Saturday, September 30, 2017

Budget Friendly Beauty and the Beast Party!

Beauty and the Beast has such a special place in my heart. When it was released in 1991, I remember going to the movie theater with my neighbor to see it. It was such a big moment for me because it's one of my first memories of going somewhere without my parents or sisters.

For my birthday that year I got some Beauty and the Beast Sheets, that I still have and use. So, to say I'm fan of beauty and the beast might be an understatement.

I tried not to host a Beauty and the Beast (BatB) party for our daughters first birthday, in fact I really wanted to host a Fiesta and serve tacos and play Uno. However, my husband was completely not on board with the idea so we went with BatB.

Her name does have Belle in it... so it was the obvious choice!

If you are looking for specifics on how to save money on hosting a Disney inspired party, check out my Rapunzel party post, it's got lots of great tips and ideas. This post applies the same concepts, and will hopefully give you some inspiration for your upcoming celebration.

As you can see, we kept the menu quite simple with a few uniquely themed items. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and since we kept the menu very basic all the kids ate very well too!
Try these at home! 
In keeping with the rose theme, I attempted to arrange the meat and cheese like a flower.

The Grey Stuff - It's delicious!
Try it at home! 

"Snow" covered Fruit 

Our little Belle, enjoying her muffin! 

Birthday parties for very young children have the potential of being a little overwhelming for the one being celebrated. In order to ease the awkwardness, we have started doing an activity for the adults. For this party, I created a trivia game and gave the guests 2 minutes to complete it.

In addition to the trivia game, we made a slideshow of photos and had it playing on the T.V. This is a great budget-friendly way to share pictures from your child's year without printing several copies of photos. 

I purchased a few BatB patches from this etsy shop, and ironed them into white shirts for the girls to wear. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos because the girls refused to wear them.  The patches were nice quality and the shop owner was very friendly and easy to work with.

For Belle, I purchased a blue shirt, white ribbon and felt. This created a Belle costume for less than 5.00 with supplies purchased from my local wal-mart. 

I hope this post inspired you to think creatively when hosting a Disney inspired event. I love Disney events, be sure to tag me in your Disney inspired celebration on Instagram, @StorybookErin! 

_ _ _


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, Race Recap

September 17, 2017, I attempted to run the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon, and literally, everything that could go wrong did and there is no one to blame but myself.  I should have known better, especially after the Mount Dora Half experience... but I didn't learn. 

So, here are my 3 ways to ensure a HORRIBLE race. 

1. Neglect your Training. 
I have EVERY excuse available:
  • Three Small kids
  • Hot Weather
  • Hurricane 
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Lack of Motivation
  • ....
However, if you register for a race, and want to have a fabulous time at the event. Do not neglect your long runs. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get out the door for a few long runs before the race and then we were trapped inside while #hurricaneIrma moved through my beautiful Florida so, I just wasn't as well trained as I was intending to be - and I paid the price for it.  

2.  Forget to Hydrate
The day before this race we had the opportunity to go to an Air Show on base with our friends. It was an AMAZING experience, truly a highlight of my trip to Washington D.C. However, I didn't drink enough water the week before the race, nor the day before the race. So, when I got to mile 3 and found myself throwing up, I was in tears. 

I called my husband in tears and told him I wasn't going to be able to finish the race. I talked to him about possibly switching to the 5-miler, but hadn't made up my mind.  I decided to stick with the half-marathon but in retrospect, I should have just quit after 5 miles. 

In addition to being under-hydrated, the temperature and humidity levels were a lot higher than I anticipated. To be honest, it seemed a lot of runners were struggling with the weather that day.

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3. Ditch your PLAN the night before...
:: Face Palm::

I really wanted to get my P.R. (Personal Record), like... really bad. A few weeks ago, I was on track to accomplish that goal. However, life happened and my training went from consistent to non-existent.

I am a #gallowayrunner. I am literally always singing the praises of Jeff Galloway's method of running and training. If you've ever talked to me about running or getting started with running I probably told you to do the Run/Walk/Run Method.  - I believe in that method, it's the method I use...

Except when I lose my mind over a silly goal...

In my quest for a 2:40 Half Marathon, I messed with my intervals. Right before going to bed I changed my intervals from 1:00/1:00 to 2:30 Run /:45 Walk.

Have I EVER done that for a long run?

Mile 3 was about the time I couldn't keep up with the intervals anymore and EVERYTHING caught up with me. The lack of sleep, lack of water, lack of common sense when setting up my intervals - so disappointing.

Did I accomplish my goal?
Not even close...

My final time was 3:29:10
Almost a solid hour longer than my goal.

Final Thoughts on the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon

Course: Loved it, Running is such a great way to see a city - I absolutely loved the course.

Packet Pick up: It was well organized, had plenty of booths for people to shop. The only disappointment for me was the location. Last year when my sisters ran it they got to tour the Washington Nationals Stadium, this year it was outside in a tent.

Race Day Organization: There was a little bit of confusion at the start, people all seemed to be kind of lost, and not really sure what color bibs were intended to go first...? I felt more pre-race communication would have been helpful.

The other issue I had was the start/finish line was really far from post-race water, snacks and bag check.  In all other runs I've done, the finishers exit through a shoot and are guided to the beverages and snacks - this race was not like that.

The Bling: I loved the medal. Such a great design, and if you look closely you can spot some glitter - and we all know how I feel about sparkles!

Would I run it again?
I think so, the race was a lot of fun.

The question of the day: What race is on your bucket list?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

MOTHERHOOD DIARIES: When your last baby turns 1.

It seems as quickly as we entered into the season of life that includes parenting babies, it has vanished. I've never exactly shared the struggles we faced when trying to conceive, but it was a struggle and on May 21st, 2013 when we FINALLY saw the words "pregnant" we were over the moon excited! (Baby Number One) 15 months after baby number 1, we welcomed our Love Bug. Life was hard, we welcomed our sweet and spunky second born into the world and then moved away from our support system a few days later.

February 2016
I remember going to the grocery store and purchasing a box of cereal, coming home, standing in the kitchen and eating it - The.Whole.BOX!
"That was strange" I thought to myself, I don't even like cereal.
Let me go buy a pregnancy test...
"Are you feeling okay?" - someone randomly asks me
Yes, I think so...
"Are you still running?" - another person inquires
...Yeah,... I mean...when I can... am I getting pudgy? I wonder silently to myself.
Let me go buy a pregnancy test....

5 Pregnancy tests, all negative.

Then, on February 11, 2016 I took 2 more tests.

Both positive.

It was you, my sweet little Belle.
Our last baby. 

This week is your last week as a baby, and my last week to snuggle you as a baby. Soon you'll be a toddler.  You will become more and more independent, and although I want to hold onto these sweet baby memories I am excited watch my three toddlers grow.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How #HurricaneIrma affected my Marathon Training

Marathon Monday   Thursday!

If you've been following my blog for any length of time you are probably aware that I am located in South Florida, and I have three of the most amazing kiddos in the world! I, like EVERYONE in Florida watched Hurricane Irma grow in strength and uncertainty for several days, and began to prepare.

Between organizing a baby shower for my niece (coming this fall), and preparing my house for Irma, I haven't had any spare energy or time to get out the door for my training runs but here is what I have been doing.

I purchased comfort items, such as non-perishable chocolate milk so my three year old would be able to sleep a little easier when the power went out.

I purchased lots of fun snacks, packed puzzles, NEW crayons and little toys for our evacuation to Abuela's house.

I practiced putting a baby carrier on in a hurry in case we had to run to a closet if we were in the path of a tornado, or other extreme weather.

I got down on my knees and prayed for wisdom and guidance as we watched Irma.

I taught my girls a memory verse to recite to themselves when they were afraid, but if i'm being honest... it was really me who was afraid.

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I gave my girls jobs to help them feel a part of the preparation, and took the time to talk to them about Hurricanes.
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and once the storm passed, and we were among the first to have power we opened our home to family and friends who needed a place to cool off, take a shower, charge their phones or just relax.

I've never been afraid of a hurricane like I was for Irma, but I am so thankful for the many people who reached out to let me know my girls were in their prayers. Your kindness gave me such peace, I could never express how much your kindness meant to me.

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To the many in Florida and beyond still without power, and working hard to find "normal" after the storm, you are in my prayers. 

Have Courage & Be Kind.

The Florida Everglades for Kids!

*this post contains affiliate links* As a family with three young children, we are always looking to create meaningful experiences for...