Date Night

Last night, I didn’t get a chance to post for Frugal Friday because my husband and I were having a date night. During this season of our life, that doesn’t necessarily look like it used to. However, it can still be fun and, yes, frugal. 

Going on dates doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. There are plenty of free or cheap options: outdoor movies your town puts on (bring your own snacks), grabbing an ice cream and walking around a town square, going on a hike and eat a homemade picnic at your destination…the possibilities are endless. Another option is one that my husband and I have been doing a lot more of recently: dating at home. 

With an almost 11 month old baby who decided sleeping through the night was for the birds and not many friends/family in the area, staying at home is way less stressful  for us right now. During the month of October, I’ve planned 5 different Halloween-y movie dates. I have the option of completely theming out the night or going a bit more bare bones. Last night, after both of us had very busy weeks, we decided simpler was better.  

 The movie of the night was Edward Scissorhands (fun fact: first movie that ever made me cry). I was originally planning on us making a meal together in the kitchen, but we were tired, so we just had some yummy leftover pasta instead. I also bought my husband’s favorite candy for our movie snack: peanut M&Ms. Since Owen was asleep, and sound travels ridiculously well in our house, we decided to set up the movie on a laptop propped on our bed with computer speakers attached. We cuddled underneath the comforter while watching a movie and eating dinner. It was the perfect date!

If you want to put a little more effort towards it, there’s also the possibility of theming it out. One year for my husband’s birthday, I went all out. He was saying how he missed his hometown (beach town in California) a lot, so I did a beach inspired dinner. I moved our old dinner table to the living room, underneath a large print of a picture I took in Hawaii while on our honeymoon. I found a really yummy recipe for clams and served it with plenty of nice bread and a salad, and, on the tv, I had the video from when we snorkled with wild dolphins (also on our honeymoon in Hawaii) playing. My husband said it made him feel like he was at one of his favorite restaurants on the beach. Mission accomplished.

Some fun things, aside from dinner, that you can make to go with a movie: popcorn (I buy bags of kernals and then add my own flavor after we pop a handful), flavored coffee, hot cocoa, apple cider, Chex mix, trail mix, etc. The possibilities are endless! Themed or not themed, date nights at home can be a lot of fun and make you feel like you’re a million miles away, even if you’re just in your living room. 


I swear, I was just marveling at the fact that it was already September, and now it’s already October! Which means…crunch time. October, November, and December are, by far, the busiest and most enjoyable months for me. In October, not only are we getting ready for Owen’s first Halloween, but we’re also starting the planning stages of his first birthday party (early November)! Then, after his party, it’s a huge family Thanksgiving followed by my absolute favorite time of the year: the Christmas season.  

Now, let me rein in the crazy train a little. My mind totally went into overdrive with thinking about future plans. Let me focus on today: today, it finally started to look a little bit like fall. I watched a few golden leaves float to the ground this morning while sipping on my tea, the black birds are starting to arrive (a sign of fall) and Owen squeals in delight while watching them, and we had a nice rain during Owen’s morning nap. No more 90s are forecasted, and the lows are bordering on chilly. I have some pasta sauce finishing in the slow cooker, and my fresh bread just finished baking. Before I start planning out the next three months in my planner, I intend to relax and take in this wonderful day and remind myself why I like this time of year so much: it just feels so cozy and home-y. 

What are your favorite things about this time of year? 

Murphy’s Law

Just another Saturday night: I’m at home with munchkin while my husband is playing a gig with one of his bands. I put Owen down to sleep about an hour ago when…


What in the name of all things good was that? I heard it through the monitor, so I went to investigate. At first I thought maybe it was outside. Maybe someone was trying to break into our car? There have been a string of car break-ins in my neighborhood by kids. Then, I heard it again:


Oh nonononono. That cannot be what I think it is. I open Owen’s bedroom door, look up at his smoke detector and…


Seriously?! Of all the smoke detectors and all the times in the day, the smoke detector in Owen’s room was going off after I put him down for the night. I’m not a violent person, but it made me want to find Murphy and punch him in the face.

After making an SOS call to both my brother-in-law (firefighter) and father-in-law (retired firefighter), I find that there’s no way of disarming that annoying contraption, so I had to do the unthinkable: attempt to stop the beeping without waking up the baby. We had no new 9 volt batteries in the house (of course), so I stole one out of an old metronome that we never use anymore. I checked to see if it still had power, and it did, so I decided to use it until I forced my husband to get a new battery on his way home.

I opened the door, snuck a small step ladder in, and unscrewed the smoke detector from its ceiling mount. So far, so good. Owen’s still sleeping like, well, like a baby. I pop open the battery compartment and take out the battery: still good. I put the “new” battery in and pop it back into place and wait…


Ugh. Okay, maybe it didn’t have enough power in it. I went searching for yet another battery. Finally, my husband called and told me he had an extra battery stashed in one of his cases. I went and found it, and I went through the process again: popped open the battery compartment, took the old battery out, put the new battery in, popped it back into place, and waited…


Seriously?? Out of options, I began to panic a little. Then, naturally, Owen finally woke up from all the beeping. I tried to feed him, but he was all sorts of excited about the beeping and the ladder in his room. I could not get him to calm down. Trying to get him away from the annoying sounds in an effort to get him back to sleep, I brought him into our room and fed him on our bed. Now he was even more excited! Now he was on a BIG bouncy bed, and there were animals in the room!

Needless to say, he did not sleep for me. He stayed up, attempting to party, until his dad got home with a new 9 volt (generously supplied by another guy in the band). We watched him put it in an waited…


Thank goodness. I don’t know what I would have done if I had heard a beep one more time that night. Once the house was quiet and Owen got over the excitement of his dad being home, I finally got to work getting him to bed again. He finally went down. At 1:30am.

Needless to say, I needed a little more tea the next day, and Owen was a bit more groggy that usual too. If I ever meet him, that Murphy guy and I are going to have some serious words.

Grooming Your Fur Babies

As I mentioned in a previous post, I practically live in a zoo. I have two cats and two dogs, before you add any humans into the mix. With four animals comes a giant grooming bill unless you learn how to do it yourself.

Cats, by nature are pretty easy grooming-wise. Since both of my cats are indoor, we bathe them (yes, my cats take baths) maybe once or twice a year – whenever their coats start looking like they need a little help, and we brush them maybe once every couple of months. They’re both shorthaired, and they’re really good at keeping themselves clean.

The dogs on the other hand…oh goodness. I have a pug (notorious for how much they shed) and a shepherd mix (also notorious for how much they shed). These guys need help. If we were to bring them to a grooming facility every time they needed a bath, a brush, a nail trim, an ear cleaning, or a tooth brush, we would be out hundreds a month.

We try to give the dogs baths once every month or two. We can give our pug a bath in the bathtub, no problem. However, we have to use the hose with our bigger dog. I buy nice natural shampoo for sensitive skin. One bottle lasts me a long time.

No, you’re eyes are not playing tricks on you. The water is green. Sadie decided to chase birds in wet, freshly mowed grass.

My dogs’ nails grow faster than mine do! We own both a nail clipper and a grinder for them. Our big dog’s nails are a little bit scary to do because they’re completely black and it’s hard to see the wick, but I find that if you look at the nail from the bottom, it’s easier to see how far you should cut.

My dogs get brushed once a week. Truth be told, it needs to be more like every day or every other day because they shed so much. We have a short hair furminator for our pug and a long hair furminator for our big dog. Every time we brush them, we make sure to do it outside, so I don’t have a crazy mess to deal with once it’s all done. Our grass, on the other hand, looks like a very bizarre fawn (pug) and black (big dog) snow fell in one spot on our grass after each brushing. It’s truly ridiculous how much hair comes off of them. You know it’s bad when it looks like our big dog has lost weight every time we brush him.

Not my dog. If this dog were black, this would be Mulligan.

We make sure to clean their ears once every one or two weeks. Our pug hasn’t had any issues with her ears, but our big dog has had ear infections, so we’re very careful to check his ears frequently to see if they need cleaning. We also do this outside because of them shaking after we’re finished. Nothing grosser than having ear gunk shaken in your home.

It may take a little extra effort, but it is absolutely financially worth it to take care of grooming your animals yourself. You might need a friend to help if you have a bigger dog (why are the bigger dogs usually the biggest wimps when it comes to grooming?), but your budget will thank you.

Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts has been stuck in my head all evening. It’s a gorgeous piece that I’ve loved ever since I first heard it. No, don’t just look at the link, actually click on it! Listen all the way through, and take three minutes out of your day to take in the music and breath. It’s free, and, who knows, it may help you hit the reset button as well.

I’ve been in bit of a rut…again. However, a couple of days ago, I started making sure to take note of what I’m grateful for each day, and it has completely revamped my attitude. I’m also better able to see answers to my problems without the fog of negativity constantly surrounding me.

 No, everything is not perfect because of my shift in perspective. However, my days are more pleasant, I have a better attitude to face any obstacles I’m faced with, and I’m able to soak up all of the amazing moments with my family, regardless of what else is going on. Because one thing a child definitely teaches you is that simplicity is beautiful.

   ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free…

Fall is Here

Today is officially the first day of fall! While it may not feel like it where I live, I’ve decided that today is the day to start decorating. If I go outside in the morning or nighttime, it almost feels cool?

Three years ago, I found a tutorial about how to make a cute wreath here, and it turned out great! It was so easy and cheap to make, and it helps brighten up the front of my house. Fall Wreath

With the leftover leaves that I saved from when I made the wreath and some of my ever expanding collection of mason jars, I’m excited to do a little DIY this week to bring fall inside my house as well! Super easy, and the only thing I had to buy was the Mod Podge. It’ll be the perfect nap time project. fall mason jarsThen, all that’s left is for us to go to a pumpkin patch and pick out the rest of our fall stash. There’s a really cool one not too far from us with a corn maze, hay rides, petting zoo, and, of course, a lot of pumpkins to choose from. We just have to find a day to go when my husband is able to come with us. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to miss it. There are very few seasonal firsts left for Owen, but that is one of them.

I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together, and maybe actually get a little fall weather to go with it!

Buying for Baby

As cute as baby clothes, toys, etc. are, if it’s not given as a gift from one of Owen’s relatives, it was probably either bought second hand or it was a hand-me-down. So, I decided to compile a list of the best go-to places to get a deal on baby items.

  1. Friends and family with babies: That’s right. Good ol’ hand-me-downs. One of our sweet friends gave us Owen’s tummy time activity center, his seated play center, his nursing pillow, his foam puzzle piece play mat, and some baby clothes and shoes (and some maternity dresses for me). His twin cousins have given him more than half of his toy collection (including a lot of favorites). If you have kind-hearted friends or family, and they offer items for your baby, by all means take them up on it! Just don’t forget to pay it forward whenever you are able to.
  2. Consignment stores: We have two consignment stores in our town, plus events that pop up throughout the year. You sometimes have to search for what you want, but they’re a great source for gently loved items at a great price.
  3. Garage sales: Garage sales can kind of be a hit or miss. Sometimes, by they time you get there, all the good stuff has already been picked through by all of the die-hard garage sale-ers. You also have to inspect the items to make sure they’re not stained/broken/pages missing/whatever. However, you can sometimes find stuff for a steal, and sellers are also usually up for haggling.
  4. Facebook: If you haven’t checked out the Facebook garage sale sites or swap sites, you’re missing out. It’s super convenient and not as shady as Craigslist. Garage sale sites work just like a virtual garage sale: first person to claim the items get them, and the rest of the interested people are on a just-in-case waiting list. Sometimes the seller delivers to you, but most of the time you go pick your items up. Swap sites are cool because they literally require no money. Just items that someone else needs in exchange for items you need.
  5. Craigslist: You can find some great deals and even free stuff on Craigslist. However, beware of any potential scammers, and always meet in a public place to buy your items.
  6. Sales and coupons: For everything else not covered by the last five means of purchasing baby necessities, I shop sales and use coupons. I’ve gotten some pretty cute stuff for a steal at Target this way…and it was new!

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are still baby items that you should buy new: the most important of these being your carseat (Carseats are often recalled, “expire,” and are not to be used again if involved in a crash. Better safe than sorry.). However, whenever possible, I always like to save money. Babies don’t have to be expensive; you just have to know where to look for the deals.