Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Family Fun with Pillow Forts and Popcorn

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Pop Secret.  All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Cold, dreary winter days are a real downer, especially when you have kids who need somewhere to expend their energy but its really too yucky to head outside to play.  It's days like these that I'm glad Mr. Smith Summary is a big kid at heart, because he loves to take the girls and do fun things like build pillow forts or play with Legos.  We were faced with one of these yucky days this past weekend and Mr. SS came to the rescue by making the girls one of his best pillow forts yet - and I contributed to the build by fueling them with a new popcorn recipe!

The staircase in our house has a large landing, which creates a great spot to build pillow forts.  This time, Mr. SS took an old sheet and attached it to the top of the staircase wall, creating a cover where the girls play "in secret."  Add just about every spare pillow in the house and you have yourself a crazy awesome pillow fort!  They enjoyed it so much I almost couldn't get them out of it to enjoy their snack!

Both girls had enough room to lay down in their pillow fort

Making the silliest faces for the camera - playing underneath the canopy made them feel like they were camping in a tent

And now to share my popcorn recipe!

During the holidays I make these delicious pretzel and cracker snacks and I thought why not use the same seasoning on popcorn??  The end result is my Cool Ranch Popcorn!

Cool Ranch Popcorn
2 bags popped popcorn (I used the Pop Secret homestyle popcorn - you definitely want one with butter so the seasoning will adhere; this is not the time to use the reduced fat versions - LOL)
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash of dill 

While you pop the popcorn mix the seasoning mix together in a small bowl.  When the popcorn is done, shake the bag just like you normally would and then put it in a ziploc bag along with half the seasoning and shake really well so the popcorn gets evenly covered.  It's important to do this step right after the popcorn comes out of the microwave so the butter is still hot - this is how the seasoning sticks.  Repeat with the second bag of popcorn and the remaining seasoning.

The end result?

An irresistible snack that you can't stop eating!

Pop Secret is all about fueling family fun!  Visit their Facebook page and submit photos of your family pillow forts!  You'll find fun surprises there and be eligible for rewards when you submit pics - and be sure to snag a $1 off coupon while you're there!

Monday, January 26, 2015

eMeals New Budget Friendly Meal Plan

I have received a free subscription to eMeals in exchange for my review and promotion of their programs; all opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

It's a new year, and as always, eating healthier and saving money are among my goals for 2015.  Last year I used eMeals to help me accomplish these goals - more specifically, I used their Clean Eating plan in an effort to put more nutritious meals on the table as opposed to the faster fixes that aren't quite as good for you.  One of the unfortunate things about eating healthy is that it's usually more expensive - whomp whomp.  And we definitely noticed our grocery budget being stretched thin on this meal plan last year.

This year, eMeals has introduced it's new Budget Friendly meal plan and I decided that we would give that one a try this go round!  We have just finished our first week on the plan and I have to say we are pleased so far with our dinners!  I'll need another week or two to really evaluate its impact on my checkbook (especially since sending Mr. Smith Summary to the store usually costs more because he doesn't stick to the list).  

One of the things I have always liked about eMeals is that you have options!  If a dinner appears on our plan for the week that I don't think my family will eat, we skip it.  I have also found that I can modify the recipes if necessary with very little effort involved.  Take for example this Bow-Tie Tomato Cream Sauce with Chicken recipe.  Our family isn't big on cream sauces so I doubled the tomatoes instead of adding the cream.  I also loved this recipe because I was able to make it in advance for my family to enjoy while I was working late one night.

This sauce was served with bow-tie pasta and steamed broccoli for a fast but nutritious meal!  And my kids loved it, which makes it a win-win in my book.

Another favorite of ours from this past week was the Winter Red Beans-and-Sausage Soup.  It reminded me of gumbo - as a matter of fact, I told Mr. SS that the next time we make it I might serve it over rice!

Here's the recipe:

Once again, I easily modified this recipe because we don't like celery and I had used all the carrots the night before (doh!).  It was still delicious - Mr. SS went back for seconds if that tells you anything!

Next week's menu calls for some tasty dinners like Santa Fe Soup and Baked Herbed Sandwiches - both of which call for things I like to keep on hand in our pantry because I buy them on sale.  I'm super excited to see how well we do with this new meal plan!

Wanna give eMeals a try?!?!  You can try it FREE for 14 days!  Just visit their website to sign up - they have 17 meal plans to chose from!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts from a Goofy Girl

It has been a week since I got home from WDW Marathon weekend - and quite honestly, it has taken me this long to start getting my thoughts together about how to describe the awesomeness.  I didn't check in before I left - and that was intentional.  I had a follow-up visit with the ortho and went into the weekend consumed with fear and self-doubt.  I know I'm jumping ahead of myself - let me back up a tad and fill you in.

But just in case you are worried - here's a spoiler alert.

No stock or borrowed photos here - these pretties are mine.

The Monday before marathon weekend I went back in for my ortho follow-up.  I was expecting for him to tell me I was free to resume running and to just take it easy - but that did not happen.  Instead, we discussed my MRI results (again) and he told me to come back in 4 weeks and at that point we would begin a walking program.

UHM....yeah dude, not happening.  I was actually really frustrated because he was talking to me as if the MRI was new, not 5 weeks old.  I kept trying to tell him that I had already taken almost 6 weeks off but he didn't seem to be listening to me.  Thankfully, his assistant remembered I had a big weekend coming up and she whispered to me as I was leaving to just walk if it hurt - and we made my 4 week follow-up appointment.

I did a trial run the Wednesday before I left at the gym near my house with a few of my Sole Sisters.  It was only 2 miles but it sucked hard core and every little twinge made me panic.  How was I going to pull this off??

So needless to say when I arrived at Disney World on Thursday afternoon my excitement was muted somewhat.  I was not having any pain otherwise but I was still very nervous about how the weekend would go.  I am happy to report that I completed the challenge and the weekend was absolutely amazing!  Race recaps and more to come!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection - The Little Mermaid

I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

The Little Mermaid is one of the first Disney movies I recall seeing in a theater. It is a classic Disney movie and I was very excited to share it with both of my girls when they were old enough. "Under the Sea" is our favorite song and both girls dance around the living room when it comes on. So you can imagine how excited we they were when I received a copy of the newly released Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection - The Little Mermaid to review.

Album cover courtesy of Walt Disney Records

We listen to music a LOT in the car on our way to/from school and daycare and this CD collection has lived in my car stereo since it arrived.  My inner child loves the movie soundtrack, and my adult #DisneySide loves all the extras included in the two disc collection.  The jacket holds the stories and lyrics for all the songs, complete with newly created artwork from Lorelay Bove, an artist with Walt Disney Animation Studios, as well as some of the visual development sketches from the film.  Disc one contains the original soundtrack while disc two contains the "work" behind the soundtrack - demos recorded by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman.  Want to hear "Poor Unfortunate Souls" before Pat Carroll performed it?  Well, here's your chance!

The collection is available on Walt Disney Record's new site, Disney Music Emporium.  This new site is a destination for collectible Disney music products plus several other neat features.  The next collection, The Legacy Collection - Fantasia, will be available beginning next week!  

If you're a fan of The Little Mermaid like my princesses are, then you're in luck - I have a copy of Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection - The Little Mermaid to give away to one lucky reader! Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below!

Giveaway ends 1/13/15 at 12am Eastern. Must be 18 or over to enter. Void where prohibited. Open to residents of the US and Canada only. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to provide shipping address. If it comes to this blogger's attention that the winner of this giveaway has won this same prize on an additional blog, this blog reserves the right to select another winner.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 - Year In Review

Today I am linking up with my pal and fellow DisBroad Patty and her pals for Tuesdays on the Run.  I figured with the new year looming it would be a nice trip down memory lane to take a look at the races I ran this year and a few highlights from each!

This race was my "make-up" race from the cancelled St. Jude Half marathon from 2012.  The course was FLAAAAT as all get out and I set my then-PR of 2:19!  

My family joined me for a long weekend at the most magical place on Earth as I participated in all of the races for Princess Half Marathon weekend - the Royal Family 5K, Enchanted 10K, Princess Half Marathon, and Kids Races.  I gave recaps of that weekend here, here, here, here, here, and here.  By far one of my favorite runDisney weekends to date!

This race was in its second year and has quickly become a local favorite of mine.  It is put on by my alma mater, the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy.  Part of the proceeds benefit the Pat Summit Foundation and part benefit the Academy of Student Pharmacists Chapter at the school.  The route takes you right by the school and I think I just loved supporting my school doing something I loved.  AND I set a 4 mile PR at 39:00!

I had the incredible pleasure of serving as a Rock 'n' Blog ambassador for this race and I have to say - for being in the hilly city of Nashville, this race was rather enjoyable!  I definitely liked the course more than the Women's Running Half Marathon course and the crowd support was amazing.  I didn't go in to this race with any major goals and managed to finish in 2:30, which I was pleased with.  The highlight of my weekend in Nashville was attending the St. Jude Heroes Pasta party Friday night!

The Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run and the Tower of Terror 10 Miler were my runDisney start to my family's week-long Disney vacation, and I can't think of a more awesome way to start a trip than that!  Check out my 5K recap here.  Sadly I totes missed doing a recap of the 10 miler - just know that it was an awesome run and I hate that they are not holding this race next year!

After a whirlwind Disney vacation I hit the road to St. Louis!  I went in not expecting much from this race since I had just been on vacation for a week but surprised myself with my current half marathon PR of 2:18!  

AKA - the race that didn't happen.  I talked all about it here but one thing I didn't really talk about was how I still went down to the race and cheered for all my friends running.  Race spectating is a FINE art, my friends - and I truly have an appreciation for all the folks that cheer for me each time I run because it's not easy!  Honestly though, I can't imagine NOT going down there to cheer; it was a truly awesome experience.  Especially manning the bull horn at mile 17 - that was AWESOME.

Well, there you have it!  A lighter year for me race-wise, ending on a dull note unfortunately due to my injury but that just gives me all the more reason to start 2015 off with a bang!  I look forward to hitting the pavement again VERY soon!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Five for Friday - Catch Up Edition

I know, I know - my blogging has been a little lackluster lately.  So I thought another Five for Friday  might be good to catch you up on all the goings on with the Smiths!

1.  I hope you all had a most wonderful holiday yesterday!  The Smith girls had a fabulous day - I could go all day long just watching those smiles!

2.  I cannot believe that two weeks from NOW I will be at Disney World preparing for race #1 of the #GoofyChallenge.  As race day(s) approach I find myself getting nervous and wondering if I'll be able to finish.  I have been doing everything I can think of to prepare myself while sticking to my doctor's orders.  As I mentioned before, I found a physical therapy/rehab place in my area that had an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill and it has been a game changer for me the past few weeks!  I have been able to get a few runs in on it and if nothing else it has given me the peace of mind of getting a run in before race week.  But I'm hoping it's keeping those running muscles prepared for the miles we'll be putting in in two weeks.  That, and it's helping me break in my new shoes, which arrived the day after I got diagnosed with a tibial stress reaction - whomp whomp. 

My #Supersuit
3.  Speaking of marathon weekend - did you catch the merchandise preview on the Disney Parks Blog??  I'm so very glad that my family thought to give me money to take on my trip for Christmas because I see several things that I'd love to have!

Pics courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog
Including this

And before you ask, yes, I preordered this.  Merry Christmas to me :)

4.  I may not have mentioned this, but I'm also headed back to Disney in February for Princess Half Marathon weekend.  I originally wasn't going to be going back for this race but several of the DisBroads decided to go and, well, I just couldn't be left out!  I am only running the half marathon this year and will be making it a very short trip - flying in early Saturday morning, flying home Monday afternoon.  But check the BLING - it's #Frozen yo!

Pic courtesy of Disney.  I happened to see another picture they released and the medals are actually SILVER.  Can.not.wait.

5.  Shameless plug here - I am one month in to my new Plexus regimen and I absolutely love how much better I am feeling.  I started off drinking Plexus Slim and taking the Accelerator+ but I always felt very hungry before lunch so I decided to try the Triplex instead - Plexus Slim, BioCleanse, and ProBio5.  I drink the Slim 30 minutes before breakfast and eat a small meal and sometimes have to remind myself to eat lunch at a normal time!  I also haven't felt the normal "bloat" I feel around the holidays (that might be TMI - oh well) and I think my Plexus regimen has a lot to do with that.  I'm making my health a priority in 2015 and invite you to join me!  Visit my website here and feel free to email me and ask me any questions - ksmithpinkdrink AT gmail DOT com.

There you have it!  I promise to try not to wait so long in between updates - perhaps a 2015 New Year's resolution! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My 1st DNS

Well, I guess I was being cautiously optimistic last week when I said I didn't think they would find anything wrong on my MRI.

Because they DID find something - something pretty big.

"Intense stress reaction" are not the words I needed to hear less than 24 hours from the start of the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon; and yet that's the news I received, along with the recommendation of no running for 6 weeks.

Yes, that's 6 WEEKS.

To say I was upset at that point is probably a MAJOR understatement.  Not only was I not running the next day, but this diagnosis also puts my Goofy Challenge in jeopardy. 

I had already taken off running for one week while we waited for the MRI to be done and get the results, so I have 5 weeks left.  My follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon is January 5th - 3 days before I leave for Disney World.  But I am determined to still go and participate in Marathon Weekend - but this means I have my work cut out for me.

In the past few days I have invested in a bike trainer so I can ride my bike more.  I have also located an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill in my area and will be giving it a try for the first time this Saturday.  I've signed up for more classes at LiveFIT (except my favorite TurboKick, boo!) - everything I can think of to keep myself in shape for the Goofy Challenge.

Which is 29 days from now.

Taking a deep breath...

Any advice or words of wisdom are greatly appreciated :)