perfecting the fake smile

Why are professional photos so difficult always!? My husband absolutely hates getting his photo taken which makes it double hard for me because I somehow have to master getting him to fake smile. He is worse than a child sometimes. 

I discovered this pretty early when we got out engagement photos done and then wedding photos and then a few family photo shoots.

Today was our big 1-year photo shoot with Audrey. Not only did I have two, sick grumps this morning (Chris & Audrey), but I gasped when I saw Chris' face. Somehow he managed to scrape or have some sort of reaction to something on his face - right smack in the middle were two big, red welts. 

"Does this have to happen on picture day?!" I huffed. Well, nothing a little makeup couldn't fix.

The photo shoot wasn't all that bad. The photographer thought it was pretty funny watching me sweat as I tried to entertain both Chris and Audrey to make them smile. I was seriously dancing and singing like a monkey in the studio. 

Ahh, the things we do. 

Just another moment in mommyland.


fashion friday

I can't believe it- it is Friday again! As I wait for the sun to come out, here is a little baby fashion & momma fashion.

My favorite color pair this summer: navy & hot pink.

The blue is such a rich, cool color and there is nothing like spicing up the night with something hot pink for outfits, backyard decor or a party. 

This outfit is from Target: my favorite! I love these high wasted sailor shorts and blue ruffled tank. Hair clip is from H&M.

For momma: Light, summer cardigan from Old Navy $6.99

Pool party thanks to Tastefully Entertaining

I recently picked up this London Times dress at Ross for $19.99
Also a Ross find. $6.99 baby Ralph Lauren Polo dress & shoes $12.99

I've always been a fan of Victoria's Secret line of clothing. You can get almost anything in navy or hot pink
Victoria's Secret $35.50

Victoria's Secret clearance dress $24.99
Can't decide which one I like better!


wordless wednesday

How many of you have felt like this? 

breanna & her baby boy


elk ragu

If you are married to a hunter, you too, have had to figure out not only how to eat elk, but how to cook it.

Once fond of elk meat, pregnancy turned me somewhat against it. Only when you can really smell or taste the gaminess. I have found a few ways around it considering it is a good, lean meat and is filling up our freezer.

Elk Ragu

1 package ground elk 
1 package pasta noodles (Rotini or Penne) 
1 jar flavored marinara sauce
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Boil noodles in heavy salt water (enough where the water tastes salty) & olive oil
2. Heat olive oil & garlic in deep saute pan on medium high 
3. Add meat to the saute pan & cook thoroughly 
4. Add plenty of basil, more garlic, salt & pepper (to taste) to meat
5. Add marinara sauce to pan along with another tablespoon of olive oil 
6. Add 1/2-1 cup of water from your cooked pasta (adds creaminess to sauce) 
6. Drain pasta & add to simmering meat sauce 
7. Mix pasta & sauce while adding 2-3 cups Parmesan (again, to liking but the more the better) 
8. Remove from heat & add 1-2 tablespoons of butter 
9. Bowl it up, add more Parmesan and Basil to top and get a fork!

it's all about the benjamins baby

Money, money, money: a topic that comes between every beautiful union and for most, turns ugly. Unfortunately, we need money to buy the things we need, and it is rare that any two people have the exact same view on spending. Key word is need; I get want and need a little mixed up sometimes.

I am a spender. I am more of a "live for today" person. That might have something to do with the fact that I've only had a few jobs where I brought in good money. There is a reason why they call it "freelance journalist." 

Those times that I made good money, I had a different take on spending it. I suppose when it is my dads or husbands earned money, I may not take it into consideration how hard they worked for it. 

So ya, I was a little spoiled. Marriage quickly brought me a platter of reality that I'm still chewing on. 

My husband, the saver and budgeter, knew we needed to sit down and come up with a strict financial plan since I would be staying home. I'm pretty sure my dad coded him into what kind of spender I was before we got married and somehow he still wanted me. My dad was one happy man: Great son-in-law and a good chunk of his paycheck back.

In the very beginning, my husband and I made an Excel sheet with every category and budgeted monthly amount for that category (See Below). Chris said, "You're going to need to become a receipt Nazi." Something I've never done: saved receipts. 

We are two years into our marriage and I am still working on it.

I know that I can't take anything with me and that this is God's money that deserves to be back with Him. It isn't so much that I have the desire to be wealthy or have the want for expensive, material things, but when I have a grocery list, I don't have the guts to put back half of the items when I've gone over budget. It is hard for me to say "no" when we are invited on trips or out to dinner. I see an outfit for $5.99 and think "Great deal!" and I get it when I don't need it. 

I pray for discipline and contentment. Two things I am seeing clear that I need more of in all aspects of my life from my health to our finances. 

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."   (Philp. 4: 11-13) 

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."   (Heb. 12:11)

Moreover, the Arnold budget plan has saved us from many, many arguments regarding money. I live and breath our budget plan and don't see how I could manage any other way. I am so obsessed that when we go on vacation, I bring my laptop so that I can constantly be plugging in receipts. A pile of receipts and a negative balance is never fun after a vacation. 

We still discuss our finances, but it is rarely an issue to one of us disagreeing on another persons purchase as long as it was in the budget

For example, if I want to go buy a new purse or get my nails done, I have a budgeted amount in "Britt's Misc." This is fun money. I can't nag my husband about spending his money on bike things or beer making equipment and he can't complain about how much my hair cost.

We have a date fund. To us, a very important part to keeping our relationship strong. Therefore, we budget for it bi-weekly to have a few date nights a month. 

Below is an example of what we do. Every marriage has their own formula, but I strongly agree that every marriage needs to lay down a formula to prevent very destructive arguments. 

If you argue a lot about money, I challenge you to sit down with your spouse and create a formula like this. Try it out. It is tough to learn budgeting, but very rewarding. 

The Arnold Way

1. Write down your bi-weekly/weekly/monthly income 
2. Write down your tithe & how much you want to go into savings 
3. After that, write down your standard bills and how much you pay (i.e. Utilities, Car Insurance, Gas, Health, Mortgage/Rent). If you pay every 6-months for car insurance, divide the total number due by 6 months to see how much you need to be saving per month. That way, you are ready to pay when that bill comes. 
4. Now, write down categories for the other fundamental items such as Groceries, Clothes, and whatever else you and your family deem important. 
5. I would argue that personal categories are very good and would be considered "fundamental." 
6. Write down your additional columns such as Date Night, Travel, Gifts, etc...
7. After subtracting your MUST PAY categories from your total bi-weekly &  monthly amount, start plugging in numbers to the other categories until you both agree on doable amounts.

Our categories are: 
Tithe, Mortgage, Car Insurance, Health, Food, Utilities, Gas, Car, Baby, Travel, Presents, Chris, Brittany, Extra/Misc., Phone, Date, Clothes, House

Here is an example of what it looks like on an Excel spreadsheet. Plug in your bi-weekly/weekly &  monthly amount, use the data formula to subtract and add where it will auto sum your category total. Then highlight all the category totals to do an auto sum of the account total and wah-lah!

Happy budgeting to you!
Mortgage    bi weekly   monthly
Car Ins.        (x)  (x)
Health  (x)      (x)
Food Misc.   (x)    (x)
Utilities (x)    (x)





totaltotal total total total


a little bit of both

What a wonderful Memorial Day weekend filled with tons of family fun. Great meals, good friends and some good time in the outdoors. 

Of course, for a dinner party I put her in a tutu & the next day my husband had her in Cabela's overalls and a Hickory logging shirt. A little bit of Momma's & Dada's girl. 

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