Meet Kid Entrepreneur, Heather

Kid Entrepreneur Heather

Heather is fairly private and doesn’t like to appear on my blog or Facebook.  She gave permission for this spotlight and even granted a video interview in case it might help another aspiring kid-preneur. 

When you don’t get an allowance and you have wish list too expensive for a birthday or Christmas gift….what’s a tween to do?

Around here we call it work.  When Heather (11) decided she needed an IPod, she asked me what kind of jobs I was hiring for at the moment.  I listed some of the usual: deep scrubbing the kitchen floor, cleaning the laundry room, organizing my office, cutting down overgrown brush.  She passed.

I happily hired other pleasantly motivated children to do those jobs.  They counted their money in front of her, and she thought a little more about her situation.

She came and found me where I was working, and sprawled across my bed.  “Mom, how much do IPods cost?”  We looked them up at the Apple Store & Amazon and compared those prices with buying used from Swappa.  Swappa won out and I assured her while the price still looked high, it was within reach if she learned to work.

I offered again to let her to clean the kitchen floor. This time she took it. Then she asked, “What ELSE can a kid do for money? I mean, besides cleaning?”  We had a good talk about bringing value to the market place by freeing someone else make more money, or by doing something that they can’t or don’t want to do themselves.

Then we brainstormed a list of things that Heather (at 11) could do that might be valuable to someone else.  She picked her favorite thing and we wrote up a business plan.  She decided to offer her services as a mother’s helper: $5 an hour for complete child entertainment while the mother worked somewhere else in the home.  She packed a bag of books and activities and we talked about possible discipline scenarios; cooking options if she was working during meal time; and how to handle multiple children at once.

Then I put a note out on Facebook announcing her skills, experience, rate, and availability. Within 24 hours she was booked for the summer with 4 different clients each requesting weekly or biweekly service.  She had so much business that she had to hire her older sister to fill in for her on occasion.  In a month she saved enough to buy a used IPod and kept working anyway.  It felt good to be useful to an adult, to be meaningful in a child’s life and to earn money doing it.  She came home from work skipping and smiling and energized.

Here’s a rarely seen video interview with Heather.  I apologize in advance that the sound is so terrible.  I was sitting closer to the mic than she was, there were kids playing on the playground behind my house making background noise that was easy to ignore in person, and this was the first day of getting a voice after a bad case of laryngitis.  BUT better imperfect and done, than never done at all.

This is Day 5 of our 31 Day series, Kids and Money

3 Ways to Pay the Kids

Allowance Vs Commissions

Allowance vs Commissions….it doesn’t matter at our house, because either way you look at it, the money comes from the family budget.  When your budget is super tight, that’s not an option.

Just so we’re talking about the same things:

  1.  Allowance is money kids get for living.  They are usually paid by the week or the month and use that to practice money management. Kids with allowances are usually expected to pay for their own entertainment, school lunches and sometimes clothing too.
  2. Commission is an allowance tied to performance. Kids earn their commissions by doing all their chores and having good behavior.  It’s usually a set amount similar to an allowance, but they might not get it all if their performance isn’t up to par.

My kids get neither.  We pay one child $1 a week for trash and another $3 to mow our yard. Occasionally I offer a quarter here and there to do some of the harder chores that are above and beyond their normal job description.  Split that however you like between 6 kids and they don’t have enough money to learn how to manage it well.  If they drop a quarter in the plate at church, it took a lot of work to earn that.

If I have a job that I would have hired an adult to do (because I had the budget for it) and one of my children could do that job, I offer it do them.  I treat it like a job interview and if they act lazy or less than thrilled I don’t hire them and offer it to someone else.  Those types of jobs don’t come up a lot, so our kids have remained relatively broke (though are usually enthusiastic about an opportunity.)

I want my kids to know how to handle money. To know how, they have to practice.  In order to practice, they actually need money.  It either has to come from me, or someone else.

3. We aren’t into begging people to pay our kids for things they wouldn’t normally pay for, so we taught them marketable skills and sent them out to the real world to bring in money apart from our family budget. So far it is working. Its harder on us while none of them are drivers, because we have to taxi them to their work.  The hassle is worth it.

Next week I’m going to interview each one and let them tell you about their businesses (or future plans for one) and all the details.  It’s going to be fun, because you never know what kids are going to say.

Do your kids get an allowance or commission?  How do you teach them money management?

This is day 3 of our series: 31 days of Kids and Money

7 Things to Teach Our Kids About Money

7 things to teach our kids about money

When I look at my kids, I want the world for them.  I want to protect them from pain and sorrow and all of the hard. I can’t do that, I know.  The pain and sorrow and hard is what works in their lives to build the character they need to be useful to God.  Character is like money.  It’s easier to develop character if you already have some. When bad stuff happens to people without foundational character, it makes them bitter.  If I can’t protect my kids from all the bad, I want to at least equip them to get the most out of it when it happens.

With that in mind, I want them to know:

1.  Money comes from Work.  Work is just another word for helping people.  It can be fun, but it doesn’t have to be fun. You are not above any legitimate job.  My ultimate goal for you is to find work that uses the unique gifts and talents God gave you, but there may be a season in life where you just do a job because you need to eat.

2. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does buy choices.  Money is a tool for you to use to provide for yourself and your family, to help other people, and to create opportunities.  Money gives you more choices in life and I want you to have a lot of it.  It’s better to be poor and have God than to be rich without him.  But it’s even better to be both rich and Godly. The more money you have, the more people you can help.

3. Patience is the opposite of impulsive. It’s being willing to wait until you understand something before you invest in it.  It’s waiting for a good price.  It’s saving up cash to make a purchase instead of borrowing money.  Patience will save you a ton of money.

4. Budgeting is freedom.  It’s knowing how much money you have, what your necessary bills are and making a decision about what you are going to spend your money on ahead of time.  Budgeting brings order to chaos, harmony to marriage, and prosperity in scarcity.  The easiest way to stay on budget is to use cash envelopes so you can see at a glance at the time of purchase where you are with your plan.

5. Tithing and giving is a blessing. Everything you have already belongs to God.  He just asks for 10% back as a good faith gesture, the rest you get to manage for Him.  In exchange He offers you greater prosperity if you are faithful with your management.  Giving is separate from tithing and it’s supposed to feel good.  There will be hands coming at you from every direction asking for your money.  As a manager for God you need to make sure that you give well, research and choose wisely.  The most satisfying form of giving is done in secret and blesses someone directly.

6. You deserve it when you can pay cash for it. We live in a prosperous nation, so it’s hard to feel how rich we really are.  Messages bombarde us from the media: “You deserve a vacation” “You deserve a new car” “You deserve a fashionable outfit”  There’s nothing wrong with having nice things.  Borrowing money to get them, however, brings pain to your life.  It’s spending money you haven’t earned yet, which makes future work feel like working for no pay, slavery.  It causes stress which can lead to arguments, sleepless nights, and illness.   So when you are tempted to borrow money for something you “deserve” remind yourself: “You deserve to be free.” “You deserve a peaceful sleep” “You deserve good relationships and good health”  You deserve it when you can pay for it.

7.  Stuff happiness isn’t lasting happiness.  When you get something new, it feels really good for a moment, but that good feeling won’t last.  It’s not wrong to feel good when you get something new, but don’t chase that brand of happiness.  Lasting happiness comes from knowing you belong to God and that He is personally invested in you. It comes from living a life of service to Him by serving others.

This is day 2 of our series: 31 days of Kids and Money

31 Days of Kids and Money–Day 1

Hi Friends, I’ve been watching the whole 31 days thing since the Nester started it 7 years ago, and thinking I could never write for a whole 31 days on one topic without taking off a day.  This is the year I’m finally crazy confident enough to give it a go.

31 days of kids and money green

You should subscribe (form on the right) for email notifications, so you never miss a post.

This topic has been on my heart a lot the last couple of years.  This month I’m going to tackle subjects like:

  1.  Kids as business owners
  2. Music lessons
  3. Sports
  4. Clothes
  5. Lunches
  6. Cell Phones
  7. Cars
  8. Birthday parties
  9. Giving
  10. Raising money smart kids

If you have any kids and money topics that you’d like to discuss, it’s not too late to work them in.  Leave your ideas in the comments :).


The Cost of Being House Poor

I want to introduce you to a long time friend, Jennifer Dickson.  She and her husband, Andrew, are risking everything to change the world for YOU.  Their dream for you is to never owe another utility bill and to live in a paid for house so you can spend your income and your time with your family.  With that introduction, I’m going to let her tell you more:

Acre Designs

It was a typical morning last summer when I, pregnant and late to work (where I’d recently been told it would be unlikely for me to reduce my 50+ hour work weeks once baby #2 arrived), backed our 10-year-old car into our 15-year-old car. After working through lunch and spending the customary two hours of family time with our toddler that evening, my husband and I agreed that something had to change. But how could we make a drastic career shift and still pay the mortgage?


A quick survey of most any family budget will reveal that the biggest monthly expense is housing and housing-related costs.  We take it for granted that mortgage debt is a part of life, and that utility costs will always rise. But it hasn’t always been this way!

In the past 50 years the American home has doubled in size, energy consumption and percentage of income.  While families used to spend 17% of their income on housing, we now spend 35% – and that’s at all income levels, and despite a growing number of two-income families.  It seems that as soon as we start to get ahead of housing expenses, we go shopping for a bigger model!


It’s no wonder so many of us can relate to feeling “house poor.” On an individual level this translates to less time, less disposable income and less flexibility to pursue, say, a different career, a new venture, a missionary opportunity or a travel experience. At the national scale we’re drowning under nearly $12 trillion of mortgage debt, with growing numbers of the population priced out of the housing market altogether.

This is what led my husband, an industrial designer and interior architect, and me, an architect, to found Acre Designs.  We are a startup creating NetZero homes – meaning homes with NO energy bills – for the same cost as traditional construction. We are able to build in about half the time of a standard house, using super-insulated panelized walls and roofs that install in a few short days. Acre homes require a fraction of the typical mechanical and electrical systems, and we make up the remainder with a small solar PV system, allowing the homes to produce as much energy as they consume.


Grocery Shrink readers already understand the power of controlling food costs. Imagine the life that opens up when you can control housing costs as well! We think everyone should be able to expect more from their biggest investment, and Acre homes make that possible.

The average homeowner will save $250-300 each month on energy bills. If those savings are applied toward an accelerated mortgage, the savings are astronomical – well over $400,000 over the life of a typical 30-year mortgage! This is a game-changer for most families, and it’s a solution that’s currently unavailable on the market.

To make all of this possible, we’re fixing problems throughout the entire design and construction industry. Currently building in Kansas City, next year we’ll begin to integrate online tools with a network of builders, allowing us to build Acre homes throughout the country.


Step 1 is to build our NetZero prototype, the Axiom House, in Kansas City. We will use it to demonstrate and document Acre’s revolutionary construction processes, sensors to collect data on actual home energy performance, and the budget to prove we can build at an affordable pricepoint. We’re currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo to make the prototype project possible – visit our campaign, donate and share today!  Each backer can choose from several great rewards, and will help us bring this revolutionary solution to market!

Learn more, and back our campaign, at

P.S.  Angela here–These pics show some of their modern versions of homes, but they have all styles including log cabin and more traditional looking homes.

Homemade Pumpkin Bagels Video Tutorial

Homemade Pumpkin Bagels

Tee hee.  This video makes me giggle.  My family doesn’t quite get why it’s so funny, but they enjoy that I enjoy it.  When I watch the replay and Grant (4) dumps the pumpkin on the counter, I roll on the floor laughing and then back it up and watch it again.  Maybe because I was there for the original moment, trying to balance a camera and helping Grant with the cooking at the same time.  How the pumpkin on the counter shocked us both and I got the giggles, which I tried to hold in making weird background noise.  Grant, relieved that I wasn’t upset said, “We better clean that up.”   Which made me giggle all the more.

After we made quite a mess but got most of the stuff in the bowl, I said “What should we do now?”  I thought Grant would say, “Let’s clean up!”  but he said “SMILE.”  Which made me giggle all over again.

This boy is the joy of my days.  The sleepless nights, messes, tantrums, and battles are all worth it.  I had the option to spend this year in a classroom blessing other people’s children, while I earned money that my family needed.  I would have had to let someone else be with Grant during the day, and I just couldn’t.  It’s his last full year at home and I fought for my chance to be the one to clean up his messes and talk him down from the ledge of toddler insanity. It was selfish and selfless at the same time.  He needs me as much as I need him and there’s something priceless about that.

For those who prefer a written recipe here you go:

pumpkin bagels 009

Pumpkin Bagels

  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

Put all ingredients in the order listed in your bread machine.  Set for the dough cycle.  When the cycle is ended, divide the dough into 10 balls.  Poke your finger through the center and make a large hole.  Let the bagels rise for an hour or until doubled. Pour 8 cups of water into a stock pot, boil bagels for 1 1/2 minutes, turning once.  Remove to a dish towel to drain.  Place bagels on a greased baking sheet.  Brush with egg white and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden on the top.  Cool on a wire rack.

My New Apron: Polka Dot Josie from Joyful Aprons

Josie Apron 2

I’m baking pumpkin stuff today in my new apron.  I love how lightweight the fabric is and the cute little pocket.  The style is very forgiving and adjustable.

Joyful Aprons

I’ve gained a lot of weight over the last 18 months and it’s hard for me to find things to wear that make me feel good about myself. As I get healthier, the weight is slowly coming off. Since this apron is adjustable it will wear with me through my health journey.


My friend makes these as her home business.  Isn’t it fun to order from a cottage business once in awhile? The small scale production and attention to detail is a treat.  It’s such a pretty little package to get in the mail.

Joyful Aprons package

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

wild rice chicken salad

This delicious salad is great for a main entree lunch. I first tasted it at a baby shower and begged for the recipe. I’ve adapted it for my own tastes and change the vegetables every time I make it to suit what’s affordable at the time.  I purchased everything but the rice and chicken at Aldi. (The chicken was from Costco and Wild Rice was from the bulk food store.)

1 scant cup dry wild rice

2 cups chicken broth

3-4 chicken breasts (about a pound)

garlic salt to taste

1 red bell pepper, diced (Green, yellow and orange can be used also.)

4 green onions, diced

1 cup diced carrots (or 1/2 cup shred)

1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups fresh chopped spinach

1-2 avocados, cubed

1/2 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds

1/4 cup bacon crumbles

1 fresh lemon, juiced

2 packets Truvia or similar stevia product

salt to taste

In a saucepan or rice cooker, cook the wild rice in chicken broth until tender. Meanwhile sprinkle chicken breasts all over with garlic salt.  Grill for 7 minutes each in a personal table top grill (like this one.) Cool until cool enough to handle then cut into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.

Meanwhile chop all vegetables into bite sized pieces.  Combine all ingredients in a LARG bowl.  Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and toss in stevia and salt.  Serve right away.  Refrigerate leftovers. It will need an extra toss of lemon juice if it sits for very long.

If you limit the amount of avocado, bacon and almonds in your serving, this is a Trim Healthy Mama E.

IMG_1854 IMG_1856

Back from Paradise

Last week, Darren and I went to Paradise Island, Bahamas with a trip we earned working with my MomCeo team and paid for by Melaleuca.  We had a gorgeous room with a lush view and $480 in room credit to buy whatever we wanted.  Food at the Atlantis resort can be very expensive ($50-$100 a plate.)  We knew this because Dave Ramsey brought us here 10 years ago with the Total Money Makeover Contest (has it been that long already?!!!) We arrived with a plan.

To help stretch our room credit and minimize our personal expenses, we packed protein powder and granola bars for breakfast.  For lunch we ate poolside with our room credit (which was only $15 a plate) and then walked over the bridge to Nassau Island

bridge to paradise islandto buy inexpensive authentic Bahamian dinners at the Fish Fry Shacks.

fish fry shack nassau

conch fritters

Famous Conch Fritters

chef hair net

Our Fish Fry Chef and his amazing hair net

By the end of the week we had saved so much money we had enough room credit to pay for an extra night in the hotel plus buy a couple of EXPENSIVE workout shirts with the Atlantis logo.
snorkel starfish nassau

On Thursday we took a bus to Nassau to go snorkeling.  One of our guides spotted a starfish from the top deck, dove in to grab it and handed it to us for a photo op.  Snorkeling in the clear Bahama water is my favorite.  One of our dive stops had a shipwreck that we could swim to and check out.  The last one, they baited nurse sharks to come and swim beneath us so we could observe them closely. So cool. (Nurse sharks don’t eat people, but they might nibble on your feet if you don’t have on flippers.  Feet kind of look like fish to a nurse shark..but are not tasty.)

blown glass sculpture atlantis

A lit hand blown glass sculpture in the hotel.

glass sculpture

A hand blown glass light fixture.  It was gold glitter glass…pictures do not do it justice.

Atlantis royal towers

The famous Royal towers.  We stayed in the west wing on the first floor. The fist floor rooms are handicap accessible and much larger than normal rooms.  They have walk out sitting areas in green space and wet zone bathroom areas with zero entry showers.  (Sorry I didn’t take a lot of pictures, just enjoyed life outside the view finder.)atlantis fountain

One of the fountains near the entrance to the recreation area.atlantis 3

One of the many conservation areas for marine life.
Ebenezer Methodist church

Most of our friends left on Sunday.  We saved $200 by staying an extra day and not flying on the weekend.  We used our room credit for the extra night and walked into town to experience the Bahamian culture and worship with the folks in the Ebenezer Methodist Church.
Grant missed me

When we got home Grant was glued to my side. He snuggled beside me as I caught up on work and took part in a team conference call, then fell asleep in bliss that we were all home and together again.Me and Sue bootcamp on the beach

Meeting team member, Sue, for the first time on bootcamp on the beach.  Bootcamp A.  Run a 1/4th mile B. 30 pushups C. 30 sit-ups D. 30 squats REPEAT 4 times with a final finisher of 30 burpees.  I’m sweaty in this photo but better off than Sue, because I modified EVERYTHING and only did 3 rounds and no burpees. Sue did EVERYTHING and is such a rock star.  I have 2 years left to make a full recovery from Subclinical Adrenal Failure–so I’m being careful. I never want to end up in that bad way again.

I haven’t felt so healthy and energetic in a long time.  We got plenty of rest, tons of exercise, never missed my vitamins, and all the food I ate was full of the freshest yummies veggies, fruits, and fish.  This was the first time in 5 years that Darren and I had a few days together without the kids.  There were times I missed them fiercely, like when we saw the sawfish with his chainsaw looking snoz, and when we were racing down one of the 8 super fun water slides on the resort–that I knew the kids would have LOVED.  Thank goodness for Facetime and free wifi.

Anyhoo, so that’s why the blog has been quiet, and won’t be any longer.  I have a few things I can’t wait to share in September and in October I’m taking part in the 31 day challenge.  The theme here will be 31 days of Kids and Money.  You’ll want to
subscribe in the side bar now, so you don’t miss a post.

31 days of kids and money green

Coming in October!