Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fall Break or Bust

I know school just barely started.  L & E have only been back for a little over two weeks.  I know some places haven't even started yet.  But I am in mad Fall Break prep. Why?  We are roadtripping to the Happiest Place on Earth. It's time for the fam to go back to Walt Disney World.  

Minus the station wagon, this will be us in October.  Bonus fun the two little people don't know.  So we are looking at a two day road trip with a 5 year old and a 7 year old who don't know where we are going.  We are armed with DVD players, headphones and will have brand new coloring books and crayons. But I still am totally expecting a lot of..."Are we there yet?" "Where are we going?"  "How much longer" "Mommy, L won't let me play with his superhero/DS" I'm sure you get the idea.  

The last time we went they were three and five, and have been talking about going back non-stop since we left.

 This was the trip that was planned in February to ease my guilt in going to Disney for five, er six days without them.  Thanks Storm Q!  And now we are officially 39 days out.  Yippee!!  But so much to do in so little time.  

ADR's have been booked at our favorite places.  Ohana for breakfast, Cinderella's Royal Table for Dinner.  Date night at Hollywood Studios which will include a visit for the little people to the Sandcastle Club at the Beach Club.  The last time we were there they had so much fun, they actually cried when we got there to pick them up. 

I have now been on a clothes ordering frenzy. Starting to order dresses for E.  Including this little beauty....

Look slightly familiar?  It's from Atutudes and I can not wait to see her in it.  Sort of makes me want to bust out my tutu so we can match.  Ok, not really...but maybe a little.  

The boy is getting a few shirts along these lines.

Since we will be there in October we are also going to go to Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party for the first time.  Costumes are lined out.  Sofia for Miss Evangeline (provided we can get it in her size from the Disney Store in time) and the Hulk for L.  

Stroller rental is done, just in case.  Now it's just time to sneak costumes out of the girls closet, let teacher's and attendance know they will be missing some days.  Yep, pulling them out for vacation.  Won't be able to do this too much longer but for now...I think we are good.

I know from here out time is going to fly and I am so excited to go back with the family to play.  Also maybe they won't be as mad at me when I go back for Wine & Dine a few weeks later and then in February for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  

Any words of wisdom for a two day surprise road trip?  Outside of Benadryl? Have you done any surprise trips with your family?  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday

I'm stealing this from my Sweet E.  She woke up this morning and said, "Mommy, do you know what day it is?"  I was half expecting, "come, on you's Hump Day."  Fortunately though that commercial has not resonated with her yet.  Instead, she said, "it's one of my favorite days, it's Wonderful Wednesday".  I thought to myself maybe she has an idea there.

So today I was looking for situations that would make for a wonderful Wednesday.  I guess it's kind of a "count your blessings" thing.  But on a super small scale.

So here is my list for wonderful Wednesday....

  • I received my Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard/iPad cover today at work.  This little beauty is all mine.  What makes it wonderful is that I will have a work iPad sometime soon to go with it.    

  • A Sugarica trip with an old friend.  By old, I mean I've known her since sixth grade off and on.  it's a nice time to catch up since we are no longer in the same work group. I did walk away with a brownie that had almost as much frosting as it had brownie.  So so so good, but so, so, so bad.

  • Our Keurig shipment arrived today and it had the first of my Pumpkin Spice Latte, and Pumpkin Spice for the season. Who cares that with the heat index it's still 100 degrees outside.  This girl wants her Pumpkin Spice.  I'm actually sitting here enjoying a Pumpkin Spice Latte even as I type.  

There are plenty of other things that made the day Wonderful but those are a few of my favorites.  In case you are wondering I didn't list my husband or my little people as they make that an every day occurrence. Yes, yes, I know, I know.  Tis true though.  At least on days that my little people are coexisting peacefully.

What happened on your Wednesday to make it wonderful?   

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Sparkly Soul Fun!

My giveaway may be over, but the generosity of Sparkly Soul continues.  From August 27th through September 3rd you can get 10 percent off your Sparkly Soul order.

On top of that 10 percent will be donated to my St. Jude fundraising goal!  How awesome is that? New Sparkly Soul Headbands for you and at the same time helping St. Jude Children's Research hospital.  Total win-win!

Not familiar with the awesomeness of Sparkly Soul?  Check them out here

To take advantage of the 10 percent off just enter SuzanneRan in the coupon code box at check out.

Come on, you know you can never have too much sparkle in your life! 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Childhood Redux...Down at Fraggle Rock

One of the coolest things for me in becoming a Mom has been to share things I loved when I was younger with my little people.  It's been hit or miss honestly.  Which is good.  Because I want them to have their own likes and dislikes and not just like things because I want them to like it.  But I get a special kind of joy when they love things as much as I do, if not more.  In a way, it's more of a chance for  me to be a kid again with them.  It's also a way for L & E to get a glimpse of what I liked when I was there age or a little older.  Now that they can grasp the concept that I was little once too.

I was super excited when I heard that Jim Henson Family TV has been added to Hulu and their Hulu Kids line up.  We are a huge Henson house. Muppets are a huge hit in this house and have been for awhile.  More so for the girl than for the boy but that's all right.  

Imagine my excitement to see that one of the main shows Hulu added was this.  Who remembers this show?  

That's right!  Fraggle Rock.  Such a fun, family show.  I have to admit when the show originally aired I was way out of the demographic but I would sneak watch it when no one was around.  Or at least watch through the opening.  You have to admit it's pretty catchy.  I absolutely love that I get a chance to watch it a second time around and bonus points for not worrying about whether anyone knows that I enjoy watching a "kid's show."  

I finally got a chance to get Hulu set up and had the kiddos come and watch with me.  Initially, I was greeted with hesitation from the boy.  "Do I really have to watch this?"  Yes, he's almost eight going on thirteen.  I told him yes, I would like him to watch it with me to give it a chance.  My girl of course was happy to watch it with me.  At first the boy was playing and not paying attention but at least he was in the room.  Next thing I know he is actually watching and by the end both were hooked.  I even got "You know what Mommy? I actually liked it" and we have since watched a few more episodes. 

Their favorite character so far?

Marjory the Trash Heap.  It's not every day you see a wise talking trash heap.  Let alone one with her own heralds.  She got the boy's attention for sure. So fun to have something we can enjoy together from the beginning.  

In addition to Fraggle Rock, Hulu Kids has added nine other shows from the Jim Henson library to the Jim Henson Family Channel Check them out here.  A few of the other shows are 

Fraggle Rock - Animated
Mopatop's Shop
The Secret Life of Toys
Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (which will for sure be another must watch for us.  Jim Henson and Dr. Seuss, I'm all over this one).

The best part of this, it's on regular Hulu, so if you are not a subscriber to Hulu Plus, you can still watch without having to join.  

I can guarantee you this song will be heard quite often around our house.  

 Are there any shows that you enjoyed watching that you can't wait to share with your family?  What are some of your family favorites?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Frog Fuel Protein Shots

I was recently provided the opportunity to try Frog Fuel Protein Shots by Frog Performance.  I was intrigued by them when I first started reading about them. 

Frog Fuel is developed by former Navy Seals and is billed as a rapidly absorbed Medical Grade Protein.  It is sugar, gluten and lactose free.  Also boasts pure collagen protein and Taurine, plus advanced Aminos and Caffeine. Frog Fuel is also pre-digested with the use of Papain, which is a fruit enzyme found in papayas.   The benefits from this combination are outstanding.

Here is the breakdown of what that means.  The benefits of collagen include improved skin and muscle tone, increased joint flexibility.  It also helps bones, arteries, hair and teeth.  Did you know that collagen is second only to water in terms of volume in the body?  I didn't.  Taurine helps to aid in recovery.  The advanced Aminos neutralize toxins, assists in the proper function of the immune system, helps with maintaining hair, skin, and nails.  I'm busting out the "I have no thyroid card" when I say that I'm always interested in something that helps with hair, skin and nails.  Lack of thyroid equals ridged nails and shedding hair (at least for me)..  My poor maligned thyroid gets blamed for all the bad stuff.  As far as the pre-digestion it breaks down the peptide bonds in the protein which in turn allows for rapid delivery at the cellular level.  Which in turn means that it is absorbed more quickly.  For more detailed information on the science behind Frog Fuel, you can check it out here

I finally got a chance to try it out this weekend and for the most part I really was pleased with it.  My training this summer has been kind of spotty, and my long runs have been almost non-existent.  So I broke it out on my longest run in awhile which was a whopping five miles.  See, I told you I'm slacking.  I did feel really great before, during and after my run.  Energy level was consistent, no crashing at any point during the run.  Afterwards, I was able to go visit with a friend and have coffee, no stiffness, no soreness from sitting for an extended period of time. The recovery was awesome.  

The only downside for me, is that I have texture/consistency issues.  Not shocking as I was afraid of Gu before I tried it for the exact same reason.  I was a little bit nervous how I would do with the Frog Fuel too.  I have to admit that the consistency got to me a bit (was a little syrupy) and it was a sweeter than what I was expecting, but I was able to do the whole protein shot and get the full effects of it.  That was the only drawback for me but that's totally a Suzanne issue and not a Frog Fuel thing.

Overall, I did like it in terms of the energy and recovery aspects.  I feel as if it does live up to the science behind it and delivers.

Want to try Frog Fuel for yourself?  Here's your chance.  They have graciously agreed to provide one of you with a free sample pack.  It includes 3 one ounce protein shots and one Frog Fuel Sticker.  This giveaway will run from today until Sunday night August, 25th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sparkly for St. Jude

I've gone a little twitchy lately no fundraisers, no raffles, no giveaways, it's been quiet.  School has started back for my kiddos.  What's a fundraising mama to do?  That's right, it's St. Jude fundraiser time.  This time with a bit of a twist.

For this fundraiser I reached out to the awesome Pamela at Sparkly Soul. She was kind enough to agree to help me with this one.  I have in my hot little hands two amazing headbands and they could possibly be yours.

 Sparkly Soul makes the most amazing headbands.  Not only are the pretty, but they are so functional and amazingly enough don't move.  No, seriously, they do not move.  At all.  If they can stay on my head they will stay put for anyone.  My head normally is like a slingshot with headbands.  It's all cute and pretty and then goes projectile.  I'm sure I've taken out small birds in previous headband attempts.

I first fell in love with Sparkly Soul when I was searching for the perfect headband for my Snow White costume.  Remember this little thing?

Obviously, given the length of my hair it was decorative only.  But let me tell you, I forgot it was even on my head.  Almost three hours and it did not budge. Now that I have decided to grow my hair back out I see a lot more of these beauties in my future.  

Anyway, I digress they are fabulous and I am super excited to announce that my next St. Jude fundraiser is coming to you courtesy of Sparkly Soul.  Remember the beauty of St. Jude is that no one EVER has to pay for treatment.  There are never bills, never fights with insurance.  What money is being raised for St. Jude goes directly to St. Jude and helps them provide their invaluable service.  Their gift of quality health care and groundbreaking research.  Every dollar counts, every dollar is a promise, is a step forward.  I want to continue to smash my goal and I can do it with your continued support.  

You have a chance to win not one, but two fabulous Sparkly Soul Headbands.  The first one is a lovely, dark pink 3/8 inch skinny headband and also an incredible Neon Green in the wide width.  They are both so so so pretty and versatile to boot.  Who wouldn't want to add these to their collection?  

A girl can never have too much sparkle right?  And why not help a good cause in the process?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Doc is in and she's going Mobile

We love Doc McStuffins in this house.  She is one of Miss E's favorites.  I love Doc because she is sweet, kind, caring and smart.  She helps others and does her  best to make sure others are comfortable.All qualities I hope to instill to my girl (and my boy for that matter).

I'm super excited because the new season of Doc McStuffins is starting on September 6th.  We can not wait to see new episodes of Doc and her pals, Lambie, Chilly, Stuffy, and Hallie to name a few.  Guest voice stars for season two include:  Geena Davis ("A League of Their Own"), Jeffrey Tambor and Tony Hale ("Arrested Development"), Molly Shannon ("Saturday Night Live"), Tony Award Winning actress Sutton Foster ("Anything Goes"), Amy Sedaris ("Strangers with Candy") and Peter MacNicol ("Grey's Anatomy")

To coincide with the new season Disney Junior is taking Doc on the road with the advent of the Doc Mobile Tour.  The Doc Mobile, a 27-foot Airstream trailer custom-made to reach young kids (age 2 to 7) and families with fun and empowering experiences relating to health and nutrition will embark on a multi-city tour starting this Sunday, August 18th in Boston. 

"So Much You Can Take Care of You!" the initiative is inspired by Disney Junior's acclaimed Doc McStuffins.  The animated series that models good health and compassion through stories of a young girl, a would be doctor, who cares for her ailing stuffed animals and other toys.  The Doc Mobile features an area for kids to perform a "check-up" on their own toys plus other age appropriate activities centered around nutrition, physical development and fitness.

Even better news, with the exception of the Boston event, where Zoo Admission is required, the Doc Mobile tour is free.  Doc herself will even be a select locations.

Want to know more?  You can find more information at the Disney Junior site.

The Doc is in...For the following locations:

CityDate & TimeLocation
• BostonSunday, August 18th 10:30am - 4:00pmFranklin Park Zoo
Note: Paid Zoo Admission Required
• New YorkWednesday, August 21st 10:00am - 4:00pmDisney Store, Times Square
• ChicagoSunday, August 25th 10:30am - 4:00pmCompass Rose at Navy Pier
• San AntonioSaturday, August 31st and Sunday, September 1st 9:30am - 5:00pmPeople en Espanol Festival
Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center
• Dallas / Fort WorthFriday, September 6th 10:30am - 4:00pmFort Worth Museum of Science & History
• New OrleansTuesday, September 10th 10:30am - 4:00pmAudubon Zoo
• AtlantaSaturday, September 14th 10:30am - 4:00pmCentennial Olympic Park
• Washington DCTuesday, September 17th 10:30am - 4:00pmInformation to Follow
• Los AngelesThursday, September 26th 10:30am - 4:00pmThe Grove
• PhoenixSaturday, September 28th 7:30am - 3:00pmSalvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center

It's Time for Your Check-Up because there's "So Much You Can Take Care of You!"

Anyone else excited super excited for the new season and for the Doc Mobile tour?

Update as of 8/27 - Doc McStuffins will now be at all locations!  Steps have now been put in place to assist with the wait times to go through all of the fun activities   as well!  

So excited to see the Doc in Dallas!  Anyone else going to the DFW stop?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What it is Wednesday

I'm losing Treadmill Tuesday's, so this is my compromise. Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.  But it will work for now.  

My running schedule is shifting, but all for a good cause.  My work has just recently offered an alternative work schedule.  The gist of which is that I work 9 hours a day four days a week and then two Friday's a month I will work 8 hour days.  What about the other two?  I have those off.  So every other Friday I will have a day off.  Can I get a collective Yippee!!??!! Hello, alternating three day weekends.  

What this means is that I will now have a half an hour lunch, which I'm totally fine with.  Just had to realign my running time.  I started running at lunch to avoid the mommy guilt.  You know the one..."I'm taking time away from my family to run..."  "I really should be home" or something to that effect.  So after playing with all sorts of far too complicated work schedule scenarios to come up with a 9 hour day.  One that would have me starting at the same time every day.  I am so not a morning person but the best time has me arriving at 730 so I can be sure to pick up my little people before 6p and also one that would not have them be the last ones there. 

So the final compromise is that I would run Wednesday night while HockeyNerd and the little people are at their Wednesday night activity.  Which in retrospect is probably a way better option than hanging out at home in the silence and I would feel much better after the fact too.  Added bonus, my family wouldn't be home anyway so I am avoiding the whole internal debate.  Then on Friday's I will have an hour lunch so I can just run during my lunch again.  

Super excited with how it worked out.  I am also super excited about being able to have more time at home and more time to get involved with my little people's school. All of this with very minimal impact on our existing work schedule.  Total win-win in all areas.

In other news, training is progressing for Wine & Dine and I have officially been registered as running with St. Jude Heroes.  I also have my outfit figured out and I am just so excited to be back and running in just a few months.  

Anything new and exciting for anyone else today?  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Race Recap: Diva Dash 5k and Lil Princess Fun Run

This one is near and dear to my heart.  Super memorable for several reasons.  But mostly because Miss E ran her first "race".  This was also a female only race and semi-themed.  I mean come on, if you are going to be running in a 5k called the Diva Dash, you might as well play the part right?  Of course, Evangeline was excited to be all Rapunzel'ed up for her Lil Princess Run.

It was nice to see the sea of pink, purple and a little bit of sparkles.  Lots of tiaras and tutus and even some boas.  There were even some Super Heroes on the course.  A few tutu dresses too.  As much as I love my tutu's I can't imagine running in full tulle.  

Initially I was a bit hesitant to sign up for a 5k in August, but we've had a bit of a cool down and it was a pretty beautiful morning for a run 76'ish degrees and muggy but much better than the 90'ish degrees I was afraid we were going to have

The  course was a new one for me and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  I was less than thrilled with the hill in the first mile.  I swear it went straight up and it lasted forever.  There was not much of a decline to it, which was pretty much a bummer.  Right when I thought we would hit the downhill they gave us a turn, followed by another turn.  Since I've been a bit of a slacker lately the hill was not my friend.

 (Spoiler Alert) I will blame the hill for the lack of PR on this race.  Once we got flipped back around I hit my groove.  Aided by some really good play list songs (Blurred Lines, Get Lucky and You're a Lie) I completely lost track of the mile and just ran and smiled and maybe did a little dancing in my head.  Towards the end I wanted to take a walk break and then Bodies by Drowning Pool came on.  Something in that song fired me up and between that and a little more Slash and Myles I recorded my fastest mile of the day at 9:41.  The next thing I know I was done.  

I was a little bit shy of a PR, by four seconds.  See I told you it was the hill, but all in all I was actually happy with my time.  Which is a bit of a switch for me, I never am happy with my time.  .  I know I probably could have done better, like the time I almost completely stopped to get my play list started, or when I decided to walk part of the hill.  But it is what it is and considering the lack of training the fact that I recorded my second fast 5k time is good enough for me.  I am also inching closer to getting my under 30 minute 5k time.

After I crossed I got my medal and some water found my family and waited to cheer on my friends.  Finally, it was time for Miss E to get ready for her race.  She did get a little bit cranky, but I can imagine being five years old having to get up at least an hour earlier than normal and then have to wait for two hours is less than exciting.  She did get her face painted with her bestie while who was also running the Lil Princess but that only goes so far.

She was so excited when they finally called her age group and I asked her if she wanted to run by herself and she said "No, Mommy I want you to run with me". So fun.  They started us about a block from the finish line, had a countdown and then everyone took off.  Including my sweet lil princess.  We held hands for a second and she bolted and I stayed back behind her.  I absolutely loved the fact that they let the little's experience the joy of crossing the actual finish line.   Then add to it the little star medal and topping it off with a pink marabou topped tiara and E was beside herself.  The look of pure excitement and happiness was so amazing to witness.  
This face, this face right here kills me.  So proud of herself!

Maybe, just maybe, in her little way she understands a bit more now why I love to run.  Why I love races.  She already is asking me when her next race is going to be.  I did have to explain to her that not every race will give her a medal and she said, "well, what about a tiara?".  I told her most definitely not a tiara. For now she is ok with that, but we will see how she does at the next race.  I also told her that the fun runs are usually a little bit longer and she said "that's ok.  You can run it with me, and I will wait for you at the end because I'm faster than you are."  Nice.  My sweet five year old is already talking trash after just one run.

One of the cool things from this race that I have not seen come out of a 5k was an email with my stats.  This was pretty cool for the numbers nerd in me.

I finished 160 overall out of 934 runners and 21st out of 134 runners in my age group.  The bottom line number that made me giddy is that I hit under a ten minute mile.  My average pace was 9:50 for the 5k based on my finish time. All right, so just barely under but barely is good.  It's the small victories, right?

There were so many things that I thought were done right with this race series, the free face painting for every one.  The volunteers cheering along all throughout the course not just at the start and at the end. I also liked that they had an announcer calling out names.  Seriously, who doesn't like hearing their name called out as they finish a race?

 The kids races, were fab.  For something that could have been like herding cats, it was not too bad.  I do know that a couple of children did get separated from their parents, but that can happen too and I don't know that there is anything the race organizers could have done differently to prevent that happening.  I loved the medals for both the adults and the "lil Princesses" and the tiaras.  It just seemed like they went out of their way to make it special for everyone, no matter the age.

This is one race I will definitely do again and I will continue to involve Miss E as long as she wants to run with me.  This is absolutely going to be a mommy daughter tradition.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

That's my Girl

My little mini-me has her very first race next weekend.  Appropriately enough, called the Lil Princess.I feel like it's sort of fitting for her first race.  I will be running that same morning.  I am super excited about it and so is Miss Evangeline.

If you remember my Princess Expo haul included matching Team Sparkle skirts. Because I'm that kind of Mom this is our chance to break them in.  So we will be matchy, matchy which I generally don't do but I couldn't resist.

Initially I figured that mini-me would be ok with just the skirt and a cute top.  But that is not the case.  She asked me what princess she would be running as.  Not content with Princess E, she insisted on wearing a costume.  She wanted to wear one of her actual costumes, but I finally convinced her to get a purple tank and we would make some sleeves and she could be Rapunzel.  I couldn't exactly tell her that she couldn't run in costume because, well, I ran 13.1 miles not only dressed as a princess but I wore a tutu.  Guess I can let her wear a costume for her race too.  :)  Just another reminder that she pays more attention to things than I probably realize. 

The girl takes her sparkle seriously.  Think she's ready for her first race?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fundraising Friday: An Update and a Thank You

So this happened last week:

then this week we have this:

I have officially gone over my original goal for St. Jude.  I am excited, and relieved.  I was so anxious about getting it done. But just because I have met my goal, does not mean I will stop my fundraising efforts. Not even close.

I have a Scentsy party, another Thirty-one party and a possible Pampered Chef party all coming up in the fall with proceeds going to St. Jude. 

I am working on ideas for another raffle or two as well.  But I don't have anything definite on that one yet. 

So for now the fundraising Friday posts might be few and far between, but as progress is made I will continue to update.  I am thankful and grateful for the support  that I have received in my fundraising efforts on behalf of St. Jude.

I am so happy that in some small way my fundraising attempts will help out with St. Jude's groundbreaking research.  That this will be able to help a family, a child, many children.  That there will be wagon rides, "No Mo' Chemo" parties.   I've said all along that every donation can be a big help.  So thankful for this opportunity to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the children and families of St. Jude.

Thanks again for the support and sticking with me as I begin and continue on with this particular journey.