Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}

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Vacationing on a Shoestring Budget

What is a young couple to do when they’re on a shoestring budget but are dying to get away for a long weekend? They find the most breathtaking coastal area in their state and go camping.

A few weeks ago we packed up and headed north up the coast to Bodega Bay for a 3 night camping trip. Honestly, we live in one of the most amazing areas in the state. There is never a lack of places to go see and explore, never too few options for a weekend getaway. Last year we headed a couple of hours south down the coast to Big Sur for a weekend camping trip

We headed to Bodega Dunes Campground which is a part of the Sonoma Coast State Park. When you arrive, they tell you to drive around and find a site that you’d like to claim and head back to the gate to check in. Well, after a few loops around the campground, we thought we found “the one.” It was sunny and open and close  (but not too close) to a restroom. We let the nice lady at the gate know that we wanted to claim it and started to set up. Well, we quickly realized that it was too open and too windy. Strike one.

On to site number two. We found this cute little area that was secluded, yet still sunny. It was set back from the road and there was a perfect nook for our tent. It reminded me a little bit of the Secret Garden. Well…this site definitely had its secrets. And unfortunately those secrets were stinky like a skunky.

After the sun went down, we had not one, not two, but THREE skunks that came out of the bushes. Three skunks that had their own agenda and were not the least bit afraid of us. One of us was exceptionally afraid of the skunks. One hint- he has a beard. Josh may or may not have hid behind me as as I was warding off the the stinky beasts. I’ll let it slide this time…

There was no way that we were going to be able to sit and relax around a fire with our new found friends, so we hid in our tent and played cards. Looking back, it’s hilarious. In the moment, not so much. Strike two.

The next morning we packed up camp once again and began looking for another campsite. After looking for a while, we happened upon a gem. It was a campsite that overlooked the bay and had the perfect combination of sun and shade. No skunks in sight. It was glorious!

This was the view from behind our tent. Pretty great, right?

While we were planning the trip, I scoured Pinterest for as many food ideas as possible (see my camping board right here). We tried a few ideas, but relied on some old favorites like Saturday Morning Breakfast.

My Husband is a bit obsessed with campfires. He brought 1/4 truck full of wood and was determined to use it all before we went home. This meant that we had a HUGE fire each morning and night!

We did our fair share of exploring up and down the coast during our 4 days there. The Sonoma coast is  absolutely beautiful. There are areas of sandy shoreline and sections of rocky sheer cliffs. We quickly realized that the ocean was angry and definitely not worth swimming in.

One afternoon, we drove about 30 minutes north to the town of Jenner. It’s a really cute little area with one hotel, one gas station and one little store. The town is built right where the Russian River comes into the ocean. There is a little peninsula that separates the river from the ocean where people kayak and swim. It is also where 50+ seals hang out, play, and sunbathe.

We’ve decided that all of our camping trips need to be at least 3 nights. If anything, it takes that long to find a campsite that isn’t occupied by skunks…

Some tips on how to plan and enjoy a camping vacation on a budget:

  • Choose a location that is close to home, but is far enough to feel like you’re getting away. We traveled about 3 hours from home, which was close enough to save on gas, but far enough to have a change of scenery.
  • Plan simple, but tasty meals. Use websites such as Pinterest and All Recipes to find new ideas.
  • Save in advance! I found it helpful to stash cash away in an envelope or jar for a few paychecks.
  • Use websites/apps like Yelp to find local favorites and affordable restaurants.
  • Plan simple & free activities to enjoy throughout your stay. If you camp within the State Park system your campsite fees will get you into any other local park. If you don’t own bikes, try to borrow some from friends! Take a picnic to the beach, go tide pooling, take a good book and relax!

The Camper,
Mrs. Edwards


Where Your Heart Is

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

{via instagram}

Since I got an iPhone a few years ago, I have used an old fashioned paper map a grand total of zero times. Don’t get  me wrong, I love maps. Almost as much as I love owners manuals (ask my parents, I used to read them front to back for funsies. Don’t judge, I was homeschooled!) I’ve had an old map sitting around just begging to be put to good use and thanks to Pinterest, I was (p)inspired. Josh and I are from two opposite ends of the state, but our love story began and currently lives right in the middle. We both lovelovelove our hometowns, as well as where we currently live. What better way to show where pieces of our hearts lie than to map it out and put it on our wall?

Once I finished repurposing my map, I had the idea to make one as a gift for my Mom. Both of her kids flew the coop and landed in different parts of the state (3.5 hrs away and 8 hrs away). You have to understand, if my Mom could, she would live next door to both of her kids. Whenever she and my Dad get a chance, they pack up and head to either my house or my brothers. She cries every time they leave. She’s got a big heart, but it’s currently spread across the state. I know it’s been a tough season for her, not having any of her kids (geographically) close to her. Maybe that won’t be the case forever, but for now her heart is in three different places. She’s greatly loved in all of those places, by her kids, her family, her friends. My mom is probably the kindest, most generous person I know and she not only shares that love and generosity with her family, but everyone that she comes in contact with! She loves and she is loved back! My goal with this art piece was to remind my Mom where her heart lies and where she is genuinely loved from. You can take a moment to wipe the tears from your eyes now…

This project was very easy, and very inexpensive. Like it took me about 10 minutes and cost me about $3.00. That’s my kind of art project!

Supplies Needed:

  • Map (If you’re a AAA member, you can get a state map for free at any office!)
  • Picture frame (I got mine at Walmart for $3.00)
  • Scissors
  • Heart shape template
  • Extra cardstock
  • Glue stick & tacky glue
  • Your favorite scrap fabric
  • Pencil
  • *If you need to trim your photo mat, you’ll need a straight edge, exacto knife and cutting mat, too.

Step 1: Gather your supplies.

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Step 2: Choose which areas you would like to feature and trace your heart template onto your map. Also trace your hearts onto plain cardstock. Cut out each heart and use your glue stick to glue the cardstock pieces to the back of your map pieces (to stiffen the map pieces up). I’ve even included a heart template for you to use. Just click, save, and print! You’re welcome.

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Step 3: If your frame has a mat and the mat has a divider, you’ll want to trim it to fit your hearts. My mat was designed to hold (2) 4×6 photos, so I just cut the center divider out with an exacto knife and voila, a perfectly sized mat!

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards Step 4: Cut out a piece of cardstock (or empty cereal box) to fit your frame and cut your fabric to the same size. Iron out any wrinkles in your fabric. Use your tacky glue to adhear your fabric to the cardstock.

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Step 5: With your tacky glue, glue your hearts and your mat onto your fabric piece.

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

Step 6: Place everything into your frame and find the best place to display your art!

Heart Map Art // Simply Mrs. Edwards

You can do this project with places that you’ve traveled to, placed you’ve never been to but want to see, where different friends or family members live, etc. I hope that every time I look at mine hanging on the wall I’m prompted to pray for our family in those places. I hope that you enjoy this project! How else have you re-used old maps? Were you (p)inspired like me?!

With a mapped out heart,
Mrs. Edwards