Category Archives: my life&love

I’m a Podcast Junkie | Friday Favorites

IMG_6127I LOVE Podcasts! If you were to open my podcast app on my phone, you would see that I’ve subscribed to 14 different podcasts! Now I don’t listen to ALL of them every week πŸ˜‰ but I do have 3 Top Favorite podcasts that I make sure to keep up to date on their episodes.

Why I Listen to Podcasts I usually listen to podcasts while getting ready in the morning, while driving & then while doing dishes/making a meal. Eric is at work before I need to leave the house & I like filling the house with noise other then myself just puttering around πŸ˜‰ There are so many things we could be doing & filling our minds with. I love listening to music through-out the day but I’ve also seen how filling my heart & mind with words of wisdom from others has really grown my faith.Β  Two out of three of these shows do have a lot of episodes that cater to mom’s BUT not every episode does. And again, even before I was a mom, I was listening to these shows & drinking in their wisdom not just on mothering but on being a woman of God. Eric listens to a few different podcasts as well & I enjoy comparing notes & talking about the topics at times πŸ™‚

Here’s My 3 Fav’s!

THE GOD CENTERED MOM Even before I became a mom, I was listening to this show. Heather MacFadyen is the host & she not only does she bring in wonderful guests to interview them but I also love her heart. She truly desires to equip mothers & I love her heart for the Lord. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed & been stretched in my Christian walk not just as a soon-to-be mom but a woman who desires the Lord as well.Β  I’ve never met Heather, but I can hear in her voice & how she chooses those she has on the show & the topics they discuss that she is a REAL woman & truly wants those who listen to her show to grow in their faith & womanhood. She’s had a range of guests on her show including her most recent one with guest Stacy Reaves who shared her story of having an abortion.

Get into your podcast app or go to her website & browse through her guests & topics, pick an episode & start listening!
PODCAST: http://godcenteredmom.com/
HOST: Heather MacFadyen
WHAT ITUNES HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS PODCAST: Life is messy. Some days (some hours) are harder than others. How do you ride the crazy waves of motherhood? Heather MacFadyen, mother of four boys, understands the wild ride. In this podcast she interviews guests about staying God-centered in a shaky mom world. Hearing vulnerable moments and examples of God’s faithfulness in the past, helps you, the listener, build firm faith foundations for the future. Reminding us of our position–centered in God’s presence and love.

THE INFLUENCE PODCAST As a creative & photographer, I’ve SO enjoyed the various guests that have been on The Influence Podcast. The Influence Podcast is connect to The Influence Network & seeks to encourage women in all seasons & roles of their life online. Jacey Verdicchio is usually the host for the show & just about every to every other week, she brings in creative women that are photographers, speakers, authors, you name it! – & I’ve loved hearing the hearts of these women, how their business’s started & how they keep Christ & their family’s as their focus. It’s also fun for me since I follow a lot of the women the show ends up interviewing on Instagram & I love hearing more of their lives & stories.

This show is a little shorter & keeps it just around a half hour so it’s perfect for splitting up into 15 minutes intervals for to & from the grocery store πŸ™‚ And even if you don’t consider yourself a “creative” these women share their hearts & love the Lord & will challenge your walk with the Lord as well.
PODCAST: http://godcenteredmom.com/
HOST: Jacey Verdicchio (sometimes, Lara Casey, Rebecca Smith or Jamie Ivey)
WHAT ITUNES HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS PODCAST:Β The Influence Network is the online community of women dedicated to making their online lives mean something. This podcast features interviews and encouragement designed to inspire and resource women to use the Internet for good, for God’s glory. New episodes air weekly and topics include writing, blogging, justice, spiritual growth and creative business.

INSPIREDTOACTION.COM – INSPIRATION FOR MOTHERHOODΒ Kat Lee is amazing. She describes her show as being a “pep talk for moms” & I know I’m not alone when I say that it’s a pep talk for all women. She is behind the amazing Maximize Your Mornings movement & has the most awesome guests on her show. She ends each show with saying “You’re a mom. You kind of a big deal, now go be awesome.” She’s encouraging & reminds you of things that may make you a little uncomfortable comfort zone wise- nothing wrong with that! πŸ˜‰
PODCAST: http://inspiredtoaction.com/
HOST: Kat Lee
WHAT ITUNES HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS PODCAST: It’s like a pep talk for moms. My name is Kat Lee is my goal with each episode of the Inspired To Action Podcast is to…that’s right…inspire YOU to action. I’m bringing you motivating interviews, practical tips and lots of fun yet-insanely-useful conversation with people who believe in YOU and the amazing role you have as a mother. You’re a mom. You’re totally a big deal.

Check out one or all of these podcasts! I’d love to hear what you think of them & what podcasts you like to listen too! There’s ALLLLLL KINDS & I like I said before, I subscribe to 14 so these aren’t the only ones I listen too πŸ˜‰ but they are my fav’s! Feel free to comment below!

 

My 3 Favorite Places to Purchase Maternity Clothes | Friday Favorites

Can I just be honest about something? I’ve ALWAYS looked forward to wearing maternity clothes. After getting married sometimes I would just “let myself wander” over to the maternity section of Target πŸ˜‰ I felt like they always had such cute maternity clothes!!! And I loved seeing pins of expecting women on Pinterest go thru my feed & how they styled their cute bump.

Today I’m sharing my 3 favorite places to purchase maternity clothes. Now these 3 stores are all local to Bloomington-Normal because I want this post to do double duty. I know I won’t always be pregnant πŸ˜‰ but I’m always asked by my clients who are expecting on recommendations of where to purchase their own outfits for their maternity session with me & I want this to be a resource for them! I’m also sharing a few bonus places that I know you can buy online maternity clothes as well.

Through-out the post I give a few *TIPS*. This is only my first pregnancy, but I’ve found a few things that have really worked for me clothes wise that I think any momma who’s expecting will appreciate!

I haven’t had to buy very many clothes at all actually. I’ve been very blessed in having dear friends who either shared with me their maternity clothes & even a few friends who are done having kids & they gave me lots of clothes. It’s been a SUPER huge blessing. I feel like the Lord granted me my hearts desire in knowing how much I like maternity clothes & that I wouldn’t be able to afford much on my own, so He gave me clothes thru others. So my recommendation would first be to see if friends lend or even give you their wardrobes. You never know who’s ready to empty their closet!

So since I haven’t bought many items myself, I am VERY happy with the few items I have purchased from these particular stores which are my fav’s:

  1. TARGET – My mom & I went out shopping one afternoon at the beginning of my pregnancy & we found an adorable top at Target. It’s a tank top but flowy & has grown with me through my pregnancy. I’ve already started layering with it this fall & will continue to wear it through my pregnancy. That’s a for sure *TIP* I’d give, find items you can use in different seasons for more wear because it is true, you’re only pregnant 9 months!Some of the clothes I was given by friends were from Target. They’ve lasted through several pregnancies my friends have had & their still in wonderful condition for me. Plus, Target is just a reasonably priced store in general & who doesn’t like the Target Cartwheel app? πŸ˜‰
  2. OLD NAVY – I’ve bought bought two dresses from Old Navy (ON) & I love both! One was at an outlet store in Nashville, TN & the other was online when I had just found out I was expecting. I had gone online to ON to find some leggings that I knew I’d need in the fall/winter & saw a dress for like $18 that I knew I could wear in the summer & again layer with it in the fall/winter. I LOVE both of the dresses I got & the two pairs of ON maternity leggings I got- one pair black & the other pair navy.And sidenote, the black & navy leggings have been awesome! I’m currently wearing a knee-length dress with black leggings on underneath- comfy & cute :)Another *TIP* I’d give is if you find out you’re expecting, go look online at ON & see what’s on sale in the maternity section. Chances are the season where you’ll be at your biggest is the season of maternity clothes that are on sale since it’s like 6-7 months down the road πŸ˜‰
  3. KOHLS – Kohl’s is just a great store all around. I mean hello, Kohl’s cash! My mom &Β  I went to Kohl’s as well the day we went out shopping. That’s where I ended up getting two pairs of maternity skinny jeans & they were 40% off! I wanted to have my own pairs to be able to wear through all my pregnancies to come & I love both pairs!

For local Bloomington-Normal shoppers, Gordman’s & Macy’s also have maternity sections. They sell the Motherhood Maternity brands. So if you like what our local Motherhood Maternity store sells, check the other two stores out. I did buy one pair of Motherhood Maternity burgundy skinny jeans, but I personally don’t care for the store. Their prices are a little too high for me & the return policy kind of stinks.

Clothing Mentor & Frogs & Fairies are two local re-sale clothing stores that sell maternity clothes. Their sections are small but you might find something there! I bought a few items off of online facebook groups through individuals so that’s an idea as well!

Online places to buy maternity clothes, specially more unique items is Pink Blush Maternity, Walmart, H&M, Jane.com (sometimes), Zulily & GAP. If you want to drive a bit, Peoria has two Ross Dress For Less stores & two Burlington Coat Factory locations & they both have very small maternity areas. I wish TJ Maxx had one! Maybe in the future they’ll jump on that bandwagon πŸ™‚

I don’t think you should spend a lot of money on maternity clothes. It is true that you are only pregnant for 9 months & in the beginning you’re probably still wearing your regular clothes. Hopefully this post will help you find items that fit in your budget & last for several pregnancies!

A few otherΒ *TIPS* I’d give are: I’ve been very privileged in that the later part of my pregnancy, where I’m growing larger is in the fall/winter time & I’ve been able to layer a lot with maternity tank tops & open sweaters that I would wear before I was pregnant. Then for the summer I just wore a lot of maxi dresses & skirts. The second tip is, don’t stretch out your non-maternity jeans. I had two friends give me this advice & I’m so glad I listened. As soon as I found maternity jeans I liked, I started wearing them. They’re just more comfy & then you don’t stretch out your own jeans. Third, maternity jeans & leggings are a must.

***If you are shopping for clothes to wear for a maternity session, I suggest wearing either something loose & flowy OR something fitting. Both types will show-off your bump just perfectly. Wear what’s YOU & not just a fancy, expensive outfit. Also, something simple & not too busy pattern wise helps as well. If you have more questions about this, we’ll be going over it when we meet to chat about your maternity session so no worries πŸ˜‰ ***

Well, I hope these *TIPS* & store locations helped some of you expecting momma’s & hoping to be expecting soon ladies!!! For those of you who have been pregnant or even are, what are some of your tips or favorite places to purchase maternity clothes? Comment below! I’d love to know!

And here I am with Little Wilcox at 28 weeks! Just 3 weeks ago! I’m wearing a pair of maternity jeans we found at Kohl’s, a kimono I bought hoping I’d be pregnant & could wear it then & when not pregnant πŸ˜‰ & a $3.00 tank top from Walmart I bought in an XL that has worked GREAT as a maternity tank top! I’ve been wearing this outfit throughout my entire pregnancy so far & it’s a favorite of mine!Β  friday favorites | www.nomi-photography.com-1

God Bless the Crockpot | My 3 Favorite Crockpot Recipes

It’s fall & for a lot of us, that means hot suppers & comfort foods. AND using the slow cooker more! I have a Pinterest board entitled “God Bless the Crockpot”. I really do! You can view it HERE. The crockpot really can be a wonderful thing. Now I haven’t tried those fancy recipes like making lasagna or even bread in a crockpot, but I do have 3 recipes that are my fav’s & we eat quite often on our menu.

Now I do think there are some crockpot recipes that should just be skipped. Like those ones that have you do a million steps & then throw it in the crockpot to cook for 4 hours. That’s not a real slow cooker recipe! That’s a “This could actually be made in the oven but we’re going to say put it in the crockpot to get your attention” recipe πŸ˜‰ Am I right or am I right?

What I personally like about my 3 Favorite Crockpot recipes is that they all make a ton & can be used in a variety of ways afterwards or even frozen down. I’ll list mine below & then you comment & post yours, deal?

3 Fav Crockpot Recipes

1.) POT ROAST
I know, I know it’s basic but SOOO good & easy!

RECIPE:
Roast
Package of baby carrots
(I use the already peeled & sliced up baby carrots because it makes the meal prep even more easier! And we use the whole bag because we LOVE carrots.) – Package of Onion Soup
A few potatoes (If we have mashed potatoes, I cook them separately)

I put everything in the pot & put it on for 4-6 hours & usually head to church since I make it often on Sundays πŸ™‚ Now the benefit of making mashed potatoes instead of putting them in the crockpot, is we’ll mash a lot & then later in the week have Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches πŸ™‚

2.) SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Now this recipe I base around Cooking Classy’s soup on her BLOG. I’ll make it exactly like she does & then add chopped up zucchini to give it more veggies. If you want to, you could add even more veggies!

I also shred some cheddar cheese & make sure we have tortilla chips when I serve the soup. We’ll put some of the shredded cheese at the bottom of our empty soup bowls, add soup on top the cheese, then layer with some tortilla chips on the soup & then top the chips off with more shredded cheese! So cheese, soup, chips, more cheese. The cheese melts all nice & is SUPER yummy! Some may want to top off with a bit of sour cream as well πŸ™‚

The soup is very mild & makes PLENTY. I usually keep enough out for 2-3 meals & then freeze the rest down for a later date. Yummy, yummy!

3.) SLOW COOKER CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
Now this recipe I found on Pinterest when we first got married. I would link back to the original source to give credit, but the main source has been blocked or something SOOO I’ll just copy what my printed recipe says! Thank goodness I did print it because we use it a TON!

RECIPE:
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 (1.25 ounce) package dry taco seasoning mix
1 lime, juiced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Put in the slow cooker the chicken breasts and then add coat the salsa, taco seasoning, lime juice & cilantro. Cover the cooker, set to High, and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 4 hours. If you want too cook it slower, set it to Low and cook 6 to 8 hours. Shred chicken with forks to serve.

Just like with the soup, I keep out about 2-3 servings of the shredded chicken once it’s done in the fridge for the next few weeks to eat up & freeze the rest. We actually have some frozen right now! You can use the chicken with soft tortilla tacos (put sour cream on the tortilla before putting on the chicken-so yummy!), crunchy tacos, make a taco salad, make chicken tostada’s even!


 

So there you are! Our favorite crockpot recipes! Try them out sometime & let me know what you think! Hopefully they’ll help make your menu planning & dinners easier so that you have time to spend outside of the kitchen with those you love!

Feel free to comment below with YOUR favorite crockpot recipes!!!

 

 

 

 

3 of My Favorite Pregnancy Tools | Friday Favorites

I know, I know. This is only my first pregnancy & I’m only 28 weeks. To some of you mommies who have had several pregnancies, I can see the eyebrows lifting as you read this πŸ˜‰ I’m not trying to say I have it all down because I don’t!!! But I really DO have 3 favorite pregnancy “tools”. I seriously do. They’re very simple but they’ve made a huge difference in my daily life since we found out we were expecting Little Wilcox. And if what I share today helps one mommy out, then I’m glad I decided to go ahead & write this post. Plus, I really think these will be my favorite things to use for all my future pregnancies!

First off, my First Favorite “Tool” is my water bottle. I have this Camelbak Water Bottle from Amazon. I have the exact one in the below picture. I love that it’s dishwasher safe, BPA Free, & a 0.75 liter so it holds a pretty good amount of water! I take this thing EVERYWHERE! Church, when I nanny, at sessions- EVER.Y.WHERE. The size is great that it fits in my purse (I have a tall purse πŸ˜‰ ) &Β  in my camera bag.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.33.54 PM copyPhoto from Amazon.com.

I had gotten a glass Camelbak & was really enjoying that, UNTIL it got broken while I was nannying one day. When that happened, I was like, No more glass for me until our kids are older! I’m so glad no one was hurt when it was dropped.

Water is like the answer for everything when you’re pregnant. Have swelling? Drink more water. Feeling dehydrated? Drink more water. Need more energy? Water. So yes, I totally recommend in investing in a nice water bottle that is durable, sturdy & that you like!

My Second Favorite “Tool” is my Snoogle.Β Yep, you read that right. A Snoogle! The one thing that gets difficult for basically every mom in their pregnancy is sleeping. It’s harder to get comfortable as your baby bump grows larger. This pillow is AMAZING & has helped me some really decent night sleeps.

I had bought a cheap body pillow at Target first & that immediately went back. I don’t even think I used it one night once I laid down with it once getting it home! It was too large for me & too poofy. I do have friends that have used those, so I guess they work for some people! My friend Holly had gotten a Snoogle for her first pregnancy & I remember seeing it in her room when she was expecting. After the body pillow fail, I text & asked her about her funky looking pillow thing I’d seen at her house & she sent me this link! It was exactly the one I had been eyeing on Amazon & into the Amazon cart it went!

What I like about the Mini Snoogle is that it was half the price of the fullsize Snoogle that you can buy or that you’ll see at Babies R Us. The one I got was the mini & it’s worked REALLY well for me. Another friend of mine purchased the full size & has loved it. So my recommendation is buy one from Amazon & if it doesn’t fit your body, return it & get the other one! Sleep is important while you’re growing your little one!

As you can see I was SUPER EXCITED to get my Snoogle! πŸ˜‰

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My Final & FAVORITE OF ALL THREE Tools is my Pregnancy Prayer Journal from Val Marie Paper. Guys, water & sleeping well at night is really important. BUT hands-down this is my favorite item I’ve used through my pregnancy. Life doesn’t stop when you see that positive pregnancy test. In fact, for Eric & I, life has begun to fill up & get even faster it seems! Decisions to make, a nursery to get ready, a pediatrician to choose…the list goes on. It can very easily become overwhelming & plain crazy. But that’s why I LOVE my Pregnancy Prayer Journal SO much. It brings me back to the Main Thing.

The Main Thing friends is that Little Wilcox is raised in a home that gazes at the Lord more then life. Eric & I want our family to be raised with the knowledge & love of Jesus Christ surrounding our little ones. This Pregnancy Prayer Journal has sections to write answered prayer requests, keep track of how I’m feeling, prayers for our Little Wilcox & even a section to record prayers & needs of daddy!

One of my favorite parts of the journal is a section to record names of couples that I know are trying to conceive. Whenever I look through my Journal, I see those names & pray for them & that the Lord would grant their heart’s desire. I’ve already been able to cross off a few names off the list because they’re expecting now too!!!!!! πŸ˜€

I purchased this Journal before we were even expecting. I was buying one for a friend & felt led to buy one for myself as a step of faith that Eric & I would very soon be expecting ourselves. I kept the journal all wrapped up on a shelf & didn’t open it until seeing our positive pregnancy test. It was special moment as I sat in our study on the floor days after our pregnancy test & carefully opened the mailing envelope & brushed my hands across the cover & looked at the blank pages inside. What things would I write in there? What prayers, what anxious thoughts, what fears, what dreams would be recorded? I can say now 28 weeks & counting into this pregnancy, that I SO love this journal. I look at it almost daily & it reminds me that Little Wilcox is a gift from the Lord & that I need to remember the Main Thing.

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Expecting momma’s, if you were to purchase any one of these three things, it needs to be this Pregnancy Prayer Journal.

Well there you have it friends! What are/were your favorite things to use while being pregnant? I’d LOVE to hear them! Comment below away! Sheesh, I still have several weeks to go!!! I may be using some of them soon πŸ˜‰

 

3 Favorite Ways to Welcome Fall | Friday Favorites

I’ve been wanting to start this blog series for quite a big now & decided why not the first Friday in October?! Each Friday (I plan πŸ˜‰ ) to share some of my favorite things. Whether it’s my favorite pregnancy items (probably next week’s post!), my top 3 favorite podcasts or my 3 favorite things to purchase at Aldi. And as our life changes & Little Wilcox makes his/her appearance, I plan to also share bits of our new family life. I hope you’ll join me here on Friday’s as I share pieces of my life & love.


So kicking off the first Friday of October, today I’m sharing my 3 favorite things to do to start off the fall season!

1. Have a Sister Date with my sister Leah! Every year since we’ve lived here (so like 7 years now? Right Leah?) we’ve gone out to buy little pumpkins, gourds & squashes to decorate our places. I believe the tradition started way back when we were younger & mom & dad would buy us one mini little pumpkins at the grocery store. When we moved here, Leah & I turned it into a sister date & either went to the Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market, Casey’s Floral or Brown’s Produce to purchase our items. (Sidenote, the Farmers Market usually has the cheapest prices but we go to whatever is open when our schedules allow us to meet up.) This year we went to Casey’s & we always couple the date with a Carmel Hot Apple Spice Cider drink from Starbucks!

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That leads me into my second favorite way to bring fall alive…

2. Decorate!Β Now I’m all about simplicity & being budget friendly. That’s one of the reasons Leah & I go out to purchase small pumpkins & gourds, we both use those to decorate! (Big pumpkins are expensive!)

I have a few items that I bring out every year, a basket my mom gave me, fall smelling candles & put those around Eric & I’s living room & kitchen. I have a fall bouquet I made up from florals from Dollar Tree & it still looks pretty good after 3 falls! I also use real pinecones (Leah & I hunted for those one year) & have a bowl from Goodwill that I set them in. Since I’m in my 3rd Trimester of my pregnancy, I’ll be keeping it even more simple this year since I don’t want to have too much stuff to clean up when it comes time to PUT UP THE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!

I love decorating for fall & enjoying this season, my favorite season of the year.

Here’s this year’s loot from Casey’s Floral in the basket my mom gave me. I keep this on our Kitchen table πŸ™‚

FullSizeRender

3) Music! I LOVE Christmas music. It’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Couple years ago Leah & I wondered why someone hadn’t put together “fall” music, Thanksgiving music, you know? My sister & I realized that we kind of did have music that we enjoyed that wasn’t QUITE Christmas music but felt like it was special, needed to be set a part. For example, we love the movie soundtrack for Little Women. It’s not quite Christmast-y but yet, it’s just got a special, warming holiday feel about it.

Since then, both Leah & I have created our own playlists we’ve put together on our own iTunes accounts. I also have one on Spotify entitled “Falling in Love”. I’m posting the link HERE so you too can enjoy it! THIS is the very first song on the playlist & to me it just SCREAMS fall.

My house is not at all ready for fall. In fact, as of writing this a few days before publishing this post, I only have the center piece pictured above set out at our home. I wrote this post to help us all remember that you don’t have to spend a million dollars to make it feel like fall. My little pumpkin guys cost just under $12.00. Maybe for you to make fall come alive in your home is to just open all the windows! Bake a loaf of pumpkin bread!

Fall opens the door to what can be a crazy holiday schedule. It is very important to me to not get all caught up in doing instead of LIVING. Taking intentional steps to make fall alive helps me to remember to take in all that is going on around me & not just look to the holidays.

So what about you friend? What are your favorite ways to “celebrate” & make fall come alive in your daily life? I’d love to hear! Feel free to comment below!