The Perfect Side Hustle: Gymnastics Judging

The Perfect Side Hustle

I really enjoy reading about the different ways people earn side income. I have a few different side hustles, but the one I’ve been doing the longest and enjoy the most is judging gymnastics. For the last 14 years I’ve been earning a nice side income as a gymnastics judge, and I’m here today to tell you all about it!

I became a gymnastics judge in 2000. At the time I was volunteer coaching and had no clue why certain routines received certain scores. That’s when I decided to take a judging course. I spent an entire summer immersed in the rules of my favorite sport. At the end of the summer I passed my first judging exam and by fall I was judging meets. I haven’t stopped since and I consider it my perfect side hustle.

In honor of the “Perfect 10″ here are 10 reasons being a gymnastics judge a perfect side hustle.

1. I basically get paid to watch my favorite sport!

2. It’s a great way to stay involved in the sport and contribute to the gymnastics community.

3. The schedule is flexible. I choose the meets I wish to judge.

4. It’s a perfect amount of involvement. I’m not an over-worked stressed out gym owner or coach (although I did coach for 10 years!) It’s low stress. It’s fun! It’s also not year round. I typically judge September through April.

5. I’ve made amazing friends.

6. It pays well.

7. It’s opened up new opportunities. My experience as a judge has helped me get clinician and consulting jobs.

8. I like navy blue  (the color we’re required to wear).

9. I like using my knowledge for good. I enjoy giving coaches and gymnasts helpful advice and tips when asked.

10. It helps me get through Vermont winter! The winter is long here and it’s a fun indoor activity that helps the cold days pass a little quicker.

What is your perfect side hustle?

Have any gymnastics related questions? 

The Weekly Blend #6


I’m here!

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been blogging or commenting much the last two weeks. Well, I’ve noticed and I miss it! Work (as in my 9-5) has been busier than usual, and my side hustle is blowing up! Kinda. In addition to writing I’ve been doing some VA work which has kept me pretty busy.

While I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I’d like, I’m stilling keeping up a little and wanted to share these great posts!

Tennille from Two Kids and a Budget shared Five Fun Family Activities for OctoberThere’s still a good amount of time in October to celebrate fall!

Have you checked out Kirsten’s Live Like You Were Dying – Write for 31 Day Challenge? Powerful stuff!

Robin wrote about assessing your Financial Priorities. I have to admit, this made me stop and think about my own financial priorities.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my posts from the last two weeks:

Results From Our 2014 Garden

Inexpensive Halloween Decorations

Have a great weekend!

Results From Our 2014 Garden



Gord Morning, People! See what I did there? I can’t help myself. 

This year we planted our first “real” garden. And, you know by we I mean my husband, right? I didn’t plant a thing, but I still spent day after day marveling at how a little plant would grow, flower, and produce a giant zucchini. When I spotted our first butternut squash growing I was giddy! Because what’s more adorable than a baby butternut squash?

Over the summer I questioned whether growing a garden would actually save us money. Now, that our garden season is wrapping up, I thought I would revisit this question and reveal our 2014 harvest numbers. Yep, we counted and kept track of just about everything that came out of our garden!

  • 29 cucumbers
  • 16 zucchini
  • 10 yellow squash
  • 70 carrots (small ones)
  • 19 tomatoes
  • 300-400 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 anaheim pepper
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 3 butternut squash
  • 1 birdhouse gord – random!
  • 6 pumpkins
  • 16 onions
  • 5-6 cups of spinach
  • a few bunches of dill

I’m probably missing a few things, but you get the jist. We had a super successful first go at gardening. However, we did have a few casualties, like our broccoli, which never even made it into the dirt. And, at one point we thought our tomatoes were done for, but they rallied and produced like mad. So much so that some of them went to waste. We also need to give some credit to our garden fairy (Matt’s grandmother) who not only shared garden space with us this year, but also gave us valuable expert advice.

Did we save money?

We estimate spending $200 on this year’s garden, and I think it was well worth it. While I haven’t really analyzed the value of our produce, I was happy with the outcome. Also, gardening was a fun learning experience for us and the kids. And, I don’t have to buy pumpkins this year!

Did you plant a garden this year? How did it turn out? What’s your favorite kind of squash?



Inexpensive Halloween Decorations

Inexpensive Halloween Decorations

A few weeks ago Mrs. Frugalwoods shared her Halloween decorating prowess. Inspired by her frugal smarts to source hand me down decorations from family, I called up my Mom and asked her if she had any Halloween decorations she wanted to pass on down. You know she did!

Ceramic Jackolantern Halloween decoration

High on the thrill of free Halloween decorations I decided to take my pursuit further and find more free and inexpensive Halloween decoration ideas.

Inexpensive Halloween Decoration Ideas


This year our garden produced six pumpkins, and you better believe I have all of them on display. Those babies are our pride and joy! Nature is a great source for Halloween and autumn decorations. You can utilize flowers, acorns, pinecones, leaves, sticks, etc. I’ve also seen people carve squash in addition to pumpkins. If your garden yielded one too many acorn squash this year, carve that baby up like a jack-o-lantern!


Don’t worry if your crafting skills aren’t Pinterest perfect, if there is any holiday you can get away with slightly campy, glue and glitter decorations, it’s Halloween! Whip out the paper towel tubes and get crafting! Here are some ideas to get you started.

40 Easy to Make DIY Halloween Decorations 

Add a Halloween Twist

This is one of my favorite decoration ideas for any holiday. Take a any household item you have and add a Halloween twist to it. Fill a mason jar with candy corn or a glass bowl with plastic pumpkins.

Shop Clearance

Right now Halloween decorations are full price, however in a few short weeks they will become clearance aisle gold. Hunt for bottomed out prices toward the end of the month and save them for next year. Just don’t forget where you put them. Designate a tote or box for Halloween decorations and keep everything together for next year.

Do you decorate for Halloween? How do you keep it inexpensive?

Goal Progress – September Recap

Oh hai, October!


Goal Progress – September Recap

I’m working on a goal to drop down to part-time hours at my day job. I’d like to accomplish this by next summer..or tomorrow. Either way! Every month I write up a little recap of the month to document how I’m doing with this goal.

You can read my other monthly recaps here:




Overall September was a great month, and I feel like I’m on my way slowly but surely.  I’m not going to lie, a lot of the time I feel semi-overwhelmed and I battle between working on my blog/ business and cleaning my kitchen. I also feel like I could be a lot more productive with my time and that is something I’d like to work on for October. If you have any tips or advice, feel free to pass it along in the comments. 

September Side Hustle Income

Let’s get to it! My September side hustle income was…$87.50 

How’d you do it, Kara?

1. I’m a stellar writer and VA. Hire me, for all your staff writing and VA needs!

2. I sold a few items on Craiglist.

3. I’m back on my gymnastics judging side hustle, although it’s not reflected in September’s income total because I’m still waiting on payment.

Thank You!

It’s really the little things that bring me such joy. Like, the other day when Landon told me I was “the best girl ever”. Made my day!

Also, I get such a sparkle in my heart when I get a blog comment, new Twitter follower, mention, etc. So, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing. You make this slightly overwhelmed, side-hustling Mom SO happy and motivated to reach my goals.

Tell me about a goal you have for October. Are you a fan of Halloween? I sure am!

Budget Tales: We Bought a New Car

Budget Tales

Well, not new. She’s actually three years old. And, a girl if you couldn’t already tell.


A little background. We’re a two car family; we have a 2006 Dodge Durango, and up until this past weekend we had a 2010 Chevy Equinox. We bought the Equinox shortly after our son was born. It was the perfect Mom vehicle for me, and I had every intention of paying it off and driving it into the ground. I even purchased an extended warranty because I was serious about keeping this car around for the long haul. However, it wasn’t too long into owning the Equinox when things began to go wrong. Over the past three years our “new” car spent more time at the dealer getting fixed than our “old” car, and has undergone thousands of dollars in major repairs. The repairs have all been covered, thanks to the warranty, but it has still has been a giant pain in the ass to coordinate getting our car to the shop so often. It’s also been damaging to my nervous system having had multiple anxiety attacks when the car would stall at traffic lights and randomly shake going over 65mph. So, with the end of the extended warranty in sight we had been discussing trading it in for a more reliable car.

I didn’t want to buy a different car for a few reasons. One being that we didn’t owe much on the Equinox, and I hated the thought of going more into the hole for a vehicle. Also, I really hate the car buying process. And lastly, even though it was an unreliable car, I really liked it. It was the perfect size for me, great in the snow, and I liked the way it looked. It’s true! However, it became clear to me that we had to do something when this summer we chose to drive the Durango six hours to Maine over the Equinox because we just couldn’t trust it.

The Durango on the other hand is our beast. The gas mileage is pretty terrible, but it’s reliable, great in the snow, and is handy for all those truck-like needs. So, we’re keeping it around.

We spent months researching possible replacements. We had some good ideas, bad ideas, fantasy ideas (hello, Audi!), however decided on a pre-owned Jetta sportswagen. This, being our collective fifth Volkswagen, a brand we’ve had good luck with in the past. We went on the hunt for the right one, and found her this past weekend.


Overall I feel like we made a smart decision for our family and finances. Could we have private sold our Equinox for more money? Yes, and I thought about that, but to be honest given the bad luck we’ve had with that car, I’d feel almost guilty selling it to someone. However, I don’t feel bad offloading it to a dealer who has the resources to fix it. Could we have been more frugal and purchased an older or more inexpensive car? Sure, but considering this car will be our main driver we decided to buy one that was a little bit newer as well as certified pre-owned with a warranty.

Do we have more car debt now? Yes, we do, but, really not that much more, and I have every intention of paying off this car in two years. I also have every intention of keeping this car as long as possible!

I’d love to know your thoughts. What would you have done in our situation? What’s the most or least reliable car you have owned?

Weekly Blend #5 + Recovery


It’s been a quiet week here at The Daily Whisk, as I recover from the ugliest cold I’ve had in years! I’m on day 9 now, and think I almost have it kicked….almost.

I loved reading everyone’s FinCon recaps this week. It sounded like a blast! I’m all pumped to go next year if I can get over myself and actually go through with it.

These posts aren’t in categories this week, but were a few of my favorite!

I just love this post and video from Michelle. Nuture those ideas, people!

Gretchen details her plans to become debt free and retire by 40! In awesome detail might I add!

We’re going to have some beautiful weather here in Vermont this weekend, and I plan on enjoying as much of it as possible.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

My Unproductive Weekend

Here we are, back at it on a Monday!

How was FinCon?! I can’t wait to read about it!

I have to say, I had a lot of fun being a part of the Frugal FinCon Fiesta! Thank you to Debs for setting it up! Although I haven’t responded to everyone yet (see more about that below) I was excited to have some new visitors and I can’t wait to add some new blogs to my reader.

So, remember how last weekend I was super productive? Well, I remained on my productivity high horse all last week expecting to be just as a productive this past weekend. Can you guess how that turned out? mmmhmmm

Things started to veer off course last Wednesday. Right after my kids recovered from a stomach bug, they both came down with a cold. Then, they passed that cold on to me and it wiped me out! I haven’t had a cold that nasty in years!

So, instead of be super productive McGee this weekend I was more like super snotty McGee. Now, I’m back to piles of mail and dog hair tumbleweed, but it’s all good. I’ll get there!

How was your weekend? What’s your favorite cold remedy?



Frugal FinCon Fiesta – Let’s chat!

Frugal FinCon Fiesta

I’m not at FinCon this year, but I love me a fiesta like no ones business, so I’ve joined the Frugal FinCon Fiesta! The fiesta is a 3 day blog party where you can ask me just about any question (today through Saturday) and I’ll respond right back here in this post. Don’t ask me math questions though, okay?

Party on, Wayne!


1. What is Brynn’s middle name? Harper!

2. What is my biggest fear? Dying, especially because I have young kids. ahhhhh

3. What was my first car? A 1990 Saab 900s.

4. What’s your plan for teaching your kids about personal finance? Good question! I’m still figuring that out, but I think just having open and honest conversations with your kids about money is important.

5. So, do you bake/cook because you like it, or because you have to? What’s are a couple of your favorite quick meals? Both! I enjoy cooking and baking when I have the time, which feels like a rarity now. I get a thrill out of discovering quick and healthy meals. One of my favorite quick meals: Pour salsa over pork or chicken and cook it in a slow cooker. Then shred the chicken or pork for tacos, burritos, etc. It’s so easy and so good! Also, check out my Black Bean Burritos! 

6. What would be your dream frugal vacation? I think a staycation at home would be fun. Every day we could go on an adventure in our area (corn maze, apple picking, ride the ferry, Ben & Jerry’s factory tour, etc.) Every summer we go to Maine and spend a week at a friend’s camp on the lake. It’s a frugal, but super fun vacation!

7. What’s your #1 piece of advice to people who are preparing to have kids? I mostly like to reassure people that life after a baby returns to normal (new normal). I know for me, it was important to feel like I had my routine back and eventually I did!

8. What is one thing on your bucket list? I really want to go a big gymnastics meet. Nationals, Worlds, or Olympics.

9. What is your favorite dinner to make? To eat? My favorite dinner to make is this roasted vegetable sausage casserole. My favorite dinner to eat is lobster bisque.

10. Once your out of debt what is the first thing your gonna do? 10 cartwheels in a row!!!!! Then, once the stars clear….I really just want more flexibility in my work schedule, so I would probably reduce my hours (however, I’m hoping to do that sooner than we’ll be out of debt completely).

11. Did you do gymnastics at some point in your life? I’ve been doing cartwheels and flips my whole life, however I was only a competitive gymnast in high school. Gymnastics makes me soooo happy!

Versatile Blogger Award


The most awesome Kassandra nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks, Kassandra!!!

I’m going to share 7 interesting things about me and then nominate 7 other bloggers to do the same and keep it going. Mmk?

1. I get distracted easily. I also have perfectionist tendencies. Together, those qualities make me one unproductive person at times. I’m working on focused and efficient writing, so in the spirit of that I’ve set myself to a strict time limit for this post. I have 19 minutes left. Let’s see how far we get!

2. I’m a little jealous of people who can function on little sleep. When I’m tired I can’t think, I can’t function, and I get emotional. For those reasons I put sleep higher on my list of priorities. Also, sleeping is awesome (can you tell I’m tired and fantasizing about going to bed?)

3. I was a pretty average high school gymnast turned even better high school gymnastics coach. I coached a high school team for 10 years and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about life through coaching. I hold that time very close to my heart.

4. In 10 years I only missed one meet. I had my son the night before our State Championship (I was due the day of our State Championship). Luckily I wasn’t the only coach!

5. I get homesick super easy. I’ve always been that way, even as an adult! This is probably one reason I have no interest in leaving Vermont….ever.

6. I have three different degrees. An Associates in E-commerce/business, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a Master’s in Health and Wellness. I’ve done some academic wandering for sure! And, now I’m paying for it!

7. Over the last year I’ve become a country music fan. I don’t know how it happened. I went from liking a few country artists to all of a sudden liking most country artists.

One minute to go! Let’s get to some nominations!

Tennille of 2 Kids and a Budget

Liz of Budgeting For More

Robin you Thrifty Peach!

Aldo of Million Dollar Ninja

High Five, Frugal Hound!

Crystal of Discovering Me in Them

Liz of Because Mama Needs a Hobby

I can’t wait to read your lists!