Archive for the ‘Home & Organization’ Category

Easy Hostess Gift: How to Make Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Neon_Paint_Dipped_Spoon_Set_4

With summer comes many summer parties and opportunities to share those warm days with friends. Today I wanted to showcase an easy hostess gift that you could create to show your appreciation for those hosting your family at their next party.

Paint-dipped anything is quite the trend this year and so are those vibrant shades of neon. It was with those color trends in mind that I created this easy paint-dipped spoon set that embraces those fun colors and I also have found a fun way to package it that any hostess would flip for.

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Head on over to the Kenmore blog to find out how I created this adorable hostess gift today!

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DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard DoorWhat could be better than a fun summertime outdoor project? Today I want to showcase an easy DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door that I created to entertain my kids in the summer months. This DIY chalkboard project that we created is one of my new favorite things in our backyard.  This project featured is in conjunction with my job as a Walmart Mom and all of the supplies can be found at your local Walmart store.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Here is a picture of what our tired old door looked like on our outdoor shed. The neutral paint showed all of the dirt, debris, and water drip marks all over it. It was becoming an eye sore in our backyard. Instead of painting it with regular paint, I decided to transform this spot into a new backyard activity area and give the kids a spot to do their drawing outside.

For adult entertaining, this can double as a place to jot down a menu, create a welcome sign for your guests, or keep tally of game scores in a wild game of badminton.

We are crazy like that.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard DoorSupplies List (if you buy everything it will be less than $25 in supplies!)

1- 30 ounce container of Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint in Black Finish (over in the painting supplies)

Soapy Water & Rag (for wiping down your door)

Painters Tape

Paint Roller

Paint Brush

Paint Tray/Liners

Directions

1. Clean your surface and let it dry. I wiped my door down with a grout brush and a pail of sudsy water and then rinsed it with our hose.

2. Tape off around your door handle to protect it from getting paint on it.

3. Pour your paint into your paint tray and begin applying your first coat with your paint roller. The paint will be dry to the touch within thirty minutes, but give it a full four hours before applying your second coat.

4. Add a second coat of paint and repeat with the same timing above, if you desire, to add a third coat.

5. Allow the door to dry for three whole days before beginning  your conditioning or writing on it.

6. Before writing on it, after three days time, condition the surface by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk on the surface and then erase.  I like to rub my chalk in one direction and then rub it in the opposite direction for good coverage. This  will leave a coat of chalk dust that will provide erasability. Your chalkboard can be wiped clean with a damp towel, but wait seven days after painting before wiping it down. Repeat the conditioning step after cleaning.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Give your kids some chalk and the chance to create their own welcome sign for your guests outdoors!  I hope your family loves this project as much as we do! The best part is the hours of enjoyment they get and the lack of dirt showing on my outdoor door in the backyard.

A win-win for both kids and parents!

If you loved this project, I just know that you will love these ideas for Chalkboard Fun & Outdoor Entertaining!

S’More Toppings Bar Party

DIY Chalkboard Conversation Bubble Cookie Jars

Dollar Store DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

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Easy Tips for Making Over Patio Furniture

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Easy Tips for Making Over Patio Furniture

The season for outdoor entertaining and eating is upon us and if you are looking to upgrade your patio set, you just might want to check your local Goodwill store. Today I’m over at the Goodwill Tips Blog sharing easy ways to update, refinish, and refresh an outdoor patio set into a set that is uniquely you with a few easy tools and strategies to help get you started.
 
Head over to my article on how to makeover your patio furniture and check out these strategies for making over a set you might spot at your local Goodwill store! 
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4th of July Flag Cupcake Pick Wreath & Easy Flag Bunting

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com.4th of July happens to be one of my favorite decorating seasons and today I want to show you how to make an easy 4th of July wreath from flag cupcake picks. This 4th of July wreath idea and easy flag bunting were inspired by a picture from a magazine that I found.

Good Housekeeping MagazineThis picture from Good Housekeeping magazine caught my eye and I knew I wanted to decorate my front door just like it. Unfortunately, there were no directions on how to create this wreath, what supplies to buy, or how to execute this project. When Walmart challenged me to come up with a 4th of July project for their customers, I just knew that I had to recreate this door.

My husband said I couldn’t do it. His doubt fueled this wreath into its amazing flag glory…even when a little voice in my head wasn’t too sure it would look like the picture. If I can make a wreath out of yarn, out of coffee filters, out of Peeps for goodness sake, how could I fail at  a simple cupcake pick wreath?

If you are not crafty this is the project for you. It requires no sewing, gluing, cutting, or any other crafty-type behavior. I think that is why I am most excited about it because it is just so easy to do! 

Let’s get started with what you need to tackle this fun patriotic project!

4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com. 4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com. 4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com. 4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies List

Above are some pictures of the supplies you will need (for visual learners, like myself!) Prices listed are what they are listed at currently at the store!

  • 1- 16″ foam wreath form (that is flat on the back)- $6.99
  • 6 packages of 120 count flag cupcake picks (Note: These are NOT available at Walmart stores. You can find these, however, at your local party supply store)- $2.99 per box (approximately)
  • Jute Rope- $3.24
  • 12- 4×6 US Flags (found on the ends of the aisles in the office supplies)- $.68 each
  • 2- 20 count packages of mini clothespins (over in the office supplies)- $2.48 each

4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com.

  1. Take your flag cupcakes and insert them on a slight angle into your foam wreath form. These will not slide in and out easily so you will have to put a little oomph behind it.
  2. Continue filling them in, around and around until you can no longer see your wreath form peeking through. About a box of the flag cupcake picks (120 of them) filled one quarter of my wreath.
  3. Once the front is filled, build up the behind it, but with a thinner layer, just to camouflage the back of the wreath a bit. Make sure not to stack these too deep so that the wreath can still lay flush against your door.
  4. You can fill in the center of the wreath as well with flags, again adding a thinner layer just to hide any of your wreath form, until all you can see is a sea of little flags. It took 720 flags to fill this wreath form. Yes, your fingers will hurt, but you will be so happy about your wreath, you will forget all about the pain!

4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com.

Easy Flag Bunting from MomAdvice.com.Now that you have your wreath done, we can create our adorable flag bunting to go around the outside of your door, to frame your wreath!

Easy Flag Bunting from MomAdvice.com.

  1. Disassemble your flags from their mini poles. These are stapled on so I just pulled them off, or you can use a staple remover to remove the staples from the flags.
  2. Take two mini clothespins and clip the flags to the jute twine, spacing them evenly, until all twelve have been attached.
  3. Leaving a little bit of length, clip the end of the twine to finish your bunting.

Easy Flag Bunting from MomAdvice.com.This easy bunting could be added to a doorway, dress up a mantle, to frame out your patio doors, or to decorate a ledge for the holiday. I love that it is so sweet and so simple to create.

4th of July Cupcake Pick Wreath from MomAdvice.com.Here is a side-by-side comparison of my door and the door I spotted in the magazine. I am so proud how this turned out and I love that these decorations can be used year after year for the holiday!

I look forward to sharing more fun patriotic projects in the next few weeks with you! I hope you enjoyed today’s easy 4th of July craft projects!

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9 Ways to Spice Up a Goodwill Lamp

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

goodwill_lamp_makeovers

One walk through the aisles of Goodwill and I guarantee you will find a handful of great lamp choices just begging for a fun DIY lamp makeover that can dress up a corner in your home. To inspire you, I have gathered 9 of my favorite ways to spice up a Goodwill lamp. These lamp makeover ideas are so inspiring, in fact, that I can’t wait to run over to my Goodwill store to snag a lamp for myself!

To check out these ideas, visit me over at the Goodwill Tips Blog today and read my article on 9 ways to spice up a Goodwill lamp!

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How to Spray Paint Furniture

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

How to Spray Paint Furniture Painting furniture can be time consuming that is why I have fallen in love with spray painting my furniture to get a fresh new look with a small time investment. Today I am going to show you how to spray paint your furniture to give an old piece in your home a new lease on life with just spray paint and an easy antiquing and distressing technique.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Choosing a spray paint can be a lot of fun and Walmart asked me to share about a new product line that they are now carrying at their stores that I think you guys will really like. It is the Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover 2X paint.

The thing that makes this paint special is that it can cover twice the square footage of other general purpose spray paints.  This new paint contains 44% more solids which creates a higher performance than other paints and gives you better coverage with fewer passes. What makes the paint economical is that one can performs like two cans, so it saves you time and money.  The price also fits nicely into a DIY’ers budget at a mere $3.77 per can

How_To_Spray_Paint_Furniture_1
I love this corner in our office, but have not loved this side table for many years. These chairs are so fun, but the table added no personality to this corner. I had planned to donate it to Goodwill, but I wondered if I could give this piece a spray paint face lift that would reflect this fun space. I decided to give the table a makeover with a little spray paint and antiquing.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Supplies Needed to Spray Paint Furniture

 

Spray Paint Primer (gray if doing a dark color or white if doing a light color)

1-2 Cans Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover 2X, any shade (I am using Moss Green), available in the Spray Paint aisle of your local Walmart Store

Rust-Oleum Standard Spray Grip (in the same aisle)

Rust-Oleum Decorative Glaze in Java Brown

Sander

Sand Paper

Rags

Hardware (optional) or spray paint to paint it

How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Spray Paint Your Furniture

  • To begin, prepare your surface by wiping the entire piece down with a clean cloth. Disassemble any drawers and hardware to prepare it for painting.
  • Next, give the entire piece a good sanding to smooth out any imperfections. Sand any edges with a piece of sandpaper and use a sander to smooth the top of your piece.
  • Once the piece is fully sanded, wipe it down with a damp cloth to prepare it for priming.
  • To help prevent drips and to make sure we get into every crevice of this piece with paint, we are going to start with our piece INVERTED. I promise, it is going to help the painting process go so much smoother than if you start with it upright.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

  • Starting with your piece inverted, begin spray painting it with your primer. Be sure to give your primer a good shake and begin priming your surface well.
  • Hold your can 8 inches away from your surface and spray your primer in a sweeping motion side to side with a slight overlap. Allow the primer to dry for one hour.
  • Put the piece right side up and finish priming the top. Allow the primer to dry for one hour.
  • Repeat the same process with your choice of Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover 2X in your favorite shade. Once the piece is fully painted, allow it to dry overnight before glazing.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

  • Using a coarse sandpaper, begin roughing up the edges on your piece to create a more antique look.
  • Using a clean rag, dip your rag in your glaze and then begin applying in a circular motion to your piece.
  • With a clean and damp cloth, remove as much of the glaze as you would like. I again, removed this in a circular motion from the piece until it added a hint of variation to the piece, but didn’t look sponged.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

  •  If you desire, you can spray paint your hardware. As you know hardware can be expensive to replace and sometimes older pieces have more custom fitting hardware so spray paint can be a great way to freshen it up. We chose to replace the wooden handle with a black hardware piece and then spray painted the old gold accessories black with a can I had in my craft supplies. We have spray painted many a handle in our home and you would never know it wasn’t that color originally.

How to Spray Paint FurnitureHow to Spray Paint FurnitureHow to Spray Paint FurnitureHere is my finished piece. I am so darn proud of it and love how vintage this piece looks thanks to the glazing and sanding process that I did on it. In full disclosure, there were some missteps along the way.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

Temperature Changes Effect Spray Paint

If you live in Indiana, you know that the drops and changes in temperature can be quite dramatic and that is just what happened when I painted this. I put a final coat on my perfect table before I went to bed and woke up to a table and drawers that had bubbled in the night. Try to pick a time of day when the temperature is warmer and will hold steady (nothing below fifty degrees) to prevent bubbling of paint. I used the advice provided by Kate, at Centsational Girl, on what to do if your spray paint bubbles and it worked like a charm.

Shake Your Spray Paint Can Well

Having that handy trigger on the spray paint makes it easy to paint quickly, but I forgot to shake the can every so often to keep my paint looking even and glossy. You definitely will want to make sure you shake it very well at the beginning, and shake it every so often when painting with it.

Who Knew You Needed to Be So Tidy?

Make sure after sanding that you really have a nice clear surface to begin your painting, otherwise you will have a crummy surface…literally. The same can be said for choosing a nice clean rag when doing glazing and keeping the piece as clean as you can, which is super difficult if you are in your filthy garage like me!

Distressing Can Hide Flaws

Distressing the piece more not only helped me minimize the bubbles, but it also added character to the piece. For my first spray painted furniture piece, I would definitely recommend it the first time to help you get the hang of how to paint with spray paint.

Practice Makes Perfect

This piece isn’t my best work, but I love it in spite of its flaws. As with all skills, it takes a little practice to get the hang of spray painting furniture. Even though I struggled a bit with my first project, I can’t wait to paint my record cabinet in our office next in the same shade and now I know what to do and what NOT to do when it comes to spray painting my furniture.

How to Spray Paint Furniture How to Spray Paint Furniture

What a difference a day makes? Isn’t she lovely? She has certainly brightened up this corner of our home! I highly recommend giving this new paint a try! Fast coverage and an inexpensive way to add a pop of color in your home!

 

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Have you ever spray painted furniture before? What is your advice?

 

 

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DIY Book Page Flower Tutorial (With Free Printable)

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

If there is one thing our family loves to do it is spoil our teachers. Today I am sharing how to make book page flowers out of old books to brighten a teacher’s day. I hope you will enjoy this book page flower tutorial and be able to use our free printable to create your book page flowers.

As you know, book page crafts are something that I have recently grown fond of and I wanted to create a bouquet of book page posies that you could share with a favorite teacher. A great way to build upon this thrifty gift is to pair it with a gift card to a favorite local bookstore for your teacher.

Supplies Needed:

1 old book/textbook (I picked one up at Goodwill for $.50- it was WELL loved with loads of notes, yellowed edges, and bent corners.)
Jar or Vase
Grilling skewers
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Book Page Flowers Template

Directions:

1. Cut out your five flower petals from the provided flower petal template

2. Begin by pulling out five pages of your book and leave them stacked. Using one of your flower petal templates as a guide, cut out your first petals. Since you are cutting through the stack of papers, you should have five petals cut. Repeat this process with the other four petal templates until you have five of each kind.

3. Using your grill skewer as a paper shaper, roll each of the petals to create curving of the petals around it. I simply rolled these around the skewer, then released them.

4. Pull out another page from your book and tear a strip lengthwise from the book. Just as you would with floral tape wrap, pulling down gently, the skewer with the strip from your page. You may need two strips to cover the entire length. (pictured above).

5. Tear another strip lengthwise and roll this at the top of your skewer to create the center of your flower (just ignore that bare stem!).  I just add a bit of glue at the beginning and then a bit of glue at the end to hold it together. Now you are ready to start adding your petals.

6.  Add a drop of glue almost at the edge of the bottom of your petal and begin with the smallest layer. Add these petals all around the flower center. Repeat this process with the petals the next size up. Repeat again, again, and again until all of the petals are attached to your flower. If the base feels loose at all, add a little dab of hot glue around the bottom of the flower with your hot glue gun.

DIY Book Page Flower Tutorial
7. Finish by placing them in a thrifted jar or vase and spread and fluff the petals of your flowers. Give these to your favorite teacher with a gift card to their favorite bookstore.

Be sure to check back this week for more fun teacher gift ideas!

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How to Create a Family Cookbook With Your Kids

Monday, April 29th, 2013

kid_made_cookbook_3kid_made_cookbook_4kid_made_cookbookEver wanted to tackle making a family cookbook with your kids? I’m so excited to show you how we made a scrapbook of our favorite foods and food traditions together. Making a cookbook with your kids is a fun activity that any family can do together and we are so excited to show you how we created ours.

If you know us, one thing that our family is big on is traditions created around the dinner table. Whether it is our pizza night on Fridays, our waffle tradition on Sundays, or the way we commemorate every little occasion in life, we somehow find a fun food tradition to surround the event. Today I want to showcase a way to truly document those food traditions by creating a family cookbook with your kids that can be a fun project to create together as well as a legacy of your family traditions to pass down to future generations.

Join me over on Kenmore today to learn how to create this beautiful family cookbook with your kids.

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DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

For years I have been making my own DIY fabric softener sheets and today I wanted to share an easy process for making your own homemade fabric softener sheets for your laundry. These DIY fabric softener sheets will stretch your bottle of fabric softener much further, there is nothing to throw away, and when they finally begin to lose their effectiveness,  you simply repeat the process and can continue using them again. Pairing these with a jar of my homemade laundry detergent really can keep your laundry budget down!

How Can I Make My Own Fabric Softener Sheets?

When making your own fabric softener sheets, visit the housewares aisle of your favorite store and look for the brightest colors of washcloths to use. By picking bright fabrics, it will be easier to spot the softener sheet to pull out and reuse after you are done with your load of laundry.

Choose your favorite fabric softener and pour it into a bowl. Soak your washcloth in the softener and then wring it out well. Hang the washcloth to dry overnight.

That’s it. Done.

How Many Times Can You Reuse Your DIY Fabric Softener Sheets?

You can reuse your dryer sheets on up to twenty loads of laundry before you need to repeat the process. If you make a set of these and alternate them with your loads, they should last a long time. The best part about this sheets is that they perform better than putting fabric softener in your washer compartment and you don’t have to worry about any staining on your fabrics.

Are There Any Green Alternatives to Fabric Softeners?

Seventh Generation (affiliate) offers a green alternative to fabric softeners and could be used to create your own DIY fabric softener sheets. The best part about that one is that it still offers a scent, but this version is better for the environment over the other commercial brands.

I also was sent a bottle of the Method fabric softener (affiliate) and used that with fairly good results on my loads of laundry, although I did find that my loads still had a little bit of static in them, particularly if they needed to be refreshed.  The unique thing about the Method cleaner was that you sprayed it directly onto your fabrics and the tumbling of the dryer dispersed the softener throughout the load. It never stained my fabrics and also offered a fresh scent to them.

If you are looking for a frugal and green method for fabric softener, you can use vinegar to replace your fabric softener. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar in your fabric softener compartment of your washer or during the Rinse cycle of your load.

Using vinegar will help to soften the fabric, but it doesn’t always perform effectively in reducing the static in fabrics. You can either crumple aluminum foil into a ball and use that as a dryer ball, buy a store-bought dryer ball alternative like this one (affiliate), or even make dryer balls from yarn.

What Should I Not Use Fabric Softener On?

This might come as a surprise since those fabric softener commercials always seem to be about fluffy towels, but you really shouldn’t use fabric softener on your towels. Fabric softener can reduce the absorbency of your fabrics so avoid using it on your towels.

If you are a big fan of cleaning with microfiber cloths, like I am, you should also avoid using fabric softener on those. I just wash them with my towels so I know they won’t get mixed up into my other loads.

5.0 from 2 reviews
DIY Fabric Softener Sheets
Author: 
Recipe type: Cleaning
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
An easy DIY fabric softener sheet that will save you money on your laundry loads!
Ingredients
  • Brightly colored washcloths
  • Fabric Softener (your favorite variety)
Instructions
  1. Pour fabric softener into a bowl.
  2. Submerge your washcloth in the fabric softener and soak it for a few seconds.
  3. Wring the washcloth out and and hang it to dry.
  4. Allow the washcloth to dry overnight.
  5. To begin using, just throw it in your dyer with freshly washed cloths.
  6. You can reuse the same DIY fabric softener sheet on up to 20 loads before you need to repeat the process again.

 

 

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What Do You Do All Day? The Real Story Behind My Niche Blog!

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

One of the biggest questions that I get asked is, “What exactly is your job?” It is one of those things that people are often curious about, and admittedly are confused about,  since my job is so difficult to explain. Today I wanted to offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it is like to run a niche blog.

I have been blogging for 9 1/2 years now which makes me a dinosaur in this business! The blog that you see today is very different than the blog I started out with. The site has grown a lot over the years and many  of you have been through all of its growing pains. For those of you that have been following our journey, I wanted to share with you what my business has evolved into.

What is a Typical Day Like For You?

I am a busy mom of two kiddos so my day-to-life is probably a lot like yours. I handle the day-to-day routines and schedules of my kids. I take my kids to their extra curricular activities, I volunteer weekly at my kid’s school helping with kids that are struggling with reading, we go to worship once a week, and I do my best to workout at the gym three days a week.

Every pocket of time that I have beyond that though is spent working on projects for one of the many freelance clients I write for. I am either shopping for my clients, creating tutorials for craft/diy/food, photographing projects, or writing for them. Since many of my clients are running on magazine calendar deadlines, you will often find me shopping for Easter supplies in the dead of winter or working on Christmas crafts in the Fall.

Even my free time is often accounted for because I share it with you. I try to read four books a month for our reviews and you will rarely find me sitting still when I am watching television because I am usually working on a craft project at the same time for the blog.

Much like you, I am sure, I am pretty beat at the end of the day! By the time the kids go to bed, I am ready for bed myself. I usually head to bed pretty early so I can start the whole routine again!

Who Works With You?

I think one of the things that people have found most surprising about our site is that I was the only writer & contributor on my site for over nine years alone. My husband did all of the coding and design of our site and I managed all the content.

When our site experienced a lot of growth from Pinterest, I realized that there was no way that I could manage all of this on my own. My email inbox had over 50,000 unopened emails, my taxes and paperwork for my business were a mess, and I had been treating my work like a hobby rather than a business.

This last month I hired a virtual assistant to help  me with some of the things my readers had come to expect here, but didn’t really showcase my personality- the weekly freebie list, our weekly notebook, and our giveaway link list. She got my inbox down to zero within two months and I finally felt like I could breathe a little bit. She is, in one word, amazing, and has brought back a quality of life that I felt like I had been lacking.

We also hired an accountant to handle our taxes this year, something that had burdened us greatly over the years, and I also started using FreshBooks (affiliate) to help me keep track of my accounting better (a recommendation made by my amazing friend over at Dine & Dish). Invoicing, following up on payments with clients, and paperwork for them takes up a good portion of my day so any people/products I can use to make my day go smoother really helps me.

embroidery thread egg for Kenmore

 

Why Do You Work For So Many Brands?

I write a lot of content for brands because, frankly, it helps pay the bills. I write professionally for five to six clients monthly and those projects help our family financially, but much of the earnings go towards keeping my site up and running.

When our site was smaller, we had an inexpensive web host and I was able to do everything on my own. Our site grew by 100,000 users this year alone, which is incredible and awesome, but our web host couldn’t handle the traffic! It was time to invest in the business and move to Liquid Web (affiliate), who can handle anything we throw at them. We currently spend about a thousand dollars a month to pay for web hosting, photography props/equipment, our accountant, and my assistant. Many of my projects that I write for just go towards keeping the business afloat and paying my self-employment taxes.

No, I Was Asking How Much You Make?

Yup, I get asked that all the time although I have NEVER asked anyone what their salary is. It is such a weird job that people are always dying to know how much you make. I make a full-time income thanks to the companies I work for as a content writer/creator, ambassador, and spokesperson for. If I was living on our ad revenue alone, we could pay for our web host and maybe a bill or two. In all honesty though,  my income fluctuates a lot because it depends on what jobs come through for me for the year. This past year all my time was devoted towards my book which was a rewarding experience, but also prevented me from taking on a lot of paying jobs.

How Do You Do It All?

I don’t think I do more than many of the other working parents that I know, but people constantly ask me this. I think the main reason is because when people do these types of projects around their house they aren’t pointing a bunch of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram traffic over to it like,

“LOOK AT ME! I MAKE THINGS! LOOK HOW AWESOME I AM!”

Here is an example of a typical month of projects  for my clients.

I knitted a scarf for a new yarn line that Walmart was carrying.

I painted vases with my kids for Kenmore.

I took my kids over to the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit at Brookfield Zoo to write a review for a local magazine I write for.

I gathered up ideas for things to do with old books for Goodwill.

I made homemade laundry detergent for Walmart.

I made a cookbook with my kids for Kenmore (post coming soon!)

I made whole wheat toasted tarts with Walmart.

There are several other projects, but this gives you an idea of what I am up to. If I look at it as a whole, I am completely overwhelmed. On any given week I could have anywhere between two to four projects for clients. Since I do all of  the shopping, crafting/cooking and then my own writing & photography for these projects, each project is very time-consuming.

I also am maintaining the writing that I do here on  my blog like sharing yummy recipes for pecan-crusted chicken fingers, whipping up Peep-tinis, & sharing all those fun book reviews and making sure we have plenty of content for the rest of the week. All of that, and I haven’t even touched on the social media side of things which is just as consuming now that my readers can connect with me through every available social media channel!

Usually the most surprising amount of time I spend is on the shopping and the staging for photos. I will get a brilliant idea for a client and then get to the store and find out that the items I need aren’t sold there or that I have to completely rethink a project. What’s worse is if I spend a whole day on a recipe and it flops.

Although it appears I take every opportunity given to me, I take about half or less of the projects offered. If you look at the projects above, you might be surprised they were even for companies because they are just the types of projects I would want to share with you anyway. Since the companies supply a budget for supplies, it helps to offset some of the costs to crank out this many projects monthly.

Time management is a tricky terrain with a juggle like this. I have learned that is better to tackle a few recipes in one day and then edit & write the content the other days. Many days it looks like a bomb exploded in my house because I am in some stage of creation for someone. It doesn’t make my Type-A heart very happy, but it is one of those things that comes with the job. I try to look at it the way I see my kids LEGO’s all over the floor or all their art supplies out, I am just proud they are creative and they are making something. I want to always be surrounded by creativity.

Basically, I take it all day by day.

How Does Your Job Impact Your Family Life?

I am so thankful for my job because it usually has a positive impact on our family life. My kids and I see these projects as opportunities to spend time together and the recipes that I create in our kitchen are enjoyed by all at our family dinners. How many people get to craft all day long and call it work? Not many! It almost sounds too good to be true sometimes.

I have gotten to travel to places that I thought I would only read about in books, I got to fulfill a life goal to write a book, my kids have gotten to go to places we couldn’t have afforded, and I’ve met a lot of truly amazing men & women who blog that my life would have never crossed paths with.

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Let me be honest though, there are positive and negative aspects about my work. For example, since our holiday content is written months in advance, I am usually not sitting around making rainbow cakes with my kids on St. Patrick’s Day or being a super creative parent like I want to be. By the time the holidays roll around, they are usually lucky if I dye their milk green because we have already done those projects together ages ago and I am on to the next holiday.

Traveling can be hard especially when my jobs end up interfering with family events. One year I had to travel on my daughter’s birthday and I cried a lot over that. It didn’t matter that I had thrown three parties for her, I was not there on the actual day. Inevitably, some kid gets sick or they have a fancy holiday show and I am off promoting the latest product for a company or have a speaking engagement for my work that has been planned months in advance. I am thankful for Skype on days like those so that I can see their faces and feel like I am there. I am sure every working parent feels that way sometimes.

Operating at a frantic pace each week can also have negative impacts on me and my health. I was two years overdue for a lot of routine check-ups for myself this year, my stomach issues have increased, and there are times where I feel completely overwhelmed or just don’t want to do all of this. It is hard to escape your work when it is always there!

We are not celebrities by any stretch of the imagination, but our family does not have an anonymous life. Some of us thrive better than others with this and there are days where we miss that.

There are times where I want to be political or snarky, but I worry how that might reflect to my readers so it definitely censors me in my social media life.I am sure this is a good thing in the long run.

All in all, the positives have outweighed the negatives though. If it starts to turn the other direction, we will have to make a decision to continue or not as a family. We operate under the, “All for one, one for all,” family motto. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Have a question for me? Feel free to ask it!

 

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