Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rock 'n' Blog 2015

So very excited and honored to be rejoining the ranks of the Rock 'n' Blog ambassador team for 2015!!!

I had such a blast representing in Nashville and St. Louis last year!!  I'm already IN for #RunCMM this year - and I'm trying to decide which other events I'd like to do!  Maybe you guys can help me pick :)

Are you planning on running a Rock 'n' Roll series race this year?!?!  Use this code to save $15 on the half or full marathon!!

Where are you going to rock this year??

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Goofy Challenge Part I - WDW Half Marathon Recap


My alarm went off at 2am on Saturday morning - it was time for the first leg of the #GoofyChallenge - the WDW Half Marathon.  If I am being completely honest here, I will tell you I was scared shitless going into this race.  As I mentioned before, I wasn't exactly following doctor's orders by running the races that weekend but here I was, about to take on the first 1/3 of the Goofy Challenge.  And I was so worried that my leg would not hold up and I would not finish.

Suzanne and I were the only DisBroads running this morning, and we both had race retreat so we agreed to catch the first bus from our respective hotels and meet there.  After a small delay leaving the Beach Club, I met Suzanne in the big white WARM tent!  There was NO line for the Toy Story characters in the tent that morning so we opted to visit them first before grabbing a bite to eat and some much needed coffee.

Goofy DisBroads

Me and Bullseye

To Infinity and Beyond!  Or, at least 39.3 miles...

It was uncharacteristically cold in Florida that morning so we stayed in the race retreat tent until the last possible moment then headed for our corrals.  Even though it was very chilly that morning I still hydrated as if it were warmer, and henceforth, we had to make a pitstop before entering our corral - whomp whomp.  We still made it to our corral with plenty of time before it was our turn and honestly, the hustle getting there took my mind off the task at hand.  Before we knew it, it was our turn - and we were off!

Our BRF Wendy was also coming into the weekend recovering from a broken ankle, and we knew she had planned to run 2:1 ratios the next day for the full marathon so I asked if Suzanne was ok with trying this for the half, and she graciously agreed to whatever my leg was good with - bless her!!!  Our plan was just to take it easy so that we would be ready for the next day and stop for characters if we felt so obligated :)  The course was crowded, of course, but the first 4 miles really seemed to whiz by.  I wasn't having any pain and we were actually enjoying ourselves!  We had passed a few character stops but entering the Magic Kingdom area we came upon Jack and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas - which happens to be a fav in Suzanne's house, so we pit stopped there.

I took a pic with Jack and Sally but it didn't really turn out - sadz.  Suzanne's pic is awesome though - check out her recap here!

Next thing we knew we were entering the Magic Kingdom and running through the castle, showered by snow and greetings from Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff!  The castle was EXTREMELY congested though and we pretty much were forced to walk through it, hence no good castle pics - boo.  We headed out of the MK and onward towards the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian without stopping for anymore pics.  It was on this road by the golf course that we ran into Mer and Brooke from Scootadoot!!  It was so nice to run and chat with them, even if it was for just a short amount of time.

We began gaining momentum as we made our way back towards Epcot because we knew DisBroads Amy, Bonnie, Shannon, and Wendy were going to be outside Epcot to cheer for us - and the reunion was glorious!!!

After some sweaty hugs, Suzanne and I FINALLY shed our throw away tops (at mile 12 no less, LOL) and headed into Epcot to finish the first 1/3 of our Goofy Challenge!

We negative split that bitch!  And that called for a celebration in race retreat!!

I felt so good following the half it almost seemed surreal - I had no pain but I iced my leg immediately anyways.  I could not believe that I had just defied the odds and run 13.1 miles - it was almost like the first time all over again!  I had told myself going into this race that this was the make it or break it race - and finishing as strong as we did I felt much more confident going into the full marathon the next day.  Cheers to that!!!

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.