Thursday, July 31, 2014

To FP+ or Not to FP+ - That Is the Question

Perhaps I have mentioned previously that the Smiths are going on vacation over fall break??

Yes, that's right - we're returning to our happy place in just 64 days for a week full of magic!  Which means in just a few short days, I can begin making our Fast Pass + (FP+) reservations for our trip.

Am I the only one that has ever felt overwhelmed by FP+???  

I don't know if it's because Samantha is now tall enough to ride everything and I want her to experience everything she wants to (the kid is 4'2", y'all, no lie) or what, but looking at the list of what I CAN book and knowing I can only choose 3 things per day right now is enough to make me want to pull my hair out.

Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios aren't stressing me out as much as the Magic Kingdom.  I mean, HELLO - if I don't get my girls in to meet Anna and Elsa I just might as well stay at home ;)  So that's one thing and I was hoping to try Be Our Guest for lunch but do I use a FP+ reservation for that or do I chance a walk-up??  Things change so frequently down there I don't know what the current recommendation is.  And then I'm stuck on spot #3 - do I pick one of the mountains to ride with Samantha or something that Morgan could also ride, like Pirates or Jungle Cruise??

See now why I'm going crazy?

Did I mention that I have to do this on Monday???

So I need your help folks - send the FP+ tips my way!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gatlinburg: 10 Years Later

Last weekend Mr. SS and I enjoyed a wonderful, long weekend getaway to the Smokey Mountains in East Tennessee to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!  We honeymooned in Gatlinburg and had not been back in 10 years so it was quite a treat to see just how the more things change, the more they stay the same :)

Since our trip was planned at the last minute, we stayed at a nice hotel in Pigeon Forge.  Our hotel even had a fireplace, which you would find odd in the middle of July but we were experiencing a polar vortex that weekend and actually had to turn the thing on once or twice!

In the interest of keeping it real - I gotta tell you - the traffic in this part of the state is HORRIBLE.  As we were coming in town we got held up so badly that we had to cancel our dinner reservation for that evening because an hour prior we had not even made it to our hotel to check in.  We ended up having a nice dinner at another restaurant closer to our hotel and we saw the South's largest Christmas shop across the street and knew we needed to make a pit stop.

Nothing like a little Christmas in July to brighten your spirits after a long day of traveling!

Friday we headed to the Tanger Outlets in Seviervile; we were pleasantly surprised to see more shops that we were interested in than we had seen 10 years ago and spent most of the day wandering around the open air mall.  For dinner, though, we headed into Gatlinburg to eat at the very restaurant that we had eaten at 10 years ago that night - No Way Jose's.

Our view while waiting on our table

Even though we had planned to return to Gatlinburg the next day to walk the main strip, we decided to walk down a ways after a really filling dinner and came across Sugarlands.

This fun establishment was not here 10 years ago!  And yes, those jars are filled with moonshine - the legal kind, of course :)  I had never tried moonshine and they were offering taste testing (you had to show you were of age before you were allowed to try any) so I decided to give it a try.  I can honestly say I am not a fan of the 100-proof stuff but the apple pie flavor was to DIE for!  Their moonshine is processed 6 times to make it smoother and for this flavor in particular, they use grannie smith apples and caramel, which is not your usual combination for an apple pie flavor but it was SO good I had to buy a jar.

Or two.  Don't judge.

The next day we headed back into Gatlinburg for adventures walking the main strip.  The traffic was exceptionally bad that day and we were stuck in the Smokey Mountains National Park area for about an hour.

It was terrible - let me tell ya ;)

There is a place to the side of the road where you can stop and take in the scenery - we knew this because we stopped at the exact same spot 10 years prior.  And we figured since we weren't really going anywhere fast that we would take a few pics, like we had on our honeymoon.

Me in the Smokey Mountains National Park

Let's go to Gatlinburg - but first - #letmetakeaselfie

Compared to 10 years ago...

Me in the Smokey Mountains National Park in 2004

Let's go to Gatlinburg on our honeymoon - but first - #letmetakeaselfie

I know what you're thinking and I agree - yes, I age well.  LOL

It was really fun revisiting the main strip in Gatlinburg - there were a lot of new places but a lot of our favorites were still there.  

I took this picture while Owen was inside this shop - the Dayhiker.  10 years ago he bought a shirt here so in keeping with tradition, he had to buy another one.  We even had lunch at Blaine's, a bar and grill on the main strip that we had had lunch at on our honeymoon.

Heading back towards Pigeon Forge I couldn't resist snapping this pic of the aquarium area - we did not go this time because tickets are kinda pricey but I just love how green the area looks.

One of our favorite meals on our honeymoon was actually at the Hard Rock Cafe, so imagine our surprise when we came upon the place where the Hard Rock had been only to find a Denny's.

Whomp whomp.

Good news was they had only relocated to a much larger facility in Pigeon Forge, so for our last night we headed there for dinner and were very impressed with the new building!

The OC Choppers Hard Rock bike - pretty cool!!

The new restaurant was big enough that they had a stage and live music - AND, since we were sans children, we sat around for a little while after we ate dinner and listened to a few songs!

And then, as quickly as it had begun, our anniversary trip ended as we woke up Sunday morning and headed back home.  It was nice to get away with just the hubs for a trip down memory lane to celebrate our anniversary!  I hope we can go back soon - and maybe next time we'll take the kids along :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adventures in Potty Training


We are in full-on potty training mode in the Smith house.  We moved the girls to a new daycare at the beginning of this month and Morgan needs to be potty trained by August 4th at her new school.  We had not been pushing the whole potty training thing as hard prior to that but I figured with a full month - surely, we could get it accomplished.

Boy did I have it wrong.

I'm pretty sure that's what she's thinking.

At the recommendation of the daycare, we began putting Morgan in regular underwear at the beginning of the month.  I bought her Sofia the First panties and princess panties...I mean, why would you want to mess up your beautiful princess panties??  I don't really think she cares though because, so far, wearing regular underwear has not sped up this process.  She is still having daily accidents - sometimes more than one.  Yesterday, it was about 4 or 5.  And yes, we are going #2 in them also.

Although yesterday, she did drop trou in the playhouse outside on the playground to do her business, so I guess we're getting somewhere...???  #lookedlikeanouthousetomemom

We do give rewards when she goes potty IN the potty - those little snack packs of M&Ms work wonders.    Yesterday, she told me she made "I make yellow water; I want NimNims."  So I'm pretty sure she knows what she's SUPPOSED to do, just doesn't necessarily WANT to do it all the time.  

So defiant.

She's not really telling us when she needs to go potty, so we've just been routinely taking her about every hour; we started with going every 30 minutes but that backfired when she would refuse to go.  Perhaps she's a monster of our own creation...

I don't recall having NEAR this many issues potty training Samantha - she picked it up rather quickly.  Which I guess only goes to show you how completely different two children can be.  

We are running out of time here and I am kinda at a loss - does anyone have any tips for potty training the defiant child??

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

10 Years

Tomorrow I'm off to the mountains of East Tennessee for a few days of R&R.

It just so happens that the last time I was there was exactly 10 years ago - on my honeymoon.

Hard to believe Mr. Smith Summary and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage tomorrow!  Hardly seems like it should be that long, and it's amazing what we've accomplished in that time frame!

Wow, look how young we look - LOL

Here's to10 more wonderful years, Mr. SS!  Thanks for being my partner on this journey called life :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yurbuds Giveaway Winner

I'd like to give a big thank you to everyone that entered my Yurbuds giveaway to benefit St. Jude!  Together so far we have raised $195 for the kids at St. Jude - 39% of my goal of $500.  I KNOW we can make it there, especially with all the support from wonderful folks like all of you!

There is still plenty of time to donate - every little bit counts.  Please click here to visit my fundraising page and leave a donation.  Remember - no family is EVER charged for anything at St. Jude; it takes over $1 million dollars per day to operate the hospital so they need our generosity to keep them going!

And a big thanks goes out to Erica Agran, the WINNER of my Yurbuds giveaway!!!  Erica, watch out for an email from me :)

Be on the look out for another giveaway soon!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yurbuds Giveaway

Remember back when I professed my love for Yurbuds??

That was over a year ago and these things are still my favorite ear bud to use while running.  In fact, I love them so much that I'm giving away a pair!!!

But there's one catch ;)  You didn't think I'd let you get away that easy, did ya??

See these beauties?  This is a pair of Signature Series ear buds from Yurbuds.  With the signature series you not only get the premium sound you expect from Yurbuds but you also get a 1-button microphone system with track and call control that you can use with you iPhone, Android, or Blackberry device.  Retail on this pair is $59.99 but you can win your very own pair by simply donating to St. Jude! 

Click here to make your donation.  To be eligible for this prize you must leave me a comment either on this post or on the donation page that this is a contest entry.  All entries will be verified and a winner will be selected by using a random number generator.  Winner will be selected on Tuesday, July 15th.  Good luck and thank you in advance for donating!!!

Prize provided by yours truly :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Stitch Fix #2

Right before the holiday weekend, I got a package in the mail - my next Stitch Fix!  Here's a glimpse at what came in my second shipment.

Chevron top with black skinny jeans

I know you just LOVE the My Little Pony stickers on my mirror, don't you.

I absolutely LOVED the colors on this top - the cut though, not so flattering on me.  The pants I also loved; I am not a big fan of skinny jeans all around (they just never look good on a bigger girl like me) but these fit comfortably and I liked the way they looked.

Verdict:  kept the jeans, sent the top back

Henley top

This top was very lightweight - I could see wearing it even during the summer.  I paired it with my new black skinny jeans but I think it would look even cuter with a tan pencil skirt.

Verdict:  kept the top

Black hipster purse

This purse is like a Transformer - it's looks are deceiving.  Here, in this pic, it appears to be a clutch.  OH but no, it's actually a hipster, complete with shoulder strap.  I wasn't wild about the bronze touches and the tassel????  Definitely a no go.

Verdict:  sent the purse back

Blue dress

The first time I put this dress on I was like, uhm, nope, not gonna happen.  And then Mr. Smith Summary begged me to try it on again so I did - and this time, for some reason, it called out to me that it wanted to remain in my closet.  Photo credit to Mr. SS here - he said a profile view would help you see the cut and length of the skirt, while the pic to the right would show you the waistline, which I happen to love.  I also happen to think (and Mr. SS agrees) that I look great in blue.  It's a tad shorter than I like but not short enough for me to say no.

Verdict:  kept the dress

So there you have it!  I added three new pieces to my wardrobe this time around.  Thanks Stitch Fix, can't wait until next month's fix!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Remember When I Said

That I was going to stop worrying so much about what the number on the scale said?

So far, I am doing pretty well with that.

However, during my trip to Philly for the #DisneySMMoms Celebration On the Road, I found myself squeezing into my favorite pair of blue jean capris for dinner and about cutting off circulation to the bottom half of my body...whomp whomp.  

I read a review the week before on the Slim Fast 14-Day Slim Down - it's pretty simple really.  You replace breakfast and lunch with a Slim-Fast shake or meal bar, eat a 500 calorie dinner, and 3x100 calorie snacks - this is roughly 1200 calories per day.  Doing this in addition to at least 30 minutes of exercise each day and you should could lose up to 6lb in 2 weeks.  I thought maybe doing a modified version of this challenge would help jump start my metabolism; I know that my basal (resting) metabolic rate is higher than 1200 so I know that my body needs more than 1200 calories per day before I add any exercise in to the mix but I thought trying the meal replacement surely couldn't hurt.  Worst case scenario - I thought it might help make me more cognizant of what I was putting in my mouth.

For the record, this is not a paid post so all of these supplies were purchased with my own moolah.

I began the 14-day Slim Down last Monday, and I told myself that I would only do the meal replacement during the week and eat real (but healthy) meals on the weekends.  Here's a sample of one day during the plan:

Breakfast:  My usual coffee and a Slim-Fast shake

Morning snack:  Banana

Lunch:  Slim-Fast meal bar and a greek yogurt

Afternoon snack:  Apple, 1/4 cup almonds, and an Advocare Spark

Dinner:  Grilled chicken and sweet potato chips

Evening snack:  Slim Fast snack bar

Exercise:  Walked 3 miles (due to piriformis strain)

As I was hoping, being on the 14-Day Slim Down really made me more aware of my food choices and I'm happy to report that I lost 2.5lb my first week.  I doubt I will lose 6lb in 14 days but I feel like I'm on my way to my pants fitting less snug and that was my whole motivation for giving this a try.

So tell me - have you ever calculated your basal metabolic rate?  If you'd like to, click here to use Jillian's handy dandy calculator!  What have you tried to boost your metabolism?