5 Fun Date Ideas On A Budget

Jared and I love spending time together- okay I guess that goes without saying. We did get married for a reason. We love spending quality time together, though. It’s easy to sit on the couch together and watch tv. And it’s fun, too. But we love going on dates- intentionally spending quality time together. However, like many young people, we don’t have much room in our budget for dates. So we’ve learned how to spend time together without spending much money. Here are a few ideas, if you’re trying to find date ideas that won’t bust your budget!FIVE.jpg

  1. Take a Walk. Or a hike. Jared and I love being outside, so occasionally we’ll go for a walk, just exploring the area we live. It’s a perfect opportunity to spend some time together, just talking and having fun. Plus, when you have a fish and chips shop just down the road like we do… the other night we went for a walk to get some dinner to bring home. We’ve also gone hiking a few times, which has been fun!
  2. Watch a Movie. If you have Netflix, easy. If you have TV, there might be something good on. When Jared and I got dinner from the fish and chips shop, we came home and The Giver had just started, so we ended up watching it. If you have a library- use it! Unfortunately, for some reason unknown and very confusing to me, in New Zealand, libraries aren’t free. Books, yes, they’re free to borrow. But you have to pay for dvd’s… I was so shocked the first time I realized that! At our library, it’s $2 a week for most dvd’s, more for the newer ones, and the documentary style ones are free to borrow. Anyways, moving on… sorry but I had to add that because I’m still getting used to the fact that you have to pay to borrow dvd’s!
  3. Get Coffee. Jared and I will occasionally go to McDonald’s for coffee or sundaes as a treat. It’s fun, tasty, and cheaper than going out for a meal.
  4. Have a picnic. Picnics are so fun! Pack a meal and go outside… in your backyard, to a nearby park, the beach, or anywhere!
  5. Go Shopping. Okay I know this is about dates on a budget… but on our 6-month wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago, Jared and I went to the Hardware store just down the road and had lunch at the cafe in the store. It was so good! Then we walked around the store and bought a few things… we got some flower seeds for my garden, and since we are adults after all, we did get some ‘boring’ stuff- an extension lead and batteries. It was fun just walking around the store together and picking out flower seeds. Jared buys me flowers sometimes, which is so sweet, and this was fun because from these seeds I can plant my own flowers!


What are your favorite date ideas? Do you like going out or staying in?

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Let me show you Christmas in NZ! The photos in this post I took in Featherston where my sister Adalia lives with her husband and new baby Percy.

Jared and I decided to finish all our Christmas shopping before December.

I did all our Christmas shopping on December 14.

It happens, guys. Life gets busy, you forget about it, and before you know it Christmas is next week and you still have a *lot* to do. For us, it wasn’t so last minute because we knew what we planned to get, so it was just a matter of actually doing it. But if you have no idea what to get someone and Christmas is only days away… here are some ideas!

  • Sunglasses. More practical for summer Christmases, like down here in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Baseball cap
  • Beanie
  • Notebook- how many people could always use a notebook? For taking notes at church, or studying, or work, or any number of things!
  • Games- board games or card games, who doesn’t love these?
  • Puzzles- my family is a puzzle family! We love doing huge puzzles, and always pull them out at Thanksgiving and Christmas and work on them throughout the day.
  • Sports- Again this is more practical in-the-moment if you live where Christmastime equals sunshine and beaches, since it can be hard to play sports when you’re in a foot of snow. Regardless, these could make fun gifts- whether it’s a soccer ball, rugby ball, football, volleyball, frisbees, or more.
  • Socks- I know I am definitely an adult since I am suggesting you buy socks for Christmas… But socks can be both practical and fun. Winter Christmas? Buy warm fuzzy socks to keep you cozy! Summer Christmas? Find socks with fun designs, colors, or patterns. I have a thing for socks… Just ask anyone who’s worn mine before… or don’t! Let’s just say one thing I love about being married is nobody else can wear my socks.
  • Kitchenware- If you know someone who loves cooking, find something cute in the kitchen section! I was just looking online at the Pioneer Woman’s kitchen line and OH MY WORD guys her stuff is both absolutely Gorgeous! and it’s affordable too! Her style is farmhouse/vintage and I am so in love with it! Her online store, The Mercantile, is full of her amazing products.  She has everything you need for your kitchen- how cute are these cactus salt and pepper shakers for $10?! Or this gorgeous pie dish for $14? And everything you had no idea you needed but you DO, like this plastic wrap dispenser for $12. I’m not kidding guys I would buy that. For my NZ friends, shipping from Amazon (search ‘Pioneer Woman’ and check ‘Ships to NZ’ on the left hand side) is cheaper than if you order straight from her store. Although I realize that if you’re shipping from the US to NZ maybe this isn’t the best for a last minute gift… but the point I’m trying to make is, someone who loves being in the kitchen would adore some cute kitchenware!
  • Instax Film- I have an Instax camera and I love it! But the film can be pricey so I don’t buy it often- it would be a much appreciated gift for someone who owns an Instax camera!
  • Wallet- I have so many ideas for gifts for girls. But guys? I have noooo idea what guys like. I know I have eight brothers but still, being a girl I know what girls are into and I’m still trying to figure out what guys would like. I think that a nice wallet would be a great gift for a guy if his current wallet is getting old and wearing out.
  • Edibles- find a recipe for homemade hot chocolate mix and put it in a cute jar with some marshmallows and crushed candy cane. Or bake some festive cookies to gift.

A few more ideas for the females in your life:
Nice smelling lotion/perfume/soap/bubble bath/bath bombs, nail polish, hair bows, sunglasses, stylish wallet or purse, lip balm, coloring book and colored pencils, colorful pens, notebooks, candles, a cute mug, tea, chocolate.

I’m so excited for mine and Jared’s first Christmas together! A year ago we didn’t even know each other so this is our very first Christmas. I’m so excited to start our own traditions. For Christmas breakfast, I’m going to make waffles with whipped cream and strawberries, pineapple, and mango. My family always does biscuits and gravy, sweet rolls, and hot chocolate, which is a delicious breakfast and so fun! What makes things like this special is the tradition.

It can be so easy to get all wrapped up in thinking about gifts and family plans and time off, but be sure to take time to think about the reason that we are celebrating. What a miracle that God sent his son Jesus to earth, to live as one of us, but to live a sinless life so that he could die on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins, and rise from the grave to conquer death. I’m so amazed to think how God loves me, you, and each one of us so much, that he would take the punishment for our sins, and give us eternal life with him so we don’t have to spend eternity in hell as we deserve.


I hope that you have a wonderful time celebrating Christ’s birth!


My Garden Plans!

I have attempted to grow a vegetable garden twice before. However, at both times I was very busy with work and/or school so I didn’t take care of it. But! This time I mean it. This time I’m not at school or work full time. I actually have time to make sure I weed, water, and take care of my garden! I am so excited for it. I bought some vegetable seeds last month, and actually bought some more seeds today, but I have yet to actually plant my garden… I will try to this week! The reason I haven’t planted yet is because I need to add more soil to my garden. Today I came up with a plan for the garden. I had come up with a messy sketch before, but to share it with you, keep myself from going crazy while I plant it, and incorporate the new seeds I bought today, I redid it.

My Garden Plan

The garden is split into two sections, this square space above, and a long rectangle along the side of the house, as shown below.

My Garden Plan (1).jpg

I threw away the paper with the measurements of the garden, so I just estimated for these plans. Super organized, right?!

Everything I know about gardening… I learned from the internet. I truly don’t know much. I did my research, and I did my best to strategically place plants, but honestly this is going to be a learning experience for me. One that I’m very excited about! I love seeing plants grow.

Herbs and Veggies 1

Let me tell you how excited I am about each of these plants!

Herbs 2

Let’s start with lavender- guys!!! I was so so so happy to find lavender today! I just love it. It smells so good, and it’s a gorgeous color as well. Seriously. So. Happy!

Flower 1

Marigolds are good for vegetable gardens, so I’ve heard. Look at these ones I found- they’re so gorgeous and there’s a beautiful variety of red, orange, yellow colors!

Fruit 1

I saw these at the store and I haddd to- guys! I can grow watermelon and cantaloupe, how cool is that? I am really excited to see how this turns out.

Veggies 2

Corn, capsicum, and cucumber- yay! To tell you the truth I’m really not sure how my garden will turn out, because as I said, I have limited experience, so I’m not sure what to expect- but I am really looking forward to growing these veggies.

Veggies 1

You know how they say, ‘Fake it till you make it’? Yup, that’s me. Especially with these tomatoes. I’m just pretending I know what I’m doing and truly learning by doing.

Herbs 1

When I was at the store today I realized I should just get the herbs that I know I’m actually going to use a lot. I’m really excited about the coriander/cilantro for Mexican food. The basil will be perfect for pizza, or anything Italian. The chives will be great for tons of dishes. See, the packet of seeds says ‘sprinkle on everything’. I also have a parsley plant, which was in the garden when we moved in. It somehow survived the overgrown horror that was the garden. You want to know what else managed to grow in that bed of weeds? Strawberries! Seriously! I have like four strawberry plants. The mint, guys, the mint. It’s so beautiful. I can just see a hot summer day where I make cold lemonade with fresh lemons from our tree, fresh mint leaves and fresh strawberries from our garden. How amazing is that?! I live for that day… 😉

Once I get some more progress on the garden I’ll share some photos. Also, one thing I learned from my last gardening experience? Carrots are *not* meant to be grown 20 seeds to the inch.




Hi! I’m so excited you’re here today. My vision for this blog  is to share with you, my reader. To share photos, stories, recipes, and more! Let me begin by sharing a bit about myself.

My name is Tilly. As you might have guessed from the name of my blog, I am Canadian… and American… and Kiwi! I was born in Canada but grew up in the US, in Washington state. My family’s home is about twenty minutes from the Pacific Ocean and about thirty minutes from the Canadian/American border. Right now? I live in New Zealand! Last year I came here to visit my sister for six. months. Yes! Six months! It was kinda crazy to drop everything and come to another country for so long… but it was the adventure of a lifetime and look where I am now! While I was in New Zealand in January I met a handsome man named Jared… and in August we got married! The last few months have been crazy as I moved to New Zealand with my amazing husband, we have been organizing  a wedding reception here in New Zealand (It happened on Saturday and was a blast! And tons of thanks to Jared’s Mum and Dad, as they had a huge part in it!), applying for a visa, and moving into our beautiful rental house.


Photo by Kim Gasper Photography

My husband and I love the Lord, and are involved in our church. Our church has a bus ministry and we love getting to teach the Bible to the precious kids who come. We both love children! In the United States I worked as a nanny for several sweet little girls. Currently, my visa doesn’t allow me to work so I am at home taking care of our cozy house.

Photography has always been a passion of mine. Since I was a child I have loved picking up a camera and capturing the world as I see it. My first camera was a simple point and shoot, and when I turned 11 my parents helped me buy a DSLR camera secondhand. I started out with a Canon Rebel and a kit lens. My mom is a photographer and she has taught me so much about photography. As she has upgraded her cameras, so have I! My current camera is a Canon 5D that she gave me. Some of my favorite images are ones that I’ve taken on my travels in the USA, Canada, Colombia, Malawi, New Zealand, and Australia.

As you might have deduced from the previous paragraph… I love travelling as well!

What else? Reading! I have been a reader my whole life. I remember when I was a kid, sitting on the couch on a hot summer day, reading a whole volume of 5 ‘Pony Pals’ books in one afternoon. I remember reading an Alex Rider book in bed and I was so fascinated that I couldn’t stop reading even though my eyes were drooping and it took all my willpower to stay awake. Lately I’ve been reading Janette Oke. My older sisters read some of her books when I was younger, but I always thought that stuff was boring… well now I’m discovering that I love it!

Another thing that I’m excited about? I’m planting a vegetable garden this year! I have done so several years before but… with work and school I was too busy to maintain it. Now I do have time to spend on it! When Jared and I were looking for a rental house, one thing that I hoped for was space for a garden. Our house has a great garden area, so I have been clearing the weeds and am so excited to get it ready and plant the seeds I’ve bought!

I also love cooking. I didn’t do it much before Jared and I got married because I was so busy. Now, I cook every day. It’s so fun trying out new recipes and being creative with food! Baking is another thing I enjoy, which I do have more experience with. I used to make and decorate sugar cookies, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done that because it’s quite time consuming.

So… that’s me in a nutshell!