Tag Archive: soccer ball


Product Thursday

A Drive-in Marquee. Picture by Earl 35.

Every summer our family makes great plans to go to the drive-in theater several times. We go at least once a month and love it every time.

We don’t care about mosquitoes or chilly nights. We have learned what to pack and what to buy for the outing.

Picture by Karpati

Our car will be filled with blankets, snack foods, drinks and play items. Hello, frisbees and soccer balls.  We might bring baseballs and gloves as well. Bug spray comes along but I also like the new ‘bug repellant’ bracelets.

My favorite drive-in theatres have a number of great features.

First, a big green area in front of the screen. There does not have to be a swing set here for kids to blow steam before the movie but it should be big enough for at least ten families to throw a frisbee, football or water balloons.

Secondly, the sound system must be in working order. You can have the old-fashioned speakers or present day through-your-radio system. But if neither is working you miss out on the sound and that sucks.

Third, the gravel in the driving lanes must be gravel, not small rocks about the size of an egg.  Kids are going to throw them and run on it. Do not provide weapons or create potential accidents for children wearing flip-flops in the summer time.

Picture by Alvimann

Fourth, the concession stand may be the actual money-maker for the business but make it affordable. I might bring in snacks and drinks. But my kids want ice cream, popcorn, nachos and chilly willies. So I will pony up some cash if you will make it so I can still pay the mortgage.

Now, I know what is happening out there. You are wondering if there are any drive-ins left and if one is near you. If you are lucky, there is one less than 20 miles away. If you are like me, you are an hour or so away from a few good choices. 

One way to find drive in theaters by states is at drive-ins.com. Another site to try is driveinmovie.com. You might have to sift through many theater listings of gone but not forgotten theaters.

When you find one that is near you, look up starting times. Call ahead to find out current admission pricing and start time. Plan your trip and make a list of items to take along (including bug spray or repellant of some sort). Remember blankets or sleeping bags, fun games to play in the grass and fold up chairs.

Just remember that popular movies means lots of people. Get to your drive in early if possible or go on a less popular night so you are not left outside the theater.

Getting to a drive-in is one of the highlights of our summer. Do you have a favorite drive-in theater?

Every Thursday I review a product or service. If you have something of interest, please contact me at bowmankaryn@sbcglobal.net.

Making the Trip Bearable

Our family just got back from going over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.  It was a 450-mile trip in our small sedan with three kids in the back seat.

 You can ask if we are crazy, you can wonder how much alcohol was consumed by the end of the trip. But as a parent who has done this many times over the years, I can tell you there are a few tricks to get this mode of transportation with kids to be successful.

Picture by Bethliebee

 1. Always have an activity bag with books and toys for each kid. Double check it to make sure the items are good for the car. My oldest plays his game boy, the youngest has stuffed animals and action figures. My daughter likes to read.

2. Bring along blankets for sleeping. I have a large number of baby quilts and those are the best size for in the car. You can always roll them up to be a pillow if the car is too warm to use a blanket.

 3. Have songs in your head when things are looking a little dicey. We were singing Christmas carols and Frère Jacques on the way down. At some point I had to ban Jingle Bells after the millionth time but the point is we focus on something besides the overwhelming length of the drive.

 4. Be ready with an “ABC” game of some sort. Maybe it is naming what you see or saying a word that starts with that letter or coming up with a word starting with the last letter of the last word said (i.e. “elephant” leads to “train”). This took up 30 minutes driving through one big town. The “last letter” game is a good one to play when it is dark out and the sites cannot be seen as readily.

 5. Have a kid-friendly restaurant planned for one stop. If you are driving several hours as we did, one blessing can be that fast food place that is a little different or has a play area. This time around we hit Cozy Drive-In that is located in Springfield, Illinois. They state they invented the corn dog. I can attest that the cozy dogs and hamburgers are very tasty. So was the bottled Route 66 Root beer.

Picture by Karpati

6. You might have to make other rest stops along the way. Pack in a Frisbee or, if you have space, a soccer ball or football. These are good ways to stretch those muscles and work off excess energy.

This is what works for my family. What works for yours?