Monday, November 20, 2017


Welcome to Week 21 of Marathon Training!

I had some knee pain, so I didn't complete my weekday runs, just did some cycling on Monday and then a nice 6 miles on the treadmill on Saturday.  I am getting myself ready for my last two long runs before its time to taper for the Marathon.

On Saturday I posted a thank you, to all my followers on Instagram, and I wanted to extend it to those who have been reading my blog posts - this training cycle hasn't been easy, but I am so thankful for the opportunity.

You can read all about week 20 here if you wanna catch up. ;-)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Feed FIVE people a Thanksgiving Inspired Meal for 15 Bucks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here in the Jimenez Family, we believe that Thanksgiving deserves plenty of attention and recognition. We do not feel it appropriate to put our Christmas tree or decorations out until after Thanksgiving!
Does anyone else feel this way? - Just us? 

This year is a magical season of life for us. Our girls, ages 3,2 and 1, have simply fallen in love with holidays and love to celebrate them. I mean, it took at least a week for our three-year-old to understand that we couldn't just go trick-or-treating every day.  Since our girls are really into the holidays, we wanted to make them last and create many positive experiences for them. So I got the idea of hosting a Thanksgiving meal, just our family!

Traditionally we spend Thanksgiving Day in Miami with my husbands family, and then Friday - Sunday in Orlando with my family (2015 Thanksgiving Vlog). We have a wonderful time, but this year, as I said, I wanted to extend the Thanksgiving Celebration and being a family of five on a single income, I knew I had to do it for as inexpensively as possible!

So, when I found a great deal on Chicken at the grocery store, I knew it could be a reality! Here is how I put together a beautiful Thanksgiving inspired meal for my family for under 15.00!

I purchased the chicken at my local *Winn-Dixie, but all other supplies were purchased at Aldi. I'm a new convert to the Aldi obsession and plan to do a full blog post about shopping at Aldi and what I love to buy, so stay tuned!

Menu (with Aldi Pricing)
  • Sweet Potatoes (.89 3lb bag)
  • Marshmallows (.89 1lb bag)
  • Frozen Corn (.99)
  • Frozen Green Beans (.99)
  • Carrots (.69)
  • Stuffing (.89 a box)
  • Apples (3.99)
  • *Boneless Chicken (4.71 4lbs)
TOTAL: 13.15

Putting it all together! 
In general, we keep our meals pretty simple, so adding a few extra side dishes to our dinner was no problem. 

  • Steamed with a little salt, pepper, and butter
Sweet Potatoes
  • I used my slow-cooker technique to make the sweetest, sweet potatoes ever
  • Topped with Marshmallows and melted for a bit in the oven after the chicken was resting. 
  • Baked until done with seasonings I had on hand (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic) 
  • I purchased it but didn't make it. When I do make it, I like to add apples, onions, and some celery for flavor and crunch. 
  • Apple Crisp! 
My husband looked up a recipe, I halfway listened, and improvised on the recipe to create something new, the end result was delicious so I thought I'd share! 

In a bowl mix:
  • 5 Peeled Apples (3 granny smith, 2 Fugi)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 tbs sugar 
Once combined, add to a square baking dish

In a separate bowl, mix:
  • 1 stick of butter 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup oats 
  • a splash of vanilla
  • cinnamon 
Once it has reached a chunky consistency, add it to the top of the apples and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. 

Serve with Coffee and enjoy!

Over dinner, we read some books from the local library and spoke about gratitude. It was a fun little evening for our family, and I think one we will add to our family traditions! 

I hope this post inspired you to create beautiful memories with your family!  If you decide to take on the challenge of serving a Thanksgiving-inspired meal for under 15.00  I'd love to see photos and hear stories so be sure to reach out on Instagram or leave some comments below! 

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Evelyn Greer Park, Pinecrest FL

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the childhood obesity rate as more than doubled since the 1970's and that 1 in 6 children from the ages of 6-19 is considered to be obese?

The CDC recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for school-aged children, living in a small condo this isn't always the easiest for us to accomplish that at home, so we love to explore all the beautiful parks in our area. We typically spend about 45 minutes to an hour at the park, and that includes our picnic time.

One of the parks we recently visited a park located in Pinecrest, Florida and fell in love with all that it had to offer.

Evelyn Greer Park is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! As we approached the park, I couldn't help but notice the beautifully manicured park, and the fence around the playground. As a mom with multiple children, the fence is a huge perk!

This park has several soccer fields, a batting cage as well as a fitness and walking trail that is a little longer than a quarter mile - great for the mom or dad who wants to get a little walk in before playing on the playgrounds with your family.

Prior to Hurricane Irma this park had a large canopy over the playground, hopefully, this will be back up soon because there wasn't much shade on the playground itself - but the walking trail was quite shady.

Another thing I loved about this park was the large clean restrooms. When you have a potty trained and potty training toddler, clean restrooms are a must and this park provided!

I can't say enough positive things about this park, we had such a lovely time. If you'd like to see more of what this park has to offer, please take a moment to watch our Youtube Video and give us a subscribe. ;-)

Monday, November 13, 2017

MARATHON MONDAY: WDW Marathon, Week 20

We are officially 8 weeks until race day, and I am so excited! True, my training hasn't been what I wanted it to be, and I skipped my long run this week - BUT, I am very excited to be running the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2018!

On Monday I went on a walk with my sister in law. We walked for a little more than a mile through her neighborhood. 

O. M. Goodness, they really did hire a bunny. Ho-whip! I gotta tell you, your even cuter than I thought you'd be. 

Tuesday I dressed as Ben Clawhauser from Zootopia and did 20 minutes on the elliptical. The elliptical is not my favorite form of cardio but someone was running on the treadmill, so in order to get my workout in, it was the best option. 

Thursday I didn't dress in a costume, instead, I decided to wear a shirt that was gifted to me by a sweet friend. She has been so sweet, and such a blessing in my life. There is something about training for a Marathon, it changes your perspective on a lot of things, I guess it's all the time you have to think? - But, I was thinking a lot this week about the many people who are so supportive of my crazy idea to train for and run a Marathon with three kids, three and under at home. Jennifer is one of the many people who has encouraged and supported me in this journey. 

It's hard to read, in this photo but the shirt says "Race you to the castle", she doesn't have an active Etsy shop, but she does make and sell custom shirts and bags so please go give her a follow on Youtube, or Instagram. She's got some adorable products, and I just can't say enough positive words about her! 

For exercise on Thursday, I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes on the bicycle. 

Friday my husband was home from work, so we spent the whole day outside exploring parks, and having a picnic. We had such a fabulous time, I put a video up on our Youtube Channel if you are interested! 

Saturday I was absolutely exhausted, I just wasn't able to get my 10 miles completed. Instead, I walked for 30 minutes on Saturday and 45 minutes on Sunday.  Next week I will get the miles done, I was just listening to my body and resting this week. 

Like I said, we are about 7 weeks from race day and I am getting excited!! 

Thank you so much for all your support as I prepare for Marathon number 2! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

DIY Turkey Shirts

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we have been having a BLAST getting ready! My girls and I are memorizing a bible verse together and talking about the things we are grateful for each day.  I even have an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to creating a memorable and magical Thanksgiving with my girls! You can read all about the activities we are doing, in this post.

In 2012 my husband and I decided to make the commitment to complete our local Turkey Trot every year, no matter what. At the time, we didn't have any children and were very new to running and our weight loss journey's so the commitment was made.

By 2013 I was expecting our first daughter (in January), but I held my commitment and completed the Turkey trot

In 2015 my husband and I woke up to POURING rain, so we left the girls with their grandparents and ran the Turkey Trot, just the two of us. 

2016 I started the tradition of dressing up in festive Turkey Apparel, and since it was really last minute I opted to dress as a "burnt turkey" - Let's be real if I attempted to cook a turkey, it'd either be raw or burnt.  

This year I decided I wanted to dress the whole family up like a flock of turkeys for the event, so off to the internet, I went. While scrolling through Amazon, I found an adorable shirt that would be SO easy to make. So, I did and the whole project cost less than 10.00! 

Here is the breakdown of cost from Walmart

Shirts: FREE* I recycled shirts from other projects
Rit Dye: 2.97
Googley Eyes: 4.97
Felt: Free* I already had these items on hand in my crafting supplies
Felt at Walmart is about .97 a square 
Hot Glue Gun / Glue: Free* this is another item I had in my crafting supplies 

Total Spent: 7.94 + tax

My Inspiration

As you will see in the video, this project was as simple as cutting and gluing the shapes onto my shirts. This craft can easily be done as a family project too! I opted to complete it when my older two children were asleep, but I know they would have been able to handle this with no problem. Just be sure to be mindful of the hot glue. 

If you liked this video, and want to see more quick and easy budget-friendly DIY's be sure to subscribe to my channel and leave a comment. Your support of StorybookErin is greatly appreciated. 


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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Breastfeeding Story + Tips for meeting your Breastfeeding Goal

This post has been whirling around in my mind for quite a while, in fact, I wanted to write this post about two years ago when I weaned my first daughter. However, after a complete FAIL at breastfeeding my second daughter, I just felt inadequate.

So, before I get to my tips I thought I'd briefly share my journey with you. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I was determined to breastfeed for a year. It was going to be so easy - I mean, everyone I knew that breastfed their children made it look so easy, and I took a class so obviously, I'd be a professional right after delivery... right?

I wish I could tell you that it was easy, I really do but the reality is, that it isn't. My firstborn had severe reflux, and so most of what she ate was projectile vomited back up (super gross, I know!).  As a result, my daughter was breastfed about 50 percent of the time and then 50 percent bottle fed.

She was fulled weaned by 10 months.

My breastfeeding journey with baby number 2 was very brief. We were in the middle of a major life change, and as hard as I tried to breastfeed, I just couldn't. My milk never came in, and I was so stressed out with our recent move across the state, that I made the decision to bottle feed and it was literally the best decision ever! 

Yes, I said it. The BEST decision ever, one I do not regret for a moment. 
Bottle feeding gave me such a sense of freedom, I was able to allow my husband to help out with the feedings, and get some sleep or go for a run a few times a week.  

In August of 2016, I was fully intending to bottle feed baby number 3. When my second born weaned at 6 weeks old, I was devastated - I spent months feeling like a complete failure. So, as we were approaching the arrival of our third baby I knew I didn't want to go through that emotional rollercoaster ever again - so I was going to bottle-feed. 

Funny thing about my plans, they almost NEVER work out. So, when we arrived home from the hospital with our darling little girl in September of 2016, I also arrived home with a clogged-duct. Knowing that I could get develop mastitis, I got to work pumping, and feeding. It took about a week, but everything cleared up and as a result, I had established a pretty solid milk supply and my little one had figured out how to latch! 

After 13 months of mostly exclusively breastfeeding, my girl has weaned me and I can honestly say, I am so thankful for the experience. Breastfeeding wasn't easy, but we made it 13 months, a full 13 months longer than I thought and as she becomes more and more independent I can't help but reflect on the times I got to hold her close and provide everything she needed. 

 Now that I've shared my story from feeling like a failure to breastfeeding a toddler I thought id share a few things that helped me overcome my breastfeeding anxiety and grow to love the experience. 

  1. Find a Tribe
    • Supportive Family Members 
    • Supportive Friends
    • Online Groups
  2. Be Confident in Public
    • Have a good cover, and know how to use it
    • Learn to feed and walk
      • I mastered feeding and walking in two different baby carriers - LIFE CHANGING!
    • Know the law for your state, here in Florida a woman has the right to breastfeed her baby anywhere she is allowed to be (More information here).
  3. Stay Hydrated 
    • Keep a bottle of water near you at all times
      • I prefer one with a straw, it's much easier to drink out of when your hands are full. 
  4. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
    • When you are establishing your milk supply, you don't want to be cutting calories. In my experience, if I didn't eat plenty of nourishing fruits and vegetables my supply would start to go away. 
  5. Master the Latch and Positions
    • A bad latch can cause serious pain, make sure the latch is deep and comfortable. 
    • I watched several youtube videos from La Leche League to help me understand how to find a comfortable latch 
    • I also spent some time mastering different feeding positions until I found ones that worked for both of us
      • In the evening I would do side-laying position because it was the easiest to get my daughter back to sleep and transferred into her crib. 
What is your breastfeeding goal, how can I help support you in your journey - Let's connect! 

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Monday, November 6, 2017

MARATHON MONDAY: WDW Marathon, Week 19

Hiya Pals!

Welcome to Week 19 of Marathon Training! In case you missed week 18, you can read about it here. 

This week was a lot of fun, I mean, HALLOWEEN! Who doesn't just LOVE an opportunity to dress up with your family?

I didn't do a training run on Tuesday, but I did take the girls to the Zoo dressed up like Minnie Mouse - So I'm considering that a workout. ;-)

Wednesday was such a beautiful day, and since I had to pick daddy up from work we made a few sandwiches and went on an evening picnic at a local park. It was our littlest loves first time down the big slide solo, and she LOVED it. This is such a fun season of her life, she's becoming quite adventurous and I just love watching her explore. 

By Thursday I wasn't really feeling 100%, It'd been a long week of teething, and sleep regression but I knew that I needed to get at least a mile in. So, I put my thinking cap on and decided to dress up like Bellwether, the surprise villain in the movie Zootopia. I'm not sure what took me so long, but Zootopia had been out for well over a year before I even saw it, and instantly fell in love. If you haven't seen it, head on over to Netflix and enjoy! 

My one mile on the treadmill felt great, in fact, it was the first time in a very long time that I ran a mile in under 12 minutes. Postpartum running is so challenging, you really have to take your time and trust the process. (Something, I struggle with...)

On Friday my husband was home from work so we headed back to the Zoo for the day. 

Typically I complete my long run on Saturday, but I just couldn't get out of bed on Saturday to get it done. So I got everything together that evening, fully intending to run on Sunday morning before church. Unfortunately, when my alarm went off at 4:12 a.m. my two-year-old woke up and told me it was "snuggle time" - how can I argue with that? 

My training plan called for 6 miles, I wanted to get 8 miles in. However, it was ridiculously hot and humid on Sunday afternoon, so I cut it down. I was going to complete all six miles, but at mile 5.5 I was back at my car so I did some yoga and came home. 

Overall, this was an amazing week in our home and I'm so thankful for the memories we created. 

What did you do last week that was AMAZING? Let me know in the comments! 

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Welcome to Week 21 of Marathon Training! I had some knee pain, so I didn't complete my weekday runs, just did some cycling on Monda...