How we celebrate special occasions without breaking the bank

This week, my husband and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary and we celebrated in a big way! A big way to us, which is what mattered most. In the past year, we have bought and sold a house, moved to another state, and welcomed our first child into the world. The year has flown by in the most fulfilling ways possible. We have grown closer than ever as a result of these huge life changes as well, and because of all of this, we thought we better make the day extra fun.

With that said, you might expect a review of a great cruise or extravagant vacation, but truth be told, we didn’t leave our house! Part of the reason why we chose the house we bought last year, was because of the land it came on. That was our goal in our house hunt from the beginning, we wanted land. Coming from the Northern Virginia area, land was simply not attainable at a price we could afford. Driving a short 6 hours away, into Tennessee, we found a nice selection of homes on land in our price range. So, we took a leap, made a HUGE change in our lifestyle, and moved.

Our anniversary day began with sleeping in until 7! Some may cringe at that hour, but between a 9 month old son who wakes up anywhere from 6:30-7:30 and 2 large dogs that relentlessly wake up as soon as the sun rises and begin to whine to be let outside, 7 feels incredible. We exchanged cards and my husband brought home some beautiful flowers the day before that had our kitchen smelling wonderful! After breakfast and playing with our son a bit, we headed down to our freshly tilled garden.

Last year, we planted our first vegetable garden and it did really well. My husband fenced it all in, built a beautiful gate to enter, and built a few plots to add a little something extra to where we planted a variety of vegetables. It looked beautiful and was functional as well. It was our first attempt, so we made it fun and experimented. We planted all kinds of fun things from pumpkins to peppers, to cantaloupe. This year, we decided to use 2 decorative plots for flowers along the fence and then till the entire ground area from edge to edge. Our goal is to yield a large variety of vegetables that we regularly purchase at the grocery store, rather than just planting crops for fun. It will help us save money on our grocery bill each week, and we’ll have the benefit of knowing how and where our produce was grown. In the days leading up to our anniversary, we were able to borrow a till from a neighbor and prep the ground.

So, our morning was spent working in the garden. It may not sound glamorous, but there is something so rewarding about getting a garden planted. From the ground work, to the actual planting itself, it’s really a labor of love and it pays off in just a short time too. After we were hot and sweaty from the beautiful sunny weather and hard work, we went inside and made lunch. We sat on our porch, with a view of the mountains, overlooking our garden, ate lunch and homemade ice cream, all while listening to the laughter of our son and having our dogs at our feet. It was the exact view, atmosphere, and experience that we have paid money for, numerous times in the past by renting mountain cabins for weekend getaways. Now, it’s our home. There something so transformative about sunny beautiful weather and being outside as a family. Stress is gone, spirits are lifted, you just seem to feel so alive and joyful.

 

After getting cleaned up for the day and after our son took a good nap, we spent the remainder playing with the dogs in the backyard, playing with our son, and having good quality family time. For dinner, we grilled grass-fed burgers from a longhorn farm not 20 miles from our house, ate some more homemade ice cream, put our son to bed and watched a movie.

There are so many ways to celebrate special occasions without breaking the bank. A homemade favorite meal, homemade dessert, and a thoughtful note are some of the best ways to make memories. It shows you’re considerate and thinking of the other before yourself. Taking a walk, a hike, or planting a garden are always memorable ways to really reconnect and enjoy another’s company. Expensive gifts or dates out, although nice, are never necessary to really show someone you care, in my opinion.

I am thankful for our hard work this week and our family time. I know that in the months to come, the vegetables and fruits we harvest from the garden will all taste that much sweeter as we know they were a joint effort and mark such a special day.

 

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