Central American Cruise ☀️ {chapter 1} ⛴ Tour of the Norwegian Getaway!

We had our first big family cruise a few months ago, and I can’t wait to tell you all about our adventures in Central America! I’m going to start this blog series by giving you a tour of our ship: the Norwegian Getaway! Y’all, I am a researcher. I spend hours poring over internet reviews, blogs, YouTube videos, deal sites, and every piece of information I can get my hands on. So I can tell you that I did not choose the Norwegian Getaway lightly. I ended up choosing it because it was 1) going places I wanted to see, 2) an absolutely amazing ship Read More

Living a life of adventure on a frugal budget! ~ Our Cozy Den

Grand Adventures!

The past three months have been a whirlwind of adventure! I can’t wait to share more of it with you! I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing things, including visiting 5 new countries (Sweden, Finland, Honduras, Belize, & Mexico) and checking FOUR things off my bucket list (skydiving, family cruise, visiting Chichen Itza, and seeing Ik-Kil Cenote). I can’t wait to share photos and lessons learned from all of these fabulous experiences. Now, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we are settling back into life as normal, and trying to get into our routine. Here is a sneak peek of some of Read More

Mission Sweden: Learning from a 'godless' culture ~ Our Cozy Den

Mission: Sweden Learning from a “Godless” culture ✝️

September whipped by me in a blur. This fall is going to pass by in the blink of an eye, I’m sure.  You wouldn’t believe what adventures we have coming up in the next 2 months, so I wanted to share some of that with you! Here are some updates: The boys are playing soccer ⚽️ and the girls are immersed in their music lessons (piano for Lia, guitar for Sophie) We are finishing up our school year (click here to read more about our unconventional January to November homeschool calendar) and the kids are eagerly knocking out their schoolwork to finish early!  We have Read More

Our 2017 Budget ~ Our Cozy Den

Our New Family Budget 💵 {we let the KIDS plan it!}

The past month has been a BIG month for our family! My husband graduated from seminary, completing his Masters of Divinity. This new phase of life brings some changes in our family budget (and schedule), as his finishing school means we no longer get a housing allowance from the military. (Read more about that in the benefits page here.) In order for the kids to understand why our lifestyle would be changing a little (fewer upgrades in the grocery store, fewer movies out and restaurants) — I wanted them to have a say in how we allocate our budget. I started by having the kids Read More

💍🎉Ways We Keep Marriage FUN! 💏💞

💍🎉Ways We Keep Marriage FUN! 💏💞

My handsome husband and I have been married twelve and a half years now. In those years, we’ve survived the births of 4 children, 2 deployments, countless other military separations, 8 homes in 2 countries, and a million other ups and downs along the way! While we are not perfect — we certainly have our little spats here and there — we have managed to keep our marriage a place of respect, love, and FUN! Yes, even though we have the heavy responsibilities of raising and homeschooling these four miracles, pastoring one church, planting another, and running a ministry and a blog, we make time Read More

i quit fb

I Quit Facebook 🚫📱 {why, how, & how it changed me}

The past several months have been a tumultuous roller-coaster ride in several facets. Our family’s schedule has been all over the place, either completely crazy or absolute stillness: no in-between. I’m working on finding balance there. My health has been a wreck, with the onset of calcaneal spurring and plantar fasciitis, which is a fancy way of saying I could barely walk for 6 weeks. I’m finally coming out of that. Lastly, and this is the hardest one to admit… my doctor said I had a small bout of depression. I had broken down in his office because I was so frustrated with life right Read More


Where Have You Been? {when life kicks you in the shins…}

A dear friend reached out to me last week and asked, “I haven’t seen you blogging lately. Is everything okay?” No, everything has not been okay. It’s hard to admit that, especially in such a public forum. But sometimes we go through seasons of life when we feel like we are drowning, barely keeping our heads above water. Life ebbs and flows. It’s a neverending timeline of people coming and going, children growing and changing, seasons of fulfillment and emptiness. It’s hard sometimes to reconcile the part of me who is so upbeat and happy with the part who feels so lonely and sad. I Read More

If I Could Do My Wedding Over Again ~ Our Cozy Den

If I Could Do My Wedding Over Again 👰🏻💍👱🏼

My handsome hubby and I are coming up on our 12th anniversary next month. A dozen years, wow! Recently, we’ve been spending a lot of time with young engaged couples, and they have eagerly asked our advice — not just for marriage — but also for the wedding itself. I’ve had a lot of thoughts rummaging around in my head, thinking about what we did back then that I would change, if I knew then what I know now. So I thought it would be fun to write about what I would do differently if I could do the wedding over again, and tell my Read More

Raising Princesses 👑 {& WIN tickets to see Beauty & the Beast!! 🌹}

Raising Princesses 👑 {& WIN tickets to see Beauty & the Beast!! 🌹}

*I want to preface this by saying that I understand that not everyone will agree with my parenting & religious views. That’s fine! If you don’t agree, just move along and please refrain from commenting.*  Any parent can tell you that raising daughters in today’s society is downright terrifying. The way that women are portrayed, marketed to, lied to, shamed… it’s hard to find your feet at all, let alone stand tall. Right now, my daughters are little — precious things only 9 and 6 years old. So I definitely don’t have it ‘all figured out’. But I did want to share some of the Read More

Why We LOVE Great Wolf Lodge (& how to save money on it) ~ Our Cozy Den

Why We Love Great Wolf Lodge {& how to save money on it!}

You probably know by now that my family is ALL about adventure. We love to get out and experience that big huge world out there. We’ve been to 25 countries so far, but we also love trips in our own back yard. One thing that is an absolute necessity for busy families — especially us homeschooling moms who literally work two jobs around the clock — is respite. Take. A. Break. Mom. For me, that’s what Great Wolf Lodge is. We take lots of great vacations… but even those are a lot of work! Plan the trip. Plan the transportation. Plan the meals. Plan the Read More