Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Ready or not, summer is here! With the kids now out of school, I am already making a plan of activities and a plan for our days together. I am a big fan of having free time at home and don't like to over book ourselves. I also want to be intentional and take advantage of the great community planned events.
It's easy to blow the budget quickly during the activities, camps, and travel can get expensive! We usually opt for 1-2 weeks of local camps then try to do as much free/low cost fun as possible!
Everyone loves a great free activity and if you live in Laurel/Jones County, there are tons of opportunities. These are great for those days that you are trying NOT to spend money...a challenge I hope to take on several days this summer!

Swimming or splash pad - thankfully we have several friends that are always happy to have us over for pool time. The kids love it and we usually pack snacks to share!
Outdoor Movies- for the month of June our town hosts a weekly movie and it's always newer ones that we may have not seen yet. It kicked off this weekend with Mary Poppins Returns!
Also, if you have a projector it's pretty easy to rig up a white sheet and play a movie at your house.
Go to the library- Our library hosts a great summer reading program for the month of June and my kiddos always enjoy the activities.
Visit the museum- We have a wonderful art museum right here in Laurel and my kids don't get to visit enough. I hope to squeeze in a few trips there this summer. Wednesdays 1-4pm in June are FREE Family Art days where you can make and take a project and have a snack. It's a  come and go event--and usually takes us about 30 minutes.
VBS -My kids love a good Vacation Bible School..Other than attending our churches VBS, there are a few other churches that do a great job that we also attend. It also helps that it is usually a few hours in the morning, so it's a great time to run errands or get some work done.
VOLUNTEER Both of my kids are old enough to lend a helping hand (6 and 12). Whether it be opportunities through our church or the nonprofit I work with, they will definitely spend some time serving this summer. It builds character and teaches them to help others.

Farmer's Market This is technically a FREE event, but I've never gotten out of there without spending money! I absolutely love the farmer's market. It's a great spot to pick up local produce and items that you don't get anywhere else. I usually try to set a budget for myself and give the kids their own money ($5) to spend on a treat they want. There is usually live music and lots of friends to visit with, so this is an event that we look forward to all year!
Handmade will host $3 Thursday Crafts in June! A great bargain for those that love a good craft.
Super Saver Tuesdays at the movie theater in Hattiesburg. I don't have a lot of details about this one...but I know they plan to do it again this summer.
Zoo Day This can be a low cost outing if you pack a picnic lunch and skip the more expensive concessions. Also, the splash pad there is a great spot to cool off!
Plant a small Garden We usually do a small herb garden each year or a few tomato plants that we put in pots. I love working with plants and so do the kids!
We have also collected little things over the years to create a fairy garden. This can be as elaborate or simple as you want. You can even make your own fairy furniture/house out of leaves, rocks, and twigs. Here are a few ideas!
Zoofari Indoor Play We love this on a rainy day when you need to get out of the house and burn some energy.
Chick Fil A The indoor play area is another great spot when you want to grab lunch out and let the kids play!

Laurel Little Theatre
Encore Performing Arts
Central Creativity
YWCO Camps
Lauren Rogers Museum Camps

I think it's a great idea to plan one bigger activity or trip during the summer. For me personally, I like to have something to plan or look forward's just as exciting as the trip itself! If you plan for it (and save), you don't have to feel guilty about it. This year we are taking a family beach trip and I cannot wait! *Another post coming on how we will make that trip as low cost as possible!*

As you can see, it's easy to fill the time! We are so excited about summer and soaking up our time together doing things we love. Hope you all have a wonderful summer too, and maybe have a few new ideas to try as well!


Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Micheal and I hit reset on the budget last month so I thought it would be a good time to share a recap here on the blog about how that went. We got our heads together mid March and reset everything so this is really based on the last 3 weeks of the month. Money is never a fun topic but I believe talking about it gives us confidence and freedom!

Our biggest struggle is dining out...I think if we had endless funds this is probably where we would spend most of it! We had originally said we wouldn't be eating out at all, but did end up going out a few times that we couldn't really work out. Still WAY better than our normal habits so I wasn't too upset at these numbers. We will still be working hard to limit eating out unnecessarily in April.

Dining Out
budgeted: $100
spent: $266.25
Some of these were from expenses we made just before the reset that came through our account so we added it in. Overall, I'm not completely upset that we overspent this much, but I know we can do better this month!

budgeted: $600
spent: $635.09
This category seems really high (especially when were not even looking at a whole month here.) BUT I always include my Walmart runs into this, which this month included a very large purchase of household items like laundry soap, garbage bags, paper products, and underwear for the boys. Things like that add up quickly and made our grocery bill seem super high even though it wasn't all food. I probably should have broken it down into multiple payments to keep it separate, but I just ain't there yet y'all!
Budget $100
Spent $61.65
I was super excited to find a pair of Free People booties on a friends FB sale for $20! The rest of this month's clothing budget was spent on the family all getting tshirts to support Liam's baseball team. The rest of the budget plus this month will likely be spent on Easter outfits for the entire family.

Now that we are a few days into April, I'm pumped to have an actual plan for our money...I know things will pop up that weren't expected, but just like anything else, you have to keep going and make the next best choice!
P.S. For those interested, we use a budgeting program and app called YNAB (you need a budget). It really works for us and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


 We celebrated this girl's 12th birthday last month and somehow the days have gotten away and it hasn't made it's way to the blog until now. I honestly want to say that Handmade made this the most fun and easy party I could have imagined. They were so great to work with and made my life a breeze when it came to party planning. They took care of all set up and all I had to bring were the snacks and the Shug's cookie cake of course! 

One of my favorite things in this world is making my people feel's almost as good as, or better, having my own birthday! I decided to make this a surprise party, so while our guests were arriving Anne, Liam, and I were walking around downtown catching Pokemon :) (Late to the game, but totally loving it!) Anne and Liam both were completely surprised when we walked in to see all of her friends yell "Surprise!"
The kids each got to pick a craft or make a candle...the candle making was perfect for these preteen girls while the littles did some painting!  
I can't say enough great things about working with Handmade for this party. We had the best time and they made it seem effortless to pull together.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


This incredible little human is 6 years old! The saying, "the days are long, but the years are short" definitely holds true. Oh what a blessing this little guy is to our family. He is kindhearted and loves big. I'm so lucky to be his mama.
We celebrated with a few of his friends at the park with an adventure party. The kids enjoyed a scavenger hunt, cupcakes and lots of fun outside time!

I hope you have a fun filled year buddy!
Side note: I am now a BIG fan of weekday after school parties! This was the easiest party we've ever hosted...right after school, at the park, with a homemade cake and snacks! Since this was the first sunny day in a while, the kids were thrilled to play outside and run off some pinned up energy. Glad I bought that extra case of water :)

Thursday, February 14, 2019


For a while I've wanted to write out our love story here, and Valentine's seemed like the perfect opportunity. So much of the reason I love this blog is because it is sort of a time capsule for our family. I'm not always great about printing out photos or writing in my journal. So one day (hopefully when I'm old) I'll look back to this little space and remember the good life we have gotten to live.  This guy has been one of my greatest earthly blessings and I'm forever thankful for our life together.
The beginning.
So let's start way back at the beginning...before the age of digital pictures and facebook. haha.
We both graduated from different high schools in year 2000. That fall we headed to Jones- a local junior college where we were both in the band--he played the tenor saxophone and I was on the dance line. This was literally one of the best parts of our college experience. We LOVED being a part of The Maroon was just the best. In the early days of rehearsals, we were placed facing one another at one point in the show. Michael was definitely awkward even then and was completely afraid to talk to was the cutest. I had met him a few years earlier through a mutual friend, but he didn't remember that. So one morning as a big group of us were walking to class, I introduced myself to him. 
After that first introduction, we started hanging out more. We'd stay late after rehearsals talking until dark and I was eaten by mosquitoes. Sometimes a drive to Sonic would by us a little more time. Basically we were doing what people do when they're falling in love.
Our first date was dinner for my birthday and all I remember was that was the night we made it official that we were dating. And that he gave me a bible. Everything rocked on so smoothly for the next few months. then...
The break up. It happened.
We dated almost the whole year. It was really wonderful... Until one day when it was not. I am going to take full responsibility for my moment of insanity and definitely something I'm not proud of, but it's part of our story so I'm going to share it. 
That spring I decided I didn't want to be tied down anymore and broke up with him. Looking back I think it was fear more than anything. Michael seemed so perfect. His faith was so much more mature than mine and he had, what appeared to be, this perfect family... and I definitely did not. I felt like I could never be good enough for him. So I ended it, which let to a pretty low time for me.
A few months later we both left for the summer to do missions. I remember we got to pick 3 location choices and I can remember putting Arizona as a 3rd option. I really did not want to go to the desert. Guess where I got placed...the desert. God had a plan guys.
That summer was one of the hardest times in my life. I lived in a camper in the middle of no where on a reservation. My roommate did not really like me, so times were HARD. I did a lot of soul searching though...and lots of time in the word and prayer. 
At some point I came to my senses and realized how much I missed Michael. And how silly it was to break up with him. He was in the pacific northwest and basically living all my outdoor dreams. We talked on the phone a few times and starting writing each other. 
I went home a little earlier than him and ended up living with his family. That basically sealed the deal. 
the rest is history.
We picked him up from the airport at the end of the summer and we were inseparable ever since. That winter I made a plan of how we could afford to get married that following summer by living in married housing at USM, where we both planned to transfer. He proposes a few months later and we were married in August of 2002...just two years after we met and were both 20 year old babies. 
The early days of our marriage was spent in school and working hard to make everything happen, but looking back every bit of it was worth it.

A lot of life has happened over the past 18 years. We have both grown so much, but I don't ever want to forget those moments when we were dating. There are always seasons where we are not as intentional with our relationship, and if I'm convicted of anything after writing out this blog post it's that. I want to be intentional and "date my husband" as so many people say these days. I do think it's important though. So, goals for the future!