Monday, November 24, 2014

Let eMeals Help You This Holiday Season

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.

This week starts the big season of cooking holiday meals in the kitchen!  I'm not sure about you guys, but one of my favorite parts about the holidays is spending time with family - not spending a bunch of time in the kitchen.  Lucky for us, eMeals knows how daunting it can be to cook for your family during this time of year, so they are offering us an easy way out!


If you join eMeals during November and December, you will get a Holiday plan for free!

eMeals has a Traditional Holiday Menu Plan, a Paleo Holiday Meal Plan and a Clean Eating Holiday Meal Plan available for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are even complete with a pre-made grocery list!

As you prepare for the holidays this year do yourself a favor and let eMeals be your game plan.  Along with the free holiday plans, save money and make time for family with delicious weekly meal plans everyone will love.  eMeals provides easy recipes with concise directions and a grocery list for budget minded and busy people. 
Check out this Traditional Holiday Meal Plan recipe!


Green Bean Casserole with Bacon

2 (12-oz) packages steam-in-bag green beans
1 (8-oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-oz) jar Alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 (2.8-oz) container French fried onions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook beans in microwave as directed. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sauté mushrooms in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once after 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add to beans in bowl.
  3. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Crumble bacon, and add to beans. Reserve 1 Tbsp drippings in skillet. Cook onion and garlic in drippings until tender. Add to beans. Stir in Alfredo sauce and cheese.
  4. Spoon into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with French fried onions. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly.
If you try it let me know what you think!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#DisneyKids PreSchool Play Date

I received free products in order to host the Disney Kids Preschool Playdate.  All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

After our recent vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, I was super excited to find I had been selected to host a #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate when we got back!  We have been so busy with Halloween festivities and then two birthday parties so we decided to wait until my sister was in town so the girls could share their #DisneySide with their cousins!

We had a Sofia the First-themed party!  The little girls were in heaven.

The girls loved their party tiaras!

We started off with some snacks - a big favorite was the Cheezy Crisps from Crunchmaster.  The entire box was gone by the end of our playdate!

We also enjoyed Tinkerbell fruit snacks and Z Bar Protein bars from Clif.

Too much partying for little Olivia!!

Big sister Addison ate her sister's share of the snacks ;)

First game we played was "Which Disney Junior Character Are You" Fortune Teller.  Do you remember making these when you were younger??


It all came back to me as we took turns picking a color and number.  I loved how this was a learning opportunity for the kids - my older one got to practice her spelling skills while my younger one got to work on her color recognition!  

After that we made our own Disney Junior straw banners!  Each party guest got to pick the character they wanted to decorate.



After coloring their picture we punched holes in the top and bottom of each one and threaded a straw through it - the end result was a fun straw to drink through for the remainder of the party!!

After that we used our crayons to color our pages with our favorite Disney Junior characters.  Morgan, of course, chose Sofia the First.


The adults even released their inner kid to enjoy the party festivities :)

Anyone else find it ironic that the RN of the bunch chose Doc McStuffiins?!?!

Me in my tiara

In addition to the activities provided in my party kit, we also threw in a few of our own!  Sometimes you just have to fly your own Minnie Mouse airplane :)


And when things got too crazy, we had them all sit down for a few quiet minutes - and to our delight we found that The Little Mermaid II was on Disney Junior!


Olivia woke up for the movie - she must be an Ariel fan ;)

And even though our party was over, we had lots of fun Disney gifts for our family to take home, including their own luggage tags!  We enjoyed sharing stories from our recent Disney trip as we discussed when we would get the chance to use our new luggage tags :)  The kids also enjoyed fun Disney Junior bracelets!

I'll use this bad boy in January!!!

We had so much fun sharing our #DisneySide with our family during our #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate!!!  Thanks to the Disney Parks team and MomSelect for choosing our family to host!!





















Friday, November 14, 2014

My VIP Experience at #RnRSTL

Disclaimer:  I am a Rock 'n' Blog Ambassador for this event and received a complimentary VIP pass in exchange for my promotion of the event.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.


For the Rungevity Rock 'n' Roll Marathon & 1/2 presented by The Quinn Family Foundation last month I was given the opportunity to try VIP access for the day of the race.  I was really excited about the opportunity!  Look at all the VIP access has to offer you:


Starting line VIP lounge
This opened at 6am and was located RIGHT NEXT TO the starting line.  There were tables set up for us to sit and relax before the race began, along with some light breakfast items and beverages.  Since I had driven up the day before and was only staying the one night, it was nice to know that I didn't have to worry about packing my pre-race food or trying to run around an unfamiliar town to find something suitable.


I met several nice folks in the VIP area the morning of the race, including a woman from Indiana who was running her first marathon that morning!  She and I shared some sunflower butter on top of that banana bread - that along with that half a banana hit the spot!

And of course, there was a beverage station.  It was REALLLLLY cold in St. Louis that morning so I was so VERY happy to grab a nice warm cup of coffee!!


Also in the starting line area was a VIP gear check (which I did not use but can only imagine was very convenient) as well as private port-a-potties!  My only complaint was that early in the morning it was still dark and there were no lights so we were going potty in the dark - BUT it was still a very nice perk to not have to stand in line!!!

Finish Line VIP Lounge
The finish line VIP lounge was located in the same tent, which was a very short walk from the finish line.  I hit the runner receiving area for my medal, my foil blanket, and my chocolate milk and then walked over to decompress, grab a quick post-race bite, and get myself together before walking back to my hotel.  The post-race spread was even more impressive than the pre-race eats!


Not only did they have some more breakfast-like items, like sausage, egg, and cheese croissants and more of the same light breakfast items we had enjoyed pre-race, but they also had sandwiches with all the fixings.  At the drink station they added sodas and beer, in addition to water bottles and chocolate milk.  All available for you to enjoy as much as you wanted!  The private port-a-potties were still available, as well as a post-race massage tent, which sadly I did not stick around long enough to enjoy because I still had to drive home.  But I did take the opportunity to stretch out a bit before walking back to my hotel, and there was ample room for that!


I grabbed some breakfast breads and another chocolate milk for the walk back - my one regret was that I couldn't stay long enough to enjoy all of the offerings!

Since my hotel was within walking distance I also did not use the VIP parking pass but that alone was worth its weight in gold, y'all.

Would I pay for VIP access at another Rock 'n' Roll event???  ABSOLUTELY.  All of the amenities are, in my opinion, well worth the extra money spent.  Being from out of town I already had pre-race jitters, worrying about how to get to the starting line and what I was going to eat and where I was going to rest before the race started - having VIP access completely wiped away those worries and allowed me to enjoy the event even more - AND I managed a PR at this event, and who's to say the two aren't related... ;)

All I can say is that now I'm spoiled and so I forked over the money for the race retreat for Marathon Weekend in January at Disney World.  What can I say - go big, or go home :)

Have you ever paid for VIP access at a race??






Friday, November 7, 2014

Five for Friday: New To Us at WDW

I thought for this edition of Five for Friday I would share with you 5 things that we did on our recent Walt Disney World vacation that were new to us!

1.  Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


I actually had the pleasure of attending this awesomeness twice on our trip - once when I arrived on Friday with my DisBroads and then again later on during the week with my family.  Everyone told us that MNSSHP is THE BEST and it did not disappoint!  I will have an entire post devoted to this (eventually...) but if you are a Disney fan then this party needs to be on your to do list!


2.  Resorts - Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort


For the racecation portion of my trip I stayed with the Broads at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.  It is absolutely beautiful!!  I really do hate though that the pool and the waterfall were under renovation while we were there because I hear that is one of the best features of this resort.  I will say though that the Agave Nectar Margarita and Pulled Pork Nachos from the Territory Lounge were a worthy substitute for the views ;)  Did you know that you can order food from Artist's Point at the Territory Lounge??  Well now you do!

When my family arrived I transferred over to Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort, our DVC home.  I cannot tell you just how much I loved being within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom!  Our room was close to the elevators so it was quick and easy for us to get to the Contemporary for drinks or to catch the monorail, and we got the pleasure of watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks just about every night without even being in the park!  Our final night there we watched HalloWishes from the BLT parking lot and it was better there than it was when we were IN the MK.  Just sayin.  And we loved the pool - we went twice and both times I had to chase Morgan up the stairs to go down the slide over and over again!


3.  Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort


We did several new to us restaurants this trip so I will break them down individually rather than group them together, with the first being Whispering Canyon Cafe.  I had heard this place was delicious and had the pleasure of enjoying breakfast there with my sister on Sunday before the rest of my family arrived.  The chocolate chip pancakes were as tasty as I had hoped and the entertainment was rather enjoyable.  If you have never eaten at Whispering Canyon I highly recommend it - and be sure to ask for ketchup :)

4.  Rides

Now that Samantha is was tall enough we were pretty unlimited with ride choices!  And since Morgan was a tad older this time we were able to fit in some other rides we had never done before.  A few of our favorites were:

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Expedition Everest (this one was NOT my favorite but Sam and my sister enjoyed it so much they rode it again)


Journey Into Imagination with Figment


The girls enjoyed all the interactive games at the end too!

5.  Being on a ride when it broke down

Mr. SS was highly upset when Pirates of the Caribbean was closed when we went into the MK on Thursday morning; it is his absolute favorite and, I quote, "The only reason I come to Disney World" (which is totally not true, he was just being a drama queen at that point).  So when we returned to the MK for MNSSHP on Thursday night we were excited to see the ride was open with little wait!

Or maybe there was a reason for that...

I was #notimpressed

We were in the middle of the town fire scene when the ride broke down.  We were stuck for about 15 minutes or so before they finally got it moving again.  That was the first time I've ever been on a ride at Disney when it broke down.  It honestly wasn't terrible but not something I would want to endure again.  I heard that Pirates of the Caribbean is majorly overdue for a renovation and will be closing down soon for a 2 year overhaul.  WHOA!


There a LOT more new to us stuff that I couldn't get to in this post but rest assured I will share all of it with you!  I try to do something new to us on each trip - how about you??




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Long time, no blog, right??

I know folks, and I'm sorry.  I've been here - just crazy busy!  

So I thought I'd catch you up to speed a little bit with the Smiths by doing a little WILW!

Jamberry


Still loving my Jams!  I have been partying like a rockstar, showing the Jam love to friends all over Facebook!  The holidays are coming and I'm excited about the new holiday gift sets we are offering!  Make sure you are following me on Facebook so you don't miss out on the Jam news!

Plexus


So you might have noticed a new image on my side bar - I'm very excited about being a new Plexus Independent Ambassador!  I have been using Plexus Slim for about a month and I was so pleased with it that I decided to join the team!  I'm looking forward to adding Accelerator+ to my arsenal; Mr. Smith Summary even wants to take it, and I who am I to deny a person that wants to get healthy?!?!  He might have to get his own supply though; not sure I want to share ;)  I won't overload this post with Plexus info but I'd LOVE to share with you how you can get healthier with Plexus - visit my website to request more information!

Almond Butter


MAN oh MAN have you tried this stuff?!?!  It's incredibly delicious!!!  I am eating it on everything these days.  I especially love it if it's the fresh ground variety.  Have you ever tried other nut butters besides peanut butter??

TurboKick


I am about halfway through with #GoofyChallenge training - hard to believe that in just 9 weeks I will meet my DisBroads back at Disney World to run 39.3 miles in two days!  I am running 4-5 days each week right now but I am still making time to get to TurboKick class at least once a week.  I absolutely LOVE this combination of shadow boxing and hip hop dancing!  If you haven't tried it out you should find a class near you!

These Girls

We are in full blown party mode at the Smith house!  Morgan turned 3 on Sunday (I know, can you believe that!!!) and we celebrated with a Peppa Pig-themed party.


Samantha is turning 7 on Friday and what she doesn't know yet is that we are letting her get her ears pierced for her birthday.  She has been begging  really wanting to get her ears pierced for some time now and I finally broke Mr. SS down to allow us to do it.  She is going to be one excited kiddo when I pick her up from school on Friday and take her to get it done!


And just for good measure - how about a family pic of us at the pumpkin patch?? :)



Well, I know this was short but I wanted to let you guys know I'm still alive and well!  I promise to have some trip posts for you soon!!



Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Haunted 5K Recap

I realize I'm a tad late with this race recap - I hope it's worth the wait!!!

Our race bibs!

After a LATE night at the Magic Kingdom Friday night for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Suzanne, Jamie, and myself got up and got suited up for the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run.


While most people were dressing in Halloween or villain attire for this race, I took a different approach.  Meet R2D2!  The skirt is a prototype for the R2BeatU design available from Rock City Skirts (which is now available for purchase on their website - thanks to Rock City Skirts for giving me their prototype to test out!).

Buses began leaving the resort at 5:30am for the 7:30am start and we were on the first one.  Unfortunately, shortly after arriving at ESPN Wide World of Sports it began raining - but lucky enough we had planned ahead and I had brought my rain jacket!


It rained UP until the race started y'all!  But that was the last of the rain for a whole week so I could put up with it for a short while ;)

For the 5K events runDisney assigns you to your corral based on when you registered; Suzanne and I were slated for corral B but bumped back to C to be with Jamie.  As we waited I caught this beautiful picture of the sunrise over Jostens Center and the HP Field House!


Around 7:45 it was time for our corral to start!


Unlike the 10 miler later on that night, there were no fireworks for this starting line - whomp whomp.  Off we headed through the fields at ESPN into the trails behind.  I had read a recommendation in the Team runDisney group on Facebook to wear different shoes to the 5K if you were running the 10 miler that night, especially with the rain.  I was SO glad I did, even though running in the older pair of shoes was a tad rougher on my joints.

As expected, there were several characer pit stops on the course, several of which you do not usually find in the parks!  The first one we came to was Honest John and Gideon from Pinocchio!


Next up was the hag from Snow White - who, coincidentally, we saw cutting a rug on the dance floor Friday night at Club Villain at MNSSHP...


Suzanne and I went ahead a little bit because we had decided that while we wanted to take pics, ultimately we wanted to get done so we skipped the next two characters stops, the Big Bad Wolf and one other.  But even the lengthy line for these guys near the end of the race couldn't deter us from this pic:


The gravediggers!!  I MIGHT have had a small crush on the one holding my arm - you could just tell that underneath his makeup he was pretty cute.  Anywho...

We ran through the fields and back up towards Jostens Center for the finish line.

Me and Suzanne at the mile 3 marker


Jamie joined us a few minutes later at the finish!

The bling

Overall I enjoyed this race for the most part.  I am NOT a trail runner but I knew before hand that this was an entirely off road course so I was not surprised by the terrain.  However, my joints prefer asphalt so for that reason alone I'm not sure that I would do this race again.  It's also not being offered in 2015 - sadz :(  But I loved the character stops and the medal - it glows in the dark!!!

Have you run this event?  What do you think about trail runs??