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

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 {& how} we are trying to go AD-FREE ~ Our Cozy Den

Why {& how} we are trying to go AD-FREE

You’ve probably heard the statistics that Americans are exposed to a whopping 4,000-10,000 ads per day. Yikes. That’s a lot of information being thrown at us on a daily basis. The average American in 1970 saw 500 ads per day. In 45 years, that’s like a 1000% increase in ads. Let’s compare this to the American trend on debt. In that same timeframe, the average American consumer debt has increased from $500 per person to over $11,000 per person.  {do those numbers look eerily similar to anyone else?!} I don’t think it’s too much of a reach to say that ads = spending. Marketing works. Read More

How I get my kids to do ALL of the laundry! 👖👚👗

How I get my kids to do ALL of the laundry! 👖👚👗

My husband and I were having a discussion recently about this book he’s been reading with the youth group he runs (he’s an associate pastor). In the book, two college-age brothers discuss how they have an incredible work ethic {obviously, seeing that they are published authors at that age!}, mostly because of the fact that their parents gave them a lot of chores. While they were seeing their friends do one or two chores a week — only ONE TIME a week on weekends — they had 6-8 chores a day.  This is what my kids have. I have had several people gently suggest that maybe they Read More

Why We ❤️ American Heritage Girls ✝️🇺🇸

Why We ❤️ American Heritage Girls ✝️🇺🇸

As homeschoolers, we are often notorious for overscheduling and being super involved in extra-curriculars. That old sentiment of homeschoolers being “unsocialized” is as outdated as rotary phones and 8-tracks. My girls had some friends involved in Girl Scouts, and they were very interested in the style of organization: a troop, where they work to learn, serve, and earn badges, while doing fun activities with friends. I, however, had some issues with it. I have been morally opposed to the Girl Scouts organization for years. I searched for an alternative and was elated to find that there was a chapter of American Heritage Girls right in Read More

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Parent & Kid Date Night

Date Night is a family favorite in our home… and no, I don’t mean when we get a babysitter and have some couple time. Of course, that’s very important, and we do that too! But what I’m talking about today is Parent & Kid Date Night! My kids absolutely love this tradition. It’s something we started in 2014 when we first moved to Ohio. We have always done dates with our kids since they were little, but it was at this time that it became an official thing. It has benefited and grown our relationships in so many ways, and I’m going to tell you Read More

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How I Handle Sunday Mornings By Myself

You may know that my husband Byron is in seminary, working on his Master’s of Divinity — on his path to becoming an Army Chaplain. In November, he accepted his first pastoral job at the loveliest little country church in Tiffin, Ohio. This new dynamic has changed a lot of things in our family: Daddy is now working AND doing school full time. We live in a new town where we don’t really know anyone. And we have a lot of responsibilities that are new to our family. One of the things that has been a HUGE learning curve for *me* is dealing with church Read More

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My Favorite Books of 2016 {WIN ONE!!!}

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE TO READ. Each year on Goodreads I set a reading goal, and I have never gone a year where I haven’t surpassed it. Reading is the only way I know to truly decompress, slow down, and rest. This year I just barely met my goal: Last year, I wrote a post outlining How Busy Moms Can Read More as well as my top books for 2015. A lot of readers came back and told me how much they enjoyed my favorites, so I thought it would be fun to do another post about this year’s picks, as Read More

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How to Keep the Spirit of Giving {after the holidays have passed}

Many families do an exceptional job of giving back throughout the holidays. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I see so much giving and generosity in my community, and it just warms the heart. 💗 However, the closer we get to Christmas, the more the gimmes set in for the children. They seem to have their “eye on the prize” and get very focused on Christmas morning and all it entails. 🎁🎄🎁 Then, after Christmas, they seem to be riding a present-high, and they forget about all the love and giving and hope that the holidays bring. Here are some strategies that my family has done (or Read More

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FREE Printable Breakfast Menu

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’m moving! For that reason, several things have been going on while we prepare to buy a new house, sell our current one, and pack everything up! Those things are: the blog hit the back burner for a few weeks we took a short break from homeschooling (yay, flexibility!) and my “meal planning” has been more along the lines of “oh, crap… it’s dinner time again”. So for that reason, I’m going to tell you one of my favorite hacks. Breakfast for dinner.  It’s not a new concept. Moms have been serving eggs and cereal Read More