Ep8- “Daring to Dream”, with Manwell Reyes of Group 1 Crew

Play the episode here

Hey folks!!

I’ve been super excited to share today’s episode with you!! I had the unexpected privilege of meeting Manwell Reyes through the great platform of Instagram stories and he agreed to record a podcast with me, and let me tell you, it’s gold!!

Some of you may know him as the former lead singer of Group 1 Crew, or for his role in the “Mom’s Night Out” movie, and some of you may know him for his fabulous Comedian wife, Anjelah Johnson. (Bon Qui-Qui, anyone?). He has a track record of dreaming big, shooting for the stars and accomplishing all he sets out to do. In this episode, he unleashes his passion for helping others realize and chase after their dreams, something we ALL can relate to having!


Go check him out on his new podcast called “Nights at the Round Table; the very round table”

And go follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/manwellreyes/



Life-Hacks, Fashion tips & Packing Tricks for Your Trip to Disneyland



Hi there, friend! 

Are you one of the lucky many who gets to travel to the magical world of Disneyland this year?  I went last summer with my oldest two children on a special trip with some of my extended family, and as I prepared for the trip, felt so much pressure to find the right pieces to wear, both cute & practical!  As a wardrobe stylist, I FREQUENTLY have clients ask me to help them for their trip to the Magic Kingdom, so I decided to take some notes (and pictures) of things I’d packed, as well as photos of random strangers I met there that were dressed smart-cute for the park… I hope this has some great suggestions for you to not only last the entire day but feel cute doing it, especially since you’ll be “cheesin'” it up for so many pictures!

***If you haven’t planned your trip yet but want some expert advice and guidance, book with Deann Samuel, an experienced travel agent specializing in Disney Vacations that I know and trust.  She works hard to make sure you have a great time within your budget, and her services are free!  You can follow her on Instagram too!***

Deann & Goofy

Deann Samuel, travel planner, specializing in Disney vacations.


Tips for the Park…

  1. Firstly, check out the weather for the days you’ll be there, and write it down with your outfit ideas for each day… bring this organizer with you to help you remember on those early, foggy-brained mornings.  I did this for the first time this year and it was SO HELPFUL, and if you have kiddos you’re packing too, it’ll help a lot.  This is what my chart looked like… I took inspiration from a blog (which I can’t find now, I’m so sorry if it was you!), and adapted her form slightly to my preferences.  This was helpful so I didn’t forget some of the outfits I’d packed and was able to have some variety in my wardrobe.  You’re welcome to use it (pictured below, downloadable .pdf here: Travel Packing Planner)Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.02.54 AM
  2. Secondly, be prepared with easy layers!!  At Disneyland (Disneyworld is a different climate!), the mornings and evenings are anywhere from 15-25 degrees F cooler than the afternoons, so you’ll need them! They have day-time lockers that are $7-$10 a day and are well worth the expense, especially so you don’t have to lug around extra (or dry) clothes all day! (See #6 for more on the lockers)
  3. PHONE re-charge BATTERY PACK…Disneyland had these available in a type of vending machine to rent for the day but they were $30/day… yikes!  Save some money, plan ahead, and if you don’t own one, find one at Amazon or even pop into places like Burlington or Marshall’s for a discounted one before you travel.   I bought a great one at Burlington for $12.99 before our trip. (Tip: the lockers at California Adventure had chargers built in so you could lock up your charging phone).


Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.06.37 AM

  1. Thirdly, WEAR GOOD SHOES!!  We walked an average of 10-12 miles each day, and all of us were feelin’ it, young and old!  Wearing good sneakers with quality arch support is my preference because it’s no fun being miserable at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Suggested styles:

  • Sneakers
  • Toms flats with memory foam
  • Hiking sandals
  • Supportive slides or flip-flops

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.05.51 AM

  1. FIRST AID necessities:
    • Hand Sanitizer.  Duh- I know.  But seriously.  My son returned from his first trip to Disneyworld during Christmas break (with friends) with a strain of the flu, putting his fever over 106 on Christmas morning.  Don’t forget the sanitizer!
    • Neosporin and bandaids.  Above said son also developed blisters on his feet from the rub of his shoes from all the walking when I took him to Disneyland in the summer… Disney first aid office has this if you don’t, but it’s easy to carry and will save you the long walk to their first aid office.
    • EMERGEN-C vitamin packets!!!  Take these before bed (or at breakfast, but I prefer bedtime so it can work on the immune system while we sleep) to keep your immune system high, as well as your energy.  Remember, you’ll be eating more treats most likely, and while that’s fun, it also lowers the immune system for hours… while you’re surrounded by thousands of people.  So, play it safe, bring these packets to easily add to water… my kids love them!  They’re safe to take morning AND evening if you just want to double up.
    • IBUPROFEN… for the achy-ness of walking so much!
    • WATER.  You’re allowed to bring bottled water into the park (as long as it’s sealed), and you can easily store it in a locker.  In the heat and fun it’s easy to overlook staying hydrated but this is very important… you don’t want dehydration, nausea and dizziness to ruin a good day!  (Also discovered by above-said-son… he was apparently delicate this summer LOL)
  1. LOCKERS!!  We do this every time as they’re so useful for those extra layers you won’t need till closer to 5 pm, or for dry clothes in case you hit all the water rides… walking in wet jeans causes major chaffing… no fun!  We also kept our extra water-bottles, snacks and souvenirs in the lockers, which conserves energy not having to lug it around all day.  img_1141
  2. PONCHO disposable rain coat.  I believe they sell these at the Park at California Adventure near the River Rapids ride.  But, you’ll spend a fortune buying theirs.  I suggest this 6-pack on Amazon, or hitting up your local walmart to grab a disposable plastic poncho in case of rain, or if you really want to hit the super wet rides without staying wet all day.
  3. SNACKS!!  You’re allowed to bring these in too, and I recommend keeping a stash in your locker, as well as a few munchies in your bag for those long lines that get you stuck when your tummy starts talkin’.  This helps keep your energy (and spirits!) high to get the most out of your day.  No one likes a “Hangry” friend at Disney!
    • Snack ideas:
      • Belvita breakfast crackers (sustaining and easy to eat)
      • Trail Mixes
      • Apples/Oranges/Grapes
      • Beef Jerky
      • Cheese sticks
      • Apple Sauce pouches
      • Granola Bars
      • Protein Bars
      • Other easy-to-pack snacks (avoid crumbly items, they’ll get crushed in your bag on the rides)  Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.06.02 AM

If you’re traveling with really young kiddos, there are some great blog posts with ideas for traveling with littles.  Mine were 10 & 12 so they were pretty easy to do the park and festivities with, but here are some great blogs for traveling with the young ones!  


Now onto CLOTHES!!




When I style clients for a Disney trip, I think of a few staples:

  1. Poolside clothingBathing suit and a cover up, which a Kimono is wonderful for as it can double over a tank and shorts for an outfit during the day; you might not wear this at the park (unless you’re hitting the water park at Disneyworld) but you’ll definitely use it at the hotel or nearby beach!  For guys, opt for “hybrid” shorts that can go from swimming to lunching and air-dry really quickly.
  2. Sneakers or flats for walking around the park, or super comfortable sandals.  Memory foam/arch support is essential!
  3. Shorts!! It’s warm in the afternoons.
  4. Jeans/joggers… it’s chilly in the evenings. 🙂
  5. Tank tops or lightweight knit tops in fun colors for fun pictures.
  6. An outer layer, like a hoodie, denim jacket or warm cardigan… any of these can be thrown on over anything, even a dress, and still look cute.
      • Denim jacket
      • Chambray button up top (looks like a denim button up, but is lighter, great for layering and tying around the waist)
      • A hoodie/sweatshirt
      • Pair of jeans/pants for the evening
      • A hat can be great in the afternoon for keeping the sun off your face.
  7. A chambray or flannel shirt (this kind of top isn’t quite warm enough for the evening if it dips to the 50’s, but is great for keeping the sun off your arms and easy to throw on over a dress or tank for a lightweight extra layer if the temps are in the 60’s.)
  8. A dress when it’s really warm out!  A knee-length fit-and-flare or shift dress, or a fitted knit dress, can look adorable with sneakers that coordinate… capturing a little of that girly yet athleisure style that’s popular right now.
  9. img_7722**Pro-tip:Try to avoid 100% polyester ANYTHING for wearing at the park… it doesn’t breathe and will have you sweating (and stinking!) all day long.  Opt for cotton, linen, and rayon blends to keep cool and dry-er, although be forewarned that 100% in any of those tend to wrinkle easily.  For best options, a blend of any of them, including spandex, can hold up better to all day wear.  Stretchy knits are your friend to avoid wrinkles and stay comfortable.**
  10. A Backpack or Cross-body purse to stay hands free.  I personally prefer a back pack because it keeps the weight centered and helps keep you from feeling lopsided during the day while you tote snacks, water, wallets and the like around the park.  My sister tried a cross-body messenger style bag and ended up sticking it in the locker because it was too burdensome… I, however, never wore out from my back pack.  Also, when picking a back pack, try to avoid leather or vinyl/nylon… they’ll have you sweating!! Find something breathable like a sturdy knit fabric or denim.  I chose mine in a print that complemented every outfit I wore too, so it became a fashion accessory as well… bonus!

    Disney18- Jen Sarah cars up close

    My twin sister and I in Cars Land, California Adventure park at Disneyland with my striped backpack that matched everything!


Morning: high waist shorts + cropped tank + sneakers + Long cardigan to keep warm.        Evening: Swapped for jeans + Denim jacket instead


When I got dressed every day, I planned for a warm afternoon and a chilly evening (it dipped into the 50’s/60’s when I was there in early June).  There are people there dressed as Disney characters, dressed in Disney themed colors (think blue, yellow and red for Snow White), dressed in next to nothing… dressed like they walked out of a fairy tale… dressed like they got ready with their eyes closed… and like they just came off a magazine cover… so basically, sky’s the limit!  But if you’re like me, I like to look cute when I know I’ll be in lots of pictures because, well, I just like the pictures better when I feel cute.   And of course, any experience is more enjoyable when I feel good about how I look.  Maybe that’s uber female, maybe that’s human nature, maybe you’re the same way or maybe you aren’t, but either way, I kept my eyes peeled for various styles of dress that were both cute and functional, and had fun capturing these sweet souls so you’d have some ideas to spin off of.  If you’re gonna get dressed, you might as well make it cute!!


Day 1: Channeling Minnie!  Day 2: Same 😉 Day 3: Rockin’ that crop top/high waist shorts!   I wore jeans in the evening with each of these, and my denim jacket or a hoodie to keep warm. (And, I’ve never worn Mickey ears at Disney… one day I will!)

I took the above photos to give you some ideas of what I wore but I also wanted to capture the various styles we saw while there, for various body shapes and ages (and genders!). My sister and I had a blast stopping people and complimenting their outfits, asking them if they’d be willing to be on my blog.  So, shout out to you lovely people who were willing to stand and smile so I could capture your fashion genius… thanks so much!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks for reading! I hope these tips make preparing for you trip easier, and more stylish for all those photos you’ll be snapping! 

Don’t forget, if you need help planning your trip, I recommend Deann Samuel (my sister-in-law) who can be found on Facebook at @DeAnnSamuelKTTW and has been helping family’s have their dream vacations since July 2017! 

Also, for more styling tips and advice, come follow at @jenileesamuelstyling on Instagram!  



#disney #disneyland #waltdisneyworld #epcot #world #magickingdom #trip #day #Christmas #summer #California #losangeles #anaheim ##love #vacation #time #place #magic #fun #today #travel #days #disneyworld #waltdisney #wdw #year #mickey #hollywoodstudios #carsland #starwarsland #cars #travelplanner #travelplanning #planning #organize #firstaid #style #stylish #disneyootd #disneyfashion #disneystyle #disneyparkstyle #disneytips #protips #fashion #fashionstylist #familyvacation #summervacation #summertrip



Ep 7- Valentines- Let’s talk Marriage- with Stephen Samuel & Jen

podcast art episode 7

Listen Here:


Happy Valentine’s Friends!!!

This holiday is one that stirs up emotions on all ends of the spectrum: Love, warm fuzzies, happy memories, a sense of connectedness, loneliness, disappointment, hurt, or discouragement.  Wherever you find yourself in that range of responses, the journey of becoming like Jesus can be found in all relationships and in all seasons, marriage included.  If you’re single but hope to get married, this message is for you.  If you’re engaged, married, divorced, widowed, this message is for you, because we talk openly about many of the character-building aspects that play into building a marriage, that truly, find a place in all our relationships, romantic or not.  So, take a listen, and feel free to tag that someone you’d love to share it with. 🙂 And don’t miss the life-hacks portion where I share a resource I’ve recently discovered that I only WISH I had decades ago that bears an impact on ALL my relationships, and directly affects the level of peace and confidence I walk in now.   Thanks for listening, and try not to judge all the ways I tell on myself in this candid episode!! 😀

Come be friends on #Instagram at:

Podcast page: https://www.instagram.com/javawithjen/

Styling page: https://www.instagram.com/jenileesamuelstyling/


Love After Marriage book




#podcast #truth #inspire #parenthood #motherhood #podcastlovin #instagood#life #podcastersofinstagram #applepodcast #podcastlove #podcastaddict#podcastlife#podcast #podcasting #sermonsinstilettos #thepodcastpost#sermonsinstilettos #femalepodcasts #marriage #valentines #valentinesday#valentinesday2019 #love #loveaftermarriage #husband #single #married #divorced #widowed #relationships #happy #healthy #emotional #connection #fix #heal #encourage #podcasts #listening #work #people #connect #romantic #hard #hardwork #marriageishard #marriageisablessing #blessed

Ep6: Dealing with Discouragement, A Conversation with Natalie Gilday & Jen

Are you disappointed or discouraged over a situation, relationship, or sudden loss, and eager to learn how to get your hope back? In this episode my long-time friend Natalie Gilday and I share how we have learned to walk through disappointment with a heart that is able to return to strength and hope… including my story about how we lost everything we owned and loved (our brand new home and all our belongings) in Hurricane Harvey and how the Lord enabled my perspective to keep me encouraged through the midst of it! AaaaaND because she is a songbird, we MIGHT have recorded a special song at the end to share just with ya’ll! (Ok, we both love to sing and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do it together!). Our hope is after today’s conversation you’ll feel empowered with some new ways to approach difficult situations that’ll infuse you with more hope and less discouragement. Be sure to pass this along to someone you feel could identify, or could use a little dose of encouragement, and thanks for joining me at Java with Jen today!

Important Links:

  • Natalie’s tea company, Honey and Tea   ; You can sign up to try her tea cleanse to get your year started on a healthy detoxed foot! (I’ve done it and it’s so great!)
  • Try Stitch Fix and request me to style you! My personal link gives you $25 toward your first box too, so it’s a win-win! 

I thought I’d include some fun pictures of her visit!  We don’t have a lot of links for you from today’s show, so I wanted to give you a sneak peek into our time together, the first time we’ve seen each other in 14 years!

Breakfast together on her last day with us.

I had fun styling her to look adorbs on Thanksgiving in the dress she found when we were shopping!  She is wearing my shoes, tights, cardigan, necklace and purse LOL!  Good thing we’re about the same size!  The shoes are Nautica brand, tights I think from Ross, the cardigan is from StitchFix!  (I included my referral link to Stitch Fix for you, which gives you a $25 gift to get started, request me to style you!)

Her rockin’ my sunglasses!  The one’s she’s wearing are from Ross, and the ones I’m wearing are from Nordstrom.

She and Baby Violet, who we all fell in love with!

The sassiest preggo you’ve ever seen! 😉

We were trying to find her something for Christmas… ended up tracking down a great pencil skirt and blouse at Burlington.

All my boys having fun with Violet and Natalie outdoors!

Don’t let her face fool you, she loved the boys. 😀

See?  It was love all around. 🙂

Even Stephen got in on the snuggles.  (I’m convinced babies are therapy for him lol)

Natalie joined me for late night black Friday shopping with my friend Becky, and we all came and ate pizza and chatted till 2 am afterwards!  We had a blast.

Levi exercised his babysitting muscles with Violet and helped feed her, change her and put her to bed while we shopped, so Natalie took him to breakfast with us on her last morning here.  We miss them terribly!!


(intro/outro music credit: Bensound)
#nataliegilday #jenileesamuel #song #music #duet #holyspirit #hope #encouragement #difficulty #discouragement #offense #moveon #loss #restored #renew #christian #life #God #home #rebuild #trace #train #mind #conversation #coffee #java #truth #inspire #strength #heart #relationship #encourage

Ep 5- You asked Stephen: Money, Missions, Marriage & Ministry- Jen & Stephen Samuel

Screen Shot 2019-01-02 at 11.55.13 AM

Happy New Year!!

Let’s get 2019 started on a really productive foot!

EPISODE 5: with Guest Stephen Samuel on Money, Missions, Marriage & Ministry:



You asked, I interviewed, and in this LOADED episode, Stephen Samuel, (a world-travelled missionary and minister, working on his PhD in divinity- and my husband-) shares his honest insights about managing money, and how that affects your ability to do ministry effectively; about ministry, it’s highs and lows and how to get involved; about Marriage, and some things he’s learned in supporting his wife in various ventures; and Missions… and how you can get involved personally!  At the end, stay tuned because his “Life Hacks” portion is chock FULL of shortcuts and time savers, from how to memorize scripture effortlessly, get more books read in a short amount of time, and how to manage your finances, this is my favorite part of the episode!

*I saved all the links and recommendations he made to my blog (and added a couple pictures!) for easy reference, so check it out: http://www.jenileesamuel.wordpress.com .

*Don’t forget you can follow me at http://www.instagram.com/jenileesamuelstyling for updates on new podcast episodes!

*Be sure to  share this episode with your friends, and I hope you enjoy the conversation!!*


Scripture memory: App “Verses” (paid app)

Missions/giving: Debt is a hindrance to being involved in missions or giving of any kind. Consider taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Course locally through our church in our Wednesday night life class to get your finances in order and free you from the stress of debt, or if you’re further out from the Beaumont, TX area, go directly to Dave’s website.  They also have resources available on Amazon.

Life organization:

  •  Evernote App (Free, but available for upgrade)
  • Calendar app (any calendar app for keeping your schedule organized)
  • Any.do App for to-do lists, calendar, alerts, anything needed for productivity


  • Audible app for audio books
  • Kindle for reading on your electronic device so your books are everywhere you are!
  • Amazon.com for easy book purchases
  • Your local library is a great place to find books if money is tight and you don’t plan to keep it forever!  Sometimes they’ll sell books at a discounted rate, and if they don’t have one you want, often you can request they get it.

TIP: When reading a new author (to you): Start with most recent works because their quality is better and work backwards.   Find books you’ll enjoy, don’t force feed read, read what’s seasonal for you.   If you can’t digest an author, find another author on the same topic!

Missions: Prepare yourself now so you’re ready when the opportunity arises!

Here’s how to prepare yourself:

  • Relationships. Serve locally. Ask your Pastor/missions director who you can connect to for a missions opportunity.
  • Get some training at the recommendation of your leadership to get equipped.
    • Talk with your local Pastor, often they are open to interns, or have resources for training.
    • Bethel Church in Redding California has had a profound impact on today’s church culture, and is one who’s curriculum we have used and greatly benefited from.  We would highly recommend any of their schools.
  • Get a passport:
    • You can apply for your passport through your Postal office,
    • Get photos taken at Walgreens/CVS/Walmart
  • Start Saving money. Have an account set aside to contribute to for when a missions opportunity presents itself.
  • Support Missionaries.  If you can’t get away or just aren’t interested in the international scene, but want to help, you can always support missionaries!  Financial and prayer support is ESSENTIAL for work to continue, this is an incredibly vital way to get involved, and often will create opportunities to go in the future should you decide to.  This is a great way to be involved while you’re in training, but be sure you’re saving for your trip too!
  • How to Choose an OrganizationRelationships are essential in the body of Christ.  Prioritize people/organizations that you’re connected to through your church or personal relationships.
    • If you don’t know anyone and your church doesn’t have any referrals, here are a few trusted ones:

DON’T: Just google for ministries without some way to vet their credibility, there are countless scams out there masquerading as a legit ministry to pull in finances, this is why working through relationships is so important.  Don’t go off of Facebook reaches, we have received hundreds of false out-reach invites; many con artists use this avenue to get money and they will mimic legitimate ministries to do so.  Always go through the ministry’s direct website, check them with the BBB, or some other way of authenticating they’re a legitimate ministry.  Going through your Lead Pastor and/or Missions director at your local church is a great way to weed out the false ones.

And now for some photos!

A few years ago during family photos:

Stephen and our two oldest

☝🏼 when he whisked me away to join on a missions trip for a couple days at the end of vacation in Roatan, Honduras. It was beautiful but hellishly hot!! Lol

👇🏼family photo on a fam getaway two years ago.

👇🏼Guests at a friends wedding, he was in the Bridal party.

☝🏼 Him looking Uber smart and graduating the students where he taught locally. He forgot his shoes so I had to bring them lol

👇🏼Stephen with our son (right) and a friends son for their first mission trip! Stephen took them to Guatemala.

☝🏼We do clean up sometimes. This from another one of our former college students’ weddings! He was again in the bridal party.

#Stephensamuel #ministry #marriage #missions #money #moneymanagement #life #lifehack #tips #success #succeed #love #women #men #understand #missionary #international #traveled #doctor #theologian #philosophy #world #podcast #podcastlovin #jesus #God #holyspirit #bible #happiness #anchor #spotify #itunes #blog #wordpress #jenileesamuel #jenilee #samuel #indian #preacher #minister #instagram #jenileesamuelstyling #parenting #parent #husband #2019 #Newyear #books #reading #reader  #disney #disneyland #evernote #organization #calendar #productivity #cfni #bethel #brsm #school #training #christforthenations

Ep. 4: Life Giving Discipline… conversation with Jen

Episode link:


Episode #4: Life Giving Discipline, Conversations with Jen

Discipline is a topic all parents scratch their heads over at some point, and for any parent can feel overwhelming and frustrating. In today’s episode I pull together some of my thoughts and lessons I’ve learned over the years that have helped us have a more positive experience in parenting, and help alleviate a sense of “bullying” or “shaming” and replace it with drawing boundaries, constructive correction and encouragement that leaves your child with hope. These are not the end-all principles you’ll ever need, but I hope they can help enhance your parenting experience, and I’ve included some resources below that can also support your parenting journey if you wanted more direction.

Don’t forget to subscribe, share and review my podcast at your listening platform, it helps us get the word out so others can join our community! 🙂 Thank you so much for your support!  Come join me on Instagram at: @jenileesamuelstyling for the latest in fashion, and to see when podcasts are uploaded! 

Follow hashtag #javawithjen for current podcast episodes.  

ALSO, in the beginning of the episode you’ll hear about my recent partnership with Trade Coffee Co as an ambassador of their brand, and how they have generously given all my listeners a discount code to get some great coffee while you enjoy Java with Jen episodes! The code is “jenileesamuelstyling” (the same as my Instagram handle) for 50% off your first bag! Woohoo! Be sure to take them up on it!  Check them out at instagram: @tradecoffeeco

Come follow me at Instagram so you can get the latest updates when a new podcast is posted!

Life Hack! : Santa’s Bag app for all your Christmas organizational needs!  (This has saved my life and budget!)



Shepherding your child’s heart” by Ted Tripp

Discipline that Connects” by Jim & Lynne Jackson

Loving our Kids on Purpose” Danny Silk

Training Focused: 

Toddlers: “Toddler Wise: parenting your 12-18 month old

Children Age: “Child Wise: Parenting your Child 3-7 years old

Pre-Teen: “Pre Teen Wise: Parenting your child from 8-12 years old”

I’ll add more to this list as I think of more that’ll be valuable to you!

The pictures below were taken this Christmas at our church holiday party, and our family night purchasing Christmas ornaments, and decorating our tree.  Confession: even though the pics look all happy, we had to correct our boys when we got home for some rude, bickering behavior, so the training never ends. LOL!  But we still had a great time. 🙂  Life lesson: learning that no family time is fully smooth, or fully without correction, but we can still have a good time regardless, especially when the correction is followed with affirmation and love!

This was our first ornament we ever made married, back in 2005. 🙂

#parenting #Christian #discipline #javawithjen #christmas #training #children #parents #love #support #encouragement #hope #javawithjen #coffee #tradecoffeeco #devotional #study #jesus #God #stylist #fashion #ambassador #java #jen #prayer #bible #train #peace #comfort #support

Ep.3:Deirdre & Jen, Feeding the Fam and Loving your Season


Hi Friends!

I’m so excited to get to introduce you to my friend Deirdre for today’s episode!!  She is one of the most encouraging, intelligent, resourceful women I know, and a great mother while juggling a head-spinning number of things… I knew she would have some gold-nuggets to share with you as you may find yourself whirling from life’s demands too.  If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or just plain bad at knowing how to keep your family fed well with all the other things you do, you’re going to love the secrets shared in today’s show, not to mention, at the end she drops some truth bombs about loving and appreciating the season you’re in to help reduce stress.  What qualifies her to speak on these things? I’m so glad you asked!  😀

She is a mother of two precious little ones ages 5 &3, works a full time job as an Accountant at one of the nation’s largest firms, as well as working a part time job as a Leadership Developer of the staff at Chick Fil A in Vicksburg.  She is also currently in school, finishing her advanced degree in Accounting and looks forward to being done at the end of this semester.  Aside from being a wife, mother, working woman, she is in Ministry leader with her husband and has a couple pets to chase and clean up after.  Even given all of this, she manages to keep a clean home and happy, well-fed children, all the while her exuberance for life and encouragement fuels you with excitement when she comes around!!  (Just wait for it, you’ll hear it in our squeals :D)   So, listen close as I pull on her insights and share some of my own so we can help YOU feel more equipped and capable at managing your home, specifically feeding your family well, and resting into the season you’re in.

We kicked this episode off with a Life-Hacks portion, filling the episode with links, apps and services that will save you time, money and trouble, and you can find them all listed below!  (This is not a paid advertisement, just excited to help. 🙂 )

LIFE HACKS with Jen & Deirdre! 

  • Make grocery shopping easy and save time: Walmart Grocery App. Order your groceries online to save time AND money.
  • Teach me to cook!  Pinterest!  I have some great recipe boards that can get you started:
    • Kid-loved foods!  (Some of these pins my kids added themselves, so if there are repeats, that’s why. :D)
    • Holiday treat: Peppermint Merengue Puff cookies!  This is one of my own blog posts that’s been repinned on Pinterest in a number of locations hundreds of times.  It’s a classic!  It’s a recipe I found and tweaked to make my own on Pinterest.
  • Easy RecipesAmerica’s Test Kitchen on Pinterest & App (the app is currently only available for iOS devices)
    • Here’s the Mac-n-cheese recipe Deidre loved if you sign up!  (Tip: you boil the noodles in water AND milk).
  • Meal planningMealime : Keeping meals healthier!  This App & website is the easiest way to specify types of recipes you want, and to have personalized options populate for you to choose from, pick the ones you want for the week, and compiled into a shopping list.  The easiest way I’ve found to healthfully meal plan so far!  You can pay a little to get access to a larger database of recipes if you really love the app, though I haven’t had to yet, still lots of great options.
  • Lunch planning, & gets kids involved!: LaLa Lunchbox –  The website also offers an App download, which I use, and my kids can use and has made life easier!!  I believe they have a breakfast app too, but we just do lunch.

I believe those were our cooking/meal planning/how to keep it healthy suggestions, but if we missed anything you heard in the podcast that you have a question about, feel free to email me: javawithjenpodcast@gmail.com !  Feel free to leave comments below of what you’re loving as well!

Other links mentioned.

We hope this podcast was a blessing to you, and stay tuned for more content from Deirdre in the future!!  If you enjoyed this, please share it with friends, on social media, and go on itunes to rate the podcast!  This causes more people to be able to find the podcast and be blessed by it as well!  Thanks so much and happy feeding-the-families!