How Not to Get Out of Debt Fast

posted in: Humor | 2

Post contains affiliate links…which is kind of a bummer, because if you buy something off of Amazon I might get out of debt sooner…Tips and tricks from an expert about how not to get out of debt fast!

The first rule of writing is to write what you know. You know what I know about? How not to get out of debt fast. Here are the best tips I have learned over the past ten years or so on how not to get out of debt fast.

1. Buy a brand new vehicle.

If you want to get (and stay) in debt, be sure and always buy brand new vehicles.

Back in 2012 Apollo was at his very sickest. I ended up driving over 4,000 miles back and forth to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Our 1995 diesel van was having some major issues. In fact, it had refused to start for me more than once; the most memorable while I was in Seattle trying to leave the hospital while my friend Tami had my kids at the zoo.

Chuck and I searched and searched for a used 15 passenger van with a sliding door but couldn’t find a single one for sale in WA, OR or Idaho!!! Out of complete desperation, we purchased a brand new van and even that had to be brought in from another state.

I am disappointed to say that yesterday we made our very last payment on the van a year early…which will really set us back in the Stay in Debt for as Long as Possible category. 

2.Crash a vehicle that has no collision.

As a special gift for our anniversary this year I crashed our small car on the freeway. We had no collision because it was an old, cheap car. This meant that when it was totaled we were suddenly in a bind, desperately needing another car. After about two weeks of running the teens to school and work, we purchased a used car that smells strongly of stale cigarettes.

3.Pretend Red Box is Netflix and Never Use Your Local Library. 

Any money expert will tell you that using your local library is fast, easy way to save money. If you want to stay in debt make sure you purchase all books full-price at a fancy bookstore.

We have been members of Netflix for years. This is actually a terrible way to get out of debt. For $18 a month (we have no cable or satellite or streaming) we can have and watch as many DVDs as we like. In order to stay in debt, I sometimes rent a movie from Red Box and then keep it a full week. This way I get to wrack up daily bills with no effort at all! 

Have a dozen kids.

I recently read a post called Kids Aren’t Expensive, But That Other Thing Sure Is. This is a post I would have loved ten years ago. I could have written it myself ten years ago…in fact, I probably did write something very similar.* I used to wax eloquent about how kids were not expensive and how, with a little hard work and planning, raising kids could be simple and affordable.

That was before I had several kids with special needs. The reality is, we have been crippled financially by expenses health insurance doesn’t cover such as hearing aids, plane tickets, meals and accommodations when you have to travel out of state for surgery (and time off work), summer camp for Mordecai, special sensory toys, and destroyed property

Don’t get me wrong, I would (and probably will) happily spend every penny I have on my kids, but it is expensive.

*Here I wrote about how we could afford to homeschool with a large family. Notice it was written in 2011, before we realized how sick Apollo was and before Kalina was diagnosed with hearing loss.

Don’t meal plan.

If you want to stay in debt as long as possible, be sure to never, ever meal plan. Be sure not to check out my posts about grocery shopping and meal planning. They are guaranteed to help you save money. Instead go to the grocey store several times per week buying things on impulse, then grab take out on your way home.

Do Not Seek Financial Freedom.

Whatever you do, if you want to stay in debt long-term, make sure you do not read or use any of Dave Ramsey’s materials. Taking a Dave Ramsey class at church caused us to pay off a credit card rapidly thereby putting into motion a giant Debt Snowball and reducing our debt. 

I hope you find these tips on getting into and staying in debt helpful. If you have any great suggestions, please add them in the comments below!


Get Mapmaking!

posted in: Homeschooling | 2

 We have been happy Timberdoodle customers for over 16 years! Timberdoodle sent this book for me to review. I received no compensation for this post.

Get Mapmaking: How to Get Creative with Maps is a fun, open-ended book that will keep your child busy creating. Think Minecraft without the computer screen. Or LEGO building but on paper.

I am alway son the lookout for activities that will increase my children's interest in STEM and get them thinking creatively. I found all of that here in Get Mapmaking.  I am alway son the lookout for activities that will increase my children's interest in STEM and get them thinking creatively. I found all of that here in Get Mapmaking.

Get Mapmaking: How to Get Creative with Maps will teach your kids how to draw a compass rose and  the basics of what makes a map a map. They will use their visual spatial skills to imagine a room, town or county and then draw it on paper. They will learn about scale, design and how to use symbols in map making.I am alway son the lookout for activities that will increase my children's interest in STEM and get them thinking creatively. I found all of that here in Get Mapmaking.

See this awesome crime scene page? I really wish we would have had this book back when we had our 21 Jumpstreet Party.

Much like the Design Studio Pro your child will be creating their own maps and drawings. At just $18.99 this book is affordable and fun. 

I am alway son the lookout for activities that will increase my children's interest in STEM and get them thinking creatively. I found all of that here in Get Mapmaking.

I have used in in school assignments (Kalina hand drew a map of New Zealand) and just set my kids free with colored pencils, Sharpies, and paper.I am alway son the lookout for activities that will increase my children's interest in STEM and get them thinking creatively. I found all of that here in Get Mapmaking.

This book goes way beyond just mapmaking with pages that will inspire your child to dream of new lands and create new animals!

There is definitely something for everyone in this book. If your kid loves drawing, geography or cartooning, this book will be perfect for them!

Leggings Are Not Pants, But What About Long Johns?

posted in: Humor | 18

Leggings Are Not Pants. But what about long johns?

I am not ashamed to say that I stand (literally and figuratively) in the Leggings Are Not Pants camp. 

It’s not that I have anything against leggings themselves (though I am pretty sure I have never owned a pair) it’s just they aren’t pants.

Over the years we have bought dozens of pair of leggings from Lands End for our daughters. We always paired them with cute little dresses. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that they are stand-alone (no pun intended) clothing items.

But here’s the thing. I am sitting here writing this profound essay from the comfort of, not leggings, but long johns and a cozy fleece pull-over from REI.

And not only that, but I actually found myself looking in the mirror this morning and asking, “I wonder if these could pass as leggings? I mean, they are black. Would it be okay to wear these out of the house?” 

These long johns are soft and cozy and the fabric gives in all the right places. It is like being naked.

No, it’s better than being naked.

It’s like being naked and warm.

(Can you tell I grew up in Alaska? I’m not sure I have *ever* been naked and warm at the same time…well, maybe before I was born…)

My eyes have been opened, my senses awakened, to the sheer coziness of non-pants.

This is my life right now, my friends. I am one step away from going to Walmart in my pajamas. Not only do I seriously consider sleeping on waiting room couches, but I am having an internal debate about the merits of long johns as pants.

Listen. I am forty and hormonal changes over the last few years (no, it’s not menopause) have caused me to put on weight. Yes, I know how to solve that problem (eat clean and exercise) but I also know how to get adequate sleep (go to bed early and don’t let first graders, dogs or weird noises wake you) but for better or worse I do not live alone or with a private chef.

So all of these long john ponderings led me to think…can I pull off leggings? It is Han Solo Season, after all. I think I only have two friends left (one is male and the other is a dog) who don’t sell Lularoe. I could get some leggings. But then I would need long shirts, tunics or perhaps mumus (I’m pretty sure this one is perfect for me) to wear over them. 

And that just seems like way too much work for this Girl Who Hates Shopping.

And then.

When I realized that no, Renee, no matter how comfortable those long johns are, they really are not pants and you should not, under any circumstances leave the house in them, I started wondering if I really needed to leave the house*. I mean, how important is it for me to return the movie I’ve had from Red Box since Friday? Toilet paper? Lunch meat? Laura Ingalls never had those luxuries. I know, because I have read all of her books.

*Proof right that leggings (and their gateway cousin, long johns) lead to sin. In this case, the sin of laziness.

Well, my friends, I think I’ve delayed the inevitable long enough.

I’m off to repent, slip on my pants, and return that Red Box movie.


Your Pants Wearing friend, Renee

Please do chime in. You all gave me the green light to go ahead and sleep in the waiting room. What are your thoughts on wearing long johns as pants?

Fall Is Here!

posted in: Large Family | 2

Fall is here officially. Our family is changing faster than the leaves outside. 

Tilly is safe in New Zealand on her latest adventure.

Judah is back at Central Washington Universtiy.

Enoch has started his first year of Running Start.

Kalina is homeschooling and has taken over several of Tilly’s babysitting jobs.


The youngest six are at school.

Me? I’m left wondering where summer went. Missing my kids while celebrating their new independence and finding myself just a wee bit jealous of their big adventures. 

Oh, and I’m left caring for Frodo. House training him and teaching general Good Dog Manners. He is doing so much better at night. He now spends all night in his crate with very little whining! 


This weekend we did a huge room shift. With Tilly gone, we moved Jubilee and Avi up to the  big room, freeing a room for Mordecai and opening up the room he shared with Hezekiah, Tucker, and Apollo. I am hoping to take photos (while they are clean) so I can post them here.


But today is Monday, which means: laundry, dishes, and weekend cleaning catch up. Oh, and my first batch of homemade applesauce is in the crockpot right now! Have a great, well-caffeinated day!

Barbara Serna, you won the LEGO Brickumentary! Send me an email at: littleearthling (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll get this sent out to you!

1 2 3 4 492