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Three 31 Photography // Peacock Family

Kamden’s not the only one who’s been enjoying the cooler weather and local pumpkin patch. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking family portraits for the Peacocks and I think they turned out really well. The two boys seemed to enjoy the session more when I encouraged them to make silly faces or give their Mom and Dad bunny ears. If you need portraits and you live in the Fort Worth area, please keep me in mind.

 

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Happy Fall, Y’all … and Happy Halloween too!!!!! Are you dressing up in costume or, like me, going au-natural in yoga pants and a t-shirt? :)


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Finish This #43

IT’S WEEK 43 OF FINISH THIS … If this is your first time here, welcome. If you’re a repeat participant, thanks for playing along and joining the shenanigans. Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog and add the post to the link up. Next week, we’ll do it all over again with a new set of prompts (located at the bottom of this post). Let’s get started!

FINISHTHIS.linkupbutton

Have you heard about the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire and link up happening in December?
If you are a blogger then you absolutely MUST complete the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire. If you’ve never completed a similar questionnaire, click HERE. This special event will take place during WEEK 52 of the Finish This link-up, beginning Wednesday, December 31. Please share this with other bloggers. In case you’re easily distracted or forgetful, I’ll periodically remind you of this awesome event!

1. As a kid, my favorite Halloween costume was
anything that I happened to be wearing? I didn’t dress up that often as a kid, Halloween wasn’t that big of a deal. I specifically remember wearing a particular costume (a pumpkin) several years in a row because I didn’t want anything else. I was a cheerleader one year, only because my Nana had purchased the outfit for me to wear at a University of Kentucky basketball game. It was a legit cheerleader’s uniform, but tasteful and appropriate for a young girl to wear. I had coordinating ribbons in my hair and giant blue and white pom-poms too. I was the bomb-dot-com in my mind! My parents took me trick-or-treating in our small town, mostly to friends’ homes, and then we went about our usual schedule. We had parties at school where we made our own capes or masks to wear, but I don’t remember such elaborate (and often inappropriate) costumes like there are today. Too much time, energy, focus, and money is spent in my opinion!

2. As an adult, I celebrate Halloween by
baking cupcakes and sharing them with children and adults at the church’s trunk-or-treat and fall festival. When I run out of cupcakes, which doesn’t take very long, I resort to the few bags of candy I have. I’ve never been one to celebrate Halloween and get all dolled up, and I don’t spend a ton of money on sugar-laden sweets either, but I like to socialize and see others enjoy the fun and festivities that is modern-day Halloween. Now that Kamden is here, the celebration is a bit more fun. This year will be pretty low-key since he’s less than a year old and doesn’t care about costumes or candy or trick-or-treating, but I think we’ll enjoy it more in years to come. With Halloween just days away, Kamden has a t-shirt to wear this Friday night at trunk-or-treat in the church parking lot. If I’m a bad mother for not buying an elaborate costume or making some specialized DIY version, oh well. I’m not losing any sleep over the matter and, frankly, he isn’t either. Husband’s going to trunk-or-treat hoping to use Kamden has a way to score a free Snickers bar.

3. My favorite candy is
RED Skittles. I hate the purple ones, I pick those out and either throw them way or give them to someone I know likes them. Plus, with my dairy (cow’s milk) allergy, I can’t have any of the chocolate candy bars. But I sure miss Reese’s cups and Three Musketeer bars though. Mmmm, the nougat in a Three Musketeer is sooooo good.

Prompts for WEEK 44– November 5
_____ makes me smile because
I put my trust
I don’t


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Three 31 Photography // Bacon + Dowings Family

When opportunity knocks, open the door.

It was such as honor to take pictures for this precious family. I met Lucy, her daughter, Holly, and son-in-law, Paul, at church. Lucy and I used to work in the same building in downtown Fort Worth but never realized it. I am blessed to call them friends and they’re pretty smitten with Kamden too.

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I was so excited when Holly wanted to incorporate pictures of her late father and brother in their photos. While I never had the opportunity to meet Donald and Stan, I’ve heard many stories ad I know they were really wonderful gentlemen.

Stay tuned for more portrait session reveals … coming soon!

 


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A Self-Interview for Texas Women Bloggers

In a few weeks, I’m attending a Texas Women Bloggers event. This has been on my radar for quite some time and I’m really looking forward to getting dressed up for a “night on the town” and hanging with some of the sweetest women on the planet, eat a great meal, and enjoy some girl chit-chat time. And by getting dressed up, I mean no yoga pants.

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1. What is your name, blog title, and URL link? (*include a recent photo of yourself too!)

Hellooooooo, Texas Women Bloggers!!!!!!
My name’s Nicole and I blog at Three 31 and write for MOMquery, a site for moms by moms. When I’m not blogging or being an awesome wife and mommy, I’m making friends with camels in Israel.
This is me on a camel named Mojo in the middle of Jerusalem. He has a better smile than me. :)

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2. How did you come up with your blog’s title?

Three 31 is my anniversary, when I married Husband. March 31 is a spectacular day.

3. How long have you been blogging?

I started my first blog in December of 2010. Exactly one year later, I switched from Blogger to WordPress (the free version, I’m not smart enough for HTML and domain nonsense) and began Three 31. I’m pleased with it, for now.

4. When we visit your blog, what can we expect to discover?

A whole lot of shenanigans. Actually, I’m much more subdued and reserved than I used to be. I don’t post as regularly as I should but I try to embrace the “quality over quantity” ideology. I still cuss from time to time and talk about my sex life or boobs just to be funny. Husband shakes his head but he knows as well as I do that Kamden didn’t get here by immaculate conception. Three 31 is mostly a lifestyle blog but occasionally I’ll share nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned about parenting, mommyhood, or exclusive pumping; a picture I’ve taken with my Nikon camera; or a recipe from my kitchen. Every Wednesday, I co-host the “FINISH THIS.” A link up where bloggers answer a different set of prompts.

5. Share the link to your favorite or most popular blog post(s).

I made fun of my big boobs in this post … then got kicked out of a wedding for being crude.
Finding out I was pregnant was a big surprise.
Kamden’s birth was an amazing experience.
I’m a breast milk donor.
My About Me page is pretty solid.

6. What are three goals you have for your blog next year?

In 2015, I want to attend a bloggers’ conference or creative writing workshop; learn to use social media more effectively; and publish a blog series.

7. Tell us about your family. Are you married or in a relationship? Do you have kids? If so, how many and how old are they? Do you have pets? You know, the usual stuff.

Husband (yes, I really call him that) and I married March 31, 2007 and welcomed Kamden, our one and only son, on December 19, 2013. Husband no longer team ropes but we still have a horse, Blue, who is dapple grey but registered as a red roan. He likes double-stuffed Oreos and frosted strawberry Pop Tarts. (I’m talking about the horse, not my husband or son.)

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8. What part of Texas do you call home?

Kentucky will always be “home” but we live 20 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Texas is growing on me. When I was in the sixth grade, I wrote an essay about how I wanted to live in Texas and marry a cowboy. In 2003, I moved to Texas to play collegiate golf at Lamar University in Beaumont. In 2006, I graduated from Texas A&M University at Commerce with a degree in journalism and public relations. In 2007, I married Husband. Guess you could say I had it coming. :)

9. How do you make a living?

By being 50 Shades of awesome. I am Husband’s sexy wife and Kamden’s uber-cool mom, what more do I need?

10. Have you attended blog conferences or social events in the past?
If this is your first time, what are you most nervous about?

I have not attended a blog conference but this is my third or fourth social event for bloggers.
I coordinated and hosted a bowling party and dinner for DFW Bloggers in April 2013.

If this is your first blogger event, don’t be nervous. If you’re nervous, find me so I can give you a hug and tell you not to be nervous. This is a great group of ladies who like to blog, eat, socialize, and act silly for a couple of hours away from their significant others. We have big personalities and even bigger hearts!
DON’T. BE. NERVOUS. SWEETHEART.

11. What are you looking forward to the most at the TWB dinner event?

I’m a country girl and was raised on a farm, so the fresh produce at dinner sounds delicious. Since I am breastfeeding, I won’t be consuming any adult beverages but I will embrace sobriety by posing in the photo booth with whomever is brave enough to get in there with me. Or I’ll gladly pose by myself. Either way, I’ll try to keep my clothes on and my boobs (relatively) contained.

12. Finally, share your social media links so we can connect online!

Facebook // Nicole Edwards Hutchison
Twitter // @nmhutch
Pinterest // @nmhutchison
Instagram // @nicole_three31

*If you are a Texas blogger and wish to participate, there is still time to purchase a ticket. In fact, if you purchase by October 31 the cost is just $25. That’s cheap for dinner, drinks, socializing, entertainment, photo booth shenanigans, *AND* boob-hugs from Yours Truly. C’mon, you know you want to be there. :)

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Process of Elimination // Third Time’s A Charm, Right?

The last two weeks, I’ve done almost everything OPPOSITE of what I said I’d do for the elimination diet, eating wheat (gluten), eggs, soy products, red meat, citrus fruit, and shell fish. And you know what? The eczema patches on my left hand (wrist and ring finger) were clear some of the time. Last Wednesday evening, while sitting on the floor with Husband watching Kamden play, I commented on how clear my eczema was and it was nice to be itch-free. I spoke too soon because the next morning I had a flaming red and painfully itchy eczema flare-up.

At the beginning of this elimination diet experiment, I knew there was a strong possibility that the foods I consumed on a regular basis could be the allergen (i.e. “poison”) triggering my auto-immune system to react and cause the eczema flare-ups. My diet has always been full of the most common eczema triggers – wheat, eggs, soy, red meat, citrus fruit, shell fish, and sugar. Dairy (cow’s milk) is a common trigger of eczema but I’ve been completely dairy-free since 2004, when I was diagnosed with a severe allergy.

After my comment Wednesday evening and the arrival of yet another flare-up yesterday (Thursday) morning, I considered more closely what I had eaten and questioned immediately the possibility of NIGHTSHADES causing my discomfort. In my previous studies and reading about eczema flare-ups and common trigger foods, nightshades were known to be problematic for people suffering from autoimmune disorders, eczema and psoriasis, acne, inflammation, and joint pain. These symptoms are very familiar to me. Once again, I forced myself to closely examine my food journal. The honest reflection revealed a connection that was difficult for me to acknowledge. Once again, there was substantial evidence too obvious to ignore … I had eaten baked chicken thighs with a barbeque sauce (glaze) for dinner Wednesday night and leftovers at lunch Thursday. Right now, early Friday morning, my left hand is burning and itching so bad I can’t sleep.

Without getting too technical or scientific, nightshades are a botanical type of plant. There are more than 2,000 species of nightshades, most being edible while others are highly poisonous. If you’ve ever read Macbeth then you’re familiar with belladonna, a deadly nightshade. If I’m being completely honest, I wish I had had some belladonna while reading the Shakespearean play in high school … it was torture!

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For the sake of this post, and trying to figure out the cause of my eczema, I’ll stop with the Shakespeare play references and focus once again on nightshades. The following are all members of the nightshade family and commonly found in modern diets, including mine:

  • Bell peppers (i.e. sweet peppers)
  • Eggplant
  • Hot peppers (i.e. chili peppers, jalapenos, red pepper, and cayenne)
  • Paprika
  • Pimentos
  • Potatoes (but not sweet potatoes)
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes

That list can ruin a person’s day, believe me. With the exception of eggplant and pimentos, I eat these common nightshades on a regular, if not daily, basis. Consider the number of varieties of peppers and tomatoes, plus the variations of spice mixes containing nightshades, and your head is likely to explode. To put nightshade consumption into better perspective, here’s a sample from my own food journal:

BREAKFAST
omelet with chopped sweet bell peppers, jalapeno, and tomato

LUNCH
mixed lettuce and cherry tomatoes, Manchego (sheep’s milk) cheese, cucumber, and bell pepper with Catalina or Thousand Island dressing

DINNER
baked salmon seasoned with Siracha (chili pepper) sauce and a vegetable and rice medley consisting of onion, sweet peppers, spinach, and mushrooms

Dare I put this in writing, but eliminating a major food group (i.e. wheat, dairy, soy, citrus fruit, etc.) might be easier than avoiding nightshades. But, as I sit here at 4:30am with my left hand wrapped in gauze to prevent me from scratching the eczema patches until I bleed, I’m willing to try. It won’t be a small or easy feat however when you consider the depth of nightshades currently in my diet:

BELL PEPPERS // raw with hummus dip, chopped in a fresh salad, or sautéed in a vegetable medley

SPICES + SPICE MIXES // hot Sriracha sauce, paprika, spice seasonings, fresh and pickled jalapenos

POTATOES // mashed, smashed, roasted, and baked; hashbrowns, fries and tots

TOMATOES // chopped on a salad, fried green tomatoes, spaghetti sauce (tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato paste, etc.), pizza (marinara) sauce, condiments (Sriracha, barbeque sauce, and ketchup), guacamole and salsa, salad dressing (Catalina and Thousand Island), soups, stew, and chili

If nightshades are, in fact, the culprit and cause of my eczema breakouts, this is a game-changer. Sure, the effect is positive but the application is going to be incredibly difficult. I use a heavy hand with spices and seasonings, especially when marinating chicken, beef, or pork. What kind of German descendent would I be if I didn’t eat lots of potatoes prepared in a variety of ways? And tomatoes, goodness gracious. Besides cherry or Roma tomatoes and Catalina or Thousand Island dressing on my salad, my diet is FULL of tomato-based products, including sauces and condiments, soups, chili, and plain juice.

My quest to avoid as much processed food as possible continues, even with the elimination and avoidance of nightshades. Spices, particularly paprika and chile pepper are common seasonings in processed foods, but rarely identified specifically. Modified food starch is derived from potatoes. Nightshades are commonly hidden in breads, baked goods, crackers, breading, stuffing, sausage, deli meat, seafood, mock seafood, gravy, sauces, meat sauce, fish sauce, condiments, salad dressings, baked beans, seasonings, and even vitamin supplements and prescription drugs.

Silver lining? Tobacco is a nightshade but I don’t smoke, dip, or chew. At least I have this going for me, right?

Cheers to the weekend and revising my elimination diet!


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Our Punkin in the Pumpkin Patch

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Last Monday, Kamden and I visited the church’s pumpkin patch. As a mom, it was a rash decision but, as a blogger in desperate need of a fall-themed portrait for his monthly update post, it was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. Kamden took his normal two-hour nap but the moment he opened his eyes, I scooped him out of bed, changed his diaper and clothes, and we went to the church for a quick portrait session during the glorious “golden hour” of the afternoon. I’m pleased with the outcome.

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He was such a trooper through this portrait mini-session though, bless his little heart, and there was plenty to keep him distracted and prevent him from looking at Mommy’s camera.

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This “candy corn cutie” was infatuated with the tiny pumpkins. Kamden made a friend with the scarecrow by pulling his hair!

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I love the expression on Kamden’s face and would love to know what he’s thinking, like he wants to touch the scarecrow but the pumpkin is less intimidating! And let’s not forget the chubby cheeks, double chin, and those shoes. Oh my cute stars!

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Kamden’s standing up really well, with assistance, but he’s not a fan of shoes. Thankfully, he was distracted by the pumpkins (he even tried picking up some of the larger ones!) and his shoes stayed on while we were in the patch. As soon as we got in the car though, he kicked off both shoes before we got home … and we live about a mile from the church!

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When all else fails, sit a little boy on the ground and let him play in the hay. Then take his picture when he’s not looking for the most natural pose.

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Going to a pumpkin patch and taking pictures was on our fall bucket list, so we can mark this one complete. We still need to get Kamden his own pumpkin and decorate or carve it before Halloween.

Do you have any fall or Halloween-themed traditions?

 


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Finish This #42

IT’S WEEK 42 OF FINISH THIS … If this is your first time here, welcome. If you’re a repeat participant, thanks for playing along and joining the shenanigans. Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog and add the post to the link up. Next week, we’ll do it all over again with a new set of prompts (located at the bottom of this post). Let’s get started!

FINISHTHIS.linkupbutton

Today’s post is short and sweet because I have something special to share …
If you are a blogger then you absolutely MUST complete the *YEAR IN REVIEW* questionnaire. If you’ve never completed a similar questionnaire, click HERE. This special event will take place during WEEK 52 of the Finish This link-up, beginning Wednesday, December 31. Please share this with other bloggers. In case you’re easily distracted or forgetful, I’ll periodically remind you of this awesome event!

1. It took me a long time to realize
in the realm of friendships, it’s best to have four quarters than 100 pennies. I have a lot of friends, acquaintances even, but there’s an exclusive group of folks who would answer my call in the middle of the night. And I would do the same for them.

2. I surround myself with
family, friends, and good food. What’s better than that?!

Prompts for WEEK 43– October 29
As a kid, my favorite Halloween costume was
As an adult, I celebrate Halloween by
My favorite candy is

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