SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

Rubber mulch seen with playground equipment in...

Rubber mulch seen with playground equipment in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part of the point of a stay-cation is saving money.  This week I need to keep the monkeys entertained and happy without spending loads of cash.  Saturday they went to church with Nana, stayed the night with PaPaw and Grandma, and had an overall good time.  Sunday, Monkey #1 went to a sleepover with some of his buddies and Monkey #2 camped out in the living room.  2 down, 8 to go….

Luckily for me, Real Chick is doing a Stay-cation, too.  She was quick to agree to a play date at the park.  Friday, checking the weather forecast, Monday seemed a safe bet.  The Field of Dreams Park, in the northern part of town, is close to her neighborhood, and although I would have had to cross the railroad tracks, it was my first suggestion.  Real Chick doesn’t have the same qualms about driving distances I do, and liked the idea of East Kings Highway Park, locally known as “The Duck Pond,” even better.

The Duck Pond is located on East Kings Highway in Shreveport, near Shreveport-Barksdale Highway.  The park includes a walking trail, a picnic area, several play areas, and a pond that is home to a bunch of really fat well-fed ducks.  I really like this park because they have playground equipment for all ages.  I went there with my friends as a teen and came back when my monkeys were toddlers.  The equipment and grounds have been revamped in the last twenty years, but are even more family-friendly now.  Instead of sand or gravel, like you might see at other parks, the playground equipment at the Duck Pond is surrounded by a loose-fill rubber mulch, which makes for cleaner monkeys with fewer “bobos.”  Also, each play area has a theme, and my monkeys love love love the pirate ship.

Duck pond park, Shreveport

Duck pond park, Shreveport (Photo credit: trudeau)

Due to the freaking FREEZE WARNING we received last night, as well as busy schedules, we set up our play date for 2 this afternoon.  I was afraid I’d run behind with 12 year old drama.  Real Chick was afraid she’d run behind because of errands on base.  Neither of us was particularly late, and Pioneer Woman was able to join us, which was an added bonus.

I’ve decided playdates were invented by mamas, for mamas.  It keeps kids out of our hair so we can grown-up talk.  And, funny thing, all we had to do was say “grown-up talk” to get any one of the monkeys to turn around and head back to play.  Nice!

The weather had the potential to be fabulous.  It was so pretty and sunny out!  Unfortunately, the temperature rose

maybe into the fifties and the wind today was brutal.  I remembered to bring bread for the fowl, but Pioneer Woman and Real Chick are total playdate rock stars – they came prepared with kites!  The kids spent a lot of time trying to fly, getting tangled, getting untangled, getting water, and then playing on the playground. I think the monkeys have anti-freeze in their veins.  The mamas absolutely do not.

The restroom consisted of what is affectionately known as a “one-holer” with limited privacy, made of metal, only to be used upon threat of bladder explosion.  Please note, the Men’s Room at the Full Moon was cleaner and more chick-friendly.  Not that I would have touched skin to any metal commode today, even if it was completely germ-free.  Just sayin’.

Overall, I think this particular stop on our stay-cation was a huge success.  I’m not sure about Real Chick’s girls, but the Monkey’s were asleep before 8:30 – and we skipped karate because Monkey #1 was worn out.

Now I just need to figure out tomorrow.

So if you’re looking for something inexpensive to do for a few hours on a pretty day in Shreveport-Bossier, the Duck Pond is a good bet.  There is ample parking and plenty to do.  If nothing else, you can burn off a bunch of excess energy in your kids!

Do you have any great parks in your town?  Are they worth visiting on stay-cation?

~ Katie


This has been an exhausting week!  With the first phase of state testing (why did I ever move to a high stakes grade level??), wrapping up a unit and a marking period, and Teacher Appreciation Week, I’ve been busier than I don’t know what!

There are so many options for Spring Break.  We have family in Texas, Arkansas, and Florida right now, all nice vacation spots.  I know Jeepnmom would not have hurt feelings if we headed to the mitten for a few days.  There is a Great Wolf Lodge close by, and plenty to do in south Louisiana – where we also have fabulous, welcoming friends.  Monkey #2 has requested that we go to a hotel with a swimming pool and elevator.  Monkey #1 wants to hang out with his friends and practice his form 2 moves (????)

At heart, I’m a homebody.  I want to cut my yard (again), work on school stuff, test prep Monkey #1, and do around the house.  But I also want the kids to enjoy staying home with me.  I’ve come up with a list of things to do without leaving my comfort zone.

  • Work in the yard:  The monkeys like to dig in the dirt.  I noticed Ellis Pottery has flats of flowers out already and my front flower bed needs some attention.
  • Go to the park:  The Realest Chick I Know has two little girls around Monkey #2’s age.  Monkey #2 wants a picnic, and although I would have to cross into the dreaded NoBo, there is a park with a duck pond nearby, so I’ve set up a play date.
  • Go to the Bookstore: Always at the top of the monkeys’ lists…..
  • Go to the Farm: Granny‘s social calendar is pretty full, but the monkeys don’t get to visit often enough, and I really need to make a point to get out there this week.

I also have a ton of hoarder junk crafting items that could be put to good use.  I do have two very creative monkeys at my house.

It’s been a long week and I’m not super-inspired tonight.  What are your Spring Break plans?

~ Katie

{November 28, 2012}   Repurposing a Closet

English: virtual closet lower left empty


In the hall off the bedrooms, there is a closet.  This closet is wide and full of shelves, and has stored many things over the five years we’ve been in this house.


When we first moved in, I kept movies, kids’ crafts, and board games in this closet.  The movies were taken to the monkeys‘ rooms, never to be seen again.  The kids’ crafts were started and never finished.  The board games decided to cohabitate and mix up pieces, losing many along the way.


Then I decided to move to kid-centered junk to the built in cabinet in my living room and put my craft stuff in the closet.  But it was still in reach of the monkeys, an Mom’s stuff is so very tempting.


And of course, I’d started stockpiling.  My favorite, toilet paper, is in the monkeys’ bathroom.  I’m almost as proud of my toilet paper as I am my homemade jellies and my cereal stockpile.  Ok, a little weird, but it is what it is.  I stored a lot of toiletries under my bathroom sink and above the toilet in a little cupboard.  I thought it was cool, but my stockpiles were terribly limited due to the confined areas.


Last week while I was off work, I decided I wasn’t happy with that hall closet.  It was a mess, which wastes my valuable real estate, and disorganization is expensive.  I hauled out everything and started sorting.  My scrapbook supplies were condensed and reorganized.  Several projects that had been started, I kept out to finish as Christmas gifts (I have 3 photo frames almost completed now, as well as a photo album and several hair bows!)  Once I decluttered, I had beautiful open shelves again.

I used clear plastic sweater boxes to store shampoos and conditioners on one shelf.  In those cute matchy-match photo boxes from the craft store, I have shaving supplies and deodorants. One shelf will be dedicated to toilet paper (woo hoo!) and another to extra linens.  Thankfully, Monkey 2 has a big chest in her room where I keep her extra quilts and things.  But the hall closet will be perfect for extra sheets, towels, and my cleaning rag bag.  It’s a work in progress, but I’m really excited.

By cleaning out that closet, I also found enough valentines to get Monkey 2 through Elementary, projects to give for Christmas, and space to store my stockpiles!

Do you have extra space you can repurpose?  How would you use an extra closet?

~ Katie


et cetera
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