Hello Everyone and welcome to the third edition of The Nap Times! If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply unsubscribe at the bottom. I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and will not take it personally.


This third newsletter is going to cover how Nate and I budgeted when he was in law school and we had two kids (crazy 🤪) and end with some Kids' Easter Basket ideas. 

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Look at these two young newlyweds! This is us in our first apartment in Durham, NC. We were able to rent this 3BR/2BA for $400 a month! (When I found this picture I told Nate that fatherhood has seriously aged him 🤣)


Quick history for you: out of college Nate and I both worked for a college ministry called Campus Outreach. He was at Duke and I was at UNC Chapel Hill. It was such a special season for us both, but definitely not a time of making the big bucks 🤣. We got married and had one year on staff as a married couple then went off staff for Nate to prep for the LSAT and I started personal training. Nate then started Law School at UNC Chapel Hill and I worked for GlaxoSmithKline as a wellness instructor. During this time, I got pregnant with John Robert and worked until I was 38 weeks pregnant. Luckily, since we had been on staff for years, Nate and I had learned how to live cheap. We saved all that we could while I worked and then would use all the money Nate made from his law school summer internships (these paid extremely well) to live off of during the year. Our first apartment was $400/month and we got that deal because we did all the lawn care for the entire apartment complex. Y'all, it is so funny to look back on and think about this season. I honestly loved it. We were young, in love, and determined to make it work. And we did!! 

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This is me on the rider mower. I saw this as a huge opportunity to work on my tan. I rode this while Nate did the push mower and weeding. This task allowed us to get the major rent discount!



To start, I need you to understand that I am not good with a monthly budget. I would always go over and just could not figure out how to plan accordingly. There were always things that would come up that we didn't plan for and it truly just stressed me out. So, Nate and I came up with a daily budget that was really more of a game and highly motivated me. 


Here's how it worked:

Nate broke down our money into how much I could spend daily. That's right, daily. I don't remember what it was but for the sake of easy math let's say it was $50/day. 


Obviously, there were days I would spend more than $50 (grocery day, for instance) and if I did, I would calculate how many “days” I had spent and try to go that many days without spending. So If I spent $100 at the grocery, I knew I should try not to spend any the next day to make up for it. 


This also worked in the positive. For instance, if I went a day without spending, I knew I had racked up that money towards the next day(s). At the end of the week, any money leftover was fun and could be used however the heck we wanted, or saved. Talk about an incentive!  


Honestly, I think this is where the “can we go one more day?” grocery shopping principle was born! Trying my hardest to stretch the groceries one more day to keep us on track. 


I know this might sound like a lot and feel like a task, but we needed to be diligent. Nate was in school and I wasn't working. This was THE budget method that was actually successful for us. I simply kept a 5x8 notecard in the kitchen, drew columns for the days of the week, and would stick any expenses in the columns. At the end of the day, I would tally it up and there would either be a surplus that would roll over to the next day or any we overspent would be subtracted from the next day.  So, on a Monday, if I spent $60, then I only had $40 for Tuesday. However, if I only spent $10 on Monday, then I had $90 saved up for Tuesday. (This was just for spending; we had already accounted for fixed costs like rent, electric bill, etc.)


I hope this makes sense! In short, it kept me on track and was highly incentivizing for me to pinch those pennies and have a surplus at the end of the week. 


Moving on, let's quickly chat about EASTER BASKET IDEAS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE (that you won't want to toss the next day!):

*Please note: the below links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase through them I make a very small commission. Thank you in advance should you wish to use them!

1. A book: Nate and I plan to give each of the children a book to further help them understand who God is. I linked some of our favorites, though there are many more out there.

Who Sang the First Song by Ellie Holcomb (this book goes along with her song, “Sing,” which you can find on Spotify. My kids LOVE it!)

Read A Loud Bible Stories (this is great for younger kids who aren’t ready for The Jesus Storybook Bible); we have volumes 1-3 and are getting Millie volume 4.

The Jesus Storybook Bible (great for older kids; I would say 3+ years at least. If you don’t have this book, it is AMAZING. One of the best by far.)

The Big Picture Bible 

God Made All of Me, God Made Me Unique, and God Made Me and You have all been incredible resources for giving language to some heavier topics. Cannot recommend these enought!

**FREE #ballinonabudget IDEA: Write a few of your favorite verses on notecards and commit to memorizing them with your child. You can practice them together and have some reward if you learn them. Candy, or baking cookies, or whatever sounds like a fun reward to you!


2. Gardening gloves and tools: this is a wonderful way to get your child outside and to be able to spend time with them in the yard. 

Gardening gloves for toddler girl

Gardening gloves for toddler boy

Gardening tool set

Child size rake

**#ballinonabudget idea: buy a bag of soil and a few hearty herbs (parsley is a good one) or plants (again, something hard to kill!) and plant a small garden somewhere in the yard. 


3. Items to encourage them to help in the kitchen: 

Toddler apron

Toddler-safe knife set

**FREE IDEA: give them a certificate for homemade cookies or brownies; tell them they can cash it in on a day of their choosing and bake with them. Or, give them a box of brownie mix (you probably already have one in the pantry you can use!) and tell them that you are going to make them together that next week. They will love it!


4. Items that are for them, but also help you! Sun hats for the beach, a new bathing suit, little shoes, goggles, a puddle jumper (be sure to get the safe one I have linked below)…these are all things they will use and enjoy, but also things you are going to have to buy anyways! Count it a win, win.

Toddler bucket sun hat

Cotton zutanos for spring

safe puddle jumper for beach and pool


**ballinonabudget TIP: think through this summer. Are there any camps they are going to? Swim lessons? Perhaps there is something required for one of these that you could go ahead and gift them now.



*I am going to use this section to only share things I read/watched I would suggest to another person. I definitely read/listened to/watched some duds!



Good Apple by Elizabeth Passarella and highly enjoyed it. In short, it was made me laugh out loud multiple times.


Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand. Yes, I am still obsessed with Elin. All the books I have read so far focus on one character per chapter and jump back and forth between viewpoints. It keeps me interested. Plus, they are all set on Nantucket and I am committed to visiting one day! This is the fifth book I have read by Hilderbrand and it won't be the last. 



I told you last month that the main thing I have been listening to is The Bible Recap and I cannot sing its praises enough. It is by far the best Bible in a Year plan I have ever done! I listen to the Bible passages each morning using the YouVersion app that has the reading plan already on it and then listen the the episode of The Bible recap which comes to my Podcast app every morning. (ONE CHANGE I HAVE MADE: I now listen to the podcast recap episode before the actual Bible part. I have found that hearing the main points in the recap has really helped me to listen better to the actual Bible reading and be on the lookout for things as opposed to starting out confused.) It has helped me to understand what I am reading more than ever before. Listening to all of this takes me around 15 minutes each morning. It is completely free, by the way. Such an amazing resource!


A friend suggested the Raising Boys and Girls Podcast and it's another treasure trove of a resource. Sometimes I cannot believe people give this info away for free! 



I really haven't watched much TV lately but I am rewatching Friends on HBO Max each night on the iPad while I cook dinner. It makes me laugh and laughter is GOOD medicine right now. 5pm is MAGICAL at our house. The kids get to watch a show, I get to cook and watch Friends in peace. It's the best. 


That's all I have for you this month. Thanks for reading!