Maple Alps


An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail

TravelAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

Ending the month of May in California with friends was a great idea. It was so nice and refreshing to be with long-time friends who are fun and understand you. Celebrating one of them was a perfect occasion to get together. 

Just thought I'd share a few glimpses of an evening walking Mount Rubidoux Trail on Saturday night. Not sure what made me happier: the spectacular views or the fun cacti gardens!

An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt. Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |
An Evening on Mt Rubidoux Trail |

Turning Twenty-Something

BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

My birth date and I have sort of a love-hate relationship. I both dread and anticipate it every year. On the one hand, I become a year older (and perhaps a year wiser as well?), but on the other hand, I usually get showered with love and feel appreciated. What human doesn't appreciate some extra love??

In an attempt to do something a little different (if you were around last year, you saw my reverse bucket list), I decided to share what I did on my birthday. Unfortunately, my birthday fell on a Thursday: not only did I have work that day, but I had a job interview scheduled awkwardly in the middle of the evening. 

During work, my eyes started burning and my head began to pound. I started to feel feverish and just plain awful, so I set off to go home much earlier than planned. I figured that I would take some fever reducers and tough it out. If there was one day I needed to be on top of my game, it was that day.

Twenty-Something |

As I drove into the driveway, I saw some gold coming through the windows and got excited. My husband knows me well, and sure enough, as I walked in, not only had he strung gold balloons up, he had our family on Skype and FaceTime singing.

It's kind of strange I didn't suspect the latter, since I was on the phone with my mom and heard Skype in the background. I didn't really think anything of it though - just assumed it was the television or radio on her end. I did ask her what that "Skype noise" was, and she just said, "I don't know." She is a horrible liar. Always has been. Which I guess is a good thing?

By the time that whole ordeal was over, I was feeling pretty gross, so I took some meds, opened my gifts, posed with the banana chocolate chip muffin (my favourite!) and took a nap.

I'm totally spoiled and my husband knows me too well. These weren't even all the things I got! Thoughtful friends and family sent cards and flowers and gifts as too. 

After a surprise pottery painting ordeal, we went to one of my favourite restaurants to eat dinner and to a market to walk around before heading off to the interview. In hindsight, I should have brought the camera, but I was so out of it and so nervous, that it was the last thing on my mind. Those of you who follow me on Instagram followed along that day though! 

It wasn't even all over after that! It was pretty late by the time I got out of the interview, but my husband still had something up his sleeve. I seriously thought he was planning some kind of hike (don't ask), but when he pulled up to a roller rink, I had to laugh. While fighting a fever and the urge to sleep (I will enjoy my birthday, I told my body), we roller skated in circles until we collapsed. 

I did pay for it; I spent the weekend in my bed with a high fever. Totally worth it. 

I hope this next year treats me even better than the last. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did get the job! You'll hear all about that soon. 


Ever had to press through to make the most of your night?


Fun Things to do on a Budget

MoneyAmanda Walter | Maple Alps27 Comments

Have you ever experienced one of those months where it seemed that everyone and their dog needed a payment from you? This month has been one of those months. Car registration was due on top of accountant fees and insurance renewal. Our car also needed some fixing - and all of this on top of our regular expenses. Since we only live on one income, it was a tad hurtful. Thankfully we knew it was coming, and God provides!

Since we are trying to save money (maybe to retire...but maybe because we haven't gone on a honeymoon yet...), we put ourselves on a more strict budget this month. 

Because we were long distance for so long, J and I often joke that we got married in order to go on dates. Part of our strict budget was completely nixing going out, so we had to be creative when planning extra activities to do together (I say extra because even though we see each other so much, it's not focused on us). I thought I'd share a few of these extras with you today. They're nothing new, but could spark other creative ideas!

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Fun things to do on a budget - especially dates |

Cook Together 

Try a new recipe or teach each other a specialty (preferably with ingredients you already have - remember we like saving money!). Bonus points if you clean the kitchen afterwards too! I usually cook alone, so it's nice to have a partner every once in a while. The other night, we made fresh spring rolls and peanut sauce - they were terribly ugly, but tasted delicious. More importantly, we had a blast!

Go For a Walk

Kill two birds with one stone: get in some exercise and connect with each other. We live along a river, so this is something we do often! If you have bikes, a bike ride could be fun too.

Window Shopping at the Mall

This may not work for everyone, but it could if you left all of your money at home. It also helps to have an accountability partner. I'm personally great at window shopping - even at Target - and I like to do it on rainy days.

Movie Night

Pick a movie you already have, or rent one from iTunes. It is much cheaper than going to the theatre - plus you get to wear your sweatpants and don't have to smuggle in a water bottle. Win!

Bowl on a Week Night

It's generally cheaper and less crowded too! Bonus: If there are just two of you, an hour goes a long way. You can also check if your local alley has a discount night and take advantage of it. 

Do A Shared Hobby

If you don't have a shared one, why not explore a new one?

Dress Up for a Night In

Cook a candlelit dinner of....spaghetti (hello, frugal!) and eat it off of your best plates in your best outfits. Optional Awesomeness: Play some music in the background and reenact the famous Lady & the Tramp scene

Play a Game

Pull a board game off the shelf and have some fun! If you truly want to test your relationship, start a game of Monopoly (grab it here on Amazon). We personally enjoy Monopoly Deal (grab it here on Amazon!) - all the fun of Monopoly in a fourth of the time. You could always make up a game or call some friends over for a round of Scattergories (grab it here on Amazon!).

Speaking of Friends...

Organize a get-together. You were going to cook anyway. Tell everyone to bring a dish and feast all together.


This just reminded me that we have a beautiful picnic basket that needs to be used! Who doesn't love to picnic? If it's too cold to outside, set up on the living room floor. You could even make a blanket fort or teepee to sit in :) 

Enjoy a Get-Away....In!

Sometimes all you need is a change in surroundings. Camp out in the living room (that blanket fort could definitely be an option), or convert your guest room into a five star hotel room. Why not?

Check Groupon

Seriously. Sometimes there are some really worthwhile activities or restaurant coupons on Groupon! This wouldn't work for us this month because we decided to spend zero, but maybe next month?


Who said you had to spend a lot to have fun? We also enjoy volunteering, and honestly, an evening relaxing on the couch (even if we're both doing different things) is fun enough to us! 

What are some ways you have fun on a budget?