Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

How to End the Year Well

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

How to End the Year Well from

Last week I read an article about how to create a dumpster fire ornament, in honor of the year we’ve had. It was hilarious – and sad. I mean, yeah, I laughed, but only so I didn’t cry. Because, for a million reasons, this year has been difficult at best and devastating at worst.

I know I’m not alone in looking forward to a fresh start as we flip over the calendar.

But before we head into a new year, we still have a few days left in this one – and I’m determined to make the best of them. Rather than simply throwing up our hands in disgust or defeat, let’s take back what’s remaining of this challenging year. Let’s celebrate what actually worked or went well, and let’s give thanks for the blessings we received in the midst of hardships.

No matter how this year has treated us, I believe we can still end well. Here’s how:

1. Make a gratitude list. I know, I know, you’ve heard this one a thousand times. But there’s a reason for that: it works! No matter how bad a situation (or calendar year) might be, we always have something to be thankful for.

Are you healthy? Do you have a place to live? Is your family nearby – or far away? Do you have at least one person to love and who loves you? Did you read a good book or see a great movie? Have you created a piece of art or finished a project? Did you make it through Thanksgiving or the election cycle or a trip to the post office without coming to blows with anyone? Then you have something to be thankful for!

How to End the Year Well from

2. Look at the photographic evidence. Instead of clicking over to Facebook one more time, open up the gallery on your phone. Scroll through your own photos and take time to appreciate those goofy smiles, those messy faces, the trips to the zoo or the doctor’s office, the impromptu road trips or picnics, the selfies and the you-can’t-make-me-smile serious faces. Remember the sunset, the finish line, the delicious dessert, the colorful leaves.

Whether you’ve already printed all your photos and placed them in a lovely album or scrapbook, or they’re stacked up on your phone (and hopefully saved in the cloud), I bet you have some evidence that this year brought something lovely, something beautiful, something good.

3. Find the silver linings. I’m not sitting at a desk gazing out the window to a pastoral scene as I type this post. Nope. I’m sitting in my living room, balancing my laptop on a TV tray while my toddler sits on my lap smelling slightly of her overnight diaper and watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. And as often happens in our house, Daniel Tiger is sharing a message that is almost unnervingly relevant for our day. Daniel and his friends are singing about disappointment, and here’s the advice they have for us all: “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”

Seriously, Daniel Tiger? Seriously.

You really can’t argue with that preschool wisdom. And as I’ve reflected on the last year, it really is something I’ve considered. What are the silver linings hiding on the edges of this hard season?

For me I’ve had to face how my fear of confrontation has led to unhealthy relationships and behaviors. (Which is, initially, still a bummer but ultimately a good thing to realize.) I’ve also been forced to stop waffling on some political issues as this divisive year has made it clearer than ever what my priorities and values are. And, most importantly, going through a tough season is always a catalyst for appreciation and gratitude for me, making me more thankful than ever for my family, my freedoms, and my faith. All of these silver linings come at the cost of some very dark clouds, but I am grateful for them nonetheless.

How to End the Year Well from

4. Give back – and then some. One of the most encouraging messages I’ve seen following some of this year’s troubles is a call to action. No matter where you fall on all the issues that have divided our world, every one of us can reach out to others, serve others, love others. Just like the well-known and oft-quoted advice from Gandhi suggests, rather than complaining about a dumpster fire of a season, be the change you wish to see in the world instead.

The benefit goes beyond what you give to other people, too, because not only does helping those in need combat injustices you perceive, it also helps you adjust your perspective. It gives you a bigger picture and more accurate way to gauge your own circumstances. It also gives you a sense of more control and therefore increases your overall satisfaction. Talk about win-win!

5. Don’t wait for January 1. We don’t have to start a new habit on a Monday, and we don’t have to wait for January 1 to turn over a new leaf of gratitude, compassion, and positivity. We can do that today. The world may seem like it’s spinning off its axis some days, but we are still in control of our own choices. We get to decide how we receive news, how we process situations, how we respond to circumstances. We get to choose.

Let’s make the best of the days we have, friend, no matter what the calendar says. Let’s be kind when we don’t have to, let’s be thankful even when it’s difficult, let’s look for the good and be the good. Let’s end this year well.

How to End the Year Well from


Pin It

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page

Monday, May 16th, 2016

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

This year I wanted to get serious about my Facebook page. I got in on developing my page a little late, spent very little time on it, and experienced a long plateau in growth for months. My page was super boring so it was no wonder that no one wanted to interact on it. Heck, I didn’t even like it. I really needed to grow my Facebook page, but it needed to be in easy ways that could fit into our busy life.

I made it a business goal to grow this to page to 20,000 this year and to buckle down for one month to see if I could begin growing my audience again. Last week, I hit my 20K in fans (woohoo!!) so I was pretty pumped about this little milestone.

The question I get about this is, “Did this increase your pageviews on your website?”

My answer is not really.

Let’s be honest, Facebook wants you to pay to play. The traffic seems to only really grow when I boost (pay to advertise-be sure to target those ads!) my posts. So, if I am not experiencing growth, why would I want to invest any time in this platform?

Well, if you do sponsored content writing you know that your reach determines your rate.

Bottom line, the bigger my audience I have, the more I can charge for my posts. 

But, wait…mo money mo problems, right? Nah! I want to show you my 5 easy (and, let’s be honest, a bit lazy!) ways to grow your FB page WITHOUT creating new content.

No charge at all for the lazy advice, but I would appreciate your LIKE on my page

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Audience

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Get on a Schedule

Once a week, I sit down and schedule out my entire week of shares. I have experimented with lots of different times for sharing and with my audience, the times that have worked for me are 2:30PM EST (when moms are typically waiting for their kids to get out of school) & 8:30PM EST (when moms are settling in with their wine & Facebook time). My audience is moms so I can just guess when the are on Facebook based on my own Facebook habits.

You can experiment a bit with your sweet spot by trying out different times at first and then figuring out which seem to work best with your audience. You could also keep a close eye on a boosted post and see when the likes are increasing and gauge that as roughly a good time to start posting. Once you figure it out, you can make a schedule for sharing content.

I sit down with pen and paper, map out a week, and check off each day with the two shares.

Can you share more?

Go for it!

I don’t have time to do more than that and I don’t want to waste precious money trying to get someone else to do it for me right now. Two works for me, along with my own personal content shares,  for enough to grow the site at a steady pace.

Here is the thing, I only share what I find funny or compelling. A huge pet peeve of mine is link-bait sharing (“You’ll never believe what this man did when he saw this homeless person, it will shock you….”) or just crap sharing all day. If it isn’t funny to me, if I would be annoyed trying to click through slideshows, if I would never do that recipe/craft/eat that forty decker burger (tacos…maybe!), I’m not sharing it on my page.

Those people might have attracted a million people for sharing, but that’s not the kind of audience I want to grow, for me personally. 

(mic drop)

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Find Great Content to Actually Share

Where do I find all this funny and engaging stuff? I do it in two ways. First, at the bottom of your Insights page (under the Overview tab), you have something called, “Pages to Watch.” You can pick pages that have a huge following and add them to your Pages to Watch list or sites with similar audiences. I try to pick ones that share similar content as me to follow because I know my readers will love it.

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Once you click on the pages you are watching, you can see the week’s top posts for each of those sites. Since I am typically one week later on the sharing (since I do this weekly), I schedule a share for the following week, allowing me to recirculate the same content, but after a little bit of a break between shares. These top posts are usually a gold mine of great stuff since this is what people are really loving.

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

The second thing I do, when scrolling through my personal feed, is I look for posts that my personal community is sharing. In the corner of that post, you can click on it and save the link. Just doing this at the bus stop gives me a good week of materials (rounded out with the pages I’m watching). You can then go to your Facebook homepage and click on the Saved button which will give you everything you have saved for the week. Done!

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Move Your Instagram Feed to Your Page

I began to realize that I got way more interaction on my personal page then I ever did on my site page. Let’s be honest, all the good stuff was going on my personal page though so why would anyone ever feel a connection to my page?

I switched where IG shared my pictures over to my Facebook page and this added enough personality to not make it only a giant place of funny shares, but that I’m there too. It breaks it up, adds my personal touch, and adds zero extra work to my day!

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Invite Them To Your Table

Did you know that you can invite people to like your page after they have enjoyed one of your posts?

Yup, you sure can!

When you go on your page, just open up who has liked your posts and you can send them an invitation to like your page. As you can see here, the ones that have already Liked it are grayed out and the ones that have already been invited are grayed out. That means you won’t spam your guests, but that you always have offered this invitation once. For more details on this, read this post

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from When a post goes viral (and if you know the secret formula to that, let me know!), you have a lot of new friends that you can invite without paying a dime for it and with minimal work.

Heck, you could pay your kids to do this for you.

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Keep Track of What is Working For You (And Not)

On your Insights page you can see your posts and how far they are reaching. Be sure to sort by reach or engagement to really get a good insight into what people are loving.  It helps to give me an idea of what people are sharing and what resonates with them.

I can give you three themes that will always resonate with them.

1. Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh.

2. Mom, you are good enough.

3. But when you feel like you aren’t, here’s some stuff that will help.

Isn’t that what moms all share?

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

Case in point- reaching almost 63,000 people this week. That’s some funny stuff, right? Wouldn’t you share this too?

PS- I’m the one on the right, I just look like the one on the left (meaning the apron, not the body).

One Bonus Point (if you feel ambitious)

Since your Facebook audience aren’t really seeing all that you are posting (particularly your personal page), consider starting a FB group to build community again! Not only are you finding your true audience and fans, you are able to share your posts directly to them as well as use that platform for affiliate marketing. In our group, for example, I spend the morning hunting for great Kindle deals that our bookworms will love and share one post in the morning.

Last month I sold over 300 Kindle books, primarily through this group. As someone striving to make smarter passive income choices, this feels authentic and helps keep my website going.

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Facebook Page from

What a happy day to reach a goal and I didn’t have to create more content to do it!


Don’t forget to give me a like- I’d really love you to join my table! Plus, you will save me the hassle of inviting you (wink, wink!).

There you have it- schedule shares out once a week, save the stuff your friends are sharing, invite them to your table, keep track of what’s working (and do more), and get a little personal.

What are some successful ways you have found to grow your Facebook audience?


Pin It

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

When I first began managing my household, I happened upon a home management binder that really worked for our family. The binder became our family Bible and each year I would order a new set of sheets to keep the same binder going for our family for the next year. Last year when I went to order my sheets, the company no longer existed and I felt lost without my trusty home management binder system. I talked with our amazingly talented craft contributor, Sarah Milne, to see if she could help me execute a binder with the same principles, but a fresh design that would make managing a home fun.  She created the most beautiful set of printables ever and I am so excited to share these with you today.

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

What Is a Home Management Binder?

When I say that a home management binder can be a Bible for a family, I really do mean that. A well-designed binder, which I really think we offer with these printables, helps you manage everything in your household in one place.  This binder is housed typically in a central location in your home and contains everything your family needs to have on-hand from your family calendar, your to-do list, important contact information that you want to have at a moment’s notice (particularly for someone who might babysit), the meal plan for the week, grocery lists, a price sheet, and all you need to run your family’s finances smoothly.

I recommend storing this binder  and then purchasing a set of pocketed dividers where you can tuck important information that you might need to refer to. I took a picture of my pockets for you and then realized that it is all pretty personal so you will have to take my word for it that this is where you put the good stuff. When school starts, in particular, you will find your mailbox filled with fliers for events, important forms that need to be filled out, appointment reminders, and invitations. Instead of piling them on a desk or tacking them on the fridge, use the pockets so you always know where to find these items when you need them. I also like to keep an extra pocket or two in the back for the randomness in my life- consider it another junk drawer, if you will.  I have also found that a good spot in the home for daily reference is in your family’s command center.

We have created header pages for each section and I do recommend printing these on heavy-duty cardstock so that they can hold up to the abuse of being referenced daily!

14 FREE Home Management Binder Printables

What is Included In Our Home Management Binder Packet?

First, I just want to say that this is the just the beginning. I plan to come up with more sheets that you can use for all of your home management needs and this will be an ongoing project for I want this to be useful to you so please, please let me know in the comments if there is anything you would like to see that we are missing in our packet. It will help us when we design the next round of sheets for you!

In our packet you will find:

Family Budget Pages

Grocery Price Sheet (for comparison shopping)

Grocery List Sheet

Menu Planner Sheet

Family Calendar

To-Do List

Contact Sheet

Header Pages for Each Section (to print on cardstock)

MomAdvice Newsletter


What is the Catch to These “Free” Printables?

Honestly, I paid a lot of money each year to update my binder with new sheets, but I didn’t want to charge for these.

We realize that there is so much happening on MomAdvice each week that it can be difficult to keep up with. I hired another designer to create a beautiful weekly newsletter for our readers that I would love for you to subscribe to. This email newsletter only is sent once a week to our readers (unless we have a special announcement/giveaway) and I promise to never, never spam you. In this newsletter, we feature everything that is happening for the week and this is where our subscribers can access the free printables and additional freebies that we offer ONLY TO NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS.  It is beautiful, simple, mobile-friendly, and fast to scroll through.  I promise, I will never send you junk. I know your time is valuable and so is mine- I am committed to a very useful newsletter.

Honestly though, I realized that we needed to offer some type of incentive to get you to join my newsletter and this is our thank you for letting me come in your inbox once a week.  That is the only catch with getting free printables from

If you are interested in receiving 14 free home management printables, just input your email below or in the sidebar and we will send you the link to your packet as our thank you for being a subscriber (look for it in the final welcome email). Subscribers will have access to our additional printables as they become available. Note: if you already subscribe to the Mom Advice Newsletter, be sure to look in your inbox for a special email that contains the link for your set of these printables! If you can’t seem to get the form to work with your browser, just look over to your right in the sidebar. You will see a handy form there too that works with all browsers! We appreciate you so much! Thank you! 



 This post contains affiliate links.



Pin It

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

It’s been a long time since I have shared some pictures of our home. I have been in the thick of organizing my craft room and today I wanted to share with you some ideas for organizing your own craft space in your home.

For my part on the Walmart craft team, they requested that I tackle a craft project. I made a special request that I could share with you today my organized craft space and see if I could find any fun additions to my space at their store and they agreed. So today instead of crafting it up, I am showing off what I have been up to in my space.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

Let’s start from the very beginning. Three years ago, this was our space that I envisioned turning into our office space. We have a tri-level home, now lovingly called a quad now that we finished this fourth level, and this was what we started with. This space was where we threw our stuff that we didn’t know what to deal with. We had to majorly declutter and we had to save enough cash to make the updates to our home. We were able to accomplish both (loan free!) and create the space I had been dreaming of.

I am starting with this picture to show you that maybe there is an area in your home that could be your special space and you just don’t know it. Maybe it just requires a fresh eye, a bit of decluttering, and a few smart craft solutions to carve a space just for you.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

Here is my craft and office space today. When I post these types of pictures, people ask me where I found certain things. Here are some of the things you will find in my space.

Floral Chairs- Found at a local Value City (no longer available-sadness)!

Green Side Table- A side table we owned, but spray painted & distressed

Owl Lamp & Burlap Lamp Shade-  Walmart

Record Table- Thrift Shop Find Stained & Painted

Swivel Metal Stool- Home Decorators

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece- Handmade

Everyday I’m Hustling Pillow- Michelle Dwight Designs

Record Frames- H&M

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

Crafting and organization do not go hand in hand for me.  I spent a good month getting this room organized and trying to figure out the best solutions for my space. Here are some of the solutions I found inexpensively at Walmart.

Glass Jars- I had all of my craft supplies tucked away in baskets. This meant I spent a lot of time digging through baskets and trying to figure out where I tucked all my crafting odds & ends. Glass jars truly helps me visualize what I have and where it is. I found the smaller jars for just $4.97 and my giant 2 gallon glass jar is the perfect home for my ribbon collection (priced at $9.97).

Clear Clipboards- As a craft blogger, I always have a running to-do list for my site and craft projects. I utilized this to-do list printable (previously featured in our DIY Homework stations) and mounted them on these clear clipboards ($3.88)  with 3M hooks ($3.67) on my wall. I also have my favorite Mead Wall Calendar I buy every year to keep track of when all my projects are due ($7.97).

Metal Bins- Over in the closet solutions, I found a metal tub that I could use to organize my knitting needles. When you start really building up your knitting needle collection, you may have four or more different sizes of the same size needle. I was constantly digging through baskets to find the right needles. I decided to use manilla envelopes and label them #0-15 and then put my needles for each size in these envelopes. This saves me tons of time hunting for the right needles and makes it easy to see what I might need to buy. I put all of these in this metal tub ($9.74) and it is on top of my newly organized craft cart.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

Two things we purchased to finish out my crafting space was a crafting table and a crafting cart that I could roll out into the middle of our office when I needed to do my crafting. We found this Martha Stewart Collapsible Crafting Table & Crafting Cart on Home Decorators. If you are struggling with a small space, this is a dream come true. You can fold down one side if your space is small or open it all the way out if you need a large surface to work on.

This space also doubles as an indoor photography studio when the weather isn’t cooperating. I have my photography backdrops stored in the gift wrap center and can really spread my work out, if I need to on this space.

I spent an entire weekend whittling down my craft supplies to what I truly needed in my craft cart. I now everything I need right at my fingertips. I had to keep reassuring myself that it was okay to part with some of my craft supplies. If it hadn’t been used in the last year, it was definitely something that could be donated to free up precious space in my craft cart.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from MomAdvice.comAs you can see, I can wheel them over to corners in our office so they don’t get in the way. I am so thankful for these smart solutions for our space. I am also thankful that I finally feel organized in this space.

Smart Solutions for Craft Room Organization from

And as a good old-fashioned reminder that all good things should be enjoyed in moderation, I found this old-fashioned closed sign over in the office supplies at Walmart ($1.97). I mounted a 3M clip upside down and hooked it on the back of my computer. This now offers an in-my-face reminder of how I should be spending my evenings.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my craft space! Feel free to ask me any questions and I promise to try to help!


Pin It

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,


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.


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!


Pin It

How To Be a Pinterest Superstar

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

It seems that everyone I know is crazy for Pinterest. In fact, my friends who may have never read a blog a day in their lives are now pinning fools.  From a business perspective, Pinterest is one of the best things that has ever happened to our website. Since starting to use it in April, we have had a steady growth of traffic averaging around 100,000 page views each month.  What is the secret to the traffic growth through Pinterest? I think it is a combination of many things that I have been working on and refining since I started using this tool for my site.

I wanted to share with you a few ideas for growing your web traffic using Pinterest and how to help your own site or blog grow. Anyone can be a Pinterest superstar, but you may need to make small changes in the way you blog to truly gain the traffic you desire.


Get Visual- For those that aren’t familiar with Pinterest, it is a basically a visual way to bookmark and categorize great things that you see on the web. Instead of a list of text bookmarks, it provides a bulletin board where you can visually see all the great projects, recipes, tips, and techniques all in one pretty space.

Since the bookmarks are visual, pictures are what get people pinning. If you have a wall of text and no pictures, no one will ever pin your content because they will have no images to grab. Of course, the prettier the picture, the more likely you will have pins and repins to your blog.  The best advice I can give you is to focus on developing your camera skills so that you can capture images that will capture the hearts of Pinterest users.

Next month I want to share with you some more photography tips, but feel free to browse our other photography tutorials that we offer on here for now.



Make Pinning Simple- Although I am not a huge fan of text on my photos, adding text into your pictures will make pinning from your site easier.

When a user grabs images from your site, they can add a few words describing why they are pinning that image. More often than not, people skip this step and just pin the image of the item. By adding text right into your pictures that describes the item and it helps that image to go a little bit further.  Perhaps this wreath picture would be fine on it’s own, but the Loopy Flower Valentine’s Day Yarn Wreath really lets the reader know that they are going to learn how to make it for the holidays.

Let me illustrate why text in pictures can be so important…


A picture of this Salted Caramel Mocha does not move me to repin this if the original pinner does not have a description. What is this? Why would I want to repin it?



A picture that clearly states that this is a Salted Caramel Mocha coffee drink? Heck ya! Let me repin that for you.



Source Yourself- Not sure what is being pinned on Pinterest from your site?  It is simple to see what your users are pinning on Pinterest.  I just go to to see the pins from my site. You can do the same thing by simply replacing the last part of that URL with your own web address.

What happens when you source yourself? You can see exactly what people love on your site and it helps to guide the content on your site in a direction that can help with your traffic grow. It was through seeing the pins from my own site that I could see what people wanted more of. When I witnessed a wall of coffee pins, for example, I knew that I should create more fun coffee drink creations. As I created more of the content our readers loved, I created more pins and, in turn, created more readers.

Make Archives Accessible & Visual- It always surprises and makes me happy when an old post starts gaining traction on Pinterest. I understand that my readers don’t have time to sift through eight years of content to find the gems. I don’t have time like that to devote to my own site so that is why it is important that you make those archives accessible and visual for your readers.

Try adding a plugin like Link Within or Outbrain that will create pictures with links at the end of your post guiding readers to dig deeper into the site. This will get people clicking and pinning into your site without the necessity of creating even more content. Make sure that you are checking Pinterest so that you can see what old posts are being dusted off and pinned.

My photography was terrible when I started the site and so I do cringe often when I see old pictures going up on Pinterest. If you have the time to switch the pictures to freshen them up, I encourage you to do that to attract more pins. Once again, getting familiar with your camera and your camera manual is one of the best things you can do for your blog and will pay you back over and over again if you invest the time in it.


Jump on What is Trending- I like to visit the Popular link on Pinterest to see what the most popular pins are on Pinterest and to help me brainstorm content for the site. Jot down the ideas and themes that you see are popular and try to create your own unique spin on popular topics.

When I saw Mustaches were trending on the Popular section, we developed Mustache printables & Mustache Mug Templates that our readers could use. Mustaches weren’t necessarily a topic that I had planned to explore, but it worked out for us when the mustache fun hit Pinterest and attracted new readers to the site.

I do think that Pinterest has impacted our content in a positive way. Niche blogs benefit greatly from Pinterest, but any blogger can find ways to weave in content that can attract Pinterest users while sticking to the core content themes of their blog. Don’t be afraid to get creative or step out of your usual content box.

Create a Unique Pinterest Board to Engage Readers- Our readers may remember our 100 Days of Summer Pinterest board that I created at the beginning of last summer. I wanted to create an activity board of 100 activities you could do with your kids to keep them busy over the summer. Instead of sitting at my computer all summer, I switched my posting schedule and used Instagram to document the activities we completed off of the list.

Creating a unique Pinterest Board that could attract new readers is a fun way to interact with your community and bring more traffic to your site. If you run a blog on organizing, for example, you could create a 30 day organizational challenge and pin ideas from other bloggers and weave in a few pins from your own site on how readers could take on a challenge like this.

Install a Pinterest Plugin To Your Site- If you want to make pinning even easier for your readers, consider adding a Pinterest plugin to your blog. We recently added the Pin It On Pinterest plugin to inspire you to pin from our site. With this plugin, I am able to select the pictures that I would like people to pin from the post and even fill in a description of the pin so our readers can simply click and have the pin ready for them, making it easier to spread your content quickly.

Pin Yourself- You can absolutely pin yourself on Pinterest and I encourage you to do that! I like to treat Pinterest just like I treat all of my other social media outlets I belong to.  I try to pin lots of other great bloggers and pin myself every ten pins or so. I don’t want people to think I am only about self-promotion so I concentrate on the things that I think those that follow my boards would really like from our site.

Pin Wisely- Just as I have shared about other aspects of my career, I treat Pinterest with the same professional manner I treat my Twitter stream and Facebook stream. While I may find certain things funny on Pinterest, I have to remember what my readers may think is funny might not be the same as my idea of funny. More importantly, working for other brands also keeps me conscious that I am pinning things that reflect well for my job with them. Hopefully one day Pinterest will have private boards where I can muck it up a bit, but for now I try to keep my pins family-friendly and brand-friendly.

Just Get Pinning- It’s time to get pinning and build your presence. Don’t be afraid to set up your own network of bloggers to help promote each other on Pinterest. Just like all things in blogging, the beauty is in the community that you surround yourself with and sharing the traffic love!

I hope you will follow me on Pinterest because I  love new friends.

I really, really do.

Let’s talk about using Pinterest for your business! What has helped you build your presence on Pinterest? What tips do you have for other bloggers? Do you have any questions for me about how I use Pinterest? Have any Pinterest tutorials you would like to share? Feel free to link them up below!

Pin It

Achieving Balance When Working From Home

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

Achieving Balance When Working From Home I knew that I always wanted to work from home because it would be the ideal situation for our family. I would be able to be home with my children and do all of the things that I could ever want with them, and I would also maintain a booming business in the process. I wanted the best of both worlds and never really thought about what it would take to achieve the balance of home and family life when both were so intertwined.

Working from home is an incredible blessing and is something that many people desire. Receiving a paycheck while being home with your children is ideal for many families, but how do you squeeze in time to work and also make time for your children, particularly with small children underfoot?

Here are some tips for achieving that balance in your life:

Make a Schedule and Stick to It

Just because you are not clocking into a workplace, does not mean that you don’t have the opportunity to create regular hours. Life does get in the way of this, but trying to set aside a specific block of time to work is ideal for you and for your children.  Set a timer for yourself and begin working during this time. When the timer beeps, it is time for you to turn away from the work you are doing and focus on the children. The children will be just as excited as you to hear the timer beep and will be more respectful of the time you need to get your work done.

Take advantage of any down times that you can. Do your children have a nap? Use their nap time to work. Do they have quiet time each day? Use this time to accomplish some tasks off of your list. Down times can also include time when dad can help with the children or when the children are tucked away in bed.

Sit down and write out an ideal schedule for your life and print it out and hang it somewhere visible for the whole family. Explain that these are your hours and that you need these hours to work so that you can continue being home with them. It will take some time for the family to adapt, but they will adapt. You will have a greater sense of accomplishment for the day and you will have more time for your family in the process.

Create a Kid-Friendly Office

Making your office child-friendly is very important, particularly when your children are small. It is important to incorporate them into your work environment and have fun things for them to do in your workspace.

In our office, for example, we have tons of art supplies and a small table and chairs for the children to sit at. While mommy is hard at work, the children can be “working” on their own projects. Other ways that I have included them in my workspace are a set of shelves for their own books, a special selection of toys, games, and a chair for them to sit on and talk to me. They are small additions to the office, but provide a welcoming place for them to visit with me while I work.

Conducting Business

It is hard to conduct business with children. The best way that I have found to do this is through email. I try to do the majority of my communications through email because there are no distracting noises on our end and I can do my replies at my leisure.

If emailing is not possible, suggest times during a child’s quiet time or during their naps so that you can have a time with the least amount of disturbance. Suggest a window of time to the person and make sure to specify your time zone.  I have had many an unfortunate conversation at the wrong time because I did not make this specification.

Just realize that it is Murphy’s Law that whatever time you pick, your child will choose an entirely different schedule for that day. I try to go with the flow and if there is a lot of noise on my end, I think it indicates to the other person that I am exactly what I say I am- a mom who is busy doing both roles at home. There will be the occasional person who is irritated, but more often than not, they say, “You really do operate your business out of your home!” If the noise begins to cause too much confusion, request a different time to chat and chalk it up to just another day of working from home!

Get Help When You Can

If you are having trouble with your workload, it might be a good idea to hire someone to help you.  There is no shame in asking for help and many times friends and family will feel proud that they can help you in achieving your goals.

Try and take advantage of the summer days and hire a mommy’s helper to take care of your children while you work in your office. Teenagers have more availability in the summer, but you will also have to work around their family vacation schedules and summer camps.

If you can’t afford to hire any help, check in with other people who have work-at-home businesses and see if you can trade babysitting with them. They are probably in the same exact predicament and would welcome the opportunity to trade with you.

Your significant other is also a great person to have help you during the evening and weekend hours. Explain to him the difficulties that you are having with time management and sit down together to tackle a plan of attack. Your spouse knows you better than anyone else and will know where your weaknesses are  versus your strengths.

Utilize Time-Saving Strategies

When you run a home business, you may still be responsible for the laundry, the dinner, and keeping up with the house. It is important to try and take advantage of ways to save time so that you can get these things done and still have time with your children and your business.

Slow cookers can be an invaluable way to save time when preparing a meal. Make sure to chop everything and throw it in the crock before going to bed and all you will have to do in the morning is turn your slow cooker on.

Laundry is better tackled one load at a time so each morning, hunt through your hampers and see if you have enough for a load. If you let the laundry pile up, you will feel overwhelmed and it will require more of your time.

Keeping up with the house is easier if you just take short bursts of time and try and tackle one room at a time. Set a timer and devote fifteen minutes to each room, concentrating on the rooms that will be most seen, especially if you are having a sitter come. It is easier to shut to door to your bedroom than it is to the family or living room that the children play in. Pick the rooms that need the attention the most and worry about the rest later!

What is the best time-saving strategy of all? Involve your family in helping you with the house. Give the children daily chores and make sure that they follow through on them. While teaching your children to do things around the house can be tedious in the beginning, the rewards will be worth it! Have your spouse and children help you so that less of that work falls on your shoulder. Remind them that the help that they offer you will give you all more opportunities to spend time together as a family.

However you decide to balance your work and family life, remember the original purpose for working at home…it was so that you could spend time with your family. If you find your business begins to take priority over your family time, it is time to reevaluate your life and your goals.

Selling Yourself: Self Promotion

Monday, July 11th, 2005

Beginning MomAdvice has been quite the journey for me and I never thought that it would have become a full-time job, but somehow that is exactly what it has become. I originally had started it to share with others my ideas on things and to teach others about how to avoid being scammed in the work-at-home business. I never expected that I would now be fielding calls, getting requests from others to pay me to advertise, to have people join my forum, or that I would begin writing for other sites, but that is exactly what happened.

I wish that I was a woman who had years and years of business behind me and that I could offer loads of wealthy information on how to begin your own business, but I am new to the scene and am just gaining my own spot in the work-at-home world.

With that in mind, I want to share with you what I have learned through my years of sales experience and starting my own new website.

Sell Yourself but Don’t Lose Your Friends

Ever have a friend who has started direct selling and suddenly your friendship becomes about their products and is no longer about their friendship? I know that I am not the only one out there who has become increasingly annoyed with friends who are always trying to push their products onto you so that they can survive in the sales world. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I am interested in buying things, but I think that you do walk a fine line in friendships when you began selling. With friend’s, I encourage you to take a less pushy approach. Offer to share with them a brochure and if they are interested, they will let you know. Don’t repeatedly continue to bother them or they will likely avoid you so that they don’t have to be subjected to this. There are less pushy ways of going about selling your business. For example, if you sell something that you think your friend would like, get it for them for their birthday. You can hope that they become so dependent on your product that they will continue ordering it from you and then you will still maintain your friendship. There are ways to share your business without losing your friendship, you just need to learn to keep the friendship first and the business second.

Love What You Sell but Not Too Much

When I was in college, I sold AVON products to help me financially during those starving college years. I had always admired the AVON products and thought that this would be a perfect thing for me to share with my girlfriends. Let’s just say that I probably could have made some money, but instead I fell into the trap. You know, the trap where you just have to have all of the products for yourself and what would have been proceeds from sales now becomes just fulfilling your own cosmetic fix. You have to exercise some real self-control when selling these types of products because you end up losing money rather than gaining it. If you really want to have all of their products, then set a goal for yourself of how much you need to make before you buy an item for yourself. I know it is terribly tempting especially when you are getting things for next to nothing, but you must learn to exercise some self-control if you want to succeed in your business. When you begin succeeding and building up loads of customers then that is the time to partake in the goods yourself.

Networking & Advertising

Networking is one of the most time-consuming parts of starting a work-at-home business. I spend hours upon hours a day on every single type of board imaginable trying to get our name out there. When you are first beginning a business, you may not have the funds to pay for someone to advertise your site for you, so you have to begin to think of more inventive ways of getting recognized. There are lots of different ways to do this; one is exchanging advertising with another company. This is usually referred to a link exchange or a banner exchange. One important thing to remember when exchanging links with someone is to make sure that their site is actually a good platform for your own. I also recommend that you not exchange links with sites that are in direct competition with the same audience. For example, I would not sell AVON products on a Mary Kay site because it would hurt both businesses to operate this way.

Another form of advertising is writing articles for other sites. There are many sites out there that accept articles and I submit my articles to a variety of different sites. Some require that your article appear on your own site, others require unique stories that are written only for their site, and others have no criteria. Whatever the criteria, always make sure that you have a very good byline that would attract those readers to your site. Within this byline provide information about your company/services and a web address where they can go for more information.

You can also advertise on different Yahoo groups and chat boards. It is important to know what the rules are for that group/board because you don’t want to be remembered for advertising when it is not allowed. Follow the board regulations and if you have questions about if a post would be appropriate or not, email the moderator or site administrator to find out. One way that you can advertise is just by having your web address and a catchy phrase in your signature line. For example, my signature is:

“Being a mom is more than a title…”

You can also customize your signature lines to reflect the topic to get a more targeted audience to come to your site. It can change depending on the topic, but make sure that what you are saying you offer really is offered. Use words that draw people, but don’t make your tagline so lengthy that people decide not to read it at all. I have seen people on the boards with these enormous signature lines and sixteen links underneath their name, and you know what I do? I don’t click on it because it annoyed me that their signature took up that much space and because I don’t have time to click on sixteen links.

If you do have the funds to advertise then you need to really research the business and ask the right questions about the company before advertising. When choosing an advertiser, you want to make sure that your product fits well with their site. There really is no point in advertising if you don’t have the right target audience. I also chose places that will only accept one representative from a company because that is a better platform for me to sell my business. If there are sixty-five Pampered Chef advertisements on one site, chances are that my site is not going to be clicked as often. I always request that this is mandatory with every site that I advertise with- it is good business to handle things this way because it is more profitable for me as the advertiser.

Networking boards that are solely devoted towards networking are a great place to learn more about where to advertise and often these people that you network with will become your biggest fans. No one can celebrate more with you your successes than someone who is struggling to start their own business themselves. There is much to be gained by these friendships and you never know if one of them will become a great customer for you and benefit your own business. Always remember that networking works both ways though. Do not expect to be on the receiving end, but never offer anything back. It is customary, just as it is in friendships, to be giving too so do what you can, when you can. Offer advice and share your own knowledge so that you are a beneficial partner to network with.

Don’t Give Up

I am no motivational speaker, but I think it is important to never give up. Set goals for yourself and do your very best to achieve them. Maybe your goal is to pay off a car, go on a vacation, or just be able to go out to dinner once a week. Whatever your goal is, make sure that it is an attainable one. Start small and build up your goals as you go along. I find such a sense of accomplishment when I can check a goal off on my list and I know you will feel the same when you have accomplished one of your own “reasonable goals.” Another way you can help achieve these goals is by finding one person in your life who you can share your goals with. Doing this can hold you even more accountable for achieving these goals and can help you strive to reach each and every one of them.

I wish you much success in your endeavors as an entrepreneur and I hope that your success leads to many great things in your life.

Organizing the Home Office

Thursday, June 24th, 2004

This is the hardest place in our house to keep up with because despite the fact that we spend hours and hours in this room, it just never makes the top of the priority list. When our office is in disarray I feel as though my life is in disarray because this is where I do my work.

Now let’s say, for example, that you went to go purchase an insurance policy in an office and you walked into a tornado of paperwork laying all over the floor in piles. Would you want to purchase a policy from this office? My guess would be that you would run out and take your business elsewhere. If you have trouble finding what is underneath all the papers on your desk, it is time to make this a place that you can be proud of and one that (if you had clients) they would want to retain their business with you.

Here are a few facts that you might not be aware of. By seeing these facts, I am sickened by how much of my life has been wasted due to my disinterest in keeping our home office organized.


  • The average disorganized person has 3,000 documents at home.
  • Clutter in the average home creates 40% more housework.
  • Americans waste one year of life looking for lost objects.
  • It can take from three hours to three days to organize a home office.

When I began researching this topic most of the web sites I looked to all had the same idea which was to file your papers. There are many ways you can go about doing this, but whatever your method, you want to make sure that it is simple to follow and easy to remember. Here are a few ideas for filing those piles of papers on your floor.

Assess the Damage:

Just how big are these piles you are working with? You want to make sure that you have enough space in your filing cabinet to keep all of these papers. Before you think about purchasing this, you need to make a list of the things you will need in order to make your home office a more livable space. A few things that you will want to have on your list would be filing folders, a few boxes for storing things that do not need to be kept in your office, a few expandable files, and a paper shredder for shredding papers that have confidential information on them.

Reading, Trashing, and Organizing:

It is time to whittle through these enormous piles. Bring in your recycle bin and have a box ready to put papers in that need to be shredded. Read all of the papers carefully and make sure that you are not tossing anything that is of importance to you. There is no need to hang onto every single phone bill you have gotten in the past year unless you use these for tax reporting purposes. Once your next statement has arrived from the phone company and you see that they have credited your account you can toss the previous months bill.

One way of tracking your bills is to keep three separate expandable folders. I label these: Receipts, ATM withdrawals/deposits, and Paid Bills. There is no need for me to hang on to these forever, but I do keep them for a year just for my own comfort. I often need to return things and knowing that my receipts are in one particular place makes hunting for these a lot easier for me. Many professional home organizers would say that there is no need for me to hang on to these things, but if it brings me comfort and doesn’t take up too much space, then I think that this is the system that works for me.

If you have receipts that you are hanging onto because there is a warranty on the product or appliance, be sure to attach the receipt to your user manual so that you have both the manual and the receipt together if you ever need to cash in onto the warranty.

Recycle the magazines that you are hanging onto and pull out just the articles that are of importance to you. You can have a separate expandable file for these articles using the alphabetized expandable file. You can use “C” for cooking, “G” for gardening, “B” for baby and so on. By just pulling out the articles of importance you will save a lot of space in your home.

If you keep a stack of take-out menus for places you frequently eat at- designate a place for these. You can attach these with a binder clip in the front of your phone book so that they are easily accessible or if you keep a lot of these you could use a folder to keep all of them in and put them near the phone book. That should eliminate another pile.

For everything else, create folders for each grouping. If you have file folders already in your box/cabinet, take the time to go through these and weed out all of those old papers. There is no need to overload your folders with out of date information so make sure you recycle/shred all of this old information. Here are some folders that we have in our filing cabinet: Bank Statements, Taxes (be sure to put the year on the label), Medical/Dental, Utilities, Pet Information, Furniture Receipts, Appliances, Auto, Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Auto Insurance, Student Loans, Credit Cards, and User Manuals/Guides. By looking through your own piles you will know what folders you personally need to create to organize these into appropriate folders. Make sure that you do NOT have a miscellaneous folder because that is way too broad and is yet another thing you will need to weed through when trying to find a particular document. Anything worth keeping should have a home.

Once you have everything categorized and papers shredded you will be able to see just how many organizers you are going to need. By waiting until the end of your weeding you have a much clearer idea of what you need and end up spending less money. Look for attractive wicker baskets for storing current magazines, a filing cabinet/box for your papers, expandable organizers for your magazine articles/bill folders, and look for shelving to store office supplies. Use your walls to hang more shelving for books- this is wasted space for where things can be organized.


Once you have everything organized and in its respective home you need to make sure you maintain this by keeping up with the papers instead of allowing them to pile up again. When you get your mail, sort it over a recycle bin and immediately toss out the trash and junk mail so that you don’t end up spending three hours sorting through it later. Then head straight to your filing cabinet and make sure that you file the rest of the items right away. By taking these three minutes a day to do this, you will save yourself a lot of time in the end. Make a promise to yourself that you will keep up with this and reap the rewards for not wasting hours of your day looking for important documents, and then pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Cheers!

More ideas for organizing:

Places to look for kitchen organizers:

Recommended Reading:

Home Comforts : The Art and Science of Keeping House
by Cherly Mendelson, Harry Bates
To me, this truly is the Bible for all the folk’s out there who aspire to be more organized.

Organizing from the Inside Out
by Julie Morgenstern
This woman has been featured on Oprah as a goddess for home organization. Reading her book will help you discover what type of organizer you are and how to tackle your trouble spots. Be amazed at the fantastic advice she offers.

Organizing for Dummies
by Eileen Roth and Elizabeth Miles
The title says it all. It is for those of us who are just starting on the road to organization.

Work at Home Ideas

Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

Start a Business

Right now the opportunities are endless for creating unique work-at-home positions along with some tried and true ideas for selling established products, hosting parties, or selling online.

Childcare Services

Since you are already at home with your own children, you could offer childcare for others in your area. Take out an advertisement in your local newspaper or offer to your friends, folks in your playgroup, or at your church. Make sure that you look into your state laws on how many children you can have in your care without being licensed. This is an especially profitable thing to offer around the holidays when parent’s need to get out to do a little Christmas shopping. They will be happy to know that their child is safe with an experienced mother and you can make a little extra cash when you probably need it the most.


If cooking is your strong point, then maybe doing some baking or catering on the side might be a good option for you. They offer wonderful classes on cake decoration, candy making, and other baking courses for a relatively low fee at many of your local craft stores. Check into these and see if you can acquire a new skill. As mentioned under childcare services you will need to check into your local laws for what you can do within your own kitchen. If you are required to meet certain commercial kitchen standards, you could always go to the person’s home to prepare the baked goods, meals, or whatever type of food you might be offering.


This is a very hot and exciting time for people who are in the scrapbooking business. There are so many people who are enthralled with the hobby, but few who actually have the time to do it. You could start a business offering your expertise in scrapbooking to create the scrapbook of their dreams. Many people who do not have the time would pay for someone to put these together for them. They make wonderful anniversary, birthday, and wedding gifts as well. You would need to pay for start-up costs, but with enough people interested you could recover these costs quickly.

Errand Services

You have to run errands yourself, right? Might as well see if someone else might need errand services as well. Many elderly people or those without vehicles would benefit from these types of services and you could earn a little money doing what you were planning to do anyway.


Do you make beautiful wreaths? Are you creative with making holiday ornaments, gifts, or knick knacks? Maybe you could earn money selling these at craft shows, garage sales, or to friends/relatives.

Mystery Shop

Be sure to check out my mystery shopping section for more information. This is where you are sent out by a company to different shops in your location and you are responsible for completing a survey on behalf of the company. The mystery is that no one knows that you are working for a company; therefore they act as they normally would with their regular customers. Upon completing the survey the company either reimburses you for a purchase made or you receive a cash payment for your services. These can range from five bucks on up depending on the lengthiness of the survey and the effort that is involved. I have been doing mystery shopping for the past several months and have been very successful at it. It is important to know that you DO NOT have to pay anyone to become a mystery shopper- you do not need an e-book to explain how to do it and you do not necessarily need to be a member to any organization in order to do it.

Gift Baskets

There are many inexpensive ways to create beautiful gift baskets and many people pay top dollar to have gifts put together for them. You can find beautiful vintage baskets at garage sales and antique stores. Using these baskets you can fill them with gifts that all center around the same theme. For example, center a bridal shower gift all around pampering the bride. Fill the basket with pretty bath soaps, a cooling eye mask, pretty nail polishes, lotion, and a pretty loofah scrubber. Contact local businesses around the holidays and ask if they need help in creating unique gifts for their employees. Many higher ups don’t have time to devote towards making unique gifts, but they are looking for something special for their employees and your basket could be the ticket.

Selling on eBay

This is a very hot time for selling on eBay, and even Oprah is doing it for her charity. As the old saying goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” Begin by checking out books at the library on selling on eBay. Also think about a specific type of thing you might like to focus your selling on- fine china, old maps, dolls, or wherever your interest may lie. It is easier to begin with a passion you have already had because you won’t have to start from scratch with your knowledge. Once you have picked your item start watching the listings on eBay. I would suggest starting small when you are first starting out. The worst thing in the world would be to buy something at a huge cost, try to resell it, and then no one have an interest in your item. There are many great books that you can get at your local library that will provide the beginning tools you need to start on this business venture. People make incredible amounts on eBay- why can’t you?

Join a Business

Along with creating your own business, you could begin taking part in a business that has already been established. This can really work to your advantage because the products that you will be selling or the parties you will be hosting will already be recognized by individuals. Immediately an individual can tell you whether or not they like certain products or if they are too overpriced. The problem you run into is that people already have these preconceived notions and the market is very saturated with lots of people selling the same thing. Every market is competitive though, but with the right mindset and drive you can make your dreams possible in any of these home businesses.


Ding-Dong, Avon calling. See, all I said was the word and you are already thinking about a positive or a negative experience that you have had with the company. Let me begin by saying that Avon sells in over a hundred countries and they have over three million sale representatives all over the world. They are the world’s leading direct seller of beauty products and their line doesn’t stop at just make-up. Avon sells everything from jewelry to clothing to children’s toys- there really isn’t anything that you won’t find in an Avon catalog. Your income is determined by how much money in products you sell and it is completely commissioned based. The beauty of Avon, in my opinion, is that there really is no huge investment other than your time. You can begin selling Avon with only a ten dollar investment. These ten dollars get you started with your first two campaigns of catalogs, a training manual, and a bag full of goodies which include samples for customers, ordering booklets, and information on embarking on your career in Avon. If you are interested in selling Avon click here and I can get you started or answer any questions you might have.

Mary Kay

This is also one of the largest direct sellers of beauty products. Mary Kay offers a large line of face care products and make-up along with health supplements. Mary Kay was founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash. Consultants sell products by organizing home parties, selling door to door, and selling through their internet Mary Kay approved web sites. The starter costs for this company is a bit higher in that you need to invest a hundred dollars to get your starter kit. This kit includes all the sales materials and products you would need in order to get started. As an Independent Consultant you are also eligible for a fifty percent discount on your products. The company offers wonderful incentives to its top sellers including the ever famous pink Cadillac for the company high-rollers. If you are interested in selling Mary Kay products please call 800.MARY.KAY for more information on how to get started.

Pampered Chef

Pampered Chef is a direct seller of guaranteed, professional-quality kitchen tools and pantry items. These include cookware, preparations tools and gadgets like ice shavers and apple corers. The company was founded in 1980 by Doris Christopher and the majority of the money made by the company is made through the Kitchen Shows which are hosted by the Pampered Chef consultants. There are many different sizes of starter kits you can obtain to being as a consultant and there is a price to fit the range of each individual. The Pampered Chef’s Kitchen Consultants host shows or parties in homes to sell products. The company provides various incentives to their consultants including jewelry and vacation rewards for good sales. Call 800.266.5562 if you are interested in obtaining more information about Pampered Chef.

Southern Living

Southern Living magazine has been around for decades, but the latest and greatest addition to the Southern Living family is their home parties where you can buy and sell products that are featured in the Southern Living magazine. The products include food products, cookbooks, pottery, and other accessories. As a Southern Living at Home consultant, you will sell products primarily through home parties and catalog distribution. Southern Living at Home offers a basic starter kit, which includes business supplies and 20 products, for an investment of $199, plus sales tax. Consultants get a commission of 25 percent on each product sold and can buy company merchandise at a 25 to 40 percent discount. Most products in the Southern Living at Home catalog range in price from $7 to $100. The company also provides incentives such as free merchandise and annual trips. To get information in the mail, send a $10 check to receive the Fast Track Opportunity Pack (includes an informational video, application form, product previews and a current catalog) to:

Southern Living at Home
Fast Track Opportunity Pack Request
P.O. Box 830951
Birmingham, Alabama 35283-0951