DIY Popcorn Shakin’ Cups – Mess Free Mix-ins – Pop Secret Popcorn

Enjoy family movie night with Pop Secret popcorn and this genius container hack for serving up the snack!

The end of summer is especially bittersweet this year, not just because our leisure time is coming to an end (well, the kiddos’ respite anyway), but my oldest is heading off to college. Yup, that’s right – this mama bear is letting go of a cub and even with my stoic sensibilities, I’m getting a little choked up just typing out the words. With the Big Boy literally leaving the den in 10 days, our family movie nights seem even more special this summer.

Add your favorite ingredients to customize Pop Secret Popcorn flavors.

Movie night is a great excuse to hang out together (an increasing rarity in the teenage years), have some laughs, engage in some invaluable pre and post movie discussions – and, naturally, share some yummy Pop Secret popcorn and sensible snacks together!

Popcorn with Chocolate Chips and Almonds makes a healthy salty-sweet snack!

Now, over these last 18 years of watching movies with my kids, I’ve learned a several things. First, my lone female vote in a house with four male people means I don’t have a say in what we watch – we’ve made the natural boy progression from non-princess Disney productions to action and shoot-em-up flicks. Not a lot of romantic comedies and historical fiction in the DVR queue – of all the guy movies we watch, I like the superhero stuff best – that’s why I’m pretty pumped to have just watched the 2005 version of “Fantastic Four” in preparations for the reboot coming to theaters. By the way, if you Buy any 3 Pop-Secret items between 7/31 – 8/31 and get a Free ticket to the Fantastic Four movie (up to $5) while supplies last

Make these DIY Popcorn Shakin' Cups for your next party or family movie night.

The second important thing I’ve learned is that no matter the age, boys are just messy – and this includes my husband to a degree. Sharing one big bowl of popcorn means crushed kernels left all over the floor and greasy finger being wiped off on the couch. Hello, napkin? And, of course there will always be a bit of sibling squabbling over who gets to hold the bowl, who’s hogging all the food and exactly what toppings are put on the popcorn. To resolve these irritating movie-time issues, I came up with this a great popcorn-eating hack that will rock your socks off – Popcorn Shakin’ Cups!

These Popcorn Shakin’ Cups allow 1) everyone to have their own portion of popcorn, 2) customizable “mix ins” to be added and neatly shaken up to combine, and 3) the popcorn to be eaten straight from the lid opening to mouth (meaning no messy fingers)! Yes, I know – GENIUS!

Putting popcorn and custom mix-in ingredients into cups with domed lids is an easy and mess-free way to make and eat!

It’s easy to put together your own Popcorn Shakin’ Cups -purchase tall, clear plastic cups (mine are 20-ounce but I’ve seen them larger) and domed lids (usually found at an industry or party warehouse or sweet talk your convenience store for some shake/slurpee lids). Next fill with popcorn and your favorite mix-ins – I did almonds and chocolate chips, but Parmesan cheese and garlic salt, or cinnamon sugar and pecans are other yummy popcorn ideas. Add a cute label if you like –and that’s it! Eat, enjoy and toss – no clean up! Great for a party!Popcorn is perfect for family movie night -- you'll love these DIY popcorn cups.

I picked up my mom-of-teenage-boys-sized haul of Pop Secret at Walmart – I got the Sea Salt flavor for movie night plus an extra box of the Pop Secret 100 Calorie Pop 94% Fat Free Kettle Corn for me to keep on hand for sensible snacking in the afternoon. Also, note to self – perhaps I should buy Pop Secret popcorn flavors by the cart full because a variety of boxes would be great to slip into oldest son’s college care packages since he has a dorm microwave.

Have you seen any good movies this summer? What is your favorite popcorn flavor or mix-in?

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Pop Secret, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pop4Fantastic4

Pre Season Tips for Student Athletes #HealthyStart

taking kids to the gym

I’ve always kept my boys ready for fall season sports by taking them to the gym during the summer.

School is starting in a few weeks and, in addition to academics, my family with three teen boys is gearing up for a jam-packed fall season of sports. For the last several years, my husband and I have been switching gym memberships in the summer to one that will allow children over 10 to come in and workout alongside their parents.  This has offered us a chance to keep everyone in decent shape during the hot, hot summers here where, out of necessity, spend too much time indoors in the air-conditioning reading and playing video games.

Remember to have children hydrate properly for sports played in hot weather.It’s not a good idea to let your child go from reduced activity in the summer to hard-core training in the late summer sun once school starts. While bodies do benefit from a little extra rest in the off-season, athletes who ignore working out in the summer will not only be huffing and puffing during sprints but are putting their bodies at risk for muscles strains, tendonitis and heat exhaustion or worse.  Experts say that most sports injuries that happen in the early weeks of a sports season are from a lack of pre-season training.

Here are some Pre Season Sports Tips I’ve put together to make sure that your student athlete (middle school, high school and college) is taking measures to have a safe and successful season.

Follow these pre season tips for student athletes to ensure a safe and successful sports career.

In addition to pre-season training, it’s also important to ensure your student athlete has been given a clean bill of health before stepping onto the playing field  — in fact, most school-sponsored teams and league sports required that parents bring in signed paperwork as proof that their child has had a recent physical. Even if your child’s sports organization doesn’t require a check-up, it’s still a good idea to be seen by a medical professional before the season start to review immunization records, discuss any health and safety concerns, and be proactive about any unexpected problems.

Stepping up to the start line at a fall cross country meet takes months of pre-season training.

On your mark, get set, go! Get ready for fall season sports with pre-season training and a physical.

MinuteClinic at CVS Pharmacy is a convenient way to take care of kids’ sports physicals without the hassle and wait time of trying to make a last-minute appointment with a pediatrician. No appointment is needed to see a medical professional – the young athlete is in and out quickly, seen by a qualified medical professional, and supplied with everything needed to ensure practice starts on day one (trust me, it’s so embarrassing to sit on the bench for the first week of school while mom gets the paperwork thing sorted out).

MinuteClinic can also get students current on their vaccines and immunizations. I figured my oldest son who is 18 years old and heading off to college later this month was long done with vaccinations – but I found out that most colleges now require meningitis and pertussis (whooping cough) shots before the first day of class.  Click on the links to find out your state’s requirements for meningitis and pertussis immunizations.

MinuteClinic is offering $10 off a sports physical from now until 9/7/15 and a FREE Johnson & Johnson coupon book with $29 worth of savings! Check the store locator to find the nearest MinuteClinic in your area.

What sports do your kids play . .. or what were your athletic endeavors as a child?  I was on the gymnastics team until 10th grade! Please share in the comments below – XOXO Jennifer 

I have received promotional consideration from MinuteClinic and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. All opinions are my own.