My New Vacation Fund Plan

Remember a couple of months ago where I shared my life-changing advice for saving for college tuition? I’m pretty sure 6 weeks in and we already have at least one kid’s books paid for an entire year.

Well, here I am back at it again ready to change lives!

School is back in (thank goodness). And it’s amazing how easily I blocked out my least favorite part of my day… the morning routine of getting the kids to school.

First, a little backstory:
When Andy and I were engaged, we went to a going away party for a family from our church. At the barbeque, they presented us with a wedding gift. It was a “Love Pig.” Basically, you put a dollar in the piggy bank every time you knock boots. And while 20-year-old me was super embarrassed to open that gift and read the story of the love pig in front of an entire group of people from our church, including our pastor, that silly pig paid for our trip to Hawaii after only 8 years! So … well done us!

Fast forward 5 years since Hawaii and now 3 kids, I’ve decided I have a new way to fund a future vacation! I’m not saying that the pig isn’t being fed on a regular basis, I just think my new way will expedite the funds…

Every time I have to tell a kid “worry.about.yourself.” in the mornings, I will put a dollar in a jar.

Our kids are at the ages where they are always at each other for something. So much tattling. So much whining. So much bossing. “Worry about yourself” is on regular rotation.

On the VERY first day of school, I said it no sooner than 15 minutes after all three of them were awake.

If it gets really bad, maybe I’ll make them pay with their own money.

Who knows… I’ll either have a luxury vacation funded within the year or we’ll be broke.

The second edition of my money-management/investment/parenting book should be out soon.

It’s a fine line.

Personalities are a funny thing. Each kid definitely has their own distinct personality. Lincoln has always been a bit of a curmudgeon old man that is very honest with how he is feeling and doesn’t care much for change… He constantly tells me he is not going to get big because he likes being small. He was downright pissed for months after we gave away his crib and moved him into a toddler bed. Imagine now a similar conversation we are having as we talk about transitioning to a twin size bed.

He likes what he likes. Who can fault him for that, right?

Of course, there are times where his grumpiness leans a little more on the side of downright mean. Case in point? Daycare. He called a kid stupid for whatever reason. His teacher says, “Lincoln, we don’t call our friends stupid.” Lincoln’s response? “He’s not my friend.”

Yes, that really happened. 

Last weekend, we were on our way home from running some errands when I looked in the backseat and saw him zoning out while looking out the window.

“Lincoln, you look tired bud. Are you going to fall asleep?”

Matter-of-factly, without breaking his gaze out the window he replies, “No. I’m just not interested in talking to anyone right now.”

Well OK then, Sir. 

The kid has the makings of being just a brutally honest introvert or an asshole. At this point, it’s really still up in the air. And we know as adults, it really is a fine line, isn’t it?

Instant Pot Expedition – Part Two

A few months back I wrote a post about how I was late to the instant pot party and even after getting one for Christmas I had hardly used it so I challenged myself to try one new IP recipe a week. I realize now that I failed to include links to the recipes in that post, so I have since gone back and done that. You’re welcome, Future Kat.

Now, there are things people make in the IP that they SWEAR by – like steamed veggies and rice – but my current way of making both of those things are so simple that I really don’t feel like it warrants a switch to the IP. However, hard boiled egg? Life. Changing. Especially since farm fresh eggs are notorious for being hard to peel because of their freshness.

However, I did want to share another update on some new IP recipes I have tried and whether or not they will be making it into our regular rotation:

  1. Mac-n-Cheese – This was super easy. I thought it was good, but the kids didn’t care for it. I’m guessing because they are SO used to the homemade mac-n-cheese I have been making for years, that that’s what they were expecting. I likely won’t make this recipe as-is again, but I was able to take what I learned from this recipe and tweak my own recipe to simplify the prep of it, so WIN!
  2. One Pot Spaghetti – Much like the penne & meatball recipe I shared in my last post. However, this one I used the italian-spiced turkey sausage that I use when I make “traditional” spaghetti. I loved that it was all in one pot. And that all of said pot can go in the dishwasher! When I made it, the noodles did stick together a bit, but we will for sure have it again!
  3. Frech Dip – I just need to state for the record that all of my kids loved this and it shocked the hell out of me! I’ve already made it twice and the girls have already both asked for it again!
  4. Creamy Lemon Chicken Breasts – This one was an overall “meh” for the family. I think I liked it the most out of all of us. None of us disliked it, but it probably won’t be in our regular rotation.
  5. Fried Rice – Andy & I initially had this one night we when were over at some friends’ house for dinner. He liked it so much, I asked for the recipe. Kids were 50/50 on it. But we will for sure keep it in the rotation. I added asian BBQ style pork I found in my grocery deli section. That was an awesome addition. Next time I will go no peas and I will cook the eggs on the side and then mix them in.

Also worth noting: a few recipes I have pinned and will be trying soon:

  1. Jambalaya – Now, I’m sure this will not be nearly as good as the recipe our friends for Lousiana make for us, but I’m hoping it’s at least a close second.
  2. Breakfast dishes – I don’t know which one I will try first, but that’s one thing I definitely want to!
  3. Roasted Garlic – Andy and I LOVE roasted garlic. This has got to be worth a shot.


Our Time. Year 6.

Last month I boarded a plane and headed out for my 6th annual Thread weekend.

People still get a kick out of hearing how we all met. Some are kind of weirded out. Especially border guards. Most everyone is amazed we make this weekend happen every single year.

But for us? It’s our one weekend a year to see each other outside of our imessage thread and secret instagram stories.

It’s our time to be carefree and not have to worry about kids or jobs. It’s our time to be silly. It’s our time to laugh. It’s our time to have 1 AM dance parties. It’s our time to wander farmers markets. It’s our time to get dressed up. It’s our time to sit around in our soft clothes drinking coffee. It’s our time to drink maybe a little too much and eat too many Cool Ranch Doritos.

It’s our time to talk too much. And also our time to sit in silence with one another, completely content.

It’s our time to just… be.

These ladies all came into my life (and I, theirs) at a time when we all needed it the most. Maybe in ordinary “real life” circumstances, we never would have become friends. But I like to think we’re extraordinary. No, we didn’t grow up together or go to college together. By the time we knew each other, we’d all graduated college, had married our husbands, bought houses, had at least our first kid. But at this point in our friendship, we have been through other milestones – Sad things like miscarriages, infertility, and loss of family members. Scary things like kids starting school, kid problems. Exciting things like career changes, following dreams, and now even running for public office.

I love these ladies fiercely. And every year, all year long, I look forward to our time.

How to fund your child’s college tuition in 3 easy steps.

  1. Wait for it to be summer break. Then listen to your kids fight with each other all day long  and then whine about getting hurt when the “fun roughhousing” is all of a sudden not fun anymore.
  2. Get sick of said fighting and whining and snap.
  3. Tell your children they have to pay .25 every time they whine.

BOOM. College funded. And probably years ahead of graduation even!

Patent pending.

I should be meeting with a book publisher soon, clearly. It’ll be a money management/investment/parenting book all in one.

Alternative plan? Use the money to buy wine/booze/your alcohol of choice. Because you’re likely going to need it.

Either way? You’re welcome.

And cheers!