Tag Archives: intentional life

15 Affordable Summer Date Nights

15 Affordable Summer Date Nights

Dusty and I have date night pretty much every Friday night. I remind myself often not only how lucky we are that we get this on a weekly basis, but also how important it is for our marriage. Keeping our marriage first is the foundation of a healthy family. I know that this isn’t a reality for everybody all of the time; however, summer is such a fun time to have date nights and there are so many options of things to do without breaking the bank! Here are 20 affordable summer date ideas to do out and about or at home after the little one(s) go to bed! Be sure to check your local paper or website for fun activities in your area. In the summer, lots of towns have fun free events.

1. Go on a walk in a beautiful park or in your neighborhood

2. Play mini golf (you can normally find coupons in the paper or online)

3. Check your local summer events. Sometimes they offer free movies in the park or local outdoor bands. We just went to a local car show and showing of Cars last week in the field of a nearby church.

4. Check online for free concerts in your area. We have an orchard down the road that does free concerts every Friday and Saturday night!

5. Outdoor picnic – Grab your favorites at the deli counter (like ya know, sushi) and head to the park

6. Head to a nearby drive-in theatre

7. Play arcade games at a local spot. We have an arcade bar that is a blast

8. Go to the zoo (St. Louis Zoo is free!)

9. Go on an ice cream date

10. Day at the pool (We like to raid our neighbors!)

11. Check out local food trucks

12. Go to the driving range or a nighttime golf attraction. TopGolf anyone? We also have a local 9 hole course that is lighted on the weekend after dark that is super cheap!

13. Head to a museum. In St. Louis, most of our art and history museums are free and it’s a great option if the humid is high!

14. Grill out and have friends over for a game night (corn hole and ladder golf anyone?!)

15. Netflix and actually chill! We love digging out old Disney movies on Disney and beige watch them all day.

Photo used by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

25 Books in 2017

25 Books in 2017

I am so excited to share today’s post! It’s one my favorite posts that I have adopted this year that some of my favorite blogger do! 😉

So let’s chat books. If you saw my list of books I wanted to read and books I actually read in 2016, you will see quite a big difference. They are all listed on my Goodreads account and the list is long. In 2016, I really attempted at reading more… and honestly, I did, but not like I use to. I just haven’t found how to read well while adulting. I use to be an avid reader. Heck, I even majored in literature for my undergraduate degree, yet… I suck at reading. I am putting myself a lofty goal out there because 1) I think it is obtainable and 2) I want to raise Ollie in a home that reads.

One of my goals is to spend more time in the presence of the Lord and part of that is reading my Bible more. I don’t want to choose books over the Bible just to meet a challenge I set for myself but I am going to incorporate Christian books to help me understand the Bible more and assist me with reading it. Dusty and I have also made a pact to read together more which we implemented into our nighttime routine this fall. It has been going well.

I also understand what I actual read and what I have on my list below may differ in 12 months from now. That’s okay. Something new will come out that will catch my eye or I’ll start reading something that I listed that just doesn’t flow with my style or likes and I’ll put it aside. I just want to continue to fill myself with words and wisdoms of others.

So, here’s what books I’d love to read this year!


Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen – Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
**Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs – Collecting the Moments that Matter
Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler – The Response of God to the Cries ofOur Heart
Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty – Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things


Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman – The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God
The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller – Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan
Parenting by Paul David Tripp – 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family
Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
Love Unending by Becky Thompson – Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness


Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull – Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown
How We Learn by Benedict Carey – The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich


Next Door as it is in Heaven by Lance Ford – Living Out God’s Kingdom in Your Neighborhood
**Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist – Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington – How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner – Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path
Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach – It All Begins at the Family Table
Life in Community by Dustin Willis – Joining Together to Display the Gospel

The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines

Now your turn!! I want to hear what is on your list!!

**I started reading a few in 2016, but haven’t finished yet so I am including them in my list. I cannot wait to make 2017 the year of reading.

Breaking Christmas Busy

Breaking Christmas Busy

I’m a doer and a dreamer. Holiday season loves me. I love the holiday season. However, each year I set expectations for myself that positions me in a such a way that I fail. I fail every time. Not really to other people’s expectations, but to my own; and I beat myself up.

I was listening The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey the other day on the way to a work meeting. I love The Happy Hour. It’s real people speaking about real life, even if their lives seem fancy and admirable. It’s an hour a week… or more where I sit and listen to these folks and repeatedly say “yes! that’s exactly right!” more times than not. Well, this day I was listening to Alli Worthington, and this girl is the coolest. She’s wrote a book and leads a company on women finding their passion, purpose, and potential in the world, linking business and Jesus together. How cool is that?! She’s right up my alley.

Anyways, she recently wrote a book about the impact busyness has on your everyday life and I want to tell you that I have read it, but I haven’t and that would be lying. I just want to. Alli and Jamie were discussing her new book and started talking about Christmas expectations. Work parties. Friends’ parties. Cookie exchanges. Pictures with Santa. Breakfast with Santa. Elf on the Shelf. Hand-stamped craft paper wrapped presents. Christmas family photos. Christmas cards. New Year’s recap email. Presents for the sitter, and the coaches, and the teachers, and mailman, and your favorite barista. Black Friday shopping. Christmas shopping with the girls. Stringing popcorn. Constructing gingerbread houses. Driving around looking at Christmas lights. Decorating everything — your exterior, your interior, your wardrobe, whatever. Ugly Christmas sweater parties. Ugly Christmas sweater hunting. Hot cocoa. Christmas movies. Writing a letter to Santa. Making reindeer food. Volunteering. Donating…

Geez I’m exhausted already.

Breaking Christmas Busy

It’s easy to exhaust ourselves over the holidays. Sure enough, you can open up Pinterest and search “Christmas bucket list” and see how you are not living up to expectations. We tell ourselves that we have to do all of these things, or at the very least, we want to do all of these things. But in all honesty, I make a promise each year to just be “present” during the holidays, “enjoy” them, and “experience” them.

So with that I am making a promise to you not too expect much this year. I am breaking my Christmas busy. I am closing my eyes and picturing what a successful Christmas looks like for me and my family, and not including any assumptions from others in that. It means we might not be able to attend your party this year. It means that my presents may be wrapped in mismatched left overs from our previous Christmases. It means that we will not string popcorn, write a letter to Santa, or buy miniature presents for everyone on our list because we are suppose to. We value you, I promise, but you surely do not want that value pack of mini lotions anyways. Mini lotions do not equal love and honestly, if you think they do, you don’t know us too well. And we will NOT do Elf on the Shelf. Ever.

When I close my eyes and picture the present, relaxed, anti-chaotic holiday season for my family… this is what I see:

  • Baby Ollie rolling around in the floor staring at the bright Christmas tree.
  • Filling our house with people that we love over cookies and wine.
  • Cuddling on the couch with Christmas Ale and The Santa Clause… maybe with some Christmas-themed ice cream, or just Sam’s Choice cookie butter because it is delicious.
  • Pictures with Santa.
  • Packing up the car to visit family.
  • Ending our Christmas night with a drive through the local lights.

That’s it. If it is not listed above, it is optional and although parts of me wants to apologize for that, I am not going to. The “feeling bad” part of all of this is what drives us to an insanely busy holiday season with high expectations and the feel of failure. I don’t want that for me. I don’t want that for my family. And I don’t want that for you.

So what does your Christmas season look like? How is the picture painted in your hear when you close your eyes? If you need some inspiration, I highly suggest listening to Alli Worthington right now and then intentionally imagining your holidays. Make a point to not to set high expectations that lead to that feeling of failure and regret and despair. Break your Christmas busy.

Breaking Christmas Busy