Sprucing the nest…

It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt content enough to blog.

Contentment is strange. A sense of happiness and satisfaction? We do so more now than ever try to find the joy in the daily things that God blesses us with, but it has been a huge struggle for me personally to really settle in. I’ve been living “until the next session is finished” or “until I feel better” or “until my next appointment.” 


I usually love blogging and writing to journal our events/journeys, but lately (and by lately, I guess I mean the last 6+ months) it just hasn’t felt right. 

Almost from the beginning of this pregnancy, I’ve been in a funk. With the months and months of morning sickness came exhaustion, mental fatigue, and just an overall haze. Kind of like a thin veil of fog just hanging over each day.

Sickness after sickness in our home left us secluded from friends and family. Along with the sickness, we have been in a major MAJOR transitional point in our lives. After 16+ years with the same company, Chase has accepted a position with a new company (talk about crazy) during this last month of pregnancy. Don’t forget we kinda moved three times in the last year, built a house, a camper, and sold everything we owned…. I’d say this year has been one of growth, learning, and acceptance.


But today. Today felt bright. Today felt good.


(and look at that Pikachu “ornament” that made its way onto the tree! and we totally have a toothbrush cap as an ornament… thanks Dad)Christmas

Don’t get me wrong, we have had MANY great days in between some of the crazy, but I just haven’t felt like writing about it. Now that I’m finally caught up with work and photo sessions, I felt like I could spend time on us, our home, and sharing a little bit of what we have been up to the last 9 months.


Penny 2



This sweet room has been such a place of happiness. I’ve so enjoyed putting lovely little things in here that bring us joy! From the sweet Gingiber fox, blue owl pillow and sheep, to the thoughtful gifts from friends… Love it so much!! 

Christmas 2

and then these happy shelves that Chase built… I LOVE THEM way much. I still have some fun ideas for the coffee bar and the living room, but after selling most of our things last year, I’ve found serious joy in less. The things we have out are so meaningful to us. Christmas 3 

So there you have it! Happy Tuesday, y’all. Thanks for catching up.

Maybe with the next blog, there will be a baby girl! 

Shasta Revisited!

When we left her last, Sharon the Shasta was in our side yard. After we sold our last home, we disassembled the walls and put her in a storage unit until we could find a covered workspace to finish her.


(where she was last time we worked on her, before storage)


We waited, sometimes not-so-patiently (me), and had an amazingly sweet offer from a sweet friend to use part of their yard to set up our tent and get to work.
and then the rains came. and they came… and kept coming! For the entire month of June it seemed to rain. So in the storage until Sharon stayed.


Then, the heavens opened up, the rain stopped (and the heat set in!) and Chase had a friend with a warehouse space available offer us the unit for an incredible deal. Jackpot.

and here is what has happened since!


(we put the walls back up!)



(then built the front in)

(framed in my favorite window in the whole camper… cannot wait to sit here sipping my cuppa and just gaze!)

(framed in, minus the back and roof- intentionally!) 

IMG_4947(started building interior furniture… my beautiful cushions are so excited to have a place to go!) 


 (Boxed in the frame! Storage underneath on both sides. We aren’t purists, and want the interior furniture to be white, so we are building the interior furniture with plywood. Less expensive, too!)


So that’s where we are right now! We plan to finish the dinette this weekend, and the kitchenette and bed area. Then we can frame in the back and the roof, and move to electrical! Whew.


Stay tuned!


This poor blog hasn’t seen an update in too long!


We have FINALLY settled back into a routine in our new home; however, it took a little longer than normal because we decided we might as well make a few more changes in this crazy fun life before we settled in!


We are expecting baby #2, and…


It’s a …

imageWe are so happy and excited to meet this little one!

Menu Planning on a Budget

Meal Plan PinterestPlanning or organizing anything is a big dose of calm for this mama.

For years now, I have tried to plan out our meals every week. I used to use E-mealz, but realized we were still wasting food.. so now I just do it myself!

Sunday is my favorite day to plan. Any day works though as long as we have a plan.

Meal planning is something that I can do easily in an hour of quiet time over the weekend. It does take time, but it saves so much $! 

Typically, I open up my numbers file with the awesome meal planner Anna gave us for the 21 Day Fix (message me if you’d like this planner!) and just run with it! It’s an awesome form of stress relief…

I have two planners- one is for me… it’s super calculated, and contains a lot of information. The second is super cutesy, less info, and easier to read.

Because really… I like to use things more when they look pretty.

This is the cute, simple meal planner in my Erin Condren Life Planner. For the home, I just printed it and had it laminated at Office Depot and now it hangs easily on a clip on the fridge!


Erin Condren Menu

(LP Menu Planner)


The second is the one that I use to plan my containers for myself on the 21 Day Fix (this includes all of my container counts and personal snacks for myself and Connor, lunches, breakfasts, and dinners). mealplankalyn

 (This menu courtesy Anna!! I love this template. This isn’t actually my best planned menu ever- it was my first week ever to plan for the 21 day fix.. but it was already edited and cropped down.. hah)

This is the one I will use for making my grocery list and budget.


So, when I go to make my menu, I always check what I have in the freezer, pantry, and refrigerator that we didn’t use the previous week. That goes onto my menu first. Every day, I make sure all of our meals and snacks hit the right amount of fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. etc… Ours are calculated on our age/height/weight, etc.


I’m not about limiting healthy food consumption. Connor is welcome to eat all of the apples, strawberries, veggies, water, and healthy snacks his little body needs.  But for our budget’s sake, once food is gone each week, it won’t be replenished until the following week. We’re trying to teach Connor about consumption, healthy eating habits and self regulating. Eating when our bodies tell us we’re hungry, not to just mindlessly snack. (because honestly, it’s something I struggle with!)



Some weeks are way better than others… and right now, we are in a huge transition in our life. But meal planning and sticking with the budget are things that can be helpful in crisis mode. It’s like a failsafe.  


So… sorry for the side bar! I take what we have leftover, insert it into the menu and then fill in the menu with meals! I typically start with dinners (we eat leftovers for lunch from dinner), then breakfast, and snacks. 


After the meals are planned, I just write down what we need on a shopping list and estimated cost for each item, and take that to Aldi. If my prices are estimated over, I try to nip and tuck where possible. Usually it’s right on though. After 6 years of planning I kinda have my groove. I’m always AMAZED out how much I can get in my cart at Aldi for $50-$75 though!

Erin Condren Shopping List(LP Shopping List) 

Our weekly grocery budget is $50-$75. For where we are in our life, this is what suits us. It totally may not suit you! That’s okay! Do what works for YOU. But find a number that works with your budget, and stick to it- that’s what helps us waste less, and stick to our menu.

I try to stick to organic for the dirty dozen (but don’t beat myself up if it’s not available… having a whole food diet is the most important part for us), and if I can find organic in other products for a similar price, I jump on that! My meals are pretty simplistic, but yummy. I stick to our favorites for 95% of the meals each week, and maybe toss in one new recipe to try throughout the week. That leads to less waste for us.

I recall this week specifically because we spent about $5 in treats (hello, potty training….) for the little dude and still came in relatively inexpensive. Granted, I do also recall we had quite a bit of veggies left in the fridge and freezer which helped!

I’ve given in to just shopping 100% at Aldi.. because well, it’s awesome. If I can’t find something that’s on my menu, I try to swap in store for a like priced item. No zucchini? Grab a squash… Out of fresh strawberries? Try the frozen organic variety.



My biggest idea as to why and how we stick to such a strict budget is that I don’t buy everything every week… we only buy what is on the meal plan. No excess. If we have leftovers from previous weeks, we try to use them. Less waste. We’re not limiting food, but just trying to reduce waste. AND there are only three of us! 

IMG_9552I’m not gonna lie, I get balked at when I mention our grocery budget. I promise we’re not starving our kid! He eats okay (for a very picky toddler), and we eat well! He’ll eventually pick up our habits if we continue to be good examples and continue to try to get him to try weird stuff… because anything that’s not mac-n-cheese is weird to him. But progress is progress!

IMG_9867 What are your favorite meal planning tips?? Favorite simple recipe??

Mine is probably Sweet-N-Sour Meatballs (my mom’s recipe… promise to share with y’all someday soon!), or semi-soft boiled eggs with dijon and sriacha. 


Leave it in the comments, would love to hear your favs!


I’ve been around the block a few times to understand that our lives move in seasons… seasons of rest, stress, comfort, pain, excitement, stability, growth… 

 I’m sure we’ve all been through many of them. Until this last year, our lives cycled through the normal. It wasn’t until we bought our fixer in Fayetteville that we experienced the season of crazy. 

IMG_7486(so many happy memories here- we put so much into this little place!)

I mean, like super crazy. You learn who your real friends are in that season. The one’s who stick by you, tell you God is leading you in this direction for a purpose, and lift you up in prayer and never let you hermit away like you want to (ahem.. Kaci). We also met or reconnected with some of amazingly wonderful and generous friends during this season.. those who gave willingly of their time and talents to come and help finish projects (cough- Bronwen!), or move your stuff.. or buy your stuff when you sell everything you own! You know, the fellow crazies or thrifting nerds. 

My friend’s Hannah and Anna both mentioned recently that by putting our genuine and honest, real, true self out there, we will attract like minded people. It’s SO true. By being honest about who and where we were in life, we attracted some crazy-awesome nerdy, thrifty, handy people. 

We learned that maybe living in a constant state of projects wasn’t the best way for our marriage and family to grow. We learned SO much about each other during this time though, too… things that we likely may not have learned without the hardships.

– how to trust
– that I have anxiety over unfinished projects (like hardcore…)
– how to let go… 

So, we won’t regret any decisions we made. Nor will we dwell on the past.


Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  -Isaiah 43:18-19


So, we’re moving forward. We’re building a house. It has worked out beautifully and in the right time… there are rivers in our desert. Life’s season is changing, and we’re following where we are led. 

IMG_0554IMG_0863-1IMG_0876Chase is still working on engineering like nobody’s business and I’m still taking new photography clients.


Connor is still awesome and three, and full of laughs. I’m still working my booty off with 21 Day Fix and Max 30 and any other exercises I can get my hands on and do from home.


We’re still us. 

So, there you have it intra-world. Update on the crazies. Care to join us?


I'm Kalyn 

love music. love the outdoors. love life.

Following life around with a camera is my passion; along with mama-ing, DIY-ing, cooking, and exploring.