November 27, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday: 11/26 Edition

I am still alive and kicking, in case you were wondering. I’ve been busy helping my mom rearrange the house for Christmas and getting ready for Thanksgiving, as well as trying to get the girls ahead in school so we won’t have to worry about it at Disneyland, next week!! 

I started Focus T25 on Monday and I am sore from my waist to my knees, and this is just from 2 workouts!! As things progress I will keep you updated, but for right now I love that it is only 25 minutes, and it is a great workout in those 25 minutes, but I’m not sure how much I like the actual workouts themselves. I always tend to be a little iffy until I get the hang of the sequences and I feel like I know what I am doing. T25_logo

It’s also about time for me to get back to running since the Tinker Bell half marathon weekend is creeping up on me pretty quickly. (49 days y’all) I also thought it was a great idea to sign up for the 10k so I need to start getting some back to back runs in, because I don’t normally do those!

Right now my plan is to do the 10k for time, since my current proof (and PR) are set to expire, and then take it easy at the half and take advantage of the photo ops with my fellow DisBroads.

This will be something new for me, since I have only stopped for 1 character pic in the past, and that was at this years Princess Half Marathon, but I am sure it will be fun. And of course at the end of the weekend I will be adding these beauties to my collection, and really that is what it is all about for me. Although, I still wish they were a challenge since Dumbo and Glass Slipper are, but oh well.  Tink Half Medals

So that is what is up this week. Next week What’s Up Wednesday will be brought to you from Disneyland!! So it should be filled with complete awesomeness!! #DisneyHolidays

November 20, 2013

RnR Las Vegas, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Before signing up for this race, in March, I was well aware that it had a bit of a sorted past. I figured what the heck I’d give it a try since it was a unique experience. I don’t see me doing this race again, but I’m glad that I gave it a go.

20131117_154036The race festivities started around 3 pm in a parking lot across from Luxor with a concert by the All American Rejects!! They also had bagels and water available for runners, which was nice.

I arrived at the parking lot around 3:30 and made my way over to the UPS bag check area. I thought this meant it was somehow sponsored by UPS, which still might have been the case, but it was also actual UPS trucks. I walked up to the Ho-Joe truck and dropped off a jacket for the walk back to my hotel after the race and the truck drove it down to the finish line for me.

After a few texts back and forth and a finally a phone call I met up with one of my friend Jaime, who was also running the half. We chatted for awhile as we listened to the concert until it was time to start heading to the corrals. The concert ran over about 15 minutes, so around 4:15 we started heading to our corrals, but not before snapping this quick selfie in front of the Sphinx. RnRLV PreRace The corral system was a bit of mess. They had signs up saying which corral was what, but apparently those signs were incorrect so they had people holding smaller signs with the new corral locations. I found corral 23 pretty easily and made sure to stay in the back since I wasn’t sure how my body was going to hold up. The corrals were pretty much on an honor code type of thing and there were people just jumping in wherever they felt like it. It also took a long time to get everyone to the start line. After about a half an hour it was finally my turn to make it to the start line and John Bingham gave us some last minute advise to have fun as we headed out on our 13.1 mile journey through the streets of Las Vegas.

     RnR LV Start Line RnR LV John Bingham

We passed by the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign twice and headed down the strip where the street was lined with spectators. For the first 2.5 miles I was keeping pace with the 2:30 pace group, but lost track of them around mile 3.Welcome to Las Vegas SignSadly a lot of the ambiance was lost on me because I tend to space out when I race. I miss a lot of what goes on around me, as I try not to trip over or run into anyone, but I didn’t miss this . . .

RnR LV Mirage Volcano Apparently I timed it pretty well and the volcano in front of the Mirage was going off as I ran by! That was pretty cool.

I continued down the strip high fiving anyone with their hand out as I went by. As I got closer to the end of the strip the spectators started thinning out and by the time I saw this sign they were pretty sparse.

RnR LV Dowtown Sign

Honestly, I was not a fan of any of the “downtown” part of the race. In many places it was really dark and and the roads where in bad shape so we really had to watch our step very closely, which was difficult since it was so dark. I was also disappointed to find that even though I started in the second corral for the half marathon they had ran out of GUs before I got to the 8-ish mile mark where they were giving them out. I always bring my own fuel, just for this reason. Even though I don’t use GUs it annoyed me that they didn’t have enough to give to those who might have been counting on them. This was actually the first race I have ran where they actually ran out of things on the course.

Miles 7-9 were pretty boring and rough on me. My hip was doing surprisingly well, but I was so hungry and my feet hurt really bad since I thought it was a good idea to walk (3 miles) to the expo and back the day before. As I was nearing mile 10 I could see runners in the later corrals still heading toward the downtown area so I was checking the bib numbers trying to figure out if I had missed Jaime, or if I might run into her on the course, and then there she was right in front of the pawn shop so we took another quick selfie out on the course. RnRLV pawn shopFrom here I just trucked along to the finish line doing a combo of jogging, sprinting and walking. Since I had fell back a few corrals during the race it started getting pretty crowded toward the end. This was also because we met back up with the full marathon participants so we each only got one lane of space and at this time there were many more half marathon runners then full.

Soon enough I could see the finish line and I sprinted toward it weaving in and out of the other runners. Finally I finished the race and went on to get all of my goodies. Since I hadn’t fueled properly I started feeling quite nauseous, but after I grabbed my chocolate milk from Team Refuel (sshhhh I grabbed an extra as I walked by) and downed it I started to feel a little better.

I went on to get my bag, which I really needed to hold all of the post race goodies they gave me, which also happened to be in front of the Bellagio so I stayed there for a bit to enjoy my beer, take a post race picture with my medal and watch the water show before heading back to my hotel.

               RnR LV Loot    DSCF2069

And I took this picture on my walk back to the hotel of the strip being completely empty. It looks so much smaller this way.RnR LV Empty Strip

November 15, 2013

World of Color- Winter Dreams

I know I usually do Foodie Friday on Fridays, but since I am road trippin’ to Las Vegas today, and I got a chance to attend the World of Color – Winter Dreams Media event at Disney’s California Adventure last night so I am going to post about that instead. Okay?

This is the meet up that almost didn’t happen. I have driven to Disneyland from my mom’s house a few dozen times and I knew it was about an hour and a half drive; 2 hours at the most. Well this is me 3 hours later . . .

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Yeah, not a happy Summer, and don’t worry we weren’t going anywhere when this was taken.
We were allowed to start checking in at 3, and had to be checked in by 6:30. We ended up pulling into the Mickey & Friends parking lot at about 6:10. We made a mad dash to the pick up location and were greeted with these signs.

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Phewww. We made it just in time because right after we got checked in they were starting to give the “no show” spots away.

After we received our wristbands and tickets we were advised that we should go directly to the Grizzly River Run FastPass location as they started lining up between 6:30- 7, so into the park we headed. As we made our way back we noticed that the line was already backed up to SOARIN’. We also noticed that SOARIN’ only had a 15 minute wait so we decided to go on a ride real quick, instead of hopping in line. Here we are in line for SOARIN’ celebrating our success

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After the ride the line was moving so we decided we better get in it. The line was really long, but as we made our way to Paradise Pier I got really excited to see they were handing out these beauties to everyone.

Glow with the Show Ears

Success!! We scored ourselves 4 pair of Glow with the Show ears!! And they will be going back with us in a couple of weeks when we hit Disneyland for a birthday celebration!!

The viewing area was quite full by the time we made our way in, but a very kind cast member told us that there will be more room on the right hand side, so we made our way over there and lucked into a rail side spot on the second tier, just in front of the media risers. Score!!

After a brief introduction by Steven Davison, a Disney Imagineer, and a guest appearance by Josh Gad, the voice behind the movie Frozen’s Olaf, it was time for the show!!

Winter dreams opens with a virtual choir and videos of the members singing were played in snowflakes on the water screen. Many of our Disney favorites make appearances in winter themed scenes as well. These include Bambi and his woodland friends, Santa Mater, our favorite toys preforming the nutcracker (watch for Rex in a tutu) and my personal favorite . . .

World of Color Tink

The show is hosted by Olaf, the snowman from Frozen, and I have to say he is a ball of fun!! Or should I say 3 balls of fun?? He even sings about his desire to experience summer for the first time.

World of Color Olaf

One of my favorite parts of the show is the sing-a-long, in which Olaf tells you to follow his bouncing butt . . .

World of Color SIng-a-long

The sing-a-long has a little something for everyone, featuring Jingle Bells, I Have a Little Dreidel, and Feliz Navidad.

All in all I have to say we all loved the show and the Glow with the Show ears were a huge hit as well. I am always amazed at the way Disney can get grown adults giggling like children, and that is exactly what I heard all around me as our ears flickered and changed colors with the show!! It truly adds an extra level of magic to the experience, for sure!!

World of Color Glow with the Show Ears

If you are heading to the Disneyland Resort this holiday season I highly recommend you take the time to watch World of Color- Winter Dreams!! You won’t regret it!

Happy Holidays from World of Color-Winter Dreams

November 13, 2013

What’s Up Wednesday November 12 Edition

This week is busy busy busy for all of us here at the Pixie household. We are trying to get the girls ahead in their school work to account for our “travel days” as we head to Las Vegas for the Rock n Roll half marathon! To make things even a little more interesting Thursday my mom, the 2 older girls, and I will be the guest of Disney Parks at a World of Color- Winter Dreams meet up! ! ! !

Can you tell I am really excited about that? We were lucky enough to get into the meet up to attend the preview the night before the show goes live to park guests on Friday, November 15th. Secretly I am hoping “glow with the show” ears will be involved. ;) 

busydaria

Since today is Wednesday you would think I am all ready to go right?? Yeah well about that . . . I always feel like I have plenty of time, until I don’t, and now I don’t. Today will be filled with lots of packing. I am packing for 5 after all and school work for the girls so that Thursday and Friday can go as smoothly as possible. Taking kids on a racecation is always a little tricky, but also rewarding! (hint: look for my post on DisBroads Tuesday)

So there you have it. Even shorter and sweeter then last week, but next week will be a busy week on the blog filled with recaps, so be on the look out for them! 

November 11, 2013

Visiting the Mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Welcome home wall banner

Late last week the girls finished their schoolwork early so we took a field trip to the local mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. It was a first time for all of us to visit it so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

As we walked in we were greeted by some very friendly people who handed us information pamphlets and explained a little bit about the wall to us. This particular wall was funded and built by the community, so it’s our own private replica, and is up for display at events honoring all US Military Veterans who served their country throughout the year.  

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Since the wall starts in the middle, with the first men lost, and sprawls out to either side the side we walked to at first only had one line of names. As we walked toward the center the number of lines increased more and more. As I saw vast amount of names on the wall (58,286 to be exact) I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.

Memorial wall 

Although no one in my family is named on the wall it hit me just how real these people are. That every name on that wall was a part of someone’s family. One of the names was even my brother-in-laws uncle, so we looked him up. They had a table with computers where you could have them look up which panel a particular name is on and they give you a print out that looks like this:

etched in stone

I had the girls do a rubbing of it and we are sending it off to my brother-in-law in Texas.

 DSC01014etched in stone jpeg

We spent the better part of an hour there, and it was an emotional but wonderful experience for all of us. Sometimes in life we just need a little perspective.

Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have the pictures, but not the words I am going to leave you with some more pics that we took and I feel needs be shared. 

Memorial Wall visit 

Memorial flagsVeteran Flag

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Have you ever had the chance to visit a Veterans Memorial wall, either in DC or a traveling wall?

November 8, 2013

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Roll with Brown Sugar & Cream Cheese Filling

One of Officer P’s favorite desserts is the pumpkin roll, but I decided to try something a little different for this week’s Foodie Friday post and instead of making the traditional cream cheese filling I made a cinnamon and brown sugar cream cheese filling. It’s delish!!

For the cake you will need:

  • 3/4 all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat your oven to 375° and line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with wax paper and then grease the paper.

Start by adding the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt to a medium bowl and stir with a fork to mix them well. Then beat the eggs and sugar together with a mixer, in a separate bowl, until thick. Next add in the pumpkin and beat until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue to mix well.

Pour the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet making sure to smooth it into an even layer. I like to tap the sheet on the counter a couple times to help it settle a bit. It’s important to get it as even as possible because thin edges will burn!

pumpkin roll pan

Bake in the center of the oven for about 14 minutes. When the cake is done the top should spring back when touched.

While the cake is baking dust a hand towel with powder sugar. Once the cake is done immediately turn it onto the prepared towel, remove the wax paper, and roll it up tightly into the towel. Set aside and allow it to cool completely.

pumpkin roll in a towel

While the cake is cooling you can start making the cinnamon, brown sugar cream cheese filling. Here is what you will need:

  • 1 eight oz. package of cream cheese softened
  • 1 stick of butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar

For this I just dump it all in a big bowl and beat it with my mixer. I would suggest starting with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and tasting it to see if you want to add more. I like brown sugar so I went with the 3/4 cup, but adding more brown sugar will make the filling a little more gritty in texture.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Filling

Once the cake has cooled carefully unroll it and spread the filling onto it, making sure to leave an inch or so perimeter around the edges to prevent the filling from squeezing out. Then you will re-roll it, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour, but I prefer over night if you can.

After it is done chilling just slice it up and enjoy.

Pumpkin Roll with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Filling This recipe was a big hit with the family and will be making an appearance at the dessert table this Thanksgiving!!

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts? Do you go with the traditional items, or do you like to mix it up a bit?

November 5, 2013

Chocolate Island Boost Review

*Disclaimer: I was provided with samples of Chocolate Island Boost, free of charge, for the purpose of providing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

When Laura, the founder of Island Boost, contacted me to see if I would like to provide a review for the new chocolate flavored fuel my answer was “Uuhhhh, yeah!!”

If you recall my Island Boost review back in July you would remember that I really liked the product, but didn’t love the taste of the current flavors. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the new flavor, but I am not known to turn down quality chocolate so I figured I might as well give it a try. 

island boost

I received 2 samples and brought them both with me on last Sunday’s 10 mile run. I took the first one at mile 5, the half way point and was really pleased with the flavor. It reminded me of the chocolate syrup we use to get as kids to put on our ice cream or in our milk, but in a thinner, drinkable, consistency.

Honestly within about 5 minutes I felt a bit of a “sugar surge”. Not like the kids on Halloween night kind of sugar surge, but more of a bringing my blood sugar back up, putting a little pep back in my step kind of surge.

I took the second one at about 7 1/2 miles, but didn’t feel the same surge as I did the first time. It did go down just as easily, though, and that is huge plus in my book. In fact I liked it so much I was tempted to see if Laura would allow me to purchase a few more samples for my race in 2 weeks.

Unfortunately, the new chocolate flavor is still in the testing and production phase and will not be available in stores or online until February 2014, if everything goes well.  Right now Laura has reached out to bloggers and her ambassadors to get the word out for her IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the cost of FDA testing. This is a snippet taken directly from the Island Boost site itself to explain a bit more:

islandboostsnip Unlike some of the other campaigns out there, you can donate as little as $1, and will receive 2 samples of the chocolate flavored Island Boost as a thank you! Speaking honestly, their thank you gifts are a great value for your contribution, so if you feel so inclined I would should suggest you go here and check it out for yourself!! There is some great swag available, and I am personally making a contribution myself, since I believe in it that much!

November 1, 2013

Foodie Friday: Apple Crisp

I know for many of you fall arrived a month or so ago, but I’m in California and we don’t have the same seasons as most of you. ;) Now that we have finally had a day or 2 in the 60s I felt it was time to start some fall baking, and fall baking just isn’t complete without an apple crisp. So here is the recipe for the one I like to make.
  • 4-6 peeled, cored and chopped apples (I prefer granny smith)
  • 1 1/2 cups of old fashion oats
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp flour
  • apple pie spice
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
Preheat your oven to 375* and while it is preheating toss the chopped apples with about 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon of the apple pie spice.
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In a separate bowl mix the brown sugar, oats, flour and an additional 1/2 tablespoon of apple pie spice together. Once those are mixed together well chop the stick of butter in chunks and add it to the mix. I like to mix this with my hands his the warmth from the help to soften the butter. Once the butter is well incorporated sprinkle it on top of your apples. DSCF2013
Now you simply bake it in the oven for 40-45 minutes and it comes out looking like this . . .
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This really should be a dessert, but from time to time I will let the kids have it for breakfast as well!! Aside from the amount of sugar in it I like to consider it a baked oatmeal breakfast. ;)
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