapped the image.


It looked so small.

I then stretched my arms into the darkness straight out at the tree as far as I could and clicked again.


Still most unimpressive.

No you never can go home.

I stood there looking at that tree.

Hoping to fill a void — just a teensy bit.

The tree was out on the lake for another Christmas but it didn’t feel the same as it did those long ago Saturday mornings.

 In fact, it hasn’t felt the same for a while.

Maybe the tree isn’t as tall, the lights as bright or the water as clear as it used to be?

Or maybe it’s just me who’s changed?

Linking up with Greta @Gfunkied and Julie @Mamamash for another Wednesday’s iPPP.


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Color me sparkly.


I’m not a very sparkly person.

Persons who sparkle have energy. They have light down on the inside. That bursts forth.

Every now and then I might glow as a weak florescent lamp in the bathroom of some school room that hasn’t been remodeled since the 1970s.

But I went to a party tonight were I was to bring something sparkly and go home with something sparkly.

We were all sparkly.

I sat next to my daughter Kelly who I sat next to last year.

And my other daughters . . .

No they aren’t my daughters. But why am I always the only one at these things wearing cheater glasses?

And no I didn’t say Depends, either.

We had to draw out these clues to see who we would switch our unopened gift with.

And I ended up with a bunch of different packages.

This was traded to:

To get this.

Which was traded to this.

I got a cute little red clutch purse, that I can’t show you because the picture didn’t come out.

Here is Monica opening her gift.

And here’s Erin who gets us all together every year. Young and the old. Or well, the old one.

That is the great thing about having younger children. Younger mom friends are usually included in the package.

Young and sparkly ones.

Linking up with Greta @Gfunkied and Julie @Mamamash for another Wednesday’s iPPP.

Do you sparkle or no?



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The baby Jesus disapeared.

Sunday night the children and I went to a church service where families participated in decorating the sanctuary for Christmas.

Okay, this is a horrible photo.

Just squint maybe it will look better.

Toward the end of the service, all the children took turns placing ceramic figurines from the nativity on the altar.

I took this photo afterwards, so people were milling about.

During the service, after all the shepherds, Wisemen, Josephs and Marys were placed, my son tugged on my sweater.

He pointed over to the adjoining pew.

A lone figure remained.

The baby.

Who my son picked up and started poking at the babe’s rear and saying “there’s his booty.”


After the service was over, I looked again and baby Jesus, booty and all, was missing.

Did someone steal the babe, all ceramic and wrapped in swaddling clothes?

Seems like some sleuthing is in order.

To be continued . . .

Linking up with Greta @Gfunkied and Julie @Mamamash for another Wednesday’s iPPP.


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The more things change. The more they stay the same.

Monday night I drove to South Carolina to pick up our son.

No. This is not the opening scene of a slasher movie.

I’m in the parking lot, waiting for him to emerge from the dorm.

On the drive there, I alternated between Christmas music and blues.

I’m enjoying mining the depths of blues because I find it impossible to connect with a lot of the newer music.

It’s not that I’m blue .  .  . I just appreciate authenticity.

It was great to ride two and a half hours back with my son.

We stopped at Chick-Fil-A for him. Starbucks for me.

We talked about football. He explained his literature zombie class so that it actually sounded  . . .  er, literary.

He admitted mentioned that he was sort of, maybe dating someone.

Now almost 24 hours later, he has disappeared again. Into the woods to spend the night with friends, those mountain men.

Although he was already gone, traces of his presence remained. A pile of blankets on the couch.

And ESPN blaring to no one.

For the first time in a while Skip Bayless made me smile.



Linking up with Greta @Gfunkied and Julie @Mamamash for another Wednesday’s iPPP.


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