Category Archives: Fall

Fun Fall Activities

fall activities, fall bucket list, fall activities, fun things to do during fall, fall family ideas, toddler fun, things to do with your toddler

Since this month’s theme is Focus on Family, I thought it was time to update our fall bucket list from last year.  This year our little man can walk (even though he usually runs everywhere) and he’s learning to be more independent.  I was such a stubborn, determined little girl and our son is just like that – he always wants to do everything himself without any help from Mom and Dad.  He takes it upon himself to figure something out and he usually doesn’t give up without a fight.  We figured we might as well keep him busy this Fall so he can keep learning and trying new things.

This year we plan on doing a lot of fun stuff this fall.  I wanted to share with you some fall fun activities that you can do, too.  I put together a bucket list for our family, you can download it here.

fall bucket list, fun activities, fall activities, things to do with family, toddler fun, things to do with a toddler, fall ideas with a toddler, meredith rines, merelynne

One of the biggest questions I get this time of year is how do you afford doing all of these things… well the truth is we plan for it and budget for them.  There a couple different ways you can budget for any day trip or fun outing.  First you can create a sinking fund, which means you decide on an amount you want to spend a month or so before it happens.  Then you put money back each week tor each your goal.  

The next way is to use any leftover money from your previous month’s budget.  For instance, let’s say you didn’t eat out one week and didn’t need all of your grocery budget.  Well you can use that for any day trips or things you want to buy that are outside your normal budgeting.  Finally, you can always take from your current budget category, too.  I don’t love doing it this way because it could leave you having to go without until your next budget period, but it’s a possibility. If you choose to take from your current budget then I recommend taking from your eating out category.  That way it’s easier to go without and you can always prepare one more dinner that week to help make up for it.

We typically try to find places that don’t charge to get into or they have a discount for a specific weekend.  If they have a petting zoo then we sometimes will buy food for our son to feed them, but that’s usually not more than $1 or $2.  Now if you love carving pumpkins, like we do then we prefer to buy them at the local pumpkin patches.  They are typically a better price than you can find at the grocery store, plus we like supporting local farmers and business owners.  But we usually only buy one pumpkin since our little one is too young to actually carve yet.  


What are some of your favorite fall activities to do with your family?  Leave a comment letting me know!

Focus on Family Month

focus on family, fall fun, fall activities, cheap fall fun, activities for your family, cheap family fun, things to do during fall

Happy October! They say winter is the most magical time of the year, but I think Fall is a very close second. This month since the temperatures will be starting to drop we’ll be spending lots of time outside.  There are a few pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other fun stuff we are going to try to do.

I figured this would be a great time to have another focus month.  If you remember, back in February I typically have a Focus On Finances month.  I always planned on having another focus month, but it never happened.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re a Mom – your brain is going a mile a minute, all the time and if you don’t write it down then it just won’t happen.

Anyways, I realized that October would be perfect for a Focus on Family month.  I put together a bucket list last year, but now that our little boy is older we’ll be able to do a lot more.  Last year we went to the pumpkin patch and he was barely 6 months old so there was a lot he just wasn’t able to do.  But now he is 18 months and is full of energy.  He runs, never walks.  Our sitter’s husband calls him Mouth of the South, which is some former wrestler that apparently never stopped running his mouth.

This month will be all about spending time together.  Fall is a great time to be outside, it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold yet.  Where we live pumpkin patches pop up about this time of year, so there is always a fun (and cheap) activity we can go do on the weekend.  I’m planning on putting together a new fall bucket list of things we are most excited about doing this year with our little man.  

But to get you started with the Focus on Family month, here’s a list of a few fall fun activities you can do with your family:

spend time together at the local pumpkin patch
go apple picking
attend a fall festival
plan a family themed Halloween outfit
have a few picnics outside
go to the park
have a movie night

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?  Leave a comment letting me know!

Fall Bucket List {Fall Family Fun}

fall bucket list, things to do in the fall

It’s here. It’s here! My favorite season has finally arrived.

Now in Southeast Missouri we still have some warm days. I’m pretty sure today’s high will be in the 80s. But I don’t care. There has been a glimpse of Fall weather in the air and we went to the pumpkin patch last weekend, which means… Fall is here!

Now that our little guy is getting bigger, I want to be more active and do so much more with him. I know he won’t remember everything we’re doing right now, but he is so happy. Plus, I love a good excuse to take thousands of pictures.

Last Saturday was an absolute blast.  If you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should!) then you probably saw some of my posts.  We went to the pumpkin patch not too far away last weekend.  We went to our County Fair in the morning to see the parade and the dog show.  Our baby was so mesmerized by all of the lights and sirens on the police cars and fire trucks.  J was pretty happy with the candy they were throwing. HA!  Don’t worry we didn’t take any from little kids or anything!

fall bucket list, things to do in the fall

fall bucket list, things to do in the fall

fall bucket list, things to do in the fall

Afterwards we drove to the closest pumpkin patch with my parents.  We saw a petting zoo, went down a big tunnel slide and then go lost in the corn maze.  We somehow made our way out of the maze, but missed 2 of the meet-up points hidden inside.  Then of course J and my Dad had to pick out a ginormous pumpkin to carve.  We’re headed to my parents’ house tonight to eat chili and carve this monster.  

I put together a Fall Bucket List for J and I to do with our little guy. We’ve already crossed a few items off the list and I can’t wait to do the rest of the things on here.

Here’s our Fall Bucket List.

fall bucket list, things to do in the fall

I created it as a free download so you can join in on the Fall Fun too! Get your Fall Bucket List by clicking here.

What’s your favorite thing about Fall? Mine is the cooler weather for sure!

10 Fun Fall Date Ideas

Fall… it’s my favorite. I love big sweaters, boots, scarves, and the crisp autumn air.  I would rather be in 60 degree weather then any other.  I believe that fall is the best time to come up with some fun date ideas for couples to do.  J and I always seem more adventurous in the fall than any other season.  Probably because the weather doesn’t make me sweaty and sticky, plus you don’t have to have heavy, bulky coats on to enjoy your day.  Fall is upon us.  Happy Dance!  The cool air screams get close to your husby, hold hands and walk in the sunlight.  Love!

date ideas
Here are some fun fall date ideas to celebrate with your spouse and enjoy the best season EVER.

1) Check out a festival.  We love the Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick, MO.  Tons of vendors, ice cold beer, fried food galore and a whole day of wandering around a small town.

2) Go on a hay ride.  Sometimes the best date ideas are the ones that come in groups.  We love to be wit friends and nothing beats taking an afternoon out in the hay field.

3) Wander around a corn maze.  Around Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas you can find some great corn mazes.  I can’t wait for J and I to spend an afternoon getting lost.  There are even some haunted corn mazes around, if you’re into that.  I, sadly, am not into being scared out of my mind while having no idea how to escape.  It’s not my thing!  But I do enjoy a relaxed afternoon of figuring something out together.

4) Go check out a pumpkin patch.  I loooove pumpkins and I loooove pumpkin patches.  There are tons and tons of pumpkin patches and some even have little food and drink vendors setup.  You can make a day out of trying to find the perfect pumpkin.

5) Carve a pumpkin.  This one goes with the previous date idea, but I like to treat it as a whole separate event.  In my world, carving pumpkins is a serious game and it’s not to be taken lightly.  If you’re not into carving a pumpkin then you can paint one.  I’ve seen some pretty ones on Pinterest and you can be really creative without all of the mess of the pumpkin guts.

6) Go apple picking.  J and I went last year to a neat place right outside of St. Louis and it was a blast!  We took a tractor ride out to the orchard and spent awhile picking apples straight from the trees, we got to taste the most delicious and juiciest apples ever, then we headed back to the place where they had rides, a petting zoo, a market and tasty BBQ.

7) Order take-out and head to the local park.  Sometimes it’s nice to be outside and it’s even better with good food.  Around town there are quite a few parks and I have the cutest picnic blanket that still has the tags on it.  I’m imagining ordering the best food in town, grabbing some wine (and beer for J), then heading to the park for a late lunch.

8) Hit the walking trail with the pups.  Our dogs love to be outdoors and with the cooler temperatures fast approaching, it’s a lot easier to be outside for longer.  Taking them for a walk will give us a chance to talk, share stories, and just be together.

9) Attend a football game.  J loves football and I actually enjoy watching it.  Fall and football go hand-in-hand, so there is no better time to check out a game.  We can go to the local high school game for a cheap date night or we can drive to Columbia to tailgate and watch a Mizzou game.  Either way, we’d be together and having fun!

10) Light the fire pit and roast marshmallows.  Spending a night at home, sitting around the fire pit with hot dogs, s’mores, and hot chocolate would be wonderful.  It’s easy to get caught up in date ideas that can cost money or take you out of town, but to me the simpler the better.  Spending a night at home, wrapped up in my favorite blanket, with the dogs playing in the backyard, sitting next to my husband is the best.

Do you have any fun fall date ideas to share? I would love to hear them and add to my list.  Fall is my favorite and I can’t wait for the hot, humid days to be behind us for another year.



Photo by DColeman Photography


Happy Thanksgiving

ImageChef Word Mosaic -

J and I will be traveling to see my family.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  My Dad’s side of the family tries super hard for all of us to get together.  As we get older and are getting married it’s becoming more difficult for all of us to get together.  Even for J and I.  You see, we decided after last years debacle and 15+ car ride over the Christmas holiday that we would not do that to ourselves and any future kids.  So, we will switch holidays.  I get Thanksgiving with my family during odd-numbered years and he gets Christmas with his family; then we switch.  It’s only fair and we are willing to negotiate if need be.  I hope your Thanksgiving is stupendous and you get to share time with those you love… and eat too much!


8 Reasons I Hate Halloween

Reasons I Hate Halloween
Is it bad luck to start off a post with words like “I hate”?  Perhaps.  I mean, hate is a very strong word and I was always taught to never say it unless you could live without that person/event/situation/shirt for the rest of your life.  Let’s just say if Halloween disappeared off a calendar I would be none the wiser.  Halloween has never been a favorite holiday. Christmas, now that’s a holiday I can get behind and get fired up about.  Halloween is one that I would prefer to keep my front porch light off and go to bed early.

My top 8 reasons why Halloween can just fade away:

1) masks, face paint, wigs… Basically, I have a paralyzing fear of all things that disguise one’s appearance.  Last time I checked that was a main part of Halloween.

2) excuses that I can tell myself to gorge on candy

3) scary movies that seem to be on every TV station for the month

4) obnoxious downtown bar scenes that have too many people and too long of lines to get drinks

5) random strangers knocking on my door until late.  Mostly kids, but you never know who is knocking on that door and when I lived alone I prefered not to know

6) crazy animatronic creatures that go off at the grocery store causing me to scream, jump and then drop everything in my hands

7) oddly shaped food.  Who wants to head a pretzel that looks like a finger with a nail? I don’t!  I made them for a party once and absolutely could not force one down – my imagination was running too wild, and I’m the one that made them!
Reasons I Hate Halloween8) having to come up with a costume each year.  Since I do not like masks, face paint, or wigs it’s hard to come up with a costume for the years I do go out.  I think I have been a hippie every since high school.  Once my friends and I went as Captain Planet and the Planeteers, that was pretty fun

I might be a bit cynical, but I am okay with that.  Now if only I could hold my breath long enough for Halloween to be over and Thanksgiving to be on its way.


Transforming Your Home to Fall: Budgeting Decorating Ideas

Getting Your Home Ready for Fall on a Budget
It’s that time of year where the leaves start falling, pumpkin decorations make their grand appearance and I get an excuse to wear over sized sweaters on a daily basis.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  The weather is still nice enough to go out and do things with friends but the temperatures are cooler so that you can actually enjoy being outside without sweating. One of my favorite things to do is attend festivals around St. Louis, my favorite is the Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick.

Fall is about that time that I transition our house look.  I like to add some deeper colors to the decorations, blankets with some texture that yearn for someone to cuddle up with, and autumn spice candles.  There are some inexpensive and quick ways to add a touch of fall to your home:

1) Faux fur throws.  I found mine about 2 years ago at Big Lots.  I had a coupon and it was on sale, so overall it cost me about $10.  It’s small enough that it folds up nicely on the couch and is light enough that you can throw it on while the air is running.

2) Fall decor.  I usually find clearance pumpkins, horns of plenty, and other fall-like decorations at the end of each season at Wal-Mart or craft stores.  Typically you can combine clearance items with coupons and get items pretty cheap, which always makes me happy.  However, if you are just starting out this fall and don’t want to wait until next year to decorate then hit up some local garage sales or flea markets.  Most people purge a lot of items during the summer months and while the temperature is still nice they will continue hosting garage sales for the first few weeks of fall.

3) Candles.  I love candles.  Maybe it’s because we have 2 dogs and I always have a fear that our house smells, but candles are the best.  I typically buy mine at Big Lots or the Dollar Tree.  They won’t last for 200+ hours like the expensive ones will.  Butthey will last me most of the fall season and that’s really all that matters to me.

That’s it.  3 simple steps and your home will be easily transformed from cool, light summer to warm and cozy for fall.


Diet 7-Up Biscuits

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a day filled with love and yummy goodness!

J and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving together this year.  Due to work schedules we both weren’t able to make the drive home, especially since our drive is in opposite directions of one another.  It just made it too difficult.  So, we made the best of it and celebrated on our own.

I got there just in time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to start, which is my absolute favorite part of the day.  I’ve seen a 7-Up Biscuit recipe on Pinterest lately and it looked delicious.  I adapted the recipe to be a bit more Weight Watcher friendly and the results were a-mazing.


2 C. Heart Smart Bisquick
1/2 C. light Sour Cream
1/2 C. diet 7-Up
1/4 C. melted butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)


In a large bowl, mix sour cream and bisquick together.  Add 7-Up to mix.  The dough will be really soft.  Melt the butter and pour into the bottom of a 9×9 pan.  Next, sprinkle some bisquick mix onto the counter and spread out the dough.  You don’t want to knead the dough, but just pat and spread to be about one-inch thick.  Use a glass or a biscuit cutter and cut out biscuits.  Place in pan and bake at 450 degree for about 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 9 servings – 4 WWPointsPlus per serving

I had one biscuit that didn’t want to cooperate when I was putting it into the pan… I’m sure you can figure out which one that was.  Oh well! Recipes can’t always be picture perfect, but they were still delicious.

10 Things I’m Thankful For

B&W #roadtrip

Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve decided that since it was Thanksgiving and all that it would be a good time to write down what I’m Thankful for this year.

1. My family. After this afternoon’s FaceTime session with them I realize that they are quite unlike any other family I know and for that I’m truly thankful.

2. J. It has been a wonderful year with him and I am grateful every day that we met sitting in Steak-N-Shake late one night.  It’s great having a guy that is so supportive of my ideas, my dreams, and everything going on in my life.

3. My friends. The first text I received this morning was from friends wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. It’s great to remember all the fun times we’ve shared in 2012: a cruise, a haunted house, road trips, weekends at the lake, ‘family’ dinners, and so many more.

4. Work. This year has been quite a departure for me from the past several.  I started an amazing journey as a Weight Watcher Leader and have met so many amazing, supportive people since that time.  I’ve also been blessed with a job at a local law firm that has supported me through my school with a flexible schedule and has always been a place to go when I need an extra quiet study room at midnight.  Finally, I recently started a job as a Sales Associate at a retail store and cannot wait for my future with such a bright company.

5. Maggie.  We all know how obsessed I am with that pup so it’s no surprise that I can’t even make it half-way through my list without mentioning her.  Maggie and I have had quite a life together these past years.   I am thankful that she picked me that cold, rainy day in a hospital parking lot.

6. Graduate School.  Though I complain about it.  I am grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to further my education.  In less than 25 days I will be walking across the stage at Missouri State receiving my Masters in Business Administration degree.  Alright, so I actually won’t be getting my diploma that day, but I will be receiving an empty leather holder that symbolizes all the hard work and late nights I have put in these past 2 years.

7. My parents.  I know that I mentioned family as number 1, but the more I thought about it I really think my folks deserve their own number.  My Mom and Dad are awesome.  Seriously, I have the best parents around.  They support one another as they support their two kids.  I cannot say thank you enough to the two people who brought me into this world, guided me, and taught me to be an independent, educated, young adult.

8. J’s family.  They have welcomed me into their lives this past year and I’m grateful.  J’s family is absolutely wonderful and knows how to have a good time.

9. My Grandmas.  I’m lucky to have two amazing Grandmothers that have taught me a lot as I’ve grown up.  Still to this day the sound of wind chimes puts a smile on my face thanks to my Grandma D. who always had them on her front porch.  Grandma W.’s sandtart cookies are my all-time favorite and each Christmas I look forward to them.

10. Creativity.  I like that I can think out of the box (most days) and have a passion for creating.  There are so many ways to reduce stress out there and I’m glad that the one that helps me calm down the most is just so simple.

Okay, I know this post was a bit long.  Sorry.  Happy Thanksgiving and may your day be filled with happiness!

2 weeks

It’s been a long while since my last post.  I figured it was time for an update.

Life has been crazy and not in a sweep me off my feet, good crazy.  More of a I want to pull my hair out, I miss sleep crazy.

First change – I started a new full-time job at a major retail chain.  Training has been a great experience so far and I’ve met a lot of new people who are super nice.  The downside to training is that… well, I’m training.  I keep being moved from department to department and have absolutely no idea where I am going to land.  Another downside is that Thanksgiving is next week and this will be the first time in 5 years that I am working retail for the holidays.  It’s going to take some adjustment not being able to spend days with my family.  On a good note – I am so freakin’ excited about my new job!  Retail is a passion and I’m finally back in it.

Second – I’m still working my other 2 part-time jobs.  Honestly, the hours are meniscal each week and I enjoy what I’m doing so I can’t really complain.  They are just adding to what is keeping me uber busy.

Finally – 30 days until graduation! One month. I can do it. I can do it. I have no choice at this point! Projects. Projects. Projects. They are kind of taking over my life. Group projects, individual ones, tests to study for, papers to write. It’s ridiculous how much time I’m spending at the library each evening.  Honestly, I got done an hour earlier than expected tonight and that’s why I’m writing my post.

I can talk on and on about how tired I am or how I constantly seem to be sick; and perhaps that’s what this post will come off as, but I don’t want it to. I wouldn’t change one thing about my life right now. I really don’t know what I’ll do when I have graduated. It’s going to be a surreal, out of the body experience for a bit.

Grad school has been an amazing adventure and I’m pretty proud that I kicked its butt.  Maybe, the next time I have some free time, I’ll write about my favorite parts of grad school… ya, that’d be a good, exciting posts. Right? Right!

Until next time…