Three 31


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Bluebonnets

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I’ve lived in Texas almost 12 years and I finally experienced the Bluebonnet Festival in Ennis! The trip almost didn’t happen between schedule conflicts and unpredictable weather on top of my seasonal allergies really bothering me. But, under clear skies, and the influence of Zyrtec, I had a really great time with Kamden and our ‘Z’ friends. We walked around the downtown square of Ennis, stopping at vendors’ booths to taste homemade fudge (peanut butter is so yummy!), salsas, relishes, and other Lone Star treats. After a quick lunch, we headed out of Ennis towards Bristol. As soon as we turned onto County Road 660, I noticed a picturesque property with three antique tractors perfectly placed among a field of bluebonnets. And, as luck would have it, the owner was out front and the gate was open. That was all the invitation I needed to drive in and ask him for permission to take pictures. Of course, he said yes!

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Kamden was not in the mood to pose in the bluebonnets. He was more interested in Mr. Darren’s antique tractors, the dog, Lucky, and walking around in the tall grass. Kamden’s also developing a habit of walking with one or both of his arms straight in the air. If this is sign language for something, please tell me. Nonetheless, it’s adorable to see a pint-size tot walking around with an arm pointed to the sky!

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I’m making this day trip an annual tradition, especially if it means we can stop at Mr. Darren’s place again and take pictures! Are their signs of spring where you live?


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Finish This #67

 

FINISHTHIS2015

I have a first date and we …

Well, first of all, let’s presume this isn’t a blind date and I know who I’m meeting because, let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for surprises with strangers. Date Guy would come to my house, complement my t-shirt, jeans, and cap, and then he’d help me carry a bunch of gun cases and ammo to his car or truck. He opens the passenger side door for me to get in too. We’d shoot tons of paper at the gun range, as close as 30 feet with handguns and long-range (100 or more yards) with the target rifles. I would, most likely, shoot better than him but he’d be a good sport about it and tease by saying he ‘let’ me win. Yeah right. Then we’d go eat dinner at a place he picked out, I’m not picky, and he’d pay for our meal and leave a generous tip. If the night’s still young, and we enjoy each others company, we’d go bowling, watch a movie, or go to Top Golf. I’ve never been to Top Golf but 99% sure I’d like it. If the night’s going well, he might get a kiss after walking me back to my door. If the night’s going really well, I’d smack his jean-covered ass as he walked away and look forward to our next date.

I won’t apologize for that last part. :)

Bloggers, please add your post to the link up through the link below. :)

Prompt for Week #68
My most recent splurge purchase for myself was…


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DIY Toner for Acne-Prone Skin // #Homemade #EssentialOils #ClearSkin

I am not a beauty blogger. I’m not even a beauty blogger wannabe. But I am someone who’s got acne-prone skin (blemishes and pimples are not my friends) and desperate for relief without spending a fortune on skincare products.

DIY Toner cover

Spending money on myself is not high on the priority list and I’m not fully convinced that essential oils are as miraculous as some people claim, even though I use them on a regular basis. But, I prefer natural remedies rather than products with ingredients I can’t spell or pronounce. While perusing the beauty and skincare aisle looking for a clarifying toner, one look at the ingredient labels made my head swim. Since I already had several skin-friendly essential oils available, I decided to make my own toner using witch hazel.

DIY TONER
1/4 cup witch hazel astringent
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops lavender oil
10 drops lemon oil
10 drops grapefruit oil
5 drops Frankincense

Combine all ingredients in a storage bottle or container with air-tight lid.

*Storage Tips*
Instead of buying cotton cosmetic pads, I made my own using plain white paper towels and cutting each sheet into 16 squares. I cut five paper towels to make 80 small squares and placed them inside a container with the toner mixture.

Now, in addition to these pre-soaked toner pads, I have to stop picking at and touching my face; reduce stress; improve my diet; and, drink more water.

What are your beauty secrets or skincare tricks?


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Monday Musings

 

Every Monday, I publish whatever is on my mind -consider it a smorgasbord of thoughts and randomness- as a way to clear my head and prepare for the next week ahead. By doing so, I hope to calm the chaos and organize the scattered. Cheers to 2015 and blessings to you!

monday musings

Welcome back to the land of blog posts on Mondays, I’m sorry I’ve been absent for a couple weeks. But I’ve been busy so I’ll try to catch you up …

My mom (Kamden’s Nana C) came to Texas for a brief visit. We went to the aquarium in Grapevine, walked around the Gaylord Texan Resort, and spent one morning in downtown Fort Worth at Sundance Square.

Kamden is officially the coolest kid on the block planet because he weaned himself from bottles and our bedtime routine is quicker and easier than ever. The kid is amazing and I thank God for letting me be his momma.

For our eighth anniversary, Husband put the toilet seat down for me and it was pure bliss. We also went to the gun range.

On our way home from Salado visiting friends and attending church, Kamden and I went to the children’s hospital in Temple to drop off sweet treats to our friends Stephanie and Miss Addie, who’s been in the NICU/PICU since she was born eight months ago. She’s doing better and hopefully will get to go home soon. Keep the #pinkninja in your prayers, please!

nicolestephwolfe

If you are an introvert, or friends with an introvert, you need to read this. You’re welcome!

My heart is still broken for the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team and their loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Final Four. And Duke winning was like pouring salt into an open wound. Blahhh.

While enjoying the Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth, I discovered the culinary treasure that is The Cheesecake Factory. I knew they had a menu full of desserts, but I had no idea their menu was THAT long and extensive. Geez Louise! A person would need to eat there 300 times in order to try everything, and that’s not counting all the cheesecake varieties.

The weather has been cooperating so I’ve gotten to take some pictures. I am in love with this mother/daughter session! Next week, we’re going to Ennis for the Bluebonnet Festival and I’m taking my camera. If you’re local and interested in a photo session, please contact me. I’ve got weekday and weekend appointments available.

I’ve been severely lacking on my personal devotion and Bible reading time as of late, so, to remedy this, I’m locking myself in my Jesus-cave while Kamden naps today. I need some solace while getting back on track.


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Resolution Update // March 2015

 

Well, this post is over a week late. I’m not doing very well on my annual resolutions. I need a swift gift in the rear to get me back on track, anybody willing?

HEALTH + FITNESS

Lose 20% of my body weight
Take advantage of health coach provided by insurance Still using MyFitnessPal.com (nicolemhutchison) and wearing my Virgin Health Miles MAX wrist pedometer every day.
Eat breakfast every day Some mornings are better than others.
Take a daily multivitamin In addition to daily multi-vitamins and calcium supplements, I’ve added B-12 for metabolism and Zyrtec for seasonal allergies.
Exercise four days a week Didn’t happen, unfortunately.
Work out with a personal trainer
Drink 150 ounces of water every day
Complete a juice cleanse
Complete a 90-day challenge
Eliminate something from my diet each month (i.e. sweets, fried foods, sugar, fast food, etc.)
January – Rough start at the beginning of the month, but I’ve managed to stay away from excess sugar for two and a half weeks. Small steps.
February – I avoided tomatoes like the plague.
March – Still avoiding tomatoes.

Be showered and in bed by 10:30 every night
Learn more about and use essential oils
Find a skincare routine that works for me
Participate in a “new-to-me” group exercise class January 9 – tried a 60-minute cycling class, January 24 – tried INSANITY, January 28 – Zumba with Miss Ivy
Schedule annual appointments with OB-Gyno, eye doctor, and dentist January 16 – comprehensive eye exam; January 19 – purchased eyeglasses at Warby Parker; January 20 – teeth cleaned; January 21 – cavity filled (booo!) 

BLOGGING

Create a blog post calendar … and use it!
Attend a blog conference
Attend a creative writing workshop
Publish a blog post every day for a month
Publish a “how to” post
Publish an original recipe
Continue the weekly FINISH THIS link up Week #53 was posted January 7, I’m hoping participation will increase as the year progresses.
Start a blog series January 5 – Monday Musings began; January 24 – weekly meal plan with menu/recipes
Meet five bloggers in person
Host a sponsored giveaway
Host a bloggers’ watch party for 50 Shades of Gray Hosted a *dinner & movie* night with friends on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14).
Continue writing for MOMquery I wrote an article on baby shower essentials.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Organize and back up my photos
Sell my current camera and upgrade to this one I’ve changed my mind and WANT this one.
Acquire a 85mm prime lens
Acquire a telephoto lens
Expand Three 31 Photography by scheduling at least 10 sessions I have several MOMMY & ME photo sessions coming up for Mother’s Day and I’ve already share the photos of Jalyn and Miss H here.
Take a Lightroom class
Join a camera or photography club January 19 – first meeting with Cleburne Photography Club

HOME LIFE

Refinanced our home mortgage for a lower interest rate February 11
Execute our living wills
Create a gallery wall in the living room
Hang a family picture above mantel/fireplace
Rearrange the living room furniture We’ve temporarily moved furniture to accommodate foam floor tiles for Kamden’s larger play space. Our living room is oddly shaped so placing furniture correctly and effectively is a challenge. Making it work for an active toddler is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. So far, Kamden loves having his toys spread between the living room and bedroom so he can walk or push trucks/tractors on the floor. If I need him “safely contained” for a moment, the Pack-n-Play fits perfectly between the wall and Husband’s recliner, blocking Kamden in the living room. This method is our alternative and compromise to those pesky corral-looking panels and gates most people have in their home. I don’t want Kamden to get hurt, but I want him to explore and be a kid too. It’s a fine line, of course, but so far this method is working.
Buy new comforter + bedding for guest room
Buy new side tables + lamps for master bedroom
Repaint the side table in Kamden’s room
Install new kitchen sink + granite countertops
Make our home more energy efficient
Have a technology-free weekend
Find a cleaning schedule … and use it!
Eat at a celebrity chef’s restaurant
Try a new recipe every month
January – Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole (Husband’s reaction was meh.)
February – Blueberry Muffins
March – pork tenderloin in the Crock Pot

Make the perfect omelet
Host a dinner party with other couples/families
Host a “Friendsgiving”
Host a game night
Meal plan for a month … and stick to it!
Use the Crock Pot once a week for a month
January – used the CP three times (roast beef and pinto beans)
February – meatballs and homemade spaghetti sauce
March – roast beef and teriyaki pork tenderloin

Save loose change and cash out at the end of the year There is now a Mason jar on the counter will loose change!
Purge the entire house and donate or toss things we don’t use
Have my car detailed inside and out
Sell my car and buy a used SUV or crew cab pickup truck

PERSONAL GROWTH

Find a Bible reading plan (such as this one) that works for me … and use it regularly!
Read and study Scripture regularly and more thoroughly In addition to reading and studying Scripture, I am Bible journaling. I’ll share some of my creations soon, I promise.
Seek opportunities to improve (i.e. parenting, photography, blog writing, etc.)
Have regular conversations with Lisa January 14 – the shenanigans have begun!
Create a new resume
Get a job with new resume
Join a professional organization and get involved in the local chapter
Finish The Story Bible study
Create and lead a small group for parents with young children
Read 12 books (one per month) 1. Being Christian – Rowan Williams; 2. Captivated By You (Book 4 of The Crossfire Series) – Sylvia Day; 3. Chic & Slim: How Those Chic French Women Eat All That Rich Food And Still Stay Slim – Anne Barone; 4. Fighting Back With Joy – Margaret Feinberg
Keep a prayer journal
Keep a blessings/gratitude jar
Participate in a swap ULTIMATE PISSER-OFFER …. I signed up for a #BoyMomSwap and my partner did not follow the schedule. I should know better than to sign up for these kinds of things, because I’m always disappointed. First of all, it’s past the deadline and I have not received anything from her. Secondly, I spent quite a few days gathering several items for her son, such as toddler-friendly snacks (she has a 10-month-old son), age-appropriate toys, and one of Kamden’s favorites: bubbles. I added to the awesome gift-pack by including some AHAVA hand lotion (that I personally brought back from Israel) for my fellow mom and swap partner. In all, I spent a shiny penny for a woman and her son who I don’t know. Finally, and this really chaps my ass, they live in Canada and I had to pay ridiculous international shipping fees to mail their gift box. If I had to put a dollar amount on the total package, it would be about $70 because half of that was postage. I’m so done with swaps. If I ever get the itch to participate in another one, someone please smack me. (*Update: I received my partner’s gift a week after the swap-meet deadline. I’ll get around to sharing it, eventually.)
Get my hair cut at the start of each season January 16 – hair cut
Have my eyebrows “threaded” by a professional
Get a facial/mani/pedi every other month

FOR KAMDEN

Create a 529 Savings Plan – Opened account and made a significant deposit on January 30
Potty train (no more diapers) by second birthday
Continue weekly classes at The Little Gym January 8 – Kamden was promoted to the “Birds” class (for kids 10-18 months)
Enroll in Kinder-music
Schedule one play date a month
Mommy + Me photo session for Mother’s Day
Plant a tree
Make a special craft or memento
Install book shelves in his bedroom
Read a book before bedtime every night We read books every day, but not before bed. Kamden gets a bath, massaged with lotion, dressed in pajamas, takes a bottle of milk, and goes to sleep. This routine has worked beautifully since he was a newborn and I hate to make adjustments right now.

FOR OTHERS

Surprise Husband with a meaningful gift
Continue donating breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas January 5 – Donated 332 ounces. January 22 – My pumping days are officially over. You can read why here. As sad as I am, I was able to donated 3,300 ounces to the MMBNT.
Donate to a charity
Throw a surprise party for someone
Attend a wedding
Attend a baby shower
Leave a 100% tip for excellent service
Volunteer at least five hours each month January – FAIL! February – FAIL! March – FAIL!
Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
Send a “just because” gift to someone
Send 12 handwritten notes (one per month) I sent a thank-you note to Rev.L for being the most awesome hostess-with-the-mostess when Kamden and I paid her a visit one Sunday. I also send Jamie a congratulations note because she’s opened another photography studio in Nashville and she’s pretty much the coolest, most talented, kick-ass photographer with tattoos I kno.
Send a care package to a soldier
Celebrate special milestones (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) with snail-mail greeting cards January 6 – sent cards to Nana for her 84th birthday

ADVENTURE

Go to Bova for a custom ring design consultation
Go to Bova and have my ring and earrings cleaned
Have a ladies’ night once a quarter February 13 – dinner and movie, March 13 – breakfast with the Zachry’s (and Kamden too)
Attend a college sporting event
Attend a professional sport event
Invest in quality luggage … and use it!
Visit three museums January 6 – Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas; February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library
Visit Ruthie in Austin
Visit Lisa in Virginia
Visit Jenny in North Dakota
Visit Jacqueline in Houston
Visit Heather in Houston
Visit Jen in Arizona
Visit a Presidential Museum February 20 – Clinton Presidential Center & Library in Little Rock, Arkansas
Visit a popular landmark I’ve never seen before
Go to Lake Ouachita (Arkansas) with Husband’s family
Go to Fredericksburg, Texas
Go hunting
Play a round of golf
Go to a drive-in movie
Shoot a bow-and-arrow
Compete in a shooting sport
Complete a fitness challenge
Go paddle boarding
Attend a cooking class
Attend a line dancing class at Billy Bob’s

And for good measure …

JANUARY
Read and study the Bible for 31 consecutive days following a specific reading plan. DONE!

FEBRUARY
Exercise 1,500 minutes in a month, or 75 minutes every week day, and avoid “bad for me” foods. FAIL!

MARCH
Walk a minimum of 8,000 steps every day for 31 days (must wear pedometer). PARTIAL SUCCESS – I wore my pedometer every day but I did not get a minimum of 8K daily steps. But some days were better than others and there were even a few days where I walked in excess of 10K steps, so maybe I averaged 8K instead. I’ll try harder next month.

APRIL
Walk 10,000 steps every day for 30 days. Begin the “Total Transformation” challenge at the gym. Exercise like it’s my job. Purchase a pair of cycling shoes with bike clips.


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Mommy & Me // Jalyn and Miss H

Mother’s Day is coming up soon and I am so excited to share my most recent photo session with a mother-daughter duo I met at The Little Gym. Jalyn and her daughter, Miss H, are precious and all smiles …. though Miss H prefers to stick her tongue out whenever possible!

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If you are in the Fort Worth area and would like to schedule a photo session, please contact me (nicole.m.hutchison at gmail.com). I am especially interested in children’s and family photography, as well as graduating seniors.


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Finish This #66

 

FINISHTHIS2015

Things I miss about being a kid …

not paying bills. Thanks to Husband’s great job and savvy financial skills, we’re secure and fine. But I still worry about the what-ifs and sigh every time I see a bill in the mailbox. Didn’t I just pay that damn thing?!

running through sprinklers, drinking water out of the garden hose, swimming in the lake, fishing at the pond, eating ice cream until my brain froze, and watering the hydrangea bushes with Nannie.

attending preschool at Lollipop Campus.

attending Robards Elementary School.

attending Webster County High School.

drama meant your best friend didn’t sit beside you at the lunch table or played ball with someone else on the playground. Speaking of playgrounds, I went to the principal’s office once in my life (second grade) for sucker-punching Phillip Dixon in the stomach while he hanged on the monkey bars because he wouldn’t stop kicking the back of my chair in the classroom and pulling my hair. I begged Mrs. Neely (the principal) not to contact my parents so we negotiated a plea bargain: I had to write Phillip an apology letter. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do because I wasn’t an ounce sorry for doing what I did. I must’ve been a great writer back then too, because Mrs. Neely believed my transcript and never called Mom or Dad. I finally confessed this moral transgression to my parents on my wedding day, some 16 years later, when I thought it was safe and I wouldn’t get into trouble. Dad laughed but Mom replied, “Nicole Marie, I’m calling Mrs. Neely tomorrow to get the full story and tell her you lied in your letter to Phillip.” I have no doubt the call was made, but Mom won’t admit it.  

sleepovers.

youth group at church.

toilet papering my own house, with the youth group, and laughing about it the whole time.

calling “my crush” only to have his mom or dad answer the phone, YIKES!

I miss being a kid and living life without cell phones, social media, and political correctness. Sometimes, the truth hurts but we need to hear it. If you don’t get picked for the ball team, better luck next time or find a new hobby and don’t expect a ribbon for trying either.

Oh, and let’s not forget Lisa Frank and Trapper Keepers and Caboodles and playing cassette tapes in my Walkman.

Bloggers, please add your post to the link up through the link below. :)

Prompt for Week #67
You have a first date. Where do you go?

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