Nothing can get your blood pumping at a basketball game faster than hearing the thunderous crowd booming, “O-K-C! O-K-C!” Thunder fans have been named some of the best in the nation, and it’s no surprise this has also made the Thunder franchise the best in the nation. One reason Oklahoma City’s fan-base is so great is because the city completely revolves around Thunder events. You can always count on every restaurant and bar in town tuning in to the games.
However, one of our favorite ways to watch the Thunder is from the comfort of our own home. There’s nothing better than inviting a few neighbors over for a potluck watch party. We’ve created this list of Thunder Watch Party Must-Haves so that you can be the “hostess with the most-est.”
Thunder watch parties are perfect excuse to make chicken wings, steak kabobs, and more. Even though NBA season is usually during colder months in Oklahoma, you can still grill! One of the best ways to grill in the winter is to use a Kamado Grill. Because of its thick insulation, the fire doesn’t need much attention to stay kindled. Also, the insulation keeps the grill hot by protecting it from the elements.
If you aren’t a great cook, or just don’t have the time to make a dish, you can always pick up a party food tray from your local Homeland Store. Homeland’s deli creates these custom party trays on-site, and you can even order them online! Veggie trays make a great side for chicken wings, and it never hurts to add a cheese tray as well.
Making Thunder themed desserts is a great way to get your kids involved in the party. Buy orange and blue icing and have a cupcake or cookie decorating station. Especially for younger kids, this would be a great activity to keep them busy! Here is a picture tutorial from The Crafty Penguin on how to make basketball cookies:
Luckily for Thunder fans, blue and orange drinks are not hard to create. Here are a couple recipes for unique Thunder drinks:
The Rumble: 3 ounces of pineapple juice + 1 ounce fresh squeezed orange + 2-3 drops of food coloring
Thunder Punch: Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Koolaid + 3 cups of ginger ale or Sprite
Storm Chaser: ½ Blue Hawaiian Punch + ½ country time lemonade
Thunderstruck: 1/3 Orange juice +1/3 ginger ale + 3 cups orange sherbet
With these great food, dessert and drink options, your next Thunder Watch Party will surely be a hit! We love sponsoring the Oklahoma City Thunder, and we hope you love supporting them too.
While you’re busy coming up with new things to tackle in 2015, why not add some home projects to the list? Investing in your home can be one of the most rewarding New Year’s resolutions. Not only will you create a fun, functional living space for you and your family—but you can all work together as a family to complete the projects. From furniture upgrades to whole remodeling projects—2015 is the year for the DIY home improvements.
We came up with 3 practical, achievable home improvement resolutions for 2015 to help you get excited for a new year in your new home:
De-clutter and Organize
While we try to create homes with plenty of storage space, sometimes it isn’t enough. Especially if you have small children, toys seem to be overflowing from children’s bedrooms into the larger living spaces. Hanging storage compartments is one of the most efficient ways to create more storage without taking up too much space.
Try a hanging shoe rack on the back of closets to store toys, accessories, and game pieces. In the laundry room, hanging shoe racks can be used on the back of doors to hold cleaning products, supplies, and even hold missing socks the laundry elves don’t find. Another great reason to use a shoe rack—it can help you keep more dangerous cleaning products out of reach of small children.
Another way to create toy storage for your kids is to hang storage baskets in neat rows on a bedroom wall. You can also customize them to match room décor by painting them to coordinate.
One way to clear space in the kitchen is to create a Velcro or magnetic spice rack. Use adhesive to attach magnetic or Velcro strips to the inside of a pantry or cabinet. Then use smaller strips to attach spices to the strips. It’s that simple!
Image c/o Dee the Creative Mom
Redecorate a Major Living Space
Pantone’s Color of the Year, Marsala, is a wonderful color to anchor your redecorating. If you prefer a neutral décor theme, try using marsala-toned pillow covers to give your room a splash of color. A painted accent wall is also a great way to add some color and life to a room without being too dramatic. It only takes a few elements to make a huge difference when it comes to interior decorating.
Image c/o Pinterest
One of the easiest ways to keep your home feeling fresh is to rearrange the bedrooms. Not only will you feel like you have a completely new space to live in, but it will help you clean and organize along the way. Especially if you haven’t moved your bed in a few years, rearranging the room will give you an opportunity to vacuum and dust hard-to-reach places. After rearranging, you might find you have more room than you thought!
For more DIY ideas for 2015, be inspired by our Pinterest board:
If you’d rather not have “a shiver in your bones” describe the way you feel this winter, then now is the time to make sure your house is prepared for the coming months of snow and cold. From the roof to the cellar, blowing winds, swirling snow, and ice buildup can cause major damage to your home. Even a little advance preparation will save energy and prevent the need for costly repairs.
Check Outside, at the Top
Begin with the roof.
- A seasonal roofing assessment is the best way to prolong your roof’s health. Check for loose shingles, faulty flashing, damage along peaks and valleys, and proper ventilation. These check-ups are valuable in any season, but vital for winter preparation.
- A professional can also offer tips about dealing with the snow buildup and ice dams that plague local residents each winter in the valleys on their roofs.
- Check the flashing around skylights and chimneys, and be sure a spark inhibitor is in place.
Take a Stroll on the Perimeter
- Check all the gutters and downspouts to assure they are well secured. Clean them, remove all leaves and debris, and make sure all connections are tight and that they drain properly and away from walkways.
- Trim tree limbs and shrubbery, and make sure all exterior wiring is secure.
Survey the outside of your home:
- Repair any vents that need attention.
- Fix any damaged siding and trim, not only to eliminate drafts but to keep critters out.
- Caulk windows and doors.
- Check weatherstripping to ensure proper fit and operation. Adjust door thresholds if necessary.
- Check hose bibs to make sure that they are not leaking; then disconnect hoses and store them for the winter. Cover water faucets especially if they are subject to North winds.
- Repair damaged screens and, if you have storm windows and doors, check them and ready them for installation.
Also take note of chipped concrete on sidewalks or driveways, damaged steps leading to the front or back doors, and anything that might be hazardous if covered with a coating of ice or snow. Repair any problem areas that will only worsen in the snow and cold.
Freshen and Repair the Interior
Inside your home:
- Replace all filters and have your furnace and water heater checked and serviced if needed.
- Make sure your chimney is clean and that your fireplace damper works.
- Calibrate your thermostat; consider replacing an old one with an automatic setback model to save energy and money.
- Examine window caulking and check for drafts in every room. If you have an older home, you might need foam insulators at each receptacle and switch. Bob Vila has a handy checklist to help you with seasonal preparation.
- Visit the attic: If your insulation looks “flat,” you can either add blown-in insulation or have new batts installed as appropriate. Weatherstrip the attic access panels to retard drafts as well.
- In the basement, insulate any exposed pipes, and check for possible leaks and cracks.
- Add blinds or window treatments if your windows are bare. These help insulate the home as well.
- If your windows are loose or not energy efficient you might consider replacing them at some point. Most heat in a home is lost through windows and doors.
More than a State of Mind
You may not be able to escape the chill winds of winter, but you can lessen the effects of the cold. Add some bright accents to your living spaces in the form of pillows and cozy throws, stock up on candles, favorite music and movies, and think of Spring. It’s getting closer with each day!
It’s never too soon to get a jump start on the holidays, particularly when you consider how fast time flies by between September 1 and December 31. Those industrious North Pole elves are already hard at work preparing for the Christmas crunch. Here are some tips to join them and get ahead on the holiday season.
While you may be clinging to thoughts of warm summer nights, Jack Frost is on his way – whether you like it or not. Trick-or-Treaters, holiday carolers, family members, friends and even the UPS man will soon start stopping by, so take steps now to ensure that your home’s exterior makes a good impression.
If you haven’t yet cleaned and stored away outdoor patio furniture and other seasonal items, now is the time. This is also a good opportunity to touch up the paint on your deck, shutters, railings, trim and front door. And don’t forget to wipe your windows so they’re clean and sparkling for Santa Watch.
Lastly, spare yourself a smoke-free future if you’re planning on roasting chestnuts by the fire: schedule an inspection and cleaning of your chimneys and flues.
Get the Hang of It
From creepy cobwebs to those oft-mentioned boughs of holly, you’ll be hanging plenty of decorations throughout the fall and winter. And if you’ve ever tried to hang twinkle lights in a foot of snow, it’s unlikely a tradition you plan to continue.
While it’s customary to wait until after Thanksgiving to turn on your holiday lighting extravaganza, there’s no rule governing when to actually hang the lights.
“Save time by putting up your Christmas lights while taking down your Halloween decorations.”
This also gives you a joyful jump on replacing any dead bulbs or replenishing hooks and other hanging equipment–without any ice and snow on the roof and the need for gloves, or that cold Oklahoma wind.
Make a List, Check It Twice
You may not be ready to deck the halls and mantle just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an action plan ready. Whether you plan to follow last year’s theme or try something new, document your decorating plans. This is also a convenient opportunity to take inventory of your supplies. Do you have everything you need to execute with ease? If not, stock up now: you’ll not only beat the crowds, but also avoid holiday markups.
One last tip? Take plenty of pictures after your house is thoroughly bedecked — and not just for posterity’s sake. In future years, you’ll be able to admire your own handiwork while recreating what worked and rethinking what didn’t.
By attending to the bulk of your prep and planning now, you can enjoy a well-appointed home and a more peaceful December. And that’s reason enough to feel jolly this holiday season!
Can’t justify shelling out big bucks for tickets for the big college or NFL football game? Even though you may not be able to sit in the stands, you can still have a fantastic game day at home with family and friends, including hosting your own tailgate party.
A tailgate party traditionally revolves around tailgates of vehicles in the parking lot of a sports facility, but you can preserve the nature of the tailgate party by simply keeping pre-game festivities outdoors. That means food, games, decorations and a tailgate atmosphere.
Set the stage for your tailgate party with your team’s colors: streamers, banners, posters and other party-store and homemade decorations will transform your yard into tailgate party central. Encourage guests to come dressed up like they were tailgating at their team’s stadium. Some may show up in costume with painted faces. Use tablecloths, plates, cups and napkins in team colors. Give a prize for the best team apparel.
What’s a tailgate party without music? Make a playlist that’s spirited and full of classic game-day jams.
One of the hallmarks of the tailgate party is the grill, whether charcoal or gas, and you may want more than one to facilitate different foods and grilling styles. Remember the Grill Master is in charge.
Guests can nibble on snacks all day long, both indoors and outdoors. Serve tortilla chips with salsa, sour cream and a few homemade dips, such as pico de gallo and artichoke dip. Keep plain and flavored potato chips on hand. Put out trays of cut vegetables and a bowl of fruit.
For great main dishes, offer enough of a variety to make everyone happy. Grill a combination of steaks, burgers, hot dogs and brats, but also offer creative fare. Make homemade gyros or souvlaki; grill eggplant, bell peppers, onions and other vegetables, along with Portobello mushrooms. Have crock pots of chili and pulled pork on hand as well. Ask your guests to bring their favorite game-day snacks, and your table will have plenty of options.
Sides and Salads
Toss baked potatoes on the grill or use a shallow pan on the grill to fry some diced potatoes with chopped onions, bell peppers, olive oil and seasonings. Grill fresh corn on the cob and brush with melted butter. Seasoned green beans or carrots, warm biscuits, a chopped salad, a bowl of potato salad, a bowl of mixed fruit and thick watermelon slices will round out the meal nicely.
Ice your drinks down in coolers or ten gallon tubs. Have bottled water, juice, lemonade and soft drinks. Coffee, hot cocoa and cider will be welcome on a chilly afternoon. Let folks bring their own favorite beverages.
With all that food, dessert may not be a priority, but who can resist a football-shaped cookie with the stitching painted on with icing, or jersey-shaped cookies with names or numbers? And you can’t go wrong with brownies and cake pops.
If people arrive a few hours before the game, they’ll be ready for some fun. Set up a volleyball or badminton game, or play croquet, lawn darts, volleyball, or horse shoes. Leave plenty of room for socializing. A game of corn hole is great for all ages.
Play sports trivia and sports-themed charades and Pictionary to keep the indoor types happy.
Don’t spend so much time on the tailgating that you neglect the game part of game day. Keep the decorations going in the room where you’ll be watching the game on your large-screen TV, and have beverages and snacks available, just like at the stadium. Be sure to have enough comfortable seats on hand (padded folding chairs provide good extra seating). Have some small team flags and a few foam fingers on hand to wave during great plays.
When the game is over, wind down with coffee or cocoa and dessert– and chat about the game.
What tips do you have for having a game day tailgating party at home?
We give Oklahoma City a lot of love, sure – but as any self-respecting Okie (and any research-loving visitor, for that matter) knows, Tulsa is another part of our state that’s grown its own unique culture and community.
Tulsa is extremely family-friendly, with plenty of new and historic neighborhoods, community-centric clubs, great school districts, and more museums than you could see in a whole weekend.
So what’s a family to do when a surprisingly temperate day graces us with its presence? They get outside. Here’s our guide to outdoor activities in Tulsa – for families of all kinds.
Hiking and mountain biking in Tulsa
The Arkansas River is always a great hiking option – but if you’re looking for a trail that’s more secluded, you have plenty of options.
Running clubs in Tulsa
Take a jog along the river in the Tulsa River Parks paved trails, and you’ll see that there are plenty of people doing the exact same thing. But a running club makes the practice much more enjoyable – and puts you with a group of likeminded people.
- Want your club fees to go to a good cause? The Tulsa Running Club is a non-profit that puts all of its proceeds toward local organizations. Bonus: buy a family plan and get the kids involved.
- Tulsa Runner’s group runs take place on Tuesday evening (shorter run) and Saturday mornings (longer runs). Ideal for folks who want to run with other people without feeling conspicuous or formal.
- Fleet Feet Sports hosts its own trainings following up to different events, like the upcoming Pub Run.
- If the name alone doesn’t win you over, we don’t know what will: Tatur is the Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Running club. For adventurous/multisport athletes, this club will challenge you anew with each race.
- Tulsa, OK Moms RUN This Town caters to mothers who are runners (or want to be runners!) and are looking for some women with similar interests and advice.
Watersports on the Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is one of this city’s main attractions – and has spawned a pretty robust watersports culture.
Try kayaking, rowing, or boating while taking in city views.
Ropes courses, zip lines, slacklining
Aside from encouraging teamwork, independence, and trust, adventure courses are just plain fun. As you might expect, Tulsa has plenty to choose from.
- For a new kind of adventure, give POSTOAK Canopy Tours a whirl. With 6 ziplines and almost 4,000 feet of cable line in their network, you and your kids will be completely exhilarated – and completely worn out when it’s time to go home.
- The HelmZar Challenge Course has both indoor and outdoor facilities – so your family or team will never really be caught in the rain.
- The Camp Loughridge Challenge Course is perfect for taking in the view in a quieter area.
- Try the YMCA ropes course for accessible classes and family-friendly rates.
Outdoor fitness classes
Guthrie Green is a great gathering place for family and friends – and it plays host to different events almost daily. Try Fitness on the Green for a casual but challenging way to shake-up your routine.
Golf courses in Tulsa
Prefer to stick to outdoor activities that come with carts and manicured greens? Sounds like you’re a golfer.
Check GolfLinks for an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of golf courses in your city. Tulsa has plenty to choose from!
Outdoor fitness: accessible, DIY-friendly, and always fun
The truth is, you can make any location a place to get your fit on in the great outdoors (or, you know, perfectly maintained golf course). Ask your local gym or yoga studio about any outdoor classes they offer – bootcamp is a popular option, for starters.
The grass is always greener on the other side – and all you have to do is jog there!
While there are plenty of great gyms in OKC to choose from for our sweat sessions, there’s nothing quite like an outdoor workout. Here are some of our favorite venues and activities around the OKC Metro.
Hiking and mountain biking trails
Whether you’re embarking on a day-long expedition or just want to work up an appetite for lunch, there’s plenty of ground for you to cover in the metro.
- South Grand Trail
- Oklahoma River Trails
- Hefner-Overholser Trail
- Katy Trail
- Bluff Creek Trail
- NuDraper Trail at Lake Stanley Draper
- Martin Park Nature Center
- Clear Bay Trail at Lake Thunderbird State Park
- Red Rock Canyon State Park
OKC Running Clubs
Prefer sticking with the pack over being a lone wolf? Oklahoma City has a growing number of running clubs that will let you get outside – without the solitude.
- The Landrunners club meets Saturday mornings to train for local races throughout the year.
- If you like local brews as much as you like to run, try out the Red Coyote Running and Fitness club’s Pack Pint Runs. Every Thursday at 6 pm, a group takes off from the store and ends the run with free pints from local brewery COOP Ale Works
- The OKC Wild Wild West Hash House Harriers takes socializing seriously. Wednesday/Thursday social hours and Saturday runs around the metro keep you fit – and making plenty of friends along the way.
- Prefer to run in longer events? The Triathlon Club of Oklahoma City will keep you involved in the latest multi-sport events.
- The Dirt Dog Trail Runners currently meet Mondays at 6:30 pm and include runners with all levels of experience.
Because for some of us, being in the water feels as natural as breathing. Fortunately, OKC has a rapidly developing offering of watersports in both rivers and lakes.
- Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District hosts all kinds of watersports – including rowing (individual and corporate leagues), canoeing, kayaking, dragon boating, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP).
- Flat Tide also offers stand up paddle boarding in Lake Overholser.
- Going to the lake? Try sailing or swimming for decidedly tough – but fun – workout options.
- Ever heard of kiteboarding? We hadn’t either – but you can try it on Lake Hefner through OK Kite’s Kiteboarding School!
Ropes courses, zip lines, slacklining
These courses will quite literally keep your on your toes.
- Via the Boathouse District:Sandridge Sky Trail & Slide
- Sandridge Sky Zip
- Shiloh Adventure Course: ropes course, zipline, and climbing wall
- INTEGRIS Experimental Learning and Wellness Program ropes course
Looking for a DIY ropes course? Set up a slack line in your back yard or local park for a fun and challenging outdoor exercise.
Get in touch with nature while you’re on your mat.
Oklahoma City Adult Rec Leagues
Creatures of habits will love the wide variety of options available via local recreational sports leagues.
Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf
- OK City Ultimate (Facebook page)
- See OKC disc golf courses here: http://www.okc.gov/PARKS/disc_golf/index.html
Find other rec leagues:
- The OKC Sportsvite directory has information on basketball, softball, volleyball, and just about every other kind of –ball game you can think of!
- For more info on currently active leagues, check the City of Oklahoma City’s Parks and Rec section.
Before there was disc golf, there was…golf. Here are the greenest greens in OKC.
- Coffee Creek
- James E. Stewart
- Lake Hefner
- Lincoln Park
- The Links at Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma City GCC
- Quail Creek
- Rose Creek
- Willow Creek
Public basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts
No schedule, no problem – try a pickup game with friends old and new at a local court.
- Courts of the World has maps of public basketball courts all over the place – and Oklahoma City has some great options. Hoop it up here.
- Open up Tennis Maps when you need a new place for your weekly matches.
- For sand volleyball courts, try these: The Lighthouse Sports and Fitness Facility, Mesta Park at 18th and Shartel
Want more outdoor fitness options? Don’t forget to ask your local gym about outdoor bootcamp classes – many gyms hold these in the early morning.
Enjoy the weather while it’s nice – we’ll see you outside!