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Category: Living Simply

Slow Day: Week 17

Welcome to my weekly Slow Day post, inspired by Monica from . My Word for 2018 is Slow and, in the spirit of that word, I’m taking one day each week (Wednesday) off — I’ll be unplugged and offline and plan to move at a slower pace, take time to do things that refresh me, and just really focus on being present and savoring the moment.

Each week, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into my Slow Day — and I’ll let the pictures almost 100% speak for themselves, instead of giving many explanations. Enjoy a little peek into our lives!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our .)

I told you last week that we finally found a table we loved for our formal dining room. We wanted something that would seat up to 10 people, that was in our budget, that would take wear & tear well, that was simple and durable, and that matched with our overall look of our house.

We were so excited to find this one as it meets all of our qualifications! The leaf is built in and when it’s fully extended (as shown above), you can seat 10 people around the table. (It’s cozy, but you can do it!)

We got 10 chairs — two have different backs and we’ll use those on the ends. They are on order and will be coming in in June.

Now we just have to find some simple wall-hangings and this room is done! We’re excited to now have seating for large groups between our kitchen table, our dining room table, our covered deck, and our walk-out basement patio!

I’m still enjoying the $0.99 flowers!

Ruth Schwenk and she sent me this . I’d never even heard of an air plant before, but I am determined not to kill it! Any advice or tips for me?

Jesse and I watched while the kids were at school and then I went to meet a friend for lunch. I always love it when I have leftovers to bring home for lunch the next day!

They were filming something right outside where we ate lunch so I had fun people-watching before I left for home!

We picked the kids up from school and drove to downtown Nashville for a fun family outing. I got in while we drove — until I got crazy car sick! (I’m slowly savoring . It’s been really thought-provoking and I don’t want it to end!)

We hit up Dave & Buster’s for another Half Price Wednesday! Our whole family is quite competitive and the kids had been researching and watching YouTube videos on the best arcades to play at Dave & Buster’s. (Yes, we are those weird people that go into these kinds of things super prepared and with a strategy!)

We did another guys versus girls competition and had a blast! We girls did better this time and we decided not to cash in our winnings but to just save them on our cards so that we can get a bigger prize next time.

On the way home, I wrote a few cards to people and then I headed out to spend the evening with my Discipleship Small Group.

It was a good Slow Day! And by the way, I am just loving taking Wednesdays off! It has made me so much healthier and productive this year — and I look forward to Wednesdays every week. I especially love the fact that I can forget about my phone for a day!

Hospitality on a Budget: 5 Simple Ideas

You can still show hospitality, even when you're on a budget! These 5 simple ideas are great!!

Is it possible to show hospitality when you’re on a tight budget? Well, judging by the emails and comments I’ve received on this topic in recent months, this is something that many of you are struggling with.

You want to open your home and exercise more hospitality. You want to reach out to your neighbors and co-workers and friends. You want to develop closer relationships.

But for many of you, you feel like your home isn’t large enough, your house isn’t nice enough, and your budget isn’t big enough.

I believe that no matter your budget or size of house, you can be hospitable. You just need to get creative and think outside the box.

Many times, we think of hospitality as being when we’ll host another family or group of people for a meal. While that is definitely one form of hospitality, it is by no means the only form of hospitality.

So how can you exercise hospitality when your budget is slim and/or your home is tiny? Here are some ideas:

1. Host an after-dinner dessert and coffee night.

This could be as simple as brownies or cookies or ice cream. Or, skip the dessert and just serve coffee and tea.

You could also invite friends to come over after dinner for popcorn and games. You could ask them to bring a favorite board game and snack, too!

In each of these instances, it’s simple, it’s affordable, and you don’t need to have space for everyone to sit at a table. People can sit on the floor, if need be! (Or ask your guests if they have extra folding chairs they can bring!)

2. Make a simple and inexpensive meal.

What about having a baked potato bar, or prepping a simple crockpot meal, or homemade pizza, or making soup and homemade bread?

I always keep it simple when we open up our home… mostly because it makes me stressed if I try to cook a fancy meal. I’d rather be relaxed and be able to fully focus on loving on our guests and investing in them so keeping things really simple is what works best for me!

If you’re short on time and you have the money in your budget, you could even do something like picking up the $5 pizzas from Little Caeser’s. It’s not the healthiest option, of course, but most people care more about spending time with you than about how amazing your food is!

3. Serve breakfast for dinner.

Breakfast or brunch foods can be a fun change of pace for dinner. And they are usually inexpensive and easy to make, too!

Think pancakes and eggs and bacon. Or a waffle bar with fruit and whipped cream and chocolate chips. Or an egg casserole with cinnamon rolls and fruit.

4. Ask people to join you in free fun.

Maybe your home is really tiny, but don’t let that stop you from inviting people into your life! Look for opportunities for invite people to join you for free fun!

Many areas offer free concerts or festivals or events that would be great for the whole family. Why not ask some friends to join you?

Or, pack picnic lunches and go to the park! (Check out this list for lots of great free fun ideas.)

5. Go out for tea/coffee & dessert.

Hospitality doesn’t just have to mean opening your home. In fact, I believe it’s much more than that. It’s about opening up yourself and your heart to relationships with others.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by inviting someone to coffee. It’s more low key than coming to our house and it can feel less intimidating. Plus, it’s super simple, very inexpensive (especially if you literally just order a cup of tea or a cup of coffee!), and can be a fantastic way to begin connecting with someone on a deeper level.

Start looking for ways to show hospitality and reach out to others and I bet you’ll begin to find them all around you! (Need some extra encouragement and inspiration? I highly recommend checking out Jen Schmidt’s book, .)

P.S. for a simple way to celebrate someone even if you have a small house.

Re-inventing the Layered Dip Recipe

This Layered Nacho Dip recipe can be tweaked to fit all preferences or dietary restrictions. It's SO easy and versatile!

I wanted to make Layered Nacho Dip for the Super Bowl. This is a recipe that my mom used to make and then my sisters and I made it often when we were growing up.

I haven’t made it very often since I’ve gotten married and had kids, because two of the kids don’t like raw onions, one doesn’t eat tomatoes, Jesse doesn’t eat olives, and two of us don’t like spicy things. (We sound high maintenance or picky. We really aren’t about most things; this dip just seems to have all of the few things we don’t eat in it!)

So I decided to re-make the Layered Nacho Dip recipe to be a little bit more in line with what my kids and husband would like.

I used one can of refried beans mixed with homemade taco seasoning (well, I actually just dumped in some of the taco seasoning spices because I’m all fancy like that! ;).

Then, I topped it with guacamole because we had that on hand.

Next, I put a layer of sour cream.

Then, I added a layer of black bean salsa.

And I topped it off with shredded cheese.

It might not be as fancy as regular Layered Nacho Dip, but it was still very delicious and my family loved it!

I’m all about making do, using what you have, and never feeling like a recipe is set in stone. It’s a suggestion of how to make something; not a must-follow sort of rulebook! 😉

Slow Day: Week 2

Welcome to my weekly Slow Day post, inspired by Monica from . My Word for 2018 is Slow and, in the spirit of that word, I’m taking one day each week (Wednesday) off — I’ll be unplugged and offline and plan to move at a slower pace, take time to do things that refresh me, and just really focus on being present and savoring the moment.

Each Saturday, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into my Slow Day — and I’ll let the pictures almost 100% speak for themselves, instead of giving many explanations. Enjoy a little peek into our lives!

(It looks like I really need to clean the cover of my Discipleship Group curriculum — yikes!!)

Shown in the Pictures: