Browsing Tag

lifestyle blogger

How To, Inspiration

My 2017 Vision Board + How to Make Your Own

2017 felt like the birth of many big dreams for me.  And not just dreams that I wanted to start chasing, but dreams that I wanted to start living.  I actually wrote about all that, here-my dream to really commit to growing this blog.  I also set goals for myself in areas like motherhood and family life.  In the midst of realizing my dreams and goals, and determining that I was going to start living them out now, I began making a plan of how to keep myself inspired.  I don’t know about you, but I am a very visual, have-to-see-things-on-paper type person.  I am the type of a person that if I don’t write out a to-do list, nothing will get done!  (bad bad, I know!)  So I knew that my plan to start living my dreams would not become much of a reality if I didn’t create a “roadmap,” of sorts, of how that was going to look.  A vision board seemed to be the perfect tool!

I love creating “mood boards” in my house!  I have so many bulletin board collages of pictures that just inspire me, scattered throughout my house.  But for this, I wanted to create a vision board for 2017.  I wanted to fill it with words that inspired me and pictures that motivated me.  This vision board is to encourage me every time I sit down to write on my blog, to remind myself of why I am doing it and what I want to accomplish.  It is to help me take a breath when motherhood is overwhelming me and remind myself that I am enough.  This board is to reassure me that it is okay to simplify my life, to do less with more focus, and to say NO sometimes.  And more than anything, I want this board to remind me that God is making a way in my life, that He has plans for me, that I only have to have faith and take the risk!

On my vision board, I included pictures of my little family (because they are my biggest motivators), images of coffee and flowers (because I feel energized and focused by both), quotes about taking risks and going after things (because the fear of stepping out can psych me out), and pictures of cameras (because I want to become better at photography and I want to finally start a YouTube channel).  I could probably fill up 10 vision boards full of inspirational things, but this was a good start!

If you want to make a vision board to get inspired to start living your dreams, here is a list of what you will need:

  • Framed cork board or other board of your choice
  • Fabric to cover board
  • Staple gun
  • Ribbon
  • Push pins or spray adhesive to attach your pictures
  • Pictures, images and quotes that inspire you!

I recommend that you take some time, sit down with a cup of coffee or tea-planner, journal, inspirational books in hand-and write down your goals for 2017.  Just take some time and envision your life.  Think about where you are right now and where you want to be.  Once you have determined this, you can fill in all the in between steps.  Don’t create goals that are unattainable within a certain time frame.  Create small, achievable goals you can meet along your journey.  Remember, life is not just about an end destination-this one place or thing that will finally make you happy.  It is about the journey-what you learn along the way through trials, missteps, triumphs and success.  I firmly believe that when we envision the life God has for us and truly believe that He wants great things for us, we will succeed and flourish and live a fulfilling life!  Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: . . .”

Friends, I believe that God wants us to dream and dream big.  He wants us to have a vision for our life.  There is nothing wrong with making plans for your life when you are following God’s prompting.  If He has given you a talent, a calling, a prodding or a dream, go for it!  Follow after it!  Live it!  Live your life with intention.  Live it to the fullest.  Don’t believe the lies of the devil or the discouragement of others when they say you can’t do something; because, you can do anything you put your mind to.

So fill your vision board with words and images that will draw you closer to your goals and that life you envision for yourself.  Every time you look at it, be inspired that you are capable to achieve and live out your dreams.  This first month of 2017 was great, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for my family and yours.

If you create your own vision board, I’d love to see it and be encouraged in watching you live out your dreams!  So tag me @thegrowingnest or use the hashtag #growingthenestvisionboard on Instagram so I can see your creation!  Remember, we rise by lifting others; let’s lift each other up and cheer each other on as we live our dreams in 2017.

 

Fall, Reading Lists

November Reading List

*This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you choose to use these links, I may get a small commission for connecting you to the source.  I only share links to products I love and use, and that I believe will benefit you.*

Happy November, friends!! I can’t believe we are already here.  Time flies!  For the month of November, as well as the months ahead, one of my goals is to make it a priority to read good books.  Somewhere in the midst of motherhood, I have forgotten to pick up a book and read.  In the moments I find myself with down-time, instead of clicking on Netflix and spending mindless time watching a show, I want to spend meaningful time reading a book that will inspire me.  I don’t know about you, but inspiration is what drives me and encourages me and motivates me to take action.  And in this season of life, I need a little motivation and inspiration!

I put 3 books on my list to read this November, and they will all be linked below.  I know that may not be a lot to some, but-baby steps!  (I have a little one I’m chasing around!)

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Loving My Actual Life.

One thing I have been struggling with lately in my personal life is contentment.  I often find myself feeling dissatisfied with where I am at and what I am doing.  I get caught up in comparing myself to everyone else-even though I know this steals the joy from my own life.  Alexandra Kuykendall addresses these very topics in her book, and I can’t wait to find some inspiration and truth in it.

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Present Over Perfect.

If you are a perfectionist-like I sometimes am-I am sure you understand the struggle of pressuring yourself to ‘do do do’ or ‘be be be,’ and perform this all perfectly.  Sometimes in our struggle to be perfect, we end up just failing to be present-missing out on precious moments and the ordinary.  Present Over Perfect seemed like a great book to pick up as I learn how to refocus this mindset in my life.

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The Magnolia Story.

I love Chip and Joanna Gaines.  I mean, doesn’t everybody?!  The countdown is on for the season 4 premiere on November 29th.!  I just enjoy watching these two on the show and also hearing their testimony, and seeing them live out their faith for the world to see.  It is absolutely inspiring.  I am excited to read their book and learn more about their life and their story!

If you know someone who could be encouraged by these books, they make great, inexpensive birthday or Christmas gifts!  They are already on my list for some friends of mine.

That is my reading list for the month of November!  What are you currently reading?  Have you read any of these books?  Did you like them?  I cannot wait to dive in and get inspired.

Happy Reading, friends!

sean (1)

Family

Seasons of Change

You know what I realized lately?  I have never written a blog post where I am just talking to you guys!  I have never written a post where I just rambled on letting you know what is going on in my life.  I’m not sure why I haven’t.  Maybe I thought no one would be interested in hearing any of that, and if that’s the case, that is totally okay!  But, I feel like if I want you all to get to know me as a person, just talking is one of the best ways. Anyways. . .

I have found myself in this season lately. . . a season of change.  You know that place in your life where you have come to a crossroads and you are about to head down a brand new path.  That place of exhilaration, yet complete panic.  Excitement, yet hesitation.  Happiness, but the bittersweet kind.  That kind of change.  The change that upsets your “normal” and refocuses your whole life.  Change that turns your routine, schedule, plans and comfort zone-upside down.

In the last couple of weeks, Matthew and I have had to start discussing moving.  As some of you might know, Matt is in the Coast Guard and 2017 is our year to PCS (permanent change of station).  Honestly, not long after we moved here, I began saying “I can’t wait to move!”  I struggled with all the change at first.  Matt and I were newlyweds, I had never lived away from home (and then I moved 1,000 miles from home), I had never been away from my family, I left friends, I left college, I left everything about my “old life” behind and started a new one with Matt and the military.  It was strange and new and I thought I didn’t like it.  I eventually got used to life, and moving taught me so much about myself, and it grew Matt and I as a couple.  I wouldn’t change anything about moving here and the life we have.  And it feels like I have just recently gotten comfortable.  Like I just came to terms with the fact that this is my home, and I love it; and now we are coming up on our next move. . .

 

Doesn’t it seem like just when you get comfortable, when you find your “normal,” when you accept that ‘this is where you’re at,’ things change?  Instead of feeling like I can’t wait to move, I have realized that I’m going to miss it here.  I’m going to miss this life we built.  I’m going to miss this house that was the first place we lived as a married couple.  I’m going to miss this place where I brought our baby girl into the world.  I’m going to miss these memories we have made.  And as I sit here and type (while crying like a baby), I wish I would have held onto more moments.  I wish I would have lived more, and loved more.  I wish I would have lived in the now and not worried about the future so much.

Change has a way of making you recognize everything you would have done differently.  I could look back and wish and wish and wish, but that serves no purpose.  Instead, I have found myself stepping out. . .  I’m trying to do things I have never done before.  I’m trying to soak in every trip to the beach.  Every sunrise.  Every drive.  All the ordinary things, too.  Because I know I’m going to miss it.  And even though when I think about moving I feel scared and unsure and sometimes terrified, I’m also so excited!  It is so cool that we get a fresh start!  A do-over.  A new beginning.  A new path.  A new life.  We get to write a brand new story!

When I was thinking about this, I thought about some verses that I loved in high school. . .

“This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies– they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand new.  It’s bursting out!  Don’t you see it? There it is!”  Isaiah 43:16-19

My goal is to live in the now, to be present.  Even though I am going to be stretched wayyy outside my comfort zone and everything about our future is unclear, I am going to embrace the brand new that God has up ahead for me and my little family.  In this season of change, I’m choosing to be content where I am at and where I am headed.

Change.  Is anything in your life changing?  If so, let me know.  I’d love to pray for you.  I think we all know how scary change can feel sometimes.  Also, is there anything that makes change easier for you to handle?  What do you do?

Thanks for listening, friends.  I hope you have a beautiful Friday and a wonderful weekend.

sean (1)

Baby, Fall

Fall 2016 Baby Capsule Wardrobe

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*Disclaimer:  This post is NOT sponsored, I just really love these clothes and companies!  If I ever do a sponsored post, I will disclose it at the beginning of the post.  I do not own the images of these products, they are property of the online retailers-which you can find at the below links.*

Capsule wardrobes seem to have become a “trend” lately-and rightfully so-because it is such a great idea!  When it comes to dressing my little girl, it is pretty much necessary for me to have pieces that will mix and match together, as well as core pieces that will build her wardrobe.  Also, I am always looking for a good sale!  That is why I do the majority of my shopping at Old Navy, Carters, or Target.  Most of these pieces are from Old Navy because their fall line for baby girls was on point!

I love shopping at Old Navy because they have adorable, on-trend fashion for my baby, they have affordable prices, and they are ALWAYS running great sales!  I feel that Avary always looks put together and trendy without breaking the bank.

As far as accessories go, like bibs, scarves, bows, and headwraps, I like to shop small!  I always find unique, cute pieces this way.  If I could afford to shop small for all of Avary’s clothes, I totally would-it’s just not in the budget right now.  So if you need a little inspiration on how to shop for your baby girl, shop the links included below!  All links follow the order of the pictures from left to right.

Also, for your reference.  Avary is 8.5 months old and wears a size 6-9 months or 6-12 months.  She is on the petite-side and has room to grow in these sizes, which will be great to transition some of these into wintertime, as well.

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Floral Swing Dress. | Gray Cardigan. | Cream Cardigan. | Striped Swing Dress.

These swing dresses are so cute and easy to build an outfit around!  You can pair them with flats at the beginning of fall when it is still warm, or pair them with tights and boots once it starts getting chilly.  And these cardigans, oh!!  I love them so much!  They are dainty and sweet and look great with jeans, leggings, or dresses.  They are knit, but surprisingly warm.  I wish they had them in my size!

Pink Ruffled Leggings. | Pom Pom Beanie. | Kishu Baby Bib. | Striped Ruffled Leggings.

Old Navy’s leggings for baby girls are ADORABLE because they have ruffles on the bum!  Who doesn’t love a ruffly baby bum?!  A beanie is essential for any fall wardrobe, as well and I love this one with pom poms.  Also, these bibs from Kishu baby are amazing!  I love them because they look more like fashionable baby scarves than bibs so they make a great accessory + drool-catcher for a teething babe.  They are made of cotton muslin so they are super soft and breathable.

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LOVE Bodysuit. | Fringe Booties. | 6 Pack Socks. | Gold Moccasins. | Pink Graphic Bodysuit

Bodysuits are just essential for my baby.  I like putting Avary in regular shirts, but they inevitably ride up and her belly and back are always hanging out.  When it is chilly outside, I just prefer having some cute, graphic bodysuits!  These ones are great and inexpensive.  Old Navy has the cutest baby shoes! (I am probably saying ‘cute’ and using exclamation points way too much, so I apologize-but I can’t help it).  I love these fringe booties for everything and their moccasins are great, as well.

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Strappy Black Ballet Flats. | Kishu Baby Bib. | WildSunshine Threads Headwrap.

More shoes and bibs. . . I just LOVE.  This headwrap from WildSunshine Threads is so classic.  If you love big bows, you will love this.  Go follow them on Instagram-you won’t be disapointed!

Roll-cuffed Jeggings. | Fox Knee-Highs. | Cable-Knit Tights. | AWESOME Graphic Tee.

When I say Avary lives in these jeggings, I am really not exaggerating.  I don’t know what it is about them, but they look great!  They have a great stretch-just like a legging, they are cuffed at the bottom which I like so they don’t drag on the ground, and they have the stitching of pockets and seams to make them look realistic.  Score!  Every little girl needs a pair of fox knee-highs.  Enough said. (HA)  The graphic tee that says Awesome is from Carters and it is a great basic and layering piece.

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BEAUTIFUL 2-piece Pajamas. | Utility Jacket. | Floral 2-piece Pajamas.

You are probably going to think I am ridiculous, but the first time I put Avary in 2 piece pajamas, I about cried!  I mean, zip up jammies mean your baby is little, right?!  At least, to me it does.  When I put her in 2 pieces, it meant she was a big girl!  I don’t know why, I am just weird (LOL).  I love these ones from Old Navy, though, because they are super soft and snug fitting.  I use them when I put her in a sleep sack for bedtime if it is chilly.  Last but not least, this army green utility jacket is everything!! It just screams fall and I love it.

Let me know in the comments what YOUR favorite stores are to shop at for your baby!  Or do you have a small shop?  I’d love to check it out, so let me know!  Happy shopping, mamas!

sean (1)

 

 

Fall, Food

Trader Joe’s: Fall Favorites

Trader Joe’s is one of my absolute favorite grocery stores to shop at for my family.  I don’t know if it is just something about the “neighborhood-feel” of the store, since it is much smaller than the traditional grocery store, or the yummy specialty items they carry, or the fact that there prices are SO affordable-I just love everything about it!  Well, and Trader Joe’s + Fall = Awesomeness!

Let’s be honest, putting pumpkin in everything come fall time makes any product more marketable, am I right?  Just the other day, I saw a “fall harvest” spaghetti sauce. . .  Doesn’t sound very appealing to me, but it is on the shelf because someone is buying it! (Ha!)  Anyways, I love love many of Trader Joe’s special fall items so I thought I’d share with you 4 of my current faves.

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Spiced Cider.  If you find yourself unable to get to a local orchard, or you just don’t feel like spicing cider yourself, you need to try this cider!!  It is so yummy and basically tastes like fall in a cup.  It’s refreshing cold or delicious warmed up.

Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal.  I am a big oatmeal fan.  Ever since breastfeeding, I eat it all the time.  I’m always looking for ways to spice my oatmeal up so I was excited to try this, and mmm it is tasty!  Add a few fresh pecans to the top, some dried cranberries, and chia seeds and you have a hearty, healthy, delicious breakfast!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread.  Guys, my food weakness is bread, bagels, croissants, baguettes, biscuits, rolls. . . basically anything that is a carb. . . (ha!) So when I saw this cream cheese, I knew I had to try it on a bagel or some cinnamon toast.  Oh my goodness, this stuff is delicious!  Definitely dangerous but so very worth it.

Pumpkin O’s.  If I eat cereal, I am a basic cereal person.  I think Cheerios are great even though they are super plain.  So why not add a little variety to your Cheerios?  These are fun and yummy for fall and great with some fresh fruit on top and Trader Joe’s vanilla almond milk!

So there you have it!  Some of my favorite fall finds at Trader Joe’s!  Do you shop at Trader Joe’s?  What’s your favorite fall specialty item they sell?  If you would like a part 2 of this, comment down below!

Happy Fall, friends!!

sean (1)

 

Family

Our Fall Bucket List + Family Traditions

Happy Fall, ya’ll!

Okay, I don’t ever say ya’ll, but the little saying is cute so I went with it! (ha!)  Anyways, Happy Fall!  If you’re like me-or like any basic woman or mom out there-you love fall.  Autumn is by far my favorite season!  I just love the coziness of it, the start of routines and traditions, the food, the smells, the coffee, the cider, the pumpkins, the apples, the baking, the fashion, the Bath and Body Works candles. . . okay, I’ll stop now because my list is later!  I also love the fall because it is like the start of the holiday season, and it just reminds me of all the goodness right ahead.

So every year, I always formulate a “bucket list” in my head of things I want to do for the season, but I never have actually written it down.  This year, I decided to create my bucket list and share it with you all and maybe you will get some inspiration to go out and make sweet memories this fall!

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Now I know what every parent means by seeing through your children’s eyes.  I’m so excited to share the fall and the upcoming holiday season with Avary.  I can’t wait to help her pick out her very own baby pumpkin and watch Matt help her pick apples from the trees.  I can’t wait to see the look on her face when she plays in a pile of crunchy leaves (she loves anything that makes a crunch noise!).  It is just so fun to get to experience all her ‘firsts’ with her!

What I also love about the fall is the little family traditions Matthew and I have created together.  I love how family traditions are formed through influences we both had as children and what we did with our own families.  Every fall season we find a local apple orchard and pick apples that are in season, get a gallon of apple cider, buy some apple butter, and get some tasty treats like apple cider donuts or caramel apples.  I did this with my mom every single fall and it is such a special memory for me.  I can’t wait to create these memories with Avary.  A trip to the pumpkin patch was something Matthew and I both did with our families.

I don’t know about you but the crisp, cold air in the fall just puts me in the mood to bake and make yummy, warm food!  Some of my favorite things to make in the fall are recipes passed down from my mom like: pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, pecan tartlets, and blondie brownies.  I also love making slow cooker meals like: beef stew, chili, potato soup, and chicken tortilla soup.  This year, I’d like to try baking double chocolate zucchini bread and pumpkin scones!

Here is the link to my go-to Beef Stew recipe from Butter With a Side of Bread and the recipe for double chocolate zucchini bread I am going to try from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Butter With a Side of Bread

Sally's Baking Addiction

Sally’s Baking Addiction

You can find all the fall recipes I’m loving and all the fall goodness I’m pinning here!

So what is on your fall bucket list?  Do you have special traditions you do with your family?  Share them with us all below!  Excuse me while I go drink a glass of Trader Joe’s spiced cider!  Happy Fall!

sean (1)