Baby Steps Update!

It’s been awhile (September to be exact) since I’ve given a baby steps/paying off debt update!

If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, Craig and I have been working on paying off our debt and getting our finances in order since April 2019 when we hit our financial rock bottom. You can read more on that here:

We just reached a big milestone in our debt payoff, we are OVER HALFWAY through our debt! We keep track of where we are with our debt with the EveryDollar App – it is from Ramsey Solutions and we use it for budgeting, learning about the baby steps, and keeping track of our debt snowball. We’ve made a TON of progress since September – we’ve been kicking ass actually. That’s the thing about the “snowball” effect – once it picks up speed it really picks up speed.

Last year at this time we were pain stakingly paying the minimum on several payments because there wasn’t a ton of room left over. Just since July we’ve reduced our debt by about $20,000. December and January have been good to us, we’ve had some extra cash floating around we’ve been throwing at the debt.

For more on our debt free journey, check out these blog posts:


Back on that DEBT FREE wagon

Our Debt Free Journey: NO MORE CREDIT CARD DEBT!

A few decisions and sacrifices we’ve made is that we are not going on our annual trip to Wisconsin Dells which really bummed Carver out. Not only because of the Omicron variant that is ravaging the country right now but also because we are SO CLOSE (about 1 year) away from being totally debt free and then we can REALLY go on vacation! We’ve also decided that our August trip to Crosby (just me and Craig) will also be postponed to focus on the debt.

We can’t wait to go to Nashville, visit Ramsey Solutions, and do out debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey show! Hopefully by then Carver will call him DAVE instead of what he currently calls him: “Mom, are you listening to the Dam Ramsey show?” HA! He’s listened to the podcast with me and does the debt free scream every time it comes on the show. He’s been keeping up with our progress too. Hopefully in one year from now we will be planning our Nashville trip!

December was a big month – we paid off our Home Depot card that we racked up during our bathroom remodel (which still isn’t totally finished) which was about $2,000 (now we officially own our unfinished bathroom.) We paid off a few things that we don’t consider part of our debt snowball, just cash flowing expenses like Craig’s endodontist bill for his root canal, Carver’s dentist bill, Gannon’s speech therapy etc. So we are all caught up to really hit it hard again this month!

One part of our budget that was out of control last month was our groceries! We hardly ate out at all in December and that reflected in our grocery budget. This month I’m being much more cautious and planning out meals. I’m also only using grocery pick up to make sure that I’m intentional about our purchases.

This January we are set to pay off our bikes (we will officially be credit card debt free once and for all!) and start chipping away at Craig’s truck payments! Student loan payments got delayed yet again so we have a BIG GOAL to pay off all debt that isn’t student loans by May 31st when interest starts back up! It’s a lofty goal but we are determined!

So the order will be: Trek Bikes, Craig’s Truck, Kalissa’s Car, and then student loans. It would be so cool to OWN BOTH OF OUR VEHICLES!!! by my May 16th birthday!

Anywho, that’s us! The debt total is: $46,638 PAID OFF and only $45,948 to go!


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Etsy Shop Update!

2021 was the year I got serious about my side gig(s)!

I registered my business at the county recorder’s office in February and hit the ground running!

I’ve had some fails, I’ve over ordered inventory and sold out over night. I’ve cried happy tears and frustration tears. I totally changed gears and I’ve tried new things! Ive gotten rejected and I’ve established some great business relationships along the way.

Thank you to everyone who has ordered from my shop, read my blog, or told a friend about my biz.

Most of all, thank you to my mom for supporting me in every way, whether helping with new designs, modeling, picking up inventory, or offering me her many years of business experience, she’s been there every step of the way and encouraged me to branch into the quilting/sewing market which has proven to be extremely successful.

I’ve got big goals for 2021 and am proud to say I KEPT my New Years resolution of getting better at keeping track of stuff for TAXES! 🎉 I’m also working with a business coach quarterly and I’m super excited to have her on my team!

Out of all the businesses I’ve started, (antiques, LuLaRoe etc.) this one seems to be sticking 🙂

I am pretty bummed to announce that I did have to slightly increase some of my prices. Just like everything else in the world, tee shirt prices across all brands have gone up as of January 1st by 30% – we knew they would go up slightly but HOLY COW. I’m really sorry to have to do this, I hope you can understand.

If you want to check out my Etsy shop, here is the link:

Or my blog:

You can also find my inventory at Maker’s Market in Sumner 🙂

I’ve also got three new shirts launching for January! Here is a peek – they are LIVE on my etsy shop right now!

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“You don’t look like a biker…”

Someone made the comment to me the other day, “You don’t look like a biker.”

They were referring to my size.

While it was rude, it makes for a good blog post.

I guess they weren’t too far off. I don’t look like the typical mountain biker. I don’t ride the typical mountain bike. I ride a pedal assist bike with a chargeable battery. I don’t clock hundreds of miles like this biker who made that comment does. I bike when I can find a sitter and Craig can get off work.

I’m allowed to identify with something I love. If I bike 2 miles or 2,000 miles, I am my own person. I’m my own identity. Even if I don’t “look like one.”

If I have 2 readers or 2 million readers, I’m allowed to identify as a blogger.

If I have 2 nieces or nephews or 20 nieces or nephews, I’m allowed to identify as an Auntie.

I’m a small business owner if I sell $20 or $20,000 of inventory.

If you sew 2 quilts or 200 quilts, you’re allowed to be a quilter.

It brings up a deeper conversation that I’ve found myself contemplating lately: labels.

I’ve never been athletic. I’ve never been successful in sports. I was picked last. I didn’t like working out because I honestly didn’t know how.

In the past two years, I would consider myself pretty active. I work out at least once a week, usually more. I love to bike and hike. I love to be outside. I get more movement in than most adults I know. I really like yoga. I love to bike.

Someone at work had mentioned “here comes muscles!” when I came into the room to help lift a patient. I gave her a strange look, no one had EVER described me as the muscular one. I questioned what she meant – she knows I’m in the gym regularly, that I’m a biker, that I’m outdoorsy. She knows I drink lots of water and I don’t eat junk food at work. She knows the new narrative that I’ve created.

She doesn’t know the Kalissa who was picked last on the softball team. She doesn’t know the Kalissa who dreaded running the mile in PE every semester. She doesn’t know the Kalissa who

I’m allowed to be athletic even if I’ve never identified as athletic before. I’m allowed to change the narrative and I’m allowed to change my adjectives. I’m allowed to change my interests and my priorities.

I’m a biker. It doesn’t matter what I look like. It doesn’t matter that my bike sometimes has a battery. It doesn’t matter if I’m also a biker with a tiny bit of a beer belly for after bike ride brews.

In this new year, you’re allowed to be something different. You’re allowed a new narrative. You’re allowed a new identity. You’re allowed to be someone different than you have been in the past.

That’s all. Be who you want to be. Your identity is defined by you, not by others.

Also, you heard it here first: I’ve got three new shirts up on my Etsy shop! They won’t last long!

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2021 in Review

Everyone is making a Tik-Tok or a reel about their 2021 year in review but I’ll stick to blogging for this one.

January – We all survived COVID and realized I wanted to start a legitimate business. Went to Wisconsin Dells and celebrated our natural immunity while it lasted. Kalissa starts picking up hours in ER.

February – Gannon turns 2!

March – Actually launched the Etsy shop and made my first few sales. Kalissa gets her BRACES OFF! First mountain bike ride of the year!

April – Eli and Emmett (our twin nephews) are born! Kalissa has great success with selling her first stitching/quilting related tee.

May – Carver graduated 3 year old preschool, Kalissa turned 26.

June – Lots of Summer fun!

July – Kalissa passes CFRN exam! Carver gets pretty bad pneumonia but he also gets third place at the county fair pedal pull!

August – Went on a week long mountain biking trip to Crosby, MN – just Craig and I. Carver started 4 year old preschool. Our home town suffered terrible flash flooding.

September – Carver turns 5! We set a record for most money put towards debt in one month – $6,800! WE celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary!

October – Craig turns 28! Gannon graduates from speech therapy.

November – Craig wraps up Harvest 2021 mid November. Kalissa hits over $6,000 in sales in one month on Etsy! Kalissa totals her car in a car vs. deer accident and we have to get a new vehicle.

December – Lots of family time! We don’t do much outside of home because COVID is ramping up again with the Omicron variant. Mom begins cancer treatments for the second time.

Hopefully 2022 will be the LAST YEAR we spend in debt! We are on track to be debt free in December 2022!

My word for 2022 (because that’s the cool thing to do) is PUSH! It’s going to be a real PUSH to meet our financial goals and finally be DEBT FREE this year but it’s our main goal! I’m also looking to PUSH myself when it comes to being physically active and getting in shape! I want to PUSH my limits when it comes to building my business and branch out and try new things!

My new years resolution is to GET AN EMAIL LIST GOING! Oh my, this is long over due. I need to be emailing about my shirts, about my blog posts, it would be really beneficial to my business – even more effective than social media posts! I’m gonna do it!

Did you hit any major milestones? What will you remember about this year?

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Family Pictures + 2021 Christmas Card

We got a few new family pictures! Our favorite local photographer hosts a “holiday mini” session every year. I love that her setups don’t scream CHRISTMAS – just a chance to get nice family photos! Her vision is so brilliant – I love her decor and setup every year.

Gannon was in a BAD MOOD – he was tired and fell asleep about 5 minutes from the photographer’s house/studio so we spent most of our time cheering him up. Carver had all the smiles – sometimes too MUCH of a smile – Gannon, not so much.

Despite the mild grumpiness, we got some GREAT SHOTS! And honestly, Gannon is a happy kiddo but these pics represent his personality well. He doesn’t want to do ANYTHING that isn’t his idea.

We used these photos to send out our virtual holiday greeting card – here it is!

Shout out to Alacia Adrienne Photography for getting some GREAT SHOTS! She also took Regan’s wedding pictures – she’s very talented and just our style! – this is our third year with family portraits from Alacia! Look at how we’ve grown!

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