Internet Shopping with Amanda | October 12, 2022

I was scrolling the World Wide Web the other day when I received a targeted advertisement for an Oscar Mayer “Beauty Inspired by Bologna” Face Mask.  It was an appropriately-timed ad because at that exact moment I was soaking in a bathtub filled with creamy pasta salad while loofahing with slices of white bread and had realized – crap on a cracker – that I had completely neglected my face.

I am fascinated by my targeted ads because, obviously, they are targeted.  This meant the bots-that-be received the Oscar Mayer Bologna Face Mask Ad and beeped at one another, “Who do we know that wants to look younger with the assistance of processed meat?”  Et voila.

I receive quite a few targeted ads that, at first glance, seem a bit out of my shopping comfort zone – maybe because I’m clicking on and then buying Bologna Face Masks, or maybe the Internet wants me to aspire to my best lifestyle.  Either way, I thought I’d share a few of the recent goods the universe wants me to own.


The irrefutable parenting app, Pinterest, advises the best way to get picky children to eat is with thematic meal options.  What started out as animal-shaped pasta for Zoo Night quickly developed into a poncho-clad jet ride to Oaxaca for Taco Tuesday and a light overthrowing of the Canadian government for Pierogi Pi Day.  When Irish Stew Fridays became a fan-favorite, we decided it was cheaper to buy this inflatable pub than continue to purchase small villages throughout the Emerald Isle.  As a bonus, it paired well with our Giant Inflatable Outdoor Bathroom and matching cleaning fire hose.

This may seem extravagant for a once-a-week dinner, but just the other day Kyle and I were also saying to one another, “How can we have our friends come over but not actually allow them in the house?”  I did order this with an extra hand-pump because it’s cold here in North Dakota and I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than having our Giant Inflatable Irish Pub deflate on our guests without an option for them to blow it back up themselves.


This jumpsuit is perfect for the bologna-laden mother who wants to look like the woman in this picture with a whole bunch of added fat rolls.  I personally love to wear my Women’s Metallic Halter Jumpsuit to the hockey rink, because there’s nothing more pleasant than needing to peel down and then squeegee up skin-tight fabric so that you can sit totally nude on a public toilet between games.  I pair it with the Miami Dolphins starter jacket and pump high-tops I got in 1995 and pretend like I’m Cindy Crawford (‘90s Cindy or ’22 Cindy, take your pick).


Our loose change jar was a little light after dropping $3,000 on the Giant Inflatable Irish Pub, but when I saw the Kettlebell Travertine Stone Top Handle Bag, I knew it was worth digging in the couch cushions to make it mine.  I especially liked how it featured all the “must-haves” when selecting a new purse: heaviness and lack of interior space.

I don’t talk about this very often, but I have a really personal connection to travertine.  As you know, travertine is a form of limestone found around hot springs or caves, with some of the richest areas located in Italy.  The Romans particularly loved travertine – building monuments, temples, and the Coliseum out of the stone.  For my part, my master bathroom floor is travertine.

While there really isn’t a wrong place for my Kettlebell Travertine Stone Top Handle Bag, I prefer to carry it when walking in dark alleys because my mace expired in August and I’m too lazy to get another.


I spend an inordinate amount of time toting around a lawn chair – to baseball games, parking lots, people’s backyards, and workplace meetings.  I’ve gotten so sick of packing, unpacking, and packing up my lawn chair that I was at a hockey tournament a month or so ago and all of the parents were hanging out on the hotel lawn and I chose to STAND with them rather than go get my lawn chair out of my car.  My life can be really tough.

However, Pinterest and my refrigerator magnet have told me I need to SIMPLIFY – and what’s simpler than having a chair built into your own pants?!?  I’m pretty sure everyone is jealous of my new Exoskeleton Wearable Lightweight Folding Chair, although I can’t say for certain because whenever I use it I spend the rest of the conversation looking at people’s belly buttons.  Also, it’s made it a little awkward to drive a car, but I manage by opening the sunroof.


I don’t think there’s any question that Nicolas Cage is a marvel of cinema.  My favorite role of his was H.I. McDonnough in Raising Arizona – “This here’s the TV; Two hours a day, maximum, either…either educational or football so’s, you know, you don’t ruin your appreciation of the finer things” – although you could make an argument that any performance in his vast portfolio is worthy of note.  To that end, I felt it befitting to adorn myself with a giant representation of Nic’s face (I can call him Nic now that a 6” wide version of his nostril is aligned with my privates) while watching his, or basically anyone’s, movies.

The photo above of is my handsome Kyle at a wedding we recently attended.  None of those things have anything to do with this story.

This week’s news has a whole bunch of famous people – a football player, a volleyball coach, an author, and more. Read on.

This is just a cute post about two Lake Metigoshe volunteers, David and Connie Engg. (Facebook)

Minot’s Sebastian Gutierrez has signed with the New England Patriots. (Valley News Live)

Fort Berthold Indian Reservation’s Shyla Sheppard and her beer-making business were featured on The Today Show. (US 1033)

Washburn’s Geremy Olson’s book, “Campfires, Kids and the Outdoors: Outdoor Lessons for the Real World” was named the Best Book of 2022 by the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. (KFYR TV)

The community of Standing Rock brought back its football team. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Thompson’s Lisa Strand, North Dakota’s first volleyball coach to reach 1,000 wins. (Grand Forks Herald)

Fargo’s Madi Johnson will soon be a contestant on the next season of The Bachelor. (Fargo Forum)

Is your “Famous People of North Dakota” bulletin board full yet?  Here’s a list of “28 Great Actors from our Great State.” (KX Net)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Hockey Tournaments | March 25, 2021

I saw a mug the other day that read, “I didn’t realize I had to know everything by my second rodeo.  Seems like a pretty small number of rodeos.”  The closest I’ve gotten to a bull is through my credit card (get it, because they both charge), but I do know that two times is plenty when it comes to mastering another type of event: youth hockey tournaments.  And because we just came back from my third out-of-town youth tournament, I’d like to use this opportunity to recognize its unsung heroes: Usually, The Moms.

Youth hockey tournaments are a wild ride because they are simultaneously 100% and 0% about hockey.  In this particular tournament my nine-year-old played in three games over two days: two on Saturday, one on Sunday.  Each of his gameplays required a sprinted checklist of unpacking/drying/repacking equipment and kids, cajoling snacks/chocolate milk/chicken fingers into said kids, traveling to and from the rink, buckling up goalie equipment, filling water bottles and taping sticks, and watching the game closely enough so as to answer questions such as, “What were your top five favorite saves that I made?” and “Did you see that one time that one player did that one thing and I did this other one thing and what did you think of that?”

That was the hockey portion of the tournament; the rest was one big party.  Tournaments are basically like going on vacation with one hundred of your friends and their offspring, except instead of sitting on the beach or riding roller coasters, your fun is spent in the time hanging out between games (and watching/playing the games, obviously).  While sometimes these tournaments are held in cities with extracurricular activities such as laser tag or shopping, most of that hanging out happens in and around the hotel and involves socializing (by the parents) and running around like wild animals (by the children).

And since they are one big party, the standard rules of parenting become as casual as “It’s five o’clock somewhere.”  Bedtimes, gone.  Limits, gone.  Day drinking out of the back of a truck while your kids play hide-and-go-seek in a haunted junkyard, fine.  I missed one of my son’s hockey tournaments and when I called Kyle to find out its status, he specifically announced that our child had eaten a vegetable on the way home, meaning that he hadn’t eat another vegetable at any other point during the weekend.

This is where Usually The Moms come in – because while there are plenty of dads who say, “Hey, stop pouring melted chocolate into your friends’ mouths and go have a little rest,” if anyone is going to poop on this 48-hour parade, it is Usually The Moms.

Do the dads tell their kids to order milk instead of Mello Yello, or make them wash their hands after rubbing them all over their friend’s armpits, or pack a toy backpack for the younger siblings, or put the kibosh on using bad words?  Yes; but it’s Usually The Moms.

At this particular tournament, we got back to the hotel at about 8:30pm after Saturday’s second game.  Knowing we had to get up at 6:30 the next morning for an 8:00 puck drop (after losing an hour to Daylight Saving Time), I ruined my son’s existence by only allowing him to go screeching through the halls with his friends for a half-hour before forcing him to take a shower and fall asleep before his head hit the pillow.  The screeching continued without my son until 9:59, when I heard three different doors open, three different moms give muffled lectures, and a zillion kids go, “Awwww, finnnneeeee.”  By 10:01, it was completely silent.

While our children will be surprised to hear this, Usually The Moms don’t want to be the fun killers.  The second tournament I attended was held at a hotel with a giant pool and hot tub.  There’s an unspoken group parenting agreement at these shindigs; and so, in this case, the first four adults to enter the pool area – four moms, as it were – took up the role of lifeguarding for all.  I was one of those four moms.  Kyle, and all of the other parents, sat outside on the bar patio having a grand ol’ time.

Our four sets of kids were the initial wave in the pool; within minutes, their compadres had joined them.  I’m not sure if it was a case of bad architecture or too much tile or (probably) a gazillion children shouting at the tops of their lungs, but the decibel level hovered somewhere near “sonic boom.”  Every ten minutes or so, one of the dads would pop his head in the pool door, make a comment about the noise, give the moms a thumbs up, and then go back to the bar.

We moms did our best to chat through the din, but after about an hour I could see it on my pals’ faces that they were working out the amount of time remaining until we could pull these creatures out of the pool without looking like jerkfaces.  Fortunately, that’s when our fellow moms started to arrive.  A few brought mini coolers with the intention of starting a mom pool party; but the minute that sound pierced their eardrums, their kid was out of the pool and on his or her way to bed.

As much as no one wants to admit it, these human hammers – Usually, The Moms – keep these tournaments from descending into Mad Max-worthy anarchy.  And so Moms (and sometimes Dads), I raise my half-drank juice box, my Gatorade bottle without a lid, my airplane wine bottle to you.  At the next tournament, as you’re trying to get a sweaty, half-crazed, sugarcoated kid to pointlessly brush his teeth before bed, know that this mom still thinks you’re cool.

The photo above is of my little goalie.

This week’s news has free food, free braces, and and a shipping-container-turned-cabin built with free materials.  Read on.

Call it his flow, his salad, or his hockey hair, the Fargo Force’s Nick Strom is now quite neatly shorn after donating his locks to the Cullen Children’s Foundation. (KVRR)

Fort Yates’ Kylen Running Hawk is the 2021 recipient of the National High School Heart of the Arts Award due to his passion for sharing the theatrical stage experience. (Dickinson Press)

The YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties has a new food delivery truck that is taking to the streets – stopping at 30 different sites – to get a week’s worth of food to 500+ area kids in need. (KVRR)

Bismarck’s Viktoria Gilliam is getting a mouthful of free braces thanks to her fellow girl scout troop members. (KX Net)

The Williston Boy Scouts filled up the Salvation Army food pantry with 2,861 pounds of non-perishables and household goods – and then they handed over a $1,170 check, to boot. (Williston Herald)

Linton’s Frank Kuntz and his 300 Nokota horses – half the world’s population – are the subject of an upcoming Netflix movie entitled “Vanishing Knowledge.” (Minot Daily News)

The kids at Cheney Middle School in West Fargo raised over $3,000 for their teacher’s son who is undergoing brain cancer treatment. (KVRR)

Two dozen Mandan high school students spent the school year building a farmer a two bed, one bath hunting cabin out of a shipping container (the farmer funded the project). (KX Net)

Washburn’s Juan Vadell Jr. has figured out how to tap into boxelder trees in order to make a unique blend of syrup. (KX Net)

Grand Forks’ Beck Thompson has a dozen-piece fashion line debuting at MartinPatrick3 in Minneapolis. (Grand Forks Herald)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out this other story about Hockey Moms.)

Samantha | January 6, 2021

Our children went back to school this week after seventeen days of distance learning followed by Christmas break and, for the first time in a month, it was so quiet that Kyle and I could hear the clock ticking in the living room.  Oh, and we also could hear a scritch-scritch-scritching somewhere in the attic.

“Maybe it’s a ghost,” Kyle said, hopefully.

It was a bird.  I named him George Oscar.

Living in the country, wild animal visitors such as George Oscar are a fairly regular occurrence.  Usually, of course, they stay outside; the smart ones know that if they wander within 100 yards of the house, they will probably be displaced into a shoebox shelter built by my children.  Nowadays, if one of those kids runs up to me with their hands cupped together and says,

“Hold him for a sec, Mom, k?”

I’ll check first to make sure it isn’t something really disgusting reach out and take – and secretly release – whatever it is I’m being offered (usually a frog, which I always name Jeremiah). 

I was neither born nor bred nor adulted with this casual attitude towards the undomesticated animal kingdom.  Growing up, my little sister and I avoided all forms of wildlife like the plague.  Is that a bee?  Adios, Buzzerino.  Oops, there’s a squirrel; bye-bye, Bullwinkle.  This is not to say we stayed indoors all the time; we just managed to tiptoe around Mother Nature while riding our bikes or suntanning in the garden or not going to the zoo.

And if, for some horrible reason, an insect or a spider or a caterpillar managed to wiggle its way into our house?  Well, it was Dixie Cup time.  After a considerable period of shrieking, one of the two of us would go to the bathroom, get a disposable cup, and overturn it on the creepy-crawly.  That way, when our dad got home from work, he could scoop Mr. Centipede into the cup and put him back outside – shaken, but unharmed (all of us).  One year a family of crickets managed to hop their way into our basement, and our dad came home to a sea of Dixie Cups, drinking glasses (we ran out of Dixies), and I’m pretty sure one disposable bowl upended across the carpet.

“But what about when you left home to go to college?” You are probably (not) asking.  Well, I got a grumpy cat named Dakota, who took out her displeasure with the world by eating bugs.  This was very convenient for me, as well as my best friend and college roommate, who was also raised on the Dixie Cup method.

Kyle, my farm-born-and-bred husband, moved in with me shortly after my 25th birthday.  One day Kyle was at law school learning law, and Dakota was at the groomer getting grumpier, and I was at our apartment doing something really important, and a spider, minding his own business, strolled into the living room.  So, I got a Dixie Cup.

Kyle came home twenty minutes later.  He set down his books and leaned against the counter and looked at the cup.

“There’s a spider under there,” I said.

He nodded, and ripped off a square of paper towel.  I was confused.

“What are you doing?”  I asked.

“Getting rid of the spider,” he said, also confused.

“WHAT?  THAT’S SAMANTHA!”  I screeched.

“Who’s Samantha?”  Poor Kyle asked.

“THAT’S SAMANTHA,” I said, pointing to the cup.  “SHE NEEDS TO GO BACK OUTSIDE.”

Kyle stood there for a good sixty seconds before scooping up Samantha and shaking her out on the deck.  She scurried away from her almost-executioner as quickly as possible.

Kyle came back in and sat down on the couch.

“I’m not going to be able to smush a bug for the rest of my life?”  He asked.

“Correct,” I said. 

We got married anyways.

I don’t bother with Dixie Cups anymore because 1) there’s a lot of wildlife out here and if I was going to get worked up about it I would be worked up ALL THE TIME, and 2) it’s easier to just let bugs live their lives in our house until Kyle (and now our boys) find them and rehome them.  My kids like bugs so much that our five-year-old had a bug-themed birthday last year.  A picture of his cake is above.  (Also, I’m well-aware that the Bullwinkle is a moose.)

Speaking of things we all like so much, this week’s news has three babies named Trevor, Yair, and Jalen.  Read on.

Happy birthday to all of the first babies born in North Dakota in 2021 – including Trevor Yager of Minot, Yair Castillo of Fargo, and Jalen Breitbach of Jamestown! (KFYR TV) (KVRR)

The students at Washburn Elementary spread a little joy by caroling across town. (BHG News)

The 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron gathered up and sent 7,000 cards to deployed military personnel. (Minot Daily News)

Dickinson High School has a really robust Career Education track, including a dental assisting program that’s the only one in the country. (Dickinson Press)

The City of West Fargo is sending out $25 gift cards to get money flowing to local businesses. (Fargo Forum)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s On Special Days or this story about being a Hockey Mom.)