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Music, Illness, and a Wedding! (7 Quick Takes #13)

6 Jun

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This has been a pretty full week, so much so that I have enough random stuff that I can actually link up with Jennifer and crew at Conversion Diary.

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My younger brother, Jeff, got married last weekend! He married someone whom readers of this blog may be familiar with – my very first Dreamer in the Spotlight, Abby! To most everyone’s surprise, she did not make her own wedding cake, but Jeni’s gourmet ice cream was served all afternoon! It was perfect for a hot day!

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I’ve let my Dreamer in the Spotlight series kind of go by the wayside for the past several months, but another person who I featured last year, Catholic musician Tori Harris, is releasing a new EP this summer. I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to it prior to it’s release this week. I love her sound! Pre-sale copies will be out on iTunes this Sunday! Be sure to check back in the next few weeks for an update post on what Tori’s been doing!

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After a busy wedding weekend, my oldest came down with a cough that turned into a sinus/throat infection complete with conjuctivitis. I’m praying that no one else gets sick since she has been pretty contagious the past few days. Thanks to my mom for taking care of her! Work has been so crazy busy this week that there was no way I could stay home. 😦

When I got home from work on Wednesday, after C was taken to the doctor, it was kind of a funny scene in my front yard. I was on the phone with my mom talking about what the doctor said,  juggling some groceries, calling for my dog that had escaped from the backyard, and walking up to the front door with only one shoe on because the other broke! Wow…

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It’s CMA Fest again in Nashville this week. Adam is the lead tech at LP Field where all the nightly concerts are being held. He had a little scare with the storm that came through Wednesday night, but the tarps held up and all the gear was dry! Hopefully everything runs smoothly the rest of the weekend! He just sent me this pic of Eric Church’s performance! I guess he crept out from behind backstage. It’s as close as I’m going to get to downtown right now! No thank you, crazy traffic!

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I’ve been looking at ways to expand my skills and grow career-wise, so I’m kind of interested in pursuing grant writing. There are a couple workshops coming up later this year in Nashville that I’m considering attending. Anybody out there have experience with writing grants? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

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This weekend, I plan to figure out what project/craft the girls and I will be doing for Adam for Father’s Day. If you have any fun ideas, please share! Last year I posted about 5 free printables. I’m going to go back and check those out or maybe find something different… C said that she’s going to “make the best card that Daddy’s ever seen,” so we probably can’t top that!

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Maybe I spoke too soon about having seven things to talk about…. It’s getting late and my brain can’t think! TGIF! Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

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Travel Diary No. 5

21 Apr

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It has definitely been a Monday today! Anybody else feel the same way?! I’m linking up with Jenny and ladies tonight! Even though the site changed again, I found the new one so I can update my online “Travel Diary” day book (formerly Moments of Grace and Catholic Woman’s Almanac)!!!

Thanking God for…

  • beautiful spring weather
  • being a mommy to two sweet, silly girls
  • Jesus’ death and Resurrection
  • bedtime cuddles

I am praying for…

  • the souls in purgatory
  • to be a holy wife and mother
  • the ending of abortion
  • the intentions of family members, friends, and co-workers

I am pondering…

  • How in the heck do people find time to write?! I’m hard-pressed to find time to squeeze it in each week between the long, stressful work days, house chores, grocery shopping, and mommy duties. Oh how I long to be on a deserted island for a weekend with just a computer and a good book!! 🙂

I am reading…

  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel.  I’m now about a fifth of the way through! I haven’t spent much time on it lately, but I definitely want to read more especially with soon-to-be Saint John Paul’s canonization coming up next week!
  • 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. I just read the chapter on Eric Liddell. The way he used running as a means to get speaking gigs to spread the gospel is inspiring. I haven’t watched Chariots of Fire, but it sounds like his life as a missionary in China after his Olympic days was even more amazing and movie-worthy.

I am creating…

  • Uh….this post? Not much mental space right now for inspiration and creativity, but life is full and filled with blessings!

I’m learning…

  • More about gardening. It’s almost time to transplant my tomato, pepper, and basil plants outside! I have a feeling the hard part is just getting started! I need to harden them off outside but scared the delicate leaves will get destroyed from the wind!

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A 4-5 week update on my plants!

Around the house…

  •  My Little Ponies have taken over! The girls received a total of 6 of them for Easter from us and my parents! We’ll see how long this phase lasts, but they are obsessed right now!

Look what I found…

  • An amazing whole wheat soft-pretzel recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction! I wanted to make them during lent and finally knocked them out on Good Friday. They turned out so well. I’ll definitely be making them again!

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I am looking forward to…

Catholic Underground this weekend! I can’t wait to see Adam sing. It’s been quite the stretch since I’ve seen him perform around town. If you’re in Nashville be sure to head over to St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows! It sounds like we have a good crowd coming! Adoration starts at 7:00 pm.

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A favorite quote for today…

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Have a great Easter week!

Also, linking up here….

A Mama Collective

A Look Back: Our Wedding Song!

17 Apr

While finally catching up on my blogroll the other night, I noticed tons of peeps linking up with Grace to talk about the songs they first danced to at their wedding receptions, so of course I have to get in on this action! I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about music and marriage at the same time!

If you’ve stopped by this blog before, it’s no secret that music is kind of a big part of our lives, considering my husband is a musician and we live in Nashville. I mean, even our girls’ names are music-related!

Pretty early in our dating relationship, Adam introduced Bryan White’s How Lucky I Am CD to me and the whole thing became our, well, CD. Forget having a special song, we had 11 of them! Not including the ones he wrote for me (Man, it’s funny to hear those now)!

Adam and Stef Dancing

Anyway, we chose one of the songs on that CD to be our first dance song, You’ll Always Be Loved (By Me). Aside from the perfect (for us) lyrics, it has an amazing symphony sound that gives the song a great energy!

Here’s the chorus:

When everything is moving fast
It’s hard to stay together
I know that we can make it last
We’ll find a way to weather

Any storm heaven sends
We’ll see it through to the end
We’ll find a way if you can just believe
You’ll always be loved by me

We didn’t have any special dancing skills – we basically swayed and turned around in circles high school-dance style! (Cut us some slack! We lived 400 miles apart for three years before we got married!)

Before we even started our first dance, though, Adam surprised me with a song he had written especially for our wedding. And, yes, I really was completely surprised because he kept telling me that he didn’t want to sing a song because he wanted to focus on us and not his music, so when his groomsman handed him an acoustic guitar and two chairs were brought out to the dance floor I was genuinely caught a little off-guard!

Adam Singing to Stefanie

Adam and Stefanie

I still love this special song so much, and it’s amazing how many of these things actually came true in our life! The song is called Here’s to Me and You. (I planned to share the mp3 of this song, but due to some stupid technical difficulties and formatting issues it has became way more trouble than I ever thought it would be! If I can get it figured out, I’ll come back and update this post with the song!)

Oh, and I can’t talk about the reception without mentioning that I had Adam surprise my dad by singing Butterfly Kisses during our father-daughter dance! Tears!

Father Daughter Dance

What a fun night shared with precious family and friends! I’m excited that my brother’s wedding is less than two months away! I can’t wait to catch up with everyone and celebrate such a great occasion!

I’ve really enjoyed reading about other bloggers’ wedding songs and stories. What a fun link-up idea! So many great songs and moments!

All photos by Dejan Photography

5 Lovely Reflections for Mothers of Girls

1 Apr

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Over the past month, I have come across some very insightful posts about the importance of mothers sharing authentic beauty, truth, and joy with their daughters.  All links below are worthy of your time! These reflections are great reminders and definitely inspirational!

Linking up with Hallie and ladies at Moxie Wife this week!

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Talks With Our Daughters -Treasures from the pages Part 1.

Theresa Thomas shares some great wisdom from the book Talks With Our Daughters by Sister M. Eleanore. There is so much truth and wisdom in Sister’s writing. I will definitely be printing this and sharing with my girls when they are older. I can’t wait until Theresa posts Part 2!

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Finding Balance

This post by Melissa Michaels at (in)courage reminds us to make sure we are living with intention and focusing on serving God instead of being dragged down by to-do lists. It’s definitely something that most women struggle with, I’d say!

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10 Powerful Prayers to Help You Fight for the Heart of Your Daughter

This PDF of ten short prayers based on scripture that Lysa TerKeurst put together is another great resource! I definitely want to incorporate this into my daily prayer time!

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Little Girls, Get Up! Get Up and Eat.

Someone shared this post by Glennon of Momastery on Facebook today. It’s another great message to make us mothers pause and reflect!

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10 Things to Bring Peace, Joy, and Silence in the Midst of One of “Those” Weeks

Mary Wallace wrote this post for CatholicMom.com today. I definitely went through one of “those” weeks last week at work. Mary offers some great ideas of things we can do to give us a little silence and/or stress relief!

What’s Keeping Me Away From My Blog? {7 Quick Takes #13}

28 Mar

I’ve been itching to spend more time writing and reading others’ posts this month, but so much has been going on! And work started getting a little crazy a couple weeks ago so my brain is on overload right now! Happy to be joining Jen and co. for some Quick Takes!

I decided to share what has been keeping me so busy in March (and it wasn’t just filling out my tournament bracket)!

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One of the main things that I have been devoting my time to recently is helping my husband get his website going! He finally has a little space on the internet! There are a couple songs on there, but they still need to mastered and all. I’m just excited that adamshickmusic.com is live! AND I’m excited that the logo I created over a year and a half ago is being put to use!

Adam Shick Music

 

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So far most of the seeds that I started indoors have sprouted! When I took this photo last week, I was still waiting on more than half of them to pop out! I spent a lot of time researching before committing to starting a small raised-bed organic vegetable garden this year, so that definitely consumed time at the beginning of the month.

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 As you can see below, my attempt at nicely organizing our almost 3-year-old’s potty progress throughout the month of March was quickly abandoned! After a stubborn stretch of not wanting to go, she turned a corner yesterday and decided that she really wanted to wear her princess underwear! Let’s hope it continues! 20140328-194237.jpg

 

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One of my goals for the beginning of 2014 was to add some more flair to my home decor, so that our house feels extra welcoming and joyful. After having two babies in the past 5 years, I really haven’t had time to care too much about how the house looks! I made the kitchen wall decor below with scrapbook paper and utensil vectors I found on the internet for free!

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Every week consists of cutting and filing coupons and checking out great sales at Kroger and Publix. Ya know, making sure the family has food to eat is kind of essential on the priority list! And so is saving money! I did score 2 4-packs of toilet paper for 10 cents each and Huggies wipes for 20 cents each among other deals this week!

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We have also been working on getting our oldest daughter into Kindergarten at a nearby Catholic school. She was accepted earlier this month! I plan to post more on our decision making process regarding her education soon…

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Although so much has been going on, I have to give major props to my rock star husband! He is with the girls often during the day before he goes to work in the evenings and I don’t know what I’d do without him!

See these towels below?! Yeah, he folded these for me!

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See the dishes below? Adam hand-washed those. (Something he does regularly I might add!)

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Oh! And he also knocked out some arts and crafts with the girls this week! He found this little project all on his own! He sent this photo to me while I was at work!

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My life is full and I am blessed! Now hopefully in April I’ll be able to squeeze in A LOT more time following my blogroll and writing these posts ideas that are piling up! Have a great weekend!

 

 

Moments of Grace No. 4

10 Mar

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Happy Monday (almost Tuesday), everyone! I’m linking up with Jenny and ladies tonight!

Thanking God for…

  • the beautiful warm weather the past few days
  • my hard-working husband
  • my beautiful, precious, wonderful daughters

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Enjoying yesterday’s sunshine!

I am praying for…

  • the people of Venezuela
  • the souls in purgatory
  • several people and intentions listed in a prayer notebook that I just started

I am pondering…

  • Starting a garden and all the details that go with it. I’ve been doing a lot of research!

I am reading…

I am creating…

  • My small 4×4 raised-bed vegetable garden! I’m starting small! I just ordered my organic non-GMO seeds and bought a seed starting kit today. I plan to do square foot gardening and grow things vertically as much as possible! I’m a little anxious about taking this on, but I’ve been wanting to grow my own vegetables for a long time and I’m determined to make it happen this year! (Any tips are welcome!)

I’m learning…

  • Surprise – all about square foot gardening! I can’t wait to do this with my girls! They will absolutely love watching the tomato and pepper seeds sprout and grow! Let’s just hope I can do this successfully enough to transplant them in the garden once it’s time! I plan to document our adventure in gardening on this blog, so stay tuned!

Around the house…

  • I’ve been decorating my kitchen a little more! I’m obsessed with the light aqua/turquoise color and I’m bringing splashes of it in where I can!

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I got this at Hobby Lobby last week, but my husband isn’t sold on it! I love the color, though! It needs to be hung on the wall!

Look what I found…

  • If you’re interested in where I found my non-GMO seeds, check out SeedsNow! They have an awesome variety of $.99 sampler packs! What’s extra awesome about all of the seeds offered on this site is that they can all be saved after harvest and used the following season, because they are non-hybrid. They also have a long-term shelf life!

I am looking forward to…

  • Another warm day tomorrow! It’s almost spring!
  • My youngest’s 3rd birthday next month!

A favorite quote for today…

Source

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Have a blessed week, friends!

Just Another Day in the Life

2 Mar

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I’m exhausted! It has been a long and kind of crazy day, but I’ll be darned if I don’t post for the final day of the 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge with Jen of Conversion Diary! With the Oscars in the background, I’m going to recap another blessed day in the life of this mommy and her two little daughters! Even though there so many times when I’m like, “Are you serious?”, I’m thankful for every moment!

I took the girls to Mass this morning by myself since Adam had to work today. (Also, the only reason I’m able to watch the Oscars tonight is because he’s not here! Of course, I’d rather have him home, but I like watching award shows once in awhile!) Fortunately, the girls behaved pretty well, although we still have to camp out in the family room each Sunday because Adri (my youngest) has the worst timing when she likes to say (loudly) things like “stinky” and “Are we done yet?” And, yes, both of those were said today. I really hate sitting in the family room, but it’s better than feeling like I’m going to pop a vein due to my impulsive two-year-old!

Anyway, all was well until nap time, when Adri decided that she would take her time falling asleep (unbeknownst to me) and started crying a half hour later just as I was entering through the gates of dreamland. Fortunately, she went to sleep after checking in on her. My oldest hadn’t fallen asleep yet, so this put a wrench in our own naps since Carmen couldn’t get back to sleep after this interruption. I was really looking forward to a nap today, but it wasn’t meant to be!

Apparently, my four-year-old turned into a teenage boy this afternoon, because she about ate me out of house and home! It was like the lunch that would never end! “Mommy, I’m still hungry.” Mommy, I’m still hungry.” “Mommy, I’m stiiiillll hungry.” Yeah…

Meanwhile, Adri was practicing her newly acquired cutting skills at the table. With her little red and blue safety scissors she sure made lots of confetti! I’m pretty sure I swept up a couple hundred pieces of paper over the course of the afternoon! At least it is one activity that she can focus on for more than 2.5 seconds!

In between folding towels and socks, we squeezed in a little dance party in the kitchen while my favorite Pandora station played on the iPad. It’s fun moments like this that make being a mom of girls such a blast! I can try out all the wicked dance moves I want and don’t have to be self-conscious! If only I could spin in endless circles like they can!

I knew it was only a matter of time before my nap-less daughter started acting like she didn’t have a nap today. All of a sudden every little thing became a crisis around dinnertime. It was a good thing that a storm rolled through at that time, because the sound of thunder magically transformed her attitude. It was the perfect distraction! Oh, and turning on Sprout doesn’t hurt either!

I forgot to mention that Carmen has entered that fascination stage with “potty” words and name calling. So all day I’m hearing variations of “Booty Butt”, “Booty Boo”, “Boo Boo”, and so on. Hope this little phase doesn’t last too long! Oh, and sprinkle in lots of “Moooooommmmmyyyyyyy” throughout the day, too! Somehow a couple extra syllables get thrown in whenever my two-year-old draws it out extra slowly, and extra irritatingly.

Pajama time, clean-up, and the whole bedtime routine went well tonight. My four-year-old inspected the job that her younger sister and I did putting away the toys in the basement. She stated, “You didn’t clean up like I wanted you to, so I organized them.” Yep, that’s Carmen for ya!

This 7 Posts, 7 Days thing has caught up with me, so I’m ready for bed. Have a great week, everyone! We made it!

Goal Planning for March: Gardening, Lent, and Potty Training

28 Feb

Have I mentioned how much I love Lara Casey’s PowerSheets on this blog yet? I think I have at least three times, already! Seriously, though – amazing!

I spent part of yesterday evening preparing for the new month and, of course, Lent, since it’ll be here, like, immediately. March will be full of potty training my almost three-year-old, putting together Lenten activities for the girls, and planning my youngest’s birthday. I know that Holy Heroes and Catholic Icing will be helping me out a lot! I really want to make homemade soft pretzels!

The big project that I’d like to tackle as the weather warms up is starting a small garden. I’m a little hesitant about this since I tend to kill plants and we have a ton of squirrels in our neighborhood, but I would really like to be able to grow some vegetables in our own backyard! I think the girls would absolutely love helping with the whole process! It just seems like a win-win-win! Healthy+Inexpensive+Educational! I plan to keep things as simple as possible. We’ll see how it all works out!

Photo source: A Bird and A Bean

The above image is the one I see in my mind with our girls, but I’m sure it won’t look so pretty in reality! I ‘m sure there will be dirty hands and clothes. And I know for a fact my girls won’t be wearing dresses while watering the garden!

One of the things that I mentioned in yesterday’s 7 Quick Takes post is that I want to put Facebook in it’s place during Lent. Maybe only get on once per day for 5 minutes or something like that. Or only check it on Sundays. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I want to handle it. I think I’ve been mentally preparing myself for this, because I haven’t really checked it much at all in the past week. I’m really impressed with Emily who posted the other day about how she totally deleted her account because she felt she was spending way too much time on there.

I haven’t been doing too hot in regards to my exercise goal so far this year. I started exercising at the end of January and then a week later three out of the four of us in the house came down with the flu, so that pretty much halted my short-lived progress in that area. I think with spring just around the corner, my motivation will get a boost!

I can’t believe this is the 6th day in a row of posts for me! Speaking of March, I probably won’t have anything left to talk about for the rest of the month now! Only one day left in the 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge with Conversion Diary and Co.!

What sorts of goals are you working on this year?! Any great Lenten ideas/activities that you do in your family?

Meet My Two Little Girls!

27 Feb

When referring to my girls on this blog (currently ages 4 and 2), I’ve been pretty hesitant to use their full names. I know that’s a little odd for a Catholic blogger, but I just don’t feel quite comfortable with plastering photos of them with the possibility of being seen by some random crazy person browsing the internet! Maybe I’m being a little paranoid, but today I’m making an exception! I’m linking up with Kathryn of Team Whitaker to talk about the stories behind our girls’ names! {Congratulations, Kathryn, on your new baby!}

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Carmen Sofia 

Let me just say that I had no idea how incredibly difficult it would be for us to agree on a name for our first born daughter! I felt like 99% of my name ideas were rejected by my husband. To be fair, I rejected most of the name ideas that he had!

About a year before we even knew we were pregnant, Adam co-wrote a song titled, “Sophia,” that was a beautiful lullaby-type song from a father to his daughter. He really liked this name and we thought that it would be neat to name her after this song. However, it was a very popular name especially a few years ago, and as one of three “Stephanies” in my elementary class I did not want her to have such a common name. We decided to keep this name as a middle name and change the “ph” to “f” since that is how my name (Stefanie) is spelled. Bonus: Sofia means wisdom, so that can’t hurt, right?!

Carmen was a name that I had liked for awhile. Once I discovered that it meant “song” in Latin, I think that sealed the deal for Adam and me! I liked that it was a fairly uncommon name- at least among white Americans! I’m sure there are several women with the name Carmen Sofia all over South America and Spain!

When we started telling people what her name would be, a couple responses I heard were, “Is that a family name?” and “Are you going to call her Sofia?” Basically that meant, “Why on earth would you name your child Carmen?”  I loved her name, though, and it didn’t affect our final decision, obviously!

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Adriana Grace

This time around, I made sure that we found out the gender before we even began discussing baby names. I figured it would cut our arguments discussions in half!

Since we went with a music theme with our first daughter, we wanted to incorporate that in some way for our second girl. One of Adam’s favorite musicians is Vince Gill. He always loved the song “Pretty Little Adriana.” I thought this was a beautiful name and had ear-marked it in the back of my mind.

We did consider her first name to be Grace with Anna as a middle name, but her initials would have been GAS, and I wasn’t going to do that! So, we settled on Grace as her middle name! All in all, we spent about one evening seriously discussing her name before deciding! It was much easier than the first time!

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Carmen meeting Adriana for the first time! She couldn’t get enough of her!

This is Day 4 of the 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge with Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary! I’m over halfway done now! Woohoo!

Five Favorites (vol. 20)

25 Feb

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Day 2 of 7 Posts in 7 Days with Jennifer of Conversion Diary! I’m linking up with Hallie and ladies at Moxie Wife! Here are some of my recent, random faves!

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Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a favorite (yet), but I am excited about Private Lives of Nashville Wives on TNT! I’m mostly interested in following Bryan White and his wife. He is one of Adam’s musical idols! AND his How Lucky I Am CD was basically our dating soundtrack and we danced to “You’ll Always Be Loved By Me” for our first dance at our wedding reception! Plus, I’m always interested in anything that has to do with Music City!

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Have you checked out FOCUS’ 30 Catholics Under 30 List yet?

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Evernote

I just started using the Evernote app a few months ago, and I LOVE it! Why did I wait so long to try it out? It’s a list-maker’s dream!

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I’ve seen this movie so many times, but I haven’t watched it in awhile! I think I’m going to pull this one off the shelf soon! Cue Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”!

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Happy Birthday to the best dad in the world! 🙂