The Ultimate Budget List

We don’t know what the future holds and that’s exactly why it’s a good idea to have a plan. Creating a budget is a wonderful way to get on top of your finances. By laying out each expense, you are able to see where your money is going, what can be adjusted and then you can figure out how to save up and become debt free!

Becoming debt free is a huge goal of mine so I created a budgeting list and wanted to share to help others with similar goals… or if you just want to see where the heck all of your money is going!

Below is my ULTIMATE BUDGET LIST print off.

Here’s to saving, becoming debt free and enjoying financial freedom!

Other valuable resources:

Budgeting Journal

Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover

Cash Envelope System

My cousin also shared with me this super cool debt free chart that can be found here!

xxoo Kate

Our Second Wedding Anniversary

In two days, Halloween, it will be our second wedding anniversary and ELEVEN year dating anniversary…. Wow, that doesn’t even seem real. I’m choosing to write this now because Halloween is all about the kids and I know I’ll be caught up in the hustle and bustle!

Our relationship was a rollercoaster for years. Extremely passionate but very unhealthy. How does that song go, “We’re like fire and gasoline?” – that was us. Roaring hot and utterly destructive.

I could go on and on and maybe someday I will but for now I’ll leave it at “we were very immature” and move on to the good stuff.

We are completely different people these days. I still have the hots for him don’t get me wrong, but our relationship is also filled with comfort. He’s my best friend and I love spending time with him. He’s cozy and has the biggest heart. I am beyond thankful that things worked out for us because most of the time, with relationships that start out like ours, they don’t… or they do and then you live your life in toxicity.

Finding God together was the best thing that ever happened to us. Some day I’ll elaborate on the change the has Lord made in our lives because it was and continues to be quite miraculous. Right now, I just want to give a big thank you to my husband TJ and an even bigger I LOVE YOU!

I’m thankful that I have someone to count down the minutes every day until he gets home from work. Sure, I enjoy his helping hand with the kids (HA) but I just really enjoy his presence.

I’m also really thankful that we were able to sneak off together this past weekend for a lunch date to eat some amazing sandwiches.

Happy almost second wedding (11 year dating) anniversary Travis!

xxoo Kate

Why You Should Continue to Date After You Get Married

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Do you remember feeling that spark* that everyone talks about? Your heart fluttering when you simply held hands? Your first kiss? Those moments were pretty special. Dating was exciting! It felt new, and fresh and getting to know the other person was just fun!

My husband TJ and I dated for 8 years before we got married. It was filled with many highs and many lows but there was always passion. That was one thing we were always good at. We shared all of our firsts together so of course we were excited to finally get married! Well fast forward a little bit, we are coming up on our second anniversary and let me tell you, marriage is work.

Add in to the mix purchasing our second home, expecting baby #3, work, bills, responsibility… Life happens fast and yet days seem to blur together. It’s easy to find yourself in the same, quite frankly, boring routine. Balancing and juggling all that life throws at you is hard, but that’s exactly why dating is so important for your marriage. Below the Lord of course, your marriage is the foundation for your family. If you two start to crumble, all the other components of your lives will likely follow.

Okay, I know, that title was total click-bait but this topic is important! By now I’m sure you’ve realized that when I say you should continue to date after marriage, I mean you should continue to date your spouse! We all know relationships go through seasons, but you never want to be so out of touch that you feel like you no longer click with or even know your partner anymore.

No matter what season your relationship is in, you should still continue to date.

For our relationship (married with kids), most of our “dating” needs to be done after the kids go to bed or be penciled into the calendar but if that’s what you need to do, do it! I’d even be lying if I said I was excited about every date we went on. Some days, I’m straight up tired and would rather take a nap (sorry babe) but I know that the quality time spent together is important.

Dating deepens your connection with your spouse whether it be mental, physical, spiritual, all three or more?! It keeps communication open which we all know is essential in any healthy relationship. It also provides a sense of security and keeps things fun. Who wouldn’t want that?

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Oh and just so you know, doing anything together while you’re both on your phone does not count! You have to be present and fully there. Why spend time together if you’re not going to actually be “there.” Look your spouse in the eyes, compliment each other, be playful, talk! Remember when your relationship was budding and you could talk for hours without stopping? Talk again, and spare yourselves, drop the boring talk about bills and responsibility. Get to know each other again. It’s easy for you to think “oh, we’ve been together for so long, I know everything there is to know,” but people change. New things excite them. Your spouse has dreams and things that make them tick – learn those things!

Date night will look different to each couple. It’s not a one size fits all type of thing. It also doesn’t have to be expensive which is where I hear a ton of people saying “we just don’t have the money to go out all the time.” You don’t even need to go out! One of my favorite dates is when my husband and I get a sitter for the kids, eat dinner at home just him and I, then we grab some junk food, throw pillows and blankets out and watch a show together in peace. Simple, cheap, and meaningful!

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My husband and I are guilty of not doing this as often as we should. We travel and are always doing activities and events with the kids but when it comes to just him and I, we slack. It’s my goal to spend just ONE day out of the month together, husband and wife. If you haven’t set aside any time to date your spouse, set some aside! There’s only happiness and love to gain!

Do you make time for date nights with your spouse? What are some of your favorites? Please share in the comments! I’m always open to new ideas.

xxoo Kate

 

It Is Now Legal to Breastfeed in Public in All 50 States

It’s official ladies, you can now breastfeed your child anytime, anywhere! That’s right, as of yesterday Idaho and Utah are finally on board allowing public breastfeeding in all of the 50 states!

Honestly, it’s pretty sad that doing something so natural was ever not allowed. At one time, it was a possibility that you could be cited and fined for public indecency while simply nourishing your child. Talk about ridiculous!

Sadly, over time, breastfeeding has come to be viewed as something sexual. Breasts are not for sex. Breasts are for feeding babies and young children. Of course they are capable of sexual function but so are lips and mouths but I don’t see anyone complaining that you’re using those to eat in public.

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(Swimsuit from The Tata Top)

Being a new parent, even the third, fourth, fifth+ time around is hard. Then to add embarrassment while trying to feed your child on top of that? It’s just not right. People get hungry when they are out and about and we all know babies like to eat often. Mothers have been asked to leave restaurants, told to leave stores, asked to move to the bathroom, blankets being draped over them and of course, the dirty looks. And now we have this. A big IN YO FACE to everyone who has ever shamed a poor mom for trying to feed her kid. Don’t like it? Don’t look!

If you’re a mother and find yourself being discouraged by someone for breastfeeding in public, remember that there are laws that protect you. It’s not only your responsibility to feed your child, it is now your right.

If you are a breastfeeding mama that has ever dealt with negativity, just know that you are supported, you are loved and you are doing an incredible job!

Feed and comfort your child wherever, whenever and however you want!

xxoo Kate

What I Learned From Going Three Weeks Without a Phone

Some people probably read this post’s title and get anxiety. I’m with you!

Let me start by saying that my cellphone fast was not intentional. In fact, I was extremely unhappy about the situation. My untrustworthy iPhone was less than a year old and just decided not to turn on one day.

Great. I am a stay at home mom, full-time student, busy, planner, blogger, family-woman, how in the world was I going to be a productive human being without my phone?!

I was determined to be optimistic. I said to my husband trying to be strong (and also trying to convince myself I was going to be okay), “Psh, no big deal. I don’t need a phone. Technology is taking over the world anyways.”

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I meant what I said. Technology is everywhere. It’s too much. I want a more simple life. I wasn’t ready to give up my phone though. I guess I didn’t really have a say in the matter.

Oh, the cons…

I dropped my girls off at the sitter and drove off with no way for their care provider to reach me if anything bad were to happen. I was filled with anxiety. My mind was racing, I couldn’t wait to get to school so I could open my computer and have Facebook Messenger open JUST IN CASE.

When I was at home with the kids, I was terrified that I didn’t have a way to make an emergency phone call. What if one of my kids choked or had an unfortunate accident?

I wasn’t able to schedule, reschedule, or contact anyone or anything regarding appointments or meetings. For example, I had issues with my internet service one day and I couldn’t make a quick call to someone to get it back up and running. Another day, I wanted to call the doctor’s office to reschedule my appointment because my daughter’s were napping longer than expected but, there was no way to do so.

Even little things… I missed getting texts from my husband on his breaks at work asking how the kids and I were doing. I looked forward to “hearing” from him throughout the day but we rarely got a chance to speak because the chances of me sitting on my computer at home during his break times were very slim pickings.

I missed googling any random question that popped into my head, that instant gratification.

My husband was getting annoyed with me. Instead of greeting him with a warm “welcome home” after work, I was instead, demanding that he hand his phone over so I could try to call and make appointments before businesses closed!

The first week I was more of a mess than I’d like to admit. Seriously guys, I even missed my phone when I had to use the bathroom. I had resort back to my childhood days and read the labels on shampoo and lotion bottles.

Though in the beginning, I was faced with these serious cons to not having a phone, I was later met with a greater amount of pros.

I used to roll over in bed in the morning and grab my phone right away. I also used to lay on my phone until wee hours of the night. I didn’t have that problem (or option) anymore so I got a lot more sleep. For weeks, I had been praying/begging for rest and I was finally getting it.

After dropping off my girls with the sitter, I turned my serious “what if” anxiety into prayer. In the past, I chose to use my car rides for phone calls because it seemed like a good time to return messages. Even when I wasn’t talking on the phone, I was always seeing/hearing notifications pop up and I was constantly thinking about what I needed to do next. Being without my phone allowed me to have uninterrupted conversations with my good ol’ pal The Lord. I was able to listen to some uplifting music, do some Kegels, whatever I wanted! I loved being able to clear my mind on my way to and from school.

I spent more time looking at my children. I have never been one to sit and stare at my phone all day or ignore my kids but the quick “I’m just going to check the weather really quick,” always seemed to turn into a “and I just want to clear these other notifications really quick too.”

I was present with my family. My husband and I laid in bed and talked with each other at night rather than me silently scrolling through my social media accounts.

I was punctual. I didn’t have my phone to send a quick “I’m going to be a few minutes late,” text. Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. It’s convenient but when you don’t have that option, trust me, you’ll make a point to start getting ready a few minutes earlier than usual.

It was SO freaking nice not to have to answer to anyone. I didn’t have to answer any calls, or texts. We all have those people who get mad if you don’t answer your phone right away and I didn’t have to deal with a single one! If I wanted to talk someone, like my mom or dad, they were forced to stop by or I had to go visit. I loved it!

Before I found out that my insurance would cover a new phone for free, I looked into getting rid of my smart phone and just getting a phone to have in case of emergencies. Yes, I was willing to resort to a flip phone.

But since it was free of charge, I got my new iPhone sent to me a few of days ago. Since having it back, I’ve noticed that I don’t bother with it as much. If someone calls and I don’t answer right away, I don’t stress. I will return the call when it’s convenient for me. I don’t go on it while I’m with my children or spending time with family. I do still like to browse before bed but I don’t stay up as late as I used to. My favorite part? Even if I’m not using it… It’s there in case of an emergency. I love that peace of mind.

While I have a love/hate relationship with technology, I do enjoy having a phone and I really did miss mine while it was gone. I am thankful that I had this time to “reset” and my new phone will be spending much more time on the shelf so I can be present with my family, myself and God.

Like this fun date my hubby and I went on! Just him and I, nature, and our cameras. I love being able to take a step away from all technology (besides my camera in this case) from time to time. I really recommend cutting yourself off intentionally if you’ve never given it a go. It truly is refreshing.

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xxoo Kate

20 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

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Here are 20 very random facts that you probably don’t know about me. Well, you might if you’re close family or my best friend:
1. I’m a total night owl. I do my best work late at night. I love how still and quiet things are. I’d pick staying up late over waking up early in a heartbeat. I do however, wish I was capable of being a morning person but I just can’t get myself to do it.
2. I once spoke with Nancy Grace on Headline News. My mom and I always kept up with the latest happenings when I was growing up. I decided to call in one day and all of a sudden I was transferred onto live air and she was asking me questions! I was so pumped!
3. My favorite color is green. I decided this when I was in first grade when my mom told me that her favorite color was green. I remember feeling really conflicted because I loved the color blue but I wanted to be just like my mom. I truly love it now because it’s the colors of trees and grass and many things in nature.
4. I’m an only child but want 4 kids. I actually loved being an only child but as you can probably tell from my recent blog posts, (New Year, Fresh Focus and Cold Weather Date Ideas) I have serious baby fever. I just dream of having a chaotic, but love-filled, full house!
5. I’m obsessed with avocados. I love them in guacamole form, added into my smoothies, and my new favorite is on my onion bagels in the morning.
6. I love games. If you invite me over for a game night, I’m there. I just played the game “What Do You Meme?” the other day with some friends and we’ve decided that we are going to make our own version by getting pictures of each other for the next time we play! I can’t wait.
7. I spent a good majority of my childhood exploring on a blue golf cart. My dad had purchased a golf cart with a box on the back, that he mostly used for doing work around the house. My cousin and I would spend all day cruising around trails in the woods. We had strict boundaries to only go so far but we never listened. One time we decided to try out a new trail and popped out in another city!!
8. I literally never wear jeans. I guess that’s what happens after you birth some babies. I just don’t like how jeans feel anymore. I will occasionally wear a pair of jeggings but I’m all about my leggings! Comfy things are my favorite!
9. I was a thumb sucker for like, a long time. I think I actually sucked my thumb past the 2nd grade. I had a big space between my two front teeth that ended up closing and I never needed braces… so it all worked out!
10. I’m not a picky eater. The only things that I can think of that I don’t like, are peppers. I used to not like mushrooms or onions but since having kids I all of a sudden really like them!! People claim that your tastebuds change as you get older and I’m a solid believer.
11. I’m pro-public breastfeeding. A kid’s gotta eat!! I nurse my daughter wherever, whenever she wants. I’ve nursed her at family functions, sitting in a waiting room, at the store, on a walk, lunch with friends, talking with my doctor… I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing, no woman should feel embarrassed to feed her child!
12. I’m a Harry Potter geek. My husband and I are the biggest nerds when it comes to Harry Potter. We have Harry Potter pillowcases, mugs, drinking glasses, clothes and even underwear. We’ve got it bad.
13. I’m extremely outgoing. I’m the person that sparks up a conversation while standing in line or sitting in a waiting room. I love to converse with people because I’m genuinely interested and it brings me joy.
14. Branching off of that, I give out compliments like they’re going out of style. When I was younger, whenever I had something bad to say about someone (ex, “ugh, I don’t like _____, she was bugging me today at school”) my mom would make me say 3 nice things about them. It used to make me so mad but I’d always do it. By doing that, my overall mindset changed. I no longer made unkind comments, but instead, I notice things I like about people, all people, not just people that bugged me. So now, I compliment!
15. I love to sing and I’m pretty good at it. I belt out songs while doing chores, taking showers, driving in the car, you name it. One time while in the car my 2 year old daughter (who usually loves my singing) said “mama, be quiet, sissy’s sleeping.” My bad! I don’t even notice when I’m doing it anymore, it’s just part of who I am!
16. I’m married to my complete opposite. I am loud, short-tempered, outgoing, emotional, and I love people. My husband on the other hand is quiet, patient, calm, an introvert and most comfortable out in the woods.
17. I love to be organized. Looking around my life you’d never know it because I try to organize and work on a thousand things at once… I’m working on it!
18. I like health stuff. I enjoy making healthy choices when it comes to the foods that we eat and the products that we use but I have no self-control when it comes to sweets! I’m also working on that, as you can see in my New Year Goals post.
19. I don’t like wine or coffee. I’m totally in the minority, I know, but I just can’t. I can tolerate a Moscato or a coffee that is 90% creamer but I’m really not a fan.
20. One time, I finished an entire tube of chapstick. I’m not sure why I chose to end on this random fact but I guess I’m just proud of myself! I was so excited when I got to scratch it off of my bucket list! I also don’t know why it was on my list to begin with but you’d be surprised as to how hard it was to complete!
xxoo Kate

Cold Weather Date Ideas

It’s easy to find something to do when the weather is nice! Swimming, sunbathing, taking a walk… but what about when the ground is covered in snow?

Here are 20 cold weather date ideas to help you fight off that dreaded cabin fever!

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1. Take a Drive – 
Listen to your favorite music, park by a pretty view, chat, or my personal favorite, look at Christmas lights!

2. Go Sledding
– We all know it’s a go-to activity for children, but when is the last time you partook in some good old fashioed sledding? Get outside and build a snowman or make some snow angels too!

3. Movie Night
– Get into your coziest pajamas and put on your favorite movie! You can each pick your favorite show for a double feature!

4. Escape Room
– Challenge your brain and teamwork skills and see if you can make it out togehter. Team up with some friends and do a double date if you want to make it even more interesting!

5. Make Dinner or Take a Cooking Class – Have a pizza cook off, or click here for $30 off of your first box from Homechef. Who doesn’t want food delivered right to your door? You get all the ingredients you need to make yourself feel like an at home chef!

6. Build a Blanket Fort – Embrace your inner child by building a blanket/pillow fort. Do what you please after that! Game night maybe? Just a thought.

7. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane – Spend a night looking through old photographs and watching home videos. Obviously this may be for a more seasoned relationship, unless you’re comfortable with your new boo seeing your baby bum!

8. Go ice skating – It’s not the most romantic activity if you’re like me, the girl shuffling with a metal chair trying not to fall, but it’s fun nonetheless.

9. Catch a Play
See what plays are showing, smuggle in some snacks and enjoy some live entertainment!

10. Visit a Local Coffee Shop – Sit cozy in a corner booth, sip on some coffee (or if you’re anything like me, hot chocolate) and catch up!

11. Explore Antique Shops
– I’m a sucker for thrift stores. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fun to explore through all of the trinkets!

12. Go For a Hike
– Hike through the woods or visit some ice caves! Nothing like snow-covered trees and fresh air! Strap on some snowshoes to give it a twist!

13. Build a Gingerbread House – Build one together or make it a challenge and build your own! Post a picture of each to Facebook and have your friends vote which one is their favorite!

14. Set Goals Gor the New Year Together – Set some goals individually or make a bucket list of things you want to accomplish together this year!

15. Bake Cookies
– Bake some cookies or your favorite dessert! Why? Because then you get to eat it afterwards and who doesn’t like a sweet treat?

16. Relax in an Outdoor Hot Tub
One of my favorite things to do in the winter is slink into a steaming hot tub while glittery snowflakes are falling! Talk about relaxing.

17. Do a Hot Chocolate Crawl – Make a list of local shops with Instagram-worthy hot chocolate and visit them all!

18. Hit up a Museum
– Act as a tourist in your own town. Go to a museum or art gallery and admire all of the fascinating things that your city holds!

19. Netflix and Chill
– Literally, not figuratively. Find a show that you both love and binge it all day or night!

20. Get It On – This is obviously for the adults reading this. Maybe in the blanket fort you built? You really can’t go wrong with this one.

Share some of your favorite chilly dates in the comments below! Hubs and I have to deal with months of this white stuff so I’m all for hearing your ideas!

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xxoo Kate

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