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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!

Signs:

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 Canva.com 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!

 

 

HotWheelsThemedParty

 

 

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February 27, 20170 commentsRead More
Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

Time to Tidy Up: Only Keep Stuff You Love

OnlyKeepStuffYouLoveI’ve learned a lot this week, but the best thing so far – it’s ok to throw stuff away.  Really, it’s ok.  Even if that stuff is a gift from someone you love.  It may be a wonderful gift that had great intentions, but over the years, that gift sat on a shelf and collected dust.  It’s taken up a piece of real estate in your house and over the years you can’t seem to part with it since it was a gift.

You know what I’m talking about – that candle that you burned a few times and then you stuffed it in the very back of your kitchen cabinet because you got another one you liked better.  Or, it’s the quilt that someone made you as a wedding present.  While the quilt is lovely, it doesn’t match the decor of your house, or even of your guest room, so it’s been sitting in a box for 15 years.  Or, maybe it’s that collection of items from your favorite sports team – the mugs, light-up beer steins (and you don’t even drink beer), hats, coasters, posters, soda can cozies, tickets from games you have attended, and on and on – while you love this sports team, you may not love all the gifts you are given year after year with their logo plastered on it.

I know how you feel though – being stuck with a gift and feeling like you have to keep it just because you love the person who gave it to you.  In Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she says, “Too many people live surrounded by things they don’t need ‘just because.’”  Most people have no idea how much space these things are taking up in their homes.

For me, I’ve seen this truth to be true – I can’t believe that in my already orderly (or so I thought) house I found 16 bags of things just taking up space that I didn’t want anymore, and I’m only just beginning.  The question to ask yourself when sorting through gifts is “Does this spark joy?”   Simple as that.  You have to remember that gifts are just things that are used to convey someone’s feelings for you – and after they have given you the gift, the gift’s purpose has been fulfilled.  Think about that.  It’s so true and my mind is blown.  This makes me think about gifts in a whole new light – both gifts I receive and gifts I give – honestly, it makes me want to try a lot harder when I’m giving a gift to someone.

While some gifts are hard to part with, others are easy to discard.  You can part with that engraved china plate you got as a wedding gift that has sat in a box for your entire marriage.  Yes, it was a gift, but do you even remember who gave it to you?  This happened to me yesterday.  We tackled our storage room.  This room holds a giant pile of boxes that are old grade school papers, trophies from Awana, diplomas and awards from DECA and FBLA, Coca-Cola collections, M & M collections of everything you can dream of shaped, stuffed or imprinted with an M & M on it, wedding gifts, old cards and letters, etc.  It was intense.  I can’t believe how much we threw away!  We had so many empty boxes that we had saved and intended to use for shipping gifts to people.  Silliest thing ever, because we maybe ship 3-4 boxes a year!  We had enough boxes and shipping materials to ship boxes for the next 20 years or more!  Not only were these boxes taking up a ton of space, so were all the boxes of momentos.

We spent 5 hours working on this room and have made some great progress, but we still have a long way to go.  The funny thing, I noticed my attitude change over the course of the day.  I was super excited to get started on the room – I loved seeing all the things we were able to discard and haul to the trash.  Once we started unpacking my M & M collection and my box of unexpected photos from college, I started to get really stressed.  I didn’t know what to do with this stuff.  I panicked.  We kept going and I had to walk away for awhile.  I was getting totally overwhelmed.  There were boxes overflowing with packing peanuts,  piles of sorted item we were going to donate, and piles of discarded items.  Just walking from the storage room to the the stairs was like walking through a mine field.  We cleared a path and I set aside all my momentos to deal with at a later time.  The photos and special memory items are the items you sort through last.  Thank goodness, because I like to take photos of everything!

I unpacked boxes that have been packed since I moved into my house 10 years ago.  I had boxes of decor items that don’t match my current house and honestly I didn’t even remember I had them.  I found a really cool set of metal lamps that I really like, but have no problem selling instead of keeping.  In fact, I’m not only donating items, but finding a lot that I can sell on VarageSale.  I have listed over 100 items since I’ve begun my tidying journey and I’m loving the extra money that I’m making.

I’m super proud of my husband as well, he loves to collect stuff and tends to have multiple collections of things,  let’s see, there is the Coca-Cola collection, the Star Wars Lego collection, and the Broncos collection.  I tend to look at these things as ways to collect dust, which drives him crazy.  He thinks I’m boring because I don’t really collect anything.  Yep, we are a perfect match!  He did make some great decisions on things he was willing to part with and we have big plans for our storage room.  We are going to add some shelves and I’m so excited!  Our compromise, I have to find a place to display his Coke collection because he unpacked it all!  I still have to figure this one out.  :)

Needless to say, I survived the day, we still have a ton to do, but we made a huge dent in our stuff that I’m super proud and excited.  As I work through the whole house, I’m finding that I have a ton of storage totes and bins that I no longer need – as I’ve discarded most of the items that used to be in them.  I’m also loving reading Marie Kondo’s book because there are just times in your life when you just need someone to tell you it’s ok to throw stuff away.  I also feel relieved that you really only need to keep stuff that you truly love.  How is your tidying journey going?

OnlyKeepStuffYouLove

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January 16, 20170 commentsRead More
Time to Tidy Up: Tackling My Closet

Time to Tidy Up: Tackling My Closet

ClosetMarie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, says the best place to start tidying in your home is your closet.  Well, I did it.  Oh-my-goodness.  That was a HUGE job, but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.  Phew.  I’m glad it’s over and I can’t believe how clean I feel – not just because my closet is clean, but my overall life is starting to feel cleaner, and I love it!

Are you ready to begin tidying your life?   Well, here is how you at least tackle your closet.  First of all, Marie says you should gather every last bit of your clothing in your entire house and put it all in one pile on the floor.  I laughed out loud when I first read this.  I remember thinking that I could just leave a few coats and gloves in the downstairs closet and not worry about them, as well as keep my swimsuit in the laundry room –  but the book says to gather every last bit of clothing – gloves, hats, coats, everything.  If you don’t get every last piece you won’t fully immerse yourself in the process…I drug my feet because it seemed like a lot of work, but eventually I grabbed a laundry basket and gathered everything and hauled it upstairs to my room.  I took every single piece of clothing out of my closet – shirts, jeans, fancy dresses, suits, bras, purses, scarves, etc.. – EVERYTHING!!!

I even pulled out my precious tubs of maternity clothes (which I had 3 giant plastic tubs worth) which I swore I would never get rid of.  The dust on top of, behind, and around these maternity tubs was thick, and I was beyond terrified to get rid of any of it.  I’ve had such a journey the last 11 years of being a mom and so many memories are tied to those maternity clothes.  I could not imagine going through them, let alone getting rid of any of them, but I pulled them out of the closet and piled them up with everything else.

After it was all piled up on the floor I sorted it into clothing types and tackled my shirts first.  I was doing great at discarding shirts that were lumpy, stained, pilled, and had holes in them until I found the pink glitter chihuahua shirt.  I got stuck.  I sort of freaked out.  I put it in the discard pile and then I grabbed it back out.  I panicked.  That shirt has such deep memories.  Does is spark joy?  Yes, it does.  It sparks all sorts of memories of a wonderful life I’ve had with my spouse.  I got that shirt while I was dating my husband and was dreaming of marrying him, having kids and of one chihuahuashirtday having a little white chihuahua that I would name Lucy.  For real.  I loved pink, glitter and little dogs and felt like my whole life was ahead of me.   Great memories that make me wish life was simple again.  I cannot part with that shirt, even though I’m fairly positive that I”ll never actually wear it again.

I continued on with my sorting and then my daughter walked in to see what I was up to.  She immediately asked if we could do her room too!  That’s my girl!  Love her!  It’s funny how if you start organizing your own life, that others watching want to do the same thing.  This also applies to my husband.  When he got home that night, he was so amazed at the transformation of my side of the closet that he immediately starting pulling things out of his side of the closet to discard.  :)

Back to my process – I started to fill up bags and bags of clothes to be donated – it’s was liberating and felt wonderful!  When everything else was sorted, I finally tackled the tubs of maternity clothes.  I had to scrape off a layer of dust just opening them.  Ewww.  I plunged ahead and was really surprised when I made it through the first tub and easily discarded all of it.  Nothing sparked joy.  All of the items in the first tub were very  big and out of style – they were 11 years old and from my first pregnancy – I was gigantic when I was pregnant with my oldest.  I hated everything about being pregnant with him.  I was uncomfortable, sick all the time, hungry all the time, wore very big maternity clothes, and when I picked them up and examined them, they gave me a feeling of yuck.

In the donate bag they all went and this process continued until I came to the last tub with all my cute clothes from when I pregnant with my daughter.  I loved being pregnant with her.  I was super thin because she made me sooo terribly sick all the time that I could barely eat, it was summer and I love summer maternity clothes, and overall I felt like a rock-star mommy.  It was one of the best years of my life.  I loved the attention of being pregnant, I felt cute the whole 9 months, and I was elated to be having a girl!  I loved all my maternity clothes I wore during that time – they were colorful, cute, and I would wear them all again if I had another baby.  I even loved my maternity swim suit – and honestly, who can say they love a swim suit?  Needless to say, I kept about 12 items, including my swimsuit and that was all I kept from my 3 big maternity tubs.  These items fit in a small diaper box.

I’m so glad I took the plunge and opened up those bins – because it taught me I was holding onto memories that I didn’t need to hold on to anymore.  I don’t plan to have any more kids, but if I do, then I still have a few cute items that I love dearly.  I’m sure at some point down the road, I will discard that box, but for now, I’m so proud of myself for purging 3/4 of a category of things I had that were not exactly what I thought.  I didn’t need to take up a huge space in my closet holding onto things that I didn’t really even like when I further examined them.  Again, it’s liberating to get rid of them!  I also know that someone else could use all of those clothes that I no longer needed, so I posted 3 garbage bags of maternity clothes size Small, Medium, and Large on a local Free Facebook group that I’m a part of and all 3 were picked up the next day by ladies who needed them.  It’s a win-win!

It only took me 3 hours to complete my closet.  I spent the next hour vacuuming, dusting and cleaning my closet floor which had not seen the light of day in probably 6 years.  When you have so much crammed in a tiny space it’s more effort than it’s worth to clean under and around it.  Right?  I love all the white space on my side of the closet now.  Love it!

I learned a lot about myself by the items I decided to keep.  Sorting through your clothes tells you a lot about who you are.  I discarded a lot of things that I’ve held onto for a long time – fancy dresses, high heels, jeans, suit jackets from my working days, etc.  I held onto my leggings, tunics, yoga pants, athletic gear, and running shoes.  Wow.  It’s weird to even write that.  My fashion sense and lifestyle have changed a lot in the last 20 years (yes, there were things in my closet that I’ve had for 20 years).  Honestly, I’m not sure what this says about me.  I’m still thinking about it and mulling it over in my head.  My husband did comment that I used to dress a lot fancier when he first met me.  Of course I questioned him about that and he just said it was an observation, but it did worry me.  Am I looking to mom-ish?  Just stuff to think about.  Wow, who knew that tidying my home could go so deep?

So, what has tidying taught you?  Have you sorted your closet?  How did that go?  Can’t wait to hear all about your tidying journey….

Closet

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January 7, 20170 commentsRead More
Time to Tidy Up: Let The Selling Begin

Time to Tidy Up: Let The Selling Begin

LetSellingBeginI was so excited to get started with my tidying project that I had no problem sorting through stuff in my cabinets and begin the joyful job of discarding.  For me, this job is fun.  I do find joy in discarding objects that no longer serve a purpose or have a use.  You might have a much harder tine discarding items – my husband, for example, has a hard time letting go of things.  Just the other day we were sorting through that big box of cables, cords, old computer parts, etc that everyone has laying around.  We have a pretty big box full of these things to go along with our many other electronic devices and because my husband is a nerd we have a lot!  Yep, I just called him a “nerd” and I mean it totally lovingly.  He’s amazing and I’m so glad he understands computers!

Anyways, since I was dying to get a jump on the discarding process I drug my poor, unsuspecting husband to the basement to begin sorting through the box of cables and then to sort through our big pile of old computers, hard drives, printers, etc that we could recycle and get out of the house!  While I had no problem finding a ton of stuff to discard, my poor husband sorted it all and then sheepishly said he needed to keep most of it!  :)  It was adorable actually!  We had multiple TV cables from DirectTV still in the plastic packaging that were exact duplicates and I was ready to discard every single one, while my husband was worried we might need them ALL someday.  It was cute, and made me giggle.  Somehow I negotiated with him to keep just one of each kind, phew.  I did learn that everyone has a different way of looking at items around the house and the key is identifying it’s purpose and being ok with letting it go if it’s already served it’s purpose.

At least I know that I have no problem letting go of stuff, which I’m happy about considering the journey I’m about to go on, but the best words I’ve read so far into Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,  are “we should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”   Like focusing on the good.  I have a very hard time doing this in everyday life.  I tend to focus on the bad in a situation and in people.  Isn’t that awful?!  I love the idea of looking at an object and asking “Does this spark joy?”  If not, discard.  While this sounds simple, I know it’s going to be hard.

I do love this approach for clothing though, a lot.  I still have stuff in my closet that I wore in college, my “cute days,” as I refer to them.  I keep wanting to be the same size as I was in college – you know, long before I had 3 kids.  When I try to remember what I think I looked like back then, I’m not sure it’s all that different than I do now…it’s silly, yes, I was thinner, but I was 18!!!!  Marie also says in her book to thank the item for the role it played in your life and then let it go.

A great example is a pink t-shirt I still have with a glitter chihuahua on it (ohmygoodness…two of my favorite things – glitter and chihuahuas, especially at that time in my life), and it’s a very small t-shirt.  I loved this shirt, I wore it all the time and for some reason I still have it 18 years later!! 18 years?!!! I can’t believe I’ve had it that long! Why in the world have I held on to it this long?  Partly because it has glitter on it (have I mentioned that I LOVE glitter??), and partly because it has a chihuahua on it, and I have 2 chihuahuas (the same 2 chihuahuas who are now 14 and 15 years old).  More importantly, I keep hoping I’ll be able to get skinny enough to wear it again.  I’ve not worn this shirt for probably 12 years – I don’t think I’ve fit into it for the last 13 years and I still have it.  Marie says you should ask this question, “Does it spark joy?”  It sparks really good memories of a time when I was itty -bitty and cute, but it also makes me sad because I don’t look like that anymore.  Can I actually thank this shirt for giving me joy at the time I bought it and wore it, and be ok with letting go of it?  I’m not sure…..  When I really think about it, even if I could fit into it again some day, I’m not sure that I would even wear it, as it’s really short!  :)  20 years ago short shirts were the fashion trend, but not anymore!   I’m still really thinking about this one and I’ve not even started working on going through my closet yet!! My brain gets really far ahead of me sometimes.

Anyways…back to my point – I’m a few days into my tidying journey and I’m selling things like a crazy woman!  It’s nice!  We are saving for a car, so the extra money I make on discarded items around the house all go into a jar sitting on my counter – the official “Car Fund” – hey, you have to start somewhere right?!   I used to be a big fan of having a garage sale, so all year long I would designate a space in my storage room and/or the guest room and collect items we could sell.  Once garage sale season would hit, usually late April, I would drag all my stuff out to the driveway and sell it all.  Whatever was left after 2 days I would donate to Goodwill.  Normally, we would save all that money for something big – one year we used it for a vacation to Legoland!  Now, I’m a more sophisticated seller – I like to use online selling apps to move my stuff and reach a bigger audience, and for some stuff I can charge a higher price than I would get for the item at a garage sale, which is awesome!  My favorite selling app is VarageSale and I also use a few smaller local community Facebook groups.  These groups are great because the seller comes to you to buy your item and for smaller items, I usually leave them outside my front porch with a nice note and the buyer just leaves money under my doormat.  It’s very convenient and easy!  If you get to know me well enough you know that I really love things that make my life easier.  My kids have a snow day today – which means all 3 will be home, but I’m hoping that gives me a good excuse to get more tidying done since I don’t have to run them around.

So, who’s used the KonMari Method?  How did you discard items that were hard to get rid of?  Any advice for me and my tidying journey?

Have a great day!  I’m off to try to tidy….

LetSellingBegin

 

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January 5, 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!

GreenCar

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August 25, 20160 commentsRead More
How To Make Dehydrated Apples

How To Make Dehydrated Apples

HowToMakeDehydratedApplesYes, I know it’s summer, but my house smells like Fall!  What’s better in fall you say?  Apple Pie!  Yes!  My house smells like Apple Pie and here’s why – I’m dehydrating a bunch of apples today!  Yummy!!  A neighbor came over and when I opened the door she told me my house smelled amazing and she wondered what candle I had burning!  I told her I didn’t have a candle lit, but was making dehydrated apples – she was impressed!

I’m not kidding, it really smells awesome and I can’t wait to make them this fall!  They are so easy too – and I think they are even easier than the dehydrated bananas.  I sort of feel like I’m a pro now at this (ya know, because I have dehydrated one batch of bananas and one batch of apples – :) – yep just pass me my pro status ribbon right now!) – so I have a few extra tips on how to make dehydrated apples quick and easy.

For starters, my dehydrator only has 4 trays – so I can’t do a lot at the same time, but I did realize you can prep a whole bunch at once and save half the batch for later.  If you have fewer trays like I do, then peel/slice/core your apples and place all the extra apples in a big bowl filled with a bit of water and lemon juice.  Cover and store in your refrigerator until you are ready to dehydrate.  I did one batch during the day (about 8 medium to large sized apples), and then cooked the second batch overnight.  This totally happened by accident, I really had no idea how many apples my trays would fit so I ended up buying a 5 bags of 3 apples each on clearance at the grocery store and prepped all of them at once.  :) Silly me!  But I was happy to prep and save all the extras.  It worked out great!

One other tip, if you plan to do this a lot, then make sure you get an Apple Peeler/Slicer/Corer machine – I know Pampered Chef sells one, so does Williams and Sonoma (which is the brand I have – I’m lucky though, I found mine at Goodwill for $5).  I tend to use mine a lot and it makes the whole process so much faster and super fun for your kids to help with!  It’s messy and sticky, but a lot of fun!

How To Make Dehydrated Apples

You will need:

  • Food dehydrator
  • Small spray bottle
  • 15 medium size apples
  • Juice from one lemon or 2 Tbs of bottled lemon juice
  • Cinnamon
  • PAM or Misto filled with Olive Oil
  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples the same thickness so they dry evenly – 1/4″ is perfect.  I used an Apple Peeler/Slicer/Corer.  I picked mine up at Goodwill for $5 and I LOVE it!  Makes peeling super fast and my kids love to help with it.  Also, apples are sliced the same thickness which is helpful for drying.  If you don’t have a Peeler/Slicer/Corer, you can do it manually.
  2. Lightly srapy your dehydrator trays with olive oil or PAM to help with sticking.
  3. Place apples in single layer on dehydrator trays.
  4. Spray apples with lemon juice from your small spray bottle to keep the apples from turning a yucky brown color.
  5. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon on the apples.
  6. Turn on the dehydrator and set to 135 degrees.
  7. Check apples in 5 hours and consider flipping over (again depends on the design of your dehydrator).
  8. Cook for a total of 10 hours until apples are no longer mushy to the touch.
  9. Store in an air-tight bag or container.

Trust me, you will love how these make your house smell!! Yummy!  Making these apples yourself is super healthy and such a great way to help stretch your grocery budget!  My kids LOVE them and they are a super healthy snack for school!  Win win!

If you try them, let me know what you think!

HowToMakeDehydratedApples

 

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August 2, 20160 commentsRead More
How To Make Dehydrated Bananas

How To Make Dehydrated Bananas

HowToMakeDehydratedBananasHi everyone!! It’s been awhile – and for that I’m sorry!  I’ve been so busy this summer enjoying every last second with my kids that I’ve made a conscience effort to step back from my blog.  It’s been a breath of fresh air actually – just taking a break.  I’ve really needed the time to think and just listen to the Lord speak into my life.

My summer has been great!  I hope yours has been too!  We’ve enjoyed tons of time with our family and friends, doing fun crafts – like making homemade chalk (I’ll discuss this in a later post – it was AWESOME!), spending much-needed time with cousins, lots of runs through the neighborhood and of course, tons of swimming!  My adorable neighbor across the street blessed with me with a hand-me-down food dehydrator and I’m trying it out today!  Which is what this post is really about actually – so Katrina, stop rambling all about ‘what you did this summer’….seriously!

We were at the grocery store this morning and there was an awesome deal on ripe bananas – as well as a of bags of discount apples.  All a sudden I remembered that my neighbor said I could have her old dehydrator and viola!  We purchased  about 3lbs of bananas and a couple pounds of apples and as soon as we got home we started prepping the bananas for the dehydrator.  I had the bright idea that I should spray the apples with lemon juice using a small water bottle instead of hand-dipping each one – just seemed a lot faster, and on a day like today, when I still have to find a place for a ton of cereal that I bought with some HOT coupons for super cheap this morning, I don’t have time to waste!  Plus, my daughter has a friend coming over soon and my oldest has a baseball game in a few hours!  I’m happy to report that it took less than 3o minutes to slice, arrange, and spray about 3lbs of bananas.  My dehydrator only has 4 trays, and I filled them all up, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to process the apples.  I’m super excited for how quick and easy this process was!  I set the temperature to 135 degrees and I guess they should be done in about 10 hours.

This is a great way to use up those over-ripe bananas that your kids think are too mushy to eat!  We tend to have a lot of those each week – seems like I never know what fruit my kids will want to eat and the poor bananas get ripe so fast!  The ripe ones will taste a lot sweeter too!  I plan to try blueberries soon and of course the apples!  So excited!  I love new ideas like this and also love finding frugal and fun ways to stretch every dollar – especially with our food budget!

How To Make Dehydrated Bananas

You will need:

  • 3-5lbs of ripe bananas (depends on who big your dehydrator is)
  • Food dehydrator
  • Small spray bottle
  • Juice from one lemon or 2 Tbs of bottled lemon juice
  1. Peel and slice the bananas the same thickness so they dry evenly – 1/4″ is perfect
  2. Place bananas in single layer on dehydrator trays
  3. Spray bananas with lemon juice
  4. Turn on the dehydrator and set to 135 degrees
  5. Check bananas in 5 hours and consider flipping over (again depends on the design of your dehydrator)
  6. Cook for a total of 10 hours until bananas are no longer mushy to the touch.
  7. Store in an air-tight bag or container.

Easy, fun, frugal, and so yummy!  Enjoy!

HowToMakeDehydratedBananas

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July 29, 20160 commentsRead More
Homemade Melted Bead Sun Catchers

Homemade Melted Bead Sun Catchers

HomemadeSunCatchersIt’s a snowy April day in Colorado and I’m annoyed.  Super annoyed.  I don’t like snow, but I really don’t like snow in April – and we are just days from May.  I want to be outside doing fun things with my kids, not inside FREEZING and wishing we were outside.  Oh well.  On top of it, my daughter is home sick from school, she’s not feeling terrible, but bad enough to need a day of “rest” which she really didn’t do at all today.  Probably my fault, I’ve never really known how to slow down, let alone sit still – there is always something I should be doing – right?!

Guess what we did on this day of cold, sick, snowy rest?  We made homemade melted bead sun catchers!  Super fun, but probably the most stinky craft I have ever done – EVER.  Could be that it’s sooo cold out, and I can’t have every door and window open to push out the smell, but still, it’s a stinky craft.  I’m not looking forward to the look that I’m sure to get of pure disgust from my husband when he gets home today.  I’m positive he will hold his nose and ask me just what the terrible smell as soon as he walks through the door.  The even worst part is that I have cracked a lot of the windows just a little bit, the oven vent is blowing on super high, I have sprayed every can of Glade smelly stuff I have through the house, and I’ve lit every candle in my hous.  Now it smells like burning plastic mixed with lemon pound cake, pear berry, and island tropics! It’s cold and very fragrant in my house right now (my dog is soo cold from the windows open that she is laying directly on the heating vent in the floor)!  It makes me laugh just describing it!   :)

Anyways, we had a great time making this craft - Melted Bead Sun Catchers - that I found on Pinterest from The Artful Parent.  My kids really enjoyed the time together arranging the beads and making cool designs.  It’s crazy how their different personalities come into play – my 10 year old just wants to get them done as fast as he can, my middle daughter very carefully and slowly picks out her colors and arranges her designs, while my youngest just wanted every single bead that the older two “oohed” and “ahhhed” about.  Hilarious!  This craft took us about 30 minutes and the cooking time was close to 25 minutes.  I’m still venting out the house over an hour later and the smell is just lingering.  I’m wondering if some of the beads we used are causing the terrible smell.  We had these very little pink beads that did not melt at all – they just changed to a burnt color – for all I know they very well could be the main cause of the terrible smell in my house.  Sounds like The Artful Parent had good luck with the smell not being too bad.   Besides the smell, this was a lot of fun!

Give them a try when you have a chance (maybe on a warmer day when you can open all the windows to air out the house in case you have a problem with the smell)!

Here’s to being a fun mom that crafts with her kids!  Hugs to you all!

HomemadeSunCatchers

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April 29, 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
7 Budget Birthday Party Ideas For Girls

7 Budget Birthday Party Ideas For Girls

budgetfriendlybirthdayI’m a big planner – I like to start planning for my kids’ birthday parties about 4-5 months in advance.  I do this because I’m a tad bit neurotic, but I also do this to save money.  When you plan in advance, you are able to start thinking about what you’ll need and can pick those items up whenever you see them on sale, instead of having to buy them the week of the party at a more expensive price.  You can always save more money when you have more time to shop around.  To save money you need to be consistently patient as you look and wait for deals.  My two oldest kids have birthdays 2 weeks apart, so I tend to plan way in advance because I have to do two parties near the same time.  While researching ideas, I’ve gathered my top 7 unique, easy, and frugal birthday party ideas for girls.  My daughter’s birthday comes first and she is turning 7 this year, and after gathering all these great ideas from other amazing moms, we have picked the theme for her party that I’ll tell you all about in the next few months!

Top 7 Unique, Easy, and Budget-Friendly Birthday Party Ideas for Girls 

  1. Art Party - There are lots of things I love about this party, especially the 6 layer rainbow cake!  Being an artist myself, I love the idea of sharing that love with a bunch of other little artists!  If you have a budding artist, this is a great party idea with lots of ways to keep the kids busy!  I’ve tried the marble painting idea in this post and it’s so much fun.
  2. Slumber Party - Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned slumber party?  There are so many fun things you can do with the actual ‘slumber party’ being the theme of the party.  I love the revised Spin the Bottle game – I know my daughter would love this since she loves to paint her nails all the time!  There are many other good ideas on this post of frugal and fun ways to have a great time hosting a slumber party that your daughter and her friends will love!
  3. Cheerleading Party - My daughter loves cheerleading and this is the party we did for her last year which had a cheerleading theme!  We made easy invitations from home and had very simple decorations.  All the girls got their faces painted, they got to make their own megaphones out of poster board, and they made simple hair ties to match their new pom poms.  As an added bonus they got to learn a cheer and they performed it for the parents!  If your daughter loves cheerleading, check out this very budget-friendly cheer party!
  4. Cooking Party -  Such an adorable idea for a party!  The cooking courses are simple and fun and what could be easier than salad on a stick and english muffin pizzas?  Yummy!  Instead of having to make an elaborate cake all the children get to decorate cupcakes instead!  With cooking as the theme, you don’t have to purchase any extra snack foods! Great for your future chef and her friends!  I’ve even seen some easy chef hats on Pinterest that you can make out of poster board and tissue paper that are adorable!
  5. Tea Party - What group of girls doesn’t love to get dressed up and have a fancy tea party?  Adorable and budget-friendly ideas on how to decorate and save money on the entire party.  Wait until you see the fancy cake!  This party is so cute and fancy and will be a big hit that I’m sure your daughter and her friends will remember for a long time!
  6. Science Party - Do you have a future scientist who loves to experiment?  She and her friends will love this science themed party full of frugal science experiments that will have them in awe!  I really like the notebook idea for young scientists to take notes about each experiment, as well as the great idea for lab coats.  Plus, a party schedule and printables are also included!
  7. Breakfast In Your PJ’s Party – YUMMY!!! This party includes all things breakfast – doughnuts, pancakes, cereal, and all while in your pajamas!  What fun?!  This party is great if you don’t feel like doing the sleepover the night before, but want to still achieve the same sort of idea.  The pancake relay game sounds like a lot of fun and is super simple to do.  All in all, this looks like a great party theme with some really simple and yummy food!

So many great ideas by some amazing bloggers!  I hope you all enjoy this list as much as I do and that it gives you lots of great ideas for the next birthday party you host.  Sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones!  Enjoy!

Ibotta-logoDon’t forget to shop early, use your coupons and pay attention to all the great extra savings you can achieve using my favorite coupon app – IBOTTA - when you are buying items you need for your party.  The great thing about signing up with IBOTTA is that you will automatically earn a $10 rebate after you redeem your first offer!  It’s a quick way to not only save money, but make money!

If you plan to purchase anything online such ebatesas party decor, make sure you use eBates to earn extra cash back on everything you purchase!  eBates is a great site that you will want to check out and start using anytime you shop online – it’s very simple, you just use the eBates site to earn additional cash back on your online purchases.  You can shop at major retailers like Walmart and Target and earn an additional percentage back on your total purchase!  When you refer your friends to eBates they pay you $25 for each referral!  It’s another great way to save and make money!

 

All photos and content are copyrighted and from the original blogs on which they reside.

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

budgetfriendlybirthday

 

 

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March 7, 20160 commentsRead More