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How To Throw A Hot Wheels Birthday Party

How To Throw A Hot Wheels Birthday Party

HotWheelsThemedPartyMy youngest son, Rylyn, just turned 5!  We had such a fun birthday party for him – you see, Rylyn used to love trains more than anything – but as the years have gone by, his love for trains has turned into a love for all things cars, especially Hot Wheels tracks and cars.  He loves them!  When we started to think about themes for his birthday party, we knew we had to do a Hot Wheels themed party.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I love to plan birthday parties for my kids and I love to plan over-the-top fun parties on a serious budget – in my mind, there is no other way to do it!  I think if you work at it, you can absolutely have an amazing birthday party for your child without spending a lot of money – and, you can do it from home (which saves even more money)!


I wanted to make this party for Rylyn extra special because it’s the first “friend” party he’s had!  I know what you are thinking, Katrina, he’s 5, why in the world is this his first real party?  Well, I’ll be real honest with you, take a seat…. I’m a mom of 3 kids, and he’s the 3rd kid.  Simple as that – plus I’m smarter now.  :)  I didn’t want to start off this awesome birthday party tradition with Rylyn too soon, because I have many years ahead of fun parties with him.   He’s a crazy boy with so much energy, that I honestly wanted to put off the “friend” parties with him for as long as I could.


This was the first year that he finally noticed the fun parties that my other kids had and was already planning his own party.  When I think back on it now, I can’t believe that my oldest son, who turned 10 this year, has had 10 amazing at-home birthday parties.  His parties have been over-the-top!   He’s had really fun themes like: Messy Party, Star Wars, Science Lab, Minute-To-Win-It, etc.  My daughter, who turned 7 this year, has had a few less than my son (you see, I was starting to wise-up).  Her fun at-home parties started when she was 3 with her first “friend” party.  She’s had 4 great years of fun parties with themes like: Tea Party, Italian Cooking Party, Cheerleader Party, Daddy-Daughter Construction Building Party, etc.  Now that we are on to my 3rd, I’m older and wiser and think it’s ok that he’s just starting his “friend” party tradition.


When I’m planning a birthday party I start out by making a quick Word doc with all my ideas of themes that they might like.  I then make a guest list and ask for input from my child on who they would like to invite.  We go over the themes and I let them pick one.  Thankfully this year I pretty much knew what theme he was going to pick, it was either going to be Trains or Hot Wheels.  He chose Hot Wheels and I was off the races to start coming up with games and things to do for a November Hot Wheels party indoors with a bunch of 5 year olds.  What in the world can you do inside with car track? I did what any mom would do, I got on Pinterest to see what everyone else has done.  I found a lot of great pins for decorations for a “car-themed” party, but I know my son, and he could care less about the décor, he’s all about the fun things you would DO at the party.  He’s a very active boy and so are his friends, I knew I needed to keep them very busy or I’d lose control of them all.  I really didn’t find very many ideas at all of fun Hot Wheels themed activities we could do and was bummed.


It was close to Halloween and I still didn’t know what we were going to do at this party, but I had the invites made, the décor picked out and a cake ordered (from my mom of course).  A local high school in our area was hosting a Halloween Party for little kids, so we got ours all dressed up and headed over there for the free candy!  Once inside they had transformed the whole school into a Candy Land themed Halloween Party with tons of carnival games and it struck me, we could do that for Rylyn’s party!  Carnival type games that are Hot Wheels themed!  Genius!  My older son even mentioned to me much later that we should do a bunch of those simple games for Rylyn’s birthday party because Rylyn had so much fun and so did all the kids his age!  He even offered to help me make the games, and viola, we were off and running.  I was pumped because they all were fairly simple and inexpensive to put together, and they would work as indoor or outdoor games if the weather was nice enough (which at the time I had no idea what the November weather in Colorado would be like).  We got super lucky and had very warm weather the day of his party and could do most of the games outside, but I’m getting ahead of myself.


Here are all the game stations we came up with:


  • “Tire Toss” – We set up some old tires which I just so happened to as we had just put new tires on one of our vehicles.  YouHotWheels6 could also use ring shaped floaties used for the pool for kids who can’t swim yet.  You just set up the tires staggered and use beanie bags to toss into the tires.  If they make it into a tire, then they win a prize.
  • “Ring Toss” – We used glow necklaces hooked together to make a ring and had the kids toss them on to yellow caution cones that I happened to have for coaching soccer.  I found both at the dollar store.  The children had to take a “tire” glow necklace and toss it onto the cone.  If they made it, they won a prize.
  • •“Pin Wheel”– Think of Pin the Tail On The Donkey, same idea but I made a big poster board of a Hot Wheels Car instead.  Then I printed and cut out a page of small tires.  At this station, I had my dear friend give each child a tire with some tape on the back and after they spun the child around a few times, blindfolded, they got to try to get their tire on the Hot Wheels Car.  We gave everyone candy for just trying this one no matter where their tire ended up.  I hung this poster on my garage and it worked out great.
  • “Car Walk” – Just think of a good old fashioned Cake Walk!  Same thing, except if your number is called you win candy instead of a yummy baked good.  J I made numbers 1-10 and taped them to my driveway for the kids to walk on.  We played music and when we stopped the music you had to be on a number.  You would then pick a number out of a jar and whatever number was called won a piece of candy.  My daughter helped with this station and loved every second of it.  Hands down, this was the wall time favorite station by all the kids at the party.  I mean, who doesn’t love a good ‘ole cake walk?!HotWheels5
  • “Tire Eating Contest” – This was so fun!!! We hung mini chocolate donuts, which were the “tires” with fishing line from a low branch on our big tree in our front yard all at different lengths.  We then lined all the kids up in front of a donut that hung basically right in their face.  At the same time, with their hands behind their backs, they had to eat the donuts without touching them.  HILARIOUS to watch and so yummy!  The kids loved this one as well.  We only did this station one time as a group.
  • “Car Race”  – this was the last activity.  My older son built a Hot Wheels track that went down our stairs and made the cars go really fast!  We had everyone use the Hot Wheels car they were given from the “Car Fishing” game to face off with each other and see which car was faster.  I initially planned to make a big tournament poster with individual heats for the cars to race, but time got away from me and I realized that being 5 year olds, they didn’t really care who won!  They just wanted to race!
  • “Stop Light Piñata” – I made a VERY simple piñata from a tall rectangular Amazon box and stuffed the candy in the bottom of the box.  Taped it together and then decorated the box by wrapping black streamer paper all around the box completely covering it.  Then I cut out a red, yellow, and green circle from construction paper and taped them on the front of the box and it looked just like a stop light.  We hung the piñata from our front tree and used a very hard baseball bat toHotWheels4 whack it.  I was worried it might have a hard time busting open because it was a real cardboard box, but thankfully, that also meant that each child got to hit the box a few times and then we let the birthday box pound on it until it all feel apart – which he loved.  Was a very cheap way to make an adorable piñata.  This was another all group activity that we did only one time.
  • •“Car Fishing” – This one is where you hold a fishing pole with a string hooked to it, then the child tosses it over a big board and the person behind the board hooks a toy to the string and tosses it back like the child “caught” a fish!  We changed it up a bit and attached a red Solo cup to the end of a string on a wooden pole I had.  When they child tossed it over they were given a brand-new Hot Wheels car in their cup! They all seemed to love this and the best part was that the Hot Wheels cars are usually on $1!  We then planned to have each child keep that Hot Wheels car and use it for the Car Race that would happen later.


Other Things I Made:

The Decorations:

HotWheels3If you have read my posts from my other parties, you know I like to keep things cute, but simple and budget-friendly!  Rather than buying official Hot Wheels branded décor, I believe in picking solid colors that match and making my own birthday banners out of poster board and ribbon, and making my own signs and hanging them up.  Plus, we always use matching streamers.  I also made a simple tablecloth for the main table to look like a road.  I picked up a black plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Store as well as some white duct tape made my own road!  It was cute and cheap!  Don’t forget the balloons!  I always get about 10-15 solid color balloons and disperse them around the house – as well as outside so it sets the mood when you guests arrive!  Simple, cheap, and awesome!


I made my own signs FREE from my favorite website – Canva, that I glued onto poster board and hung it up near each station.  I also recruited a few parents and family members, even my older kids, to run each station so that they could help the kids and hand out prizes.  My prizes consisted of a lot of candy (that I recycled from Halloween, and small little toys like pencils, erasers, stickers, that were again recycled from Halloween and that I picked up at the Dollar store).  I tried to find some fun Hot Wheels themed prizes, but when they got too pricey, I figured kids love candy and I had a TON from Halloween that was just a week before his party!

Goody Bags:

These were very necessary as the children needed a bag to carry around during the entire party so that they could put all the candyHotWheels2 and treats they won at each station – as well as when we did the piñata.  I kept these simple as well, I just picked up a package of red paper lunch bags that I found from my local Dollar Store and printed out a small tag that I made on for each bag that I glued to the front and added each child’s name.  I had these sitting out so each child could grab their bag when they arrived to the party.

The Cake:

My mom is our cake maker extraordinaire!  She makes the cakes for my kids every year and they are  amazing!  The best part about her cakes is that they are gorgeous and usually make for an awesome focal point on the main table.  This year, she out-did herself with a Hot Wheels cake that had a tunnel right through the middle that you could drive a Hot Wheels car through (that was the request from the birthday boy)!   Even if you can’t make an extravagant cake, there are so many cute ideas on Pinterest for cakes, treats, and cupcake that go right along with the theme.  If I didn’t have my mom to make the cake, I was going to go with something simple – a “tire” donut cake!  Just take a bunch of small chocolate donuts and stack them up on a plate just like a bunch of tires. Then stick a candle on top and there you go – a “tire” cake!  Viola and super simple, plus this would be very inexpensive!

Invitations and Thank You Cards:

HotWheels7I also made my own invitations on Canva and used the same layout to make a thank you card.  I like to make invites that are simple 3.5 x 5 in postcards that are 1 sided that I can put in an envelope or pop right in the mail as a postcard.  It’s much faster to just make your own, print them out and mail, versus hunting down a matching invitation at the store and hand-writing in all the info (at least it is for me).  Plus, I love to make stuff on my own and personalize it!


It may sound like a lot of work, but besides making the signs and few other décor items, it really wasn’t that bad!  The party was a lot of fun and really you could use the same games to fit any theme for any party!  My son loved this 5th Hot Wheels birthday party and for me, that’s all that matters!






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February 27, 20170 commentsRead More
Why We Didn’t Take Out A Loan For A Car

Why We Didn’t Take Out A Loan For A Car

GreenCarBeing an adult is hard.  So hard.  Here is what happened yesterday – are you ready for this? Here goes:

We need a new car in a bad way.  Check this baby out - this is my Dave Ramsey-mobile.  It’s a 1993 Honda Del Sol convertible- lime green with lime green wheels too, it was a beauty when I got it 20 (gasp) years ago!  Who’s heard of Dave Ramsey?  Love him!  Consider him my uncle – for real.  Around our house we call him ‘Uncle Dave’.  Well, when we first got married someone gifted us with his Total Money Makeover class and our newly married lives were completely changed – in a good way.  We had $90,000 of debt when we got married and after taking his class we were able to pay off ALL of that debt in just over a year.  We got extra jobs, worked out butts off and lived on beans and rice.  Boy was I glad the day we payed the last debt off!  I was so proud of us.  Now, we are 14 years down the road, still living debt-free and we never fight about money – which his a huge plus!  BUT, we really need a new car – this lovely Dave Ramsey-mobile is on it’s last leg.  In fact, this was the first car I ever had – I was given this car when I turned 16 and that was a long time ago.  My poor husband drives it to work every day and has for years and years.  It’s reliable, paid for, and does the job, BUT, we are ready to move on to another vehicle that we can fit our kids in.  As you can see, this car is on a 2-seater, and that’s hard when you have 3 kids.  :)

My husband would like to get a truck.  I would too.  Who knew that trucks hold their value so well?!  Not us.  We know that now.  We have been saving for a few years, anything extra at the end of the month and we have managed to save $10,000 – which is not going to buy much of a truck – we’d need double that to get something that will last us a few years.  The little green car will need some work put into it this fall – and honestly, the repairs are not worth it if we plan to sell it.  Which means, we are in the market for a newer vehicle.  Although my husband would really like a truck, we have decided the ‘adult’ decision would be to get a car instead, as they are cheaper, and we can pass it to our son who will be driving (gasp) in 6 years (ohmygosh, I can’t believe he will be driving soon….ahhh!!!).

With new resolve, we began looking on Craigslist for a 4WD car with lower miles, and only a few years old.  Imagine my luck when not an hour earlier someone had posted a gorgeous sedan, a few years old, with only 30,000 miles on it – asking only $13,800, claiming he was a very motivated seller.  The blue book on this car was mid $14,000′s.  My bargain hunting ears were fully listening.  Just what I like to hear – someone who took really good care of his car and was motivated to sell and offering a deal.  Of course we had to go check it out.  We were the first people to call him and went to go look at it last night.  It was beautiful.  Really – just like his Craigslist post said.  We talked him down to $13,400 – even better deal.  Then we shook hands and said we needed to talk about it first and he said he would hold our place in line, but he did have a handful of others interested.  We talked about it the whole way home.  What would you have done?

It’s now the next day and we don’t have the car.  I’m super sad, but feel like it was the right decision.  I had this crazy dream last night about Dave Ramsey shaking his head at me and saying “When will you learn?” and then right after that the roof was blown off our house.  For those of you who are familiar with Dave Ramsey, he teaches about this thing called ‘Murphy’s Law’ and buying a car that we can’t afford is like asking ‘Murphy’ to move into our spare bedroom.  You see, the only way we could’ve purchased that car with CASH was to take the $10,000 we had saved for it and then dip into our Emergency Fund for the rest.  I don’t care who you ask, buying this car is not an emergency.  Both of us feared that if we did take money from our Emergency Fund that a real emergency would take place and we wouldn’t be able to pay for it because we just bought a new car with the emergency money.  We also had the option of taking out a small loan to pay for the extra, but by the time we paid off the interest this car that was such a ‘great deal’, was not as good of deal anymore.

I’m sad that we missed out on this car and am hoping that when the time is right, we will find another great deal.  BUT, I’m still bummed and hate having to make ‘adult’ decisions.

So, do you drive a Dave Ramsey-mobile?  I’d love to see a photo of it!  You can upload a photo of it on my Katrina’s World Facebook Page  - just tag #DaveRamseyMobile and tell me all about it!

I’d also love to know what you would do in our situation?!  Tell me all about it – whether you agree or not!


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August 25, 20160 commentsRead More
Why You Should Use IBOTTA

Why You Should Use IBOTTA

WhyUseIBOTTAEver wonder what IBOTTA is all about?  Have you heard people talking about how great it is?  Have you read bloggers who have written about IBOTTA being their favorite coupon app?  Well, you have come to the right place and I’m just one more blogger who absolutely LOVES IBOTTA and would love to tell you why you should use it too (I guess that’s also my way of saying to stop reading right now if you don’t want a super-easy way to save money on the groceries that you already buy).

IBOTTA is a very easy-to-use coupon app for your smartphone.  Available for both Android and Apple devices and is free to download.  If you join IBOTTA via a friend referral code you will instantly earn $10 after you redeem your first rebate.  You can sign up now via my referral code – SIGN UP NOW so you don’t miss out on that extra $10!  The great part signing up via a friend is that your friend also earns a $5 reward for signing you up!  It’s a win-win!  After you have joined IBOTTA you can start referring your own friends and you will make $5 for every friend you refer that signs up via your own personal link and redeems at least one rebate, plus they also earn that $10 reward as well!  Can you see why I think IBOTTA is awesome?!

Don’t wait, go ahead right now and get signed up – SIGN UP NOW, and then once you have the app installed on your phone, continue reading.  I’ll wait, seriously, go ahead.  SIGN UP NOW

Now that you have the IBOTTA app installed, let me give a quick overview of some the great things IBOTTA can do and how you can save
the most money:

  1. How IBOTTA Works: Download the app, unlock rebates by browsing the app before you go shopping, go shopping and buy the items you unlocked, verify your purchases and upload a quick picture of your receipt, then get cash loaded to your account.  SO EASY!
  2. Extra Savings on Groceries:  You will see that the IBOTTA app works at most major grocery stores and you can useIbotta-logo IBOTTA and paper coupons to purchase the same item!  For a lot of things that you mean you can get them for free with the double savings.
  3. Not only for groceries:  I use IBOTTA mostly for savings on my groceries, but you can also earn rebates at restaurants, on electronics, clothing, even movie tickets, and so much more!
  4. Redeem for CASH! After you have earned $20, you can redeem your earnings for cash, or gift cards to great places like Starbucks or the movies!

Now do you see why I love IBOTTA?!  If you still haven’t downloaded the app, do it now,  SIGN UP NOW and start saving and making money today!

Some links in this post are affiliate links, thanks for using them – while they help you save money, they also support me and my blog.

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March 12, 20160 commentsRead More
5 Simple Ways To Save Money

5 Simple Ways To Save Money


If your family is anything like mine, you may have some months when your finances are tighter than others.  It might be due to a job loss, or you woke up and realized it was December and Christmas was around the corner.  Or simply, there were a lot of unforeseen budget items that came up that you had not planned for, like soccer registration, especially when you had no idea your kid could even kick a soccer ball!  Those little things add up and all a sudden your monthly finances are stressing you out and you realize – ouch – I need to either make our money stretch really far this month, or maybe make a few quick bucks.

This is exactly what happened to us this month – we did our monthly budget committee meeting, planned and spent all our money on paper and then the month started to play out.  Things were being added that we hadn’t planned, and we were left shuffling money around to accommodate.  There were a few things I wanted to purchase mid-month that unless I could make a little bit of extra money, I wasn’t going to be able to purchase them.  I didn’t worry though, I realized there were a few things I could do today to make a little bit of extra money and there were a few things I could do to save some money, so I got to work!  The best way to make some money is to get to work!

  1. Sell Some Stuff:  We all have stuff sitting around the house that we could sell and make some quick money off of.  If the weather is nice, have a garage sale!  Round up some old stuff that you don’t want or use and sell it!  Garage sales are not only done in your garage anymore – there are now online garage sale groups that might be right in your neighborhood.  All you do is post a picture and you wait for someone to buy it!  I’m part of a bunch of online groups local to my area through Facebook as well as a site called VarageSale and Wallapop.
  2. Shop From Your Own Pantry:  In our house, our grocery fund is one of the largest funds we have – when I want to save money, I know I can if I work extra hard at planning my meals ONLY with the stuff that is on sale that week, using my coupons (which I do every week no matter what), and shopping from my own pantry.  I have a stockpile for a reason, to buy items when they are at their cheapest amount and then use them —- so go and use them!  If you make a clear effort to plan meals using mainly what is already in your pantry, you can really cut your grocery budget.  You can’t do this every week, but it’s a great habit to put in place at least once a month.
  3. Swap Babysitting: In my house we try to make it a priority to have a date night at least once a month, and a lot of times this requires high babysitting fees.  When money is tight, it’s a lot easier to just forego the date night – but we all know it’s super important to have time alone with just our spouse.  Instead of paying for a babysitter, offer to do swap babysitting with a good friend.  You watch their kids one evening so they can have a date night, and then swap the next weekend where they watch your kids.  Saves you money and you might like the idea so much that you won’t ever have to pay a babysitter again!
  4. Use Coupon Apps:  I grocery shop once a week and although I save money when I use paper coupons, I love actually making  money – which I can do by using coupon apps. Coupons apps pay you a little bit extra for things you already buy.  Ibotta  (yes this is my referral link, so I thank you in advance for signing up!) is my favorite coupon app and every week I make extra money on top of the savings I get for using paper coupons, just for buying what I was already planning to buy.  It’s a win-win and after my account accumulates a decent amount I can redeem my savings for gift cards or cash!  I love to redeem my savings for movie gift cards for date nights!  Read a recent post I wrote all about using coupon apps to save money  - read now.
  5. Use Cashback Sites:  I use a cashback shopping site called to earn money on things I already buy!  One thing I buy consistently with Ebates is a water filter for my refrigerator – I buy it from Lowes or HomeDepot through Ebates and then go pick it up in the store in to save on shipping fees and I receive cashback from doing this!  It’s awesome actually!  If there are things you know you need, and can shop for and buy online, then why not use a cashback site to buy those things?!  This process works really great for essential things you need and it’s even better when you can pair it with sites that offer in-store pickup or free shipping!  Plus, if you refer other people to their site, they pay you for your referral!  You can sign up here - (yes this is my referral link, so I thank you in advance for signing up!) - SIGN UP NOW for Ebates.  You’ll be shocked how many stores you can shop at using Ebates and just think of the savings you will have!  Stores like, Old Navy, Amazon, Macy’s, etc!



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February 15, 20160 commentsRead More
Why My Children Do Chores

Why My Children Do Chores

WhyMyKidsDoChores1Are you one of those moms that does too much because you have children that don’t do very much.  Make it your goal to work yourself out of a job.  If a child can play a game on your iPad, he/she can help with chores.  Now doesn’t that hit you like a ton of bricks?  When I first read this, I was in total agreement.  It’s so true.  Sometimes, we as moms, do way too much for our kids.  You know how it goes, your oldest child might tend to spill too much so it’s easier for you to pour the milk for cereal rather than letting him try, spill, learn, and you’re on your way out of a simple job.  I’m totally guilty of this.  I hate messes, so I tend to do way too many little jobs for my kids just to make sure there is a not a huge mess to clean up afterwards.  But I know I’m just making my job as a mom harder in the long run.  Kids need to learn to help even if it makes a bigger mess.

Confession time…when I was a kid I remember my mom making me and my brother do a lot of chores around the house.  The worst one of all was dusting and I had the lucky job of dusting this curio cabinet that had glass shelves.  I had to take every single little Precious Moments figurine that my mom collected off each shelf and make sure the shelf was dust free.  This job was so awful!  It was meticulous and took what seemed like FOREVER to do.  The worst part to doing a lot of my chores as a child was that even though I ‘thought’ I was doing a really good job as a 10 year old, my mom would always come along after and redo whatever I had just done, because it wasn’t done as good as she would have done it.  It always used to really drive me crazy – I never could figure out why I needed to waste the time doing the chores if she was just going to redo them anyways.  I catch myself doing the same thing to my kids.  Why???  I have no idea, except that I’m a crazy neat freak.  But I’m trying really hard to not redo their work anymore.  I’m trying very hard to remember how old they are and what their actual abilities are and then asses their level of efficiency and effort.  Your kids absolutely should be helping you around your house.  They live there for free – so they should pitch in and help!

So the next question becomes, what chores should your kids do and should you pay them to do those chores?  Here’s what I think.  Yes, yes, yes!  I’m a big Dave Ramsey follower and we love his ideas on kids and money!  Dave believes that you, as parents, are the boss and your kids are your employees.  As a boss your kids work for you, and they should earn commission.  When they work, they get paid.  When they don’t work, they don’t get paid.  Simple as that.  It works too!  It also teaches kids the value of money.  Rather than just paying them because they breathe, this forces them to equate working hard for the money they want to spend on fun things.  This idea works really well when your children are old enough to really understand what their money can buy them.  We have three kids, ages 4, 6 and 9 right now.  We started doing commission for chores when my oldest was 4.  At that age he did very simple chores and was paid at the end of each week.  From his weekly commission earnings he would then distribute that between three different envelopes for Giving, Saving, and Spending.  We have taught all 3 of our kids these concepts and they each have a list of chores based off their ages and abilities that they earn commission for.  This process forces the kids to see chores not so much as a chore, but as a job they can earn money for.  When there is a special toy they want to buy we often have some requests for extra chores in order to earn bonuses, and sometimes they do business deals with each other - getting paid from a sibling to do their chore!  It’s great! To a mompreneur like me, I love seeing business deals happen with my young children (and so far, they have been very fair)!
Just in case you are wondering what type of chores I have my kids do each week here is a quick list:

9 year old:

  • Undo the dishwasher/Set the table (alternates with 6yr old)
  • Shovel the driveway and back patio (in the summer instead of this he cleans up dog poop)
  • Clean room and make bed
  • Vacuum
  • Take out trash

6 year old:

  • Undo the dishwasher/Set the table (alternates with 9yr old)
  • Dust
  • Clean room and make bed
  • Sharpen pencils (in summer instead of this she waters the flowers)

4 year old:

  • Collects the newspaper from driveway
  • Feed the dogs/let’s them out in morning
  • Make bed
  • Collect trash

Bonuses (when I’m feeling generous… I don’t always pay for these things, but sometimes I do, especially when they help without being asked and without expecting a bonus):

  • Clean the bathroom
  • Sweep/Mop kitchen floor
  • Clean basement toy room
  • Clean glass windows and patio doors
  • “Help” mow the lawn and trim bushes
  • Unpacking groceries and helping put food away
  • Prepping/Washing weekly veggies
  • Cooking
  • Pitching in and helping mom with whatever job she is doing without being asked

Do your kids do chores?  What ages and chores do they do?  Do you pay them?  Would love to hear what you have tried and what works for your family!  Hugs to all!


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January 25, 20162 commentsRead More
Katrina’s Budgeting 101

Katrina’s Budgeting 101

Budgeting101I’m laughing out loud at myself right now.  That title, ‘Katrina’s Budgeting 101’ sort of cracks me up – ok, it REALLY cracks me up!  I feel like I missed the “budget” train my entire childhood, either I wasn’t paying attention all the times my parents tried to talk to me about it or I’m just crazy.  I do remember being a natural ‘saver’,’ when I would get my allowance, I would save it, and save it, and save it.  Then my big brother, whom I thought walked on water, would somehow talk me into going to the local grocery store and using it all to buy “us” candy (which he would proceed to eat most of).  He was a smart big brother, using his money-saving little sister to enjoy an afternoon snack.  I still love you though, Ry-fry (my nickname I called my big bro – Ryan).

I do remember getting my first checking account when I was around 14.  I had a job working with my dad at Promise Keepers, I worked in the mail room (was a GREAT first job) and had so much fun!  There was a bank very close to the office and all a sudden I remember my mom and dad deciding I needed a checking account and a checkbook, and needed to start balancing that checkbook.  To this day, I still have the hardest time balancing a checkbook, thankfully, Cassidy does this for us now.  Anyone else struggle with that?  I really hope I’m not alone on this one…

As I grew up, my dad was always there to fall back on when I messed up with my saving or with my bills and I guess I just assumed that when I got married that my husband would just do the same thing.  I never really thought there was too much to the whole money thing, I just figured someone else would take care of it for me, so why should I have to learn too much about where my money goes?  As I write this I can’t believe how naïve I was!  Ohmygoodness!!!!!

Fast forward a few years and I’ve met Cassidy, the man of my dreams and we are getting married.  We didn’t talk very much about money when we were dating – I assumed he had a lot more money than he really did, after all, he was a college graduate, he had an established career and job with a big company, he drove a very nice car and he also has just envelopesystempurchased his first house (a brand new one that was not huge, but very nice for a first home).  Appearances are not always reality for sure.  While he was very well off for a guy his age, he did have quite a bit of debt from school, his fancy car, and his house.

At that time, first of all, I didn’t care, and second of all, I thought everyone had debt.  As a wedding present, my adopted set of grandparents (long story – but they “adopted” me and loved on me like real grandparents do) gave us Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University kit and a free tickets to a 12 week class to learn all about it.  Although I was not super excited about this gift at all, I loved the KitchenAid Stand Mixer we received much more, we agreed to attend the class.  12 weeks later our lives were radically changed!  We dove in head first, worked extra jobs and a year later we managed to pay off all of our $90,000 in debt and have paid cash and lived debt free ever since.  I’m talking 13 years later, we are still debt free, we use the envelope system for our cash and expenditures, we have a monthly ‘budget committee meeting’ where we both sit down together and work on that’s month’s budget and we LOVE it!

CassKatDave Ramsey says that with most couples, there is usually one free spirit and one nerd.  I’m the free spirit for sure!  I tend to watch a lot of what Cassidy is doing to put together our spreadsheet for the monthly budget, but I’m still present and helping.  Thank goodness I have Cassidy, because if it was just me I know for sure that I would never make a real budget.  I don’t love having to take the time each month to sit down and work on the budget, but I’m always glad we did.  It’s a freeing feeling to know exactly how much money we have.   We try to plan out everything that is happening that month and we truly do spend every dollar we have on paper before the month begins.  That’s the key, to make a zero based budget and to stick to it.  If you spend more out of one category you have to take from another category.  Here is a great post that my husband wrote about how to create a zero based budget, READ NOW.

I highly recommend that if you are married that you do your budget – TOGETHER – it’s so important for couples to be on the same page with their money, otherwise how in the world can you stick to it?  Also, if budgeting, especially with a zero based budget is new to you, then I highly recommend checking out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University books and courses.  Better yet, enroll in a class near you – you will get so much more out of it if you do the course with a small group of like-minded individuals who can hold you accountable.  In fact, we loved the classes so much and loved what they did for our family that we started teaching his classes at our church!  It’s such a fun class to be a part of and to teach!

I’d love to know if you have done Dave Ramsey’s classes and how much debt you paid off in the process!  Share your stories of success or even frustration in the comments below.



Dave Ramsey did not ask me to write this post about his courses or books.  All opinions are mine.  
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September 10, 20150 commentsRead More