Two Tips that Save the Day During Christmas Break!

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Woohooo Christmas Break is here! No alarm clocks, no homework, pjs all day, Christmas activities and preparations for the big day and much more! This is my favorite time of year! That’s the exciting stuff about having the kids home for two and a half weeks. But with the good, comes the challenges as well. The “Mommy I’m bored, there’s nothing to do’s” and the “Mommy, she hit me” and us moms wanting to pull our hair out…all that drama. My kids are seven and almost ten and that is full force in my house at times. It can be incredibly stressful especially when I’m trying to work my business at home. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m the boss and I’m in control of how this day will go. The truth is all you have to do is have a plan and keep the kids busy. It won’t completely solve every single issue for the day. However, it will make things a lot easier and everyone will be happy and enjoy their day. After all, that is why we’re working at home in the first place…to create a better and happier life for our families!! Here are a couple things that will help your day working at home with the kids home run a little smoother:
  • Schedule what time(s) you will work - When you’re working on building a successful home business, you must touch your business every single day, no matter what time of year it is. Consistency is GOLD and will make or break you. It creates momentum and will prevent you from getting rusty also. Schedule a few blocks of time throughout the day that you will give the kids an activity to keep them occupied and you can focus on your business. For example, right now I am cuddled up on the sofa with my kids and they are watching A Christmas Carol while I work on this post. Everyone is happy and mommy is being productive.
  • Schedule what time(s) you will play - Yes, you must touch your business every single day to become a successful work at home mom. But you also have to remember what you are working for. Set aside time throughout the day that is just to play with the kids. After this block of time working this morning, we are going to go Christmas shopping for a few last minute gifts. Then we will come home, I will work a little while they are having lunch then we will go outside and play. This keeps everyone happy.

For ideas on activities to help keep your kids busy and having fun, check out my previous post 10 Things for Kids to Do While Mom is Working.

Scheduling your time will help out tremendously. Don’t just give up on your business during the Christmas weeks. Even if it is a little slow, you are still building a foundation for the months to come. In the home based business industry, one of our busiest times of year is the first couple months of the year. People are looking to make a positive change in their lives, they want to get out of debt, start a new career, etc. Working in December is THE perfect time to get ready for that by talking with people and building your pipeline. That way when January comes, you will have people coming back to you ready to rock and roll. You want to take advantage of that!

My best piece of advice for managing it all is to always be where you are. If it’s time to play with the kids, focus on them 100%. Don’t be thinking about what you should be doing in your business and vice versa. That will help you to do your very best at whatever it is you are working on at that very moment! You can build your business AND create beautiful memories with your children this holiday season!

Wishing you a VERY happy and blessed Christmas break!!

How I Got 400 New Fans on My Facebook Page For Free, in Five Days!

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I have been dying to share this with you guys for days! Every time I find something that works beautifully for me in my home business, I want to shout it from the rooftop to help EVERY single WAHM I know reach greater heights of success in their business! After all, we are all in this together and by sharing, we are paying it forward and helping many reach their dream of being a work at home mom. This is a movement guys…jump on the bus and be a part of something incredible! No more bosses, no more rat race, no more daycares…that’s a beautiful thing!

SO, how I got 400 new fans on my Facebook fan page (FOR FREE!) in just five days…

I was scrolling through Facebook last Friday and ran across a fan page called Addicted to Networking. It definitely peaked my curiosity so I “Liked” the page and discovered an amazing tool to help increase my fans on my fan page. Addicted to Networking is a networking community dedicated to helping people build their fan pages. They have events called Like Ladders. When they announce a new like ladder through a status update, you comment with tag to your fan page. A tag is easy to create, you simply enter the @ symbol and then begin to type the name of your fan page. You will notice that once you start typing in your fan page name, a drop down menu will pop up and you just select your page. That creates a blue link also known as a tag. Then you travel up the ladder of comments and like the pages of the other people that have posted their fan pages. And most importantly, you give a shout out to Addicted to Networking on your page which they very much deserve. It is teamwork at it’s best and whoever thought of it is pure genius! After all, many people trying to build fan pages don’t start out with a big network of people and building their fan page can be difficult. This certainly helps!

After falling deeply in love with this concept, I went on a mission to find other pages just like it and ran across quite a few (and I’m sure there are many more out there I haven’t discovered yet as I’ve only been doing this for five days). Here are the others I have found:

Like 2 Like
You Got Fans 2020
Fan Page Promote
Promote My Fan Page
I Dream of Fans

If you are on a mission to build your fan page…RUN, don’t walk, over to those pages, click the “Like” button and join in on the fun of building your fan pages. I have not only increased my fans by over 400 but I have connected with some really amazing people in the process. What I’ve seen with this method is a whole lot of teamwork going on. It’s really awesome, positive energy and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

Finally, if I haven’t “Liked” your fan page(s) yet, please post them on my wall at TheSavvyWAHMom. I would absolutely love to be a part of helping you build your page!

Many blessings,

Quick Tip: The Best Time of Day to Communicate with your Facebook Network

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I have been an avid Facebook user for quite some time and I continue to be incredibly impressed by this Social Media Machine.  750 Million users (and growing everyday) and more traffic than internet giants like Google…that is amazing!  More than half of those active users log in everyday to stay connected with their friends, customers and business partners.  With that many users jumping on Facebook daily, as home business owners and bloggers trying to connect with your social network, it’s crucial to know how and when to get your messages out there for people to see.
We live in a very fast paced, busy world.  Some people only jump on Facebook for minutes a day to check their messages and their news feed and many scroll through so fast that they miss stuff.  Some only communicate with Facebook through their smartphones for most of the week not allowing them as much convenience to click on links and check out what you are offering. Social networking is all about repetition. You won’t get much result, if any, if you only post your offers, specials, announcements, blog posts, etc. only once. Post them a couple times a week at different times in the day/week. Then you will start to see some results over time. There is a pscyhology to marketing, studies show that people have to see something at least three times before they actually SEE it.
Also, knowing what times of the day have the most traffic is essential in helping your posts have more visibility.

Studies have shown that the top three times of the day with the most users logged in to Facebook tend to be on weekdays at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST.  Apparently, the biggest spike occurs at 3:00 p.m. EST on weekdays.  Also, the first fifteen minutes of each hour see the highest numbers which is likely due to people taking their breaks at work at the beginning of an hour versus the latter part of the hour.  And one last fun fact – fans are less active on Sunday versus any other day of the week.  I tested this out with my friend list and sure enough, I had the most friends online during those periods. Interesting stuff, huh?

Posting at other times of the day is fine too.  If you’ve built up your fan base/friends list big enough, you will always have people online to view your messages.  However, wouldn’t you rather post during a time where double or triple the amount of people will be more likely to see it??  Timing is everything!  Some food for thought:)

Happy Networking!

How to Get Out of Your Funk!

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I’ve been noticing lately by the stream of negative and discouraged posts on Facebook, that a lot of the people in my life are in a funk! This does not sit well with me as you all mean a lot to me and I want so much more for you!! So a little advice for you today…

You have to have an attitude of gratitude! I say this to my kids from time to time when life’s challenges come up and they get down on themselves or discouraged about a situation that arises. And my little guy, who is in second grade, will say all proud “Mommy, attitude and gratitude rhyme!” It’s no wonder the words rhyme as they go together hand and hand because when you have a grateful heart, you will have no choice but to have a positive attitude!   

People ask me all the time “How do you stay so happy and positive, Kristie?” Well, I certainly do have my down moments, as we all do, but for the most part I remain in a positive, happy state. It’s a big part of who I am, what I stand for and who I will become. I do this by always focusing on what I am grateful for…everyday! It is impossible to feel down when that is your focus.  

A little skeptical? I have a little mind exercise for you today. Place yourself in a setting where you can really reflect on everything you have to be grateful for. It can be sitting on your back porch enjoying the cool morning air, listening to the birds chirp, enjoying a cup of coffee or tea, just sitting with your eyes closed thinking about all the things in your life that you have to be grateful for. Just breathe…in and out….and make a mental list of positives. 

Or if you’re in more of a get up and go kind of mood, put that iPod on and start walking or running. I do this many times a week. I have my iPod loaded with songs that really make me feel blessed and help me to reflect on all the good stuff in my life. A few songs off the top of my head that I have on there, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, “Anyway” by Martina McBride, “Live High” by Jason Mraz and the list goes on. I cannot come home from that walk without feeling energized, rejuvenated and most importantly…grateful!

Whichever setting you choose doesn’t matter. Just put yourself there on a daily basis and watch your attitude transform and your life change for the better! No matter what situation you’re in, you have a lot to feel grateful for. The first being that you get to be here today to read this. With just this moment, be grateful you can read, that you have your sight, that you are breathing, that you woke up today…you have so many things to be grateful for, you just have to recognize them.

Sometimes when I do this exercise, I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude that it brings tears to my eyes. Why are so many of us focusing on the bad when there is so much good?

Yes, this world has gone crazy, there is so much negative out there trying to drag us down. BUT, you have a choice!! Are you going to let it drag you down? Or are you going to fight it and BE the change you want to see in the world? Seems like a simple choice. But I tell you, it’s MUCH easier to fall victim to the negativity. That’s why there is much more of that out there in the world. The staying positive and being the change takes work!! It will not come easily, you will have to work at it everyday. The old saying we all know…anything in life worth having, takes work. But you can do it…and it’s worth it:)

Grateful for this day!

Things I’ve Learned on My Journey to Success at Home

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You WILL fall down and hit obstacles in your home business…
   BUT you WILL have team members that care about you and will help pick you up!!

You WILL have MANY people that do not want to join your team or buy your products/services…
   BUT you WILL find MANY that will say yes and will be lifelong business partners and friends!!

You WILL have marketing strategies that will fail or stop producing…
   BUT you WILL find that one ad that will produce incredibly and will help build your business to the next level!!

You WILL have people close to you that will doubt you and think you’re a dreamer and crazy for doing “one of those work at home things.”
   BUT you WILL have a WHOLE tribe of team members and leaders to help you prove them wrong!!

You WILL get discouraged that your business isn’t growing fast enough…
   BUT you WILL reach the top of that hump and start moving at an amazing speed, just like a roller coaster!!

You WILL get hung up on when you call a prospect…
   BUT you WILL have MANY that will be excited to hear from you!!

You WILL have people rudely ask you to remove them from your email list…
   BUT you WILL have people that will respond and enroll and thank you over and over again for blessing their lives and remembering them!!

You WILL have team members quit…
   BUT you WILL have MANY that will stay and not only pay you for the rest of your life but will become dear friends!!

You WILL get tired and wonder if it’s all worth it…
   BUT you WILL remember that working at home for a few years for yourself versus working at a job for 40 years is your driving force!!

You WILL doubt yourself and your ability to reach success…
   BUT you WILL remember your WHY and keep pressing forward!!

You WILL feel guilty about not spending as much time with your family as you’d like while you’re building…  
   BUT you WILL remember that you’re doing all of this for THEM and it’s only temporary!!

For every negative that you experience, there is a positive to get you back on track. Your home business is a journey and there will be MANY emotions involved. You’ll experience the good and the bad. But that’s what makes it great! It allows us to reach inside of ourselves, toughen up and GROW! Let’s talk about perspective…you know, that glass of water, will you focus on it being half empty, or half full?? It’s your choice and an extremely important one. So reflect on it, who do you want to be? Someone who looks for the good stuff or someone that dwells on the negative and sets themselves up for destruction. Choice seems easy, huh? Well, the choice IS easy! Following through is the tough part. Get your support system in place, your team, your mentors, industry trainers and turn to them when you need them! That’s what they’re there for!!!

Focusing on the good stuff,

Monday Mindset Check!

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Hello Savvy WAHMs!!!I hope you are already having a VERY productive and beautiful Monday!!

How is your mindset today? Something that has always helped keep me in the right mindset to work my business is constantly working on personal development. We can have all the skills in the world, but if our mind isn’t in the right place, we’re not going to reach long term success….period.

I set aside a minimum of 30 minutes per day to put something good IN! Right now I am currently working on reading “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins. I read a chapter a day and I am absolutely LOVING it!!! Here is a part that I read this morning that I want to share with you:

One of the most important decisions you can make to ensure your long term success is to decide to use whatever life gives you in the moment. The truth of the matter is that there’s nothing you can’t accomplish if:1. You clearly decide what it is that you’re absolutely committed to achieving.

2. You are willing to take massive action.

3. You notice what’s working, or not, and

4. You continue to change your approach until you achieve what you want, using whatever life gives you along the way.

“We will either find a way, or make one.” ~Hannibal

What type of personal development are you working on right now?

Many blessings,

5 Ways to Stay Focused While Building Your Home Business

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One of the most common problems working from home is how to manage our time effectively. What most fail to do is to manage their time well, so they can become more productive and achieve more in less time. BUT, if you put a time management system in place you can get more accomplished in a day and can also help to reduce personal stress and feeling overwhelmed, where instead you will have better focus and can be in control.

There are many people that start their home business while they are working a job outside of the home….I was one of them. And while it may seem like you don’t have “time”, you really do. No matter what your schedule is, whether you’re a single mom with kids, going to college at night, working two jobs…you can MAKE time for your home business.  We tend to MAKE time for what’s important to us. It’s all about prioritizing and creating a plan and schedule. Instead of watching TV in the evening, make that small sacrifice to turn the TV OFF and do something that will help improve the quality of your life and your future…which is working your business. 

When I was at my job, I literally worked my business in the cracks of my life. If I had a spare 15 minutes in the morning, I would make a prospecting call. If I was sitting at my desk, I would listen to recorded training calls on my headphones, If I was sitting in traffic, I would pop in a personal development CD. If I was waiting anywhere, doctors office, getting oil changed, I would read books on personal development. I would get up and hour early and stay up an hour late to place ads, respond to emails. Whatever it took to GET IT DONE!  I knew that making sacrifices would eventually payoff and I would be able to come home full time to my kids!  I knew it was only temporary!

There are also many who are already home full time when they start their journey of working at home.  And while we all LOVE the freedom and flexibility of working from home, sometimes the distractions can drive us crazy! Between the kids, the dog, the neighbors, the garbage truck and the TV, we can sometimes find ourselves putting our business on the back burner!

First of all, relax! You’re not the only one to face this problem. Especially for people accustomed to working for a big company with bosses, meetings and deadlines, it can be difficult to adjust to an environment where you have complete and total freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it. In reality, of course, that freedom is only an illusion. The truth is that you still need to feed your family and pay your bills. That’s why it’s essential to find a way to minimize the distractions that keep you from accomplishing these important goals.
So, here are five of my favorite ways to stay focused in my home office:
1. Create a to-do list. It’s important to jot down your goals for the day, week and month. Not only will you get more done, but you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment every time you check off a task on your to-do list. Prioritize your to do list. Put the in number order, or put stars next to the most important things, highlight, whatever works for you. You can list the “have to get dones” and the “like to get dones”.When you’re working on to do list, do one thing at a time. It will increase your concentration and you will be more effective. Your value will increase and your checks will grow! So focus on what you’re doing. Don’t think about everything else you need to be doing. God knows I’ve been guilty of that. When I’m doing chores, I’m thinking I should be working, when I’m working, I’m thinking about the chores that need to get done. Schedule your time, create blocks of time that are dedicated to only completing the task at hand. So that you don’t feel guilty.

2. Schedule your time. By the time you’ve made yourself a cup of coffee, checked your e-mail, returned some calls and socialized on Facebook, it’s often time for lunch. That’s why it’s important to develop a daily schedule to organize your time. If you’re a morning person, for example, you may want to hit the phones first thing in the morning and start calling potential business. For me, I do my personal development before the kids get up for school, always starts the day off in a positive way. After I take them to school, I return emails and calls to my team members and from 12:00 -2:00 I make prospecting calls no matter what. And I stick to that schedule always! How you structure your schedule doesn’t matter as long as it works for you!When you are setting this schedule you want to account for time you’ll spend speaking to potential business, for training calls, for your team members, family and personal time. When you don’t have a schedule, it is easy to get overwhelmed. What do I need to do? What do I do first? It’s very easy to get to the end of the day and not truly get anything done. The fact is, you cannot be productive when you are overwhelmed. It’s hard to implement your passion when you are in that state of mind.
3. Shut the door. This may sound obvious, but it’s hard to screen out distractions when your spouse, kids, pets and neighbors can walk into your home office any time and strike up a conversation. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up shop in a den or spare bedroom that has a door that you can close when you need to make an important phone call or concentrate on your work. If that’s not possible, explain to your family that there are certain hours during the day when you will be working and ask them to respect your boundaries. (Of course, that’s easier said than done and make take them a little time to adjust to it and take you seriously but keep telling them!) One problem I have faced is my family and friends thinking that since I “work from home” that I am just sitting at home and have tons of spare time to “hang out.” I would remind them over and over again that “yes, i do have flexibility to do things here and there WITH notice.” However, for the majority of the time, I am working and building a business just like someone who works outside of the home and I take this very seriously. It took them a while to respect it and take me seriously but now they do.
4. Ask your Spouse or family member to watch your kids. This is GREAT when you schedule your spouse or a family member to watch the kids so you can get some work done without distractions.  You can also talk with some of the other moms at the school to see if they want to swap out some play days!You can have her kids over and then on another day send your kids over there so you can get some REAL good work in.
5. Multi -Task. Understand that when you are working from home and you are speaking to someone else who wants to work from home it’s good that you can walk around your home while you are picking up toys and things.
I’ve cleaned my whole house while talking to prospects!When my mentor called me to enroll me, she mentioned that she was at home walking around picking up toys and making the kids mac and cheese! I loved that! It’s okay to say and do that because THEY want to work from home and IF they hear your kids in the background you can use that to your advantage. I love to incorporate my kids into my presentation if they are around. And, some people like to purchase a headset to help with this or some are comfortable just carrying the phone around the old fashioned way like me. 

Take time every morning to decide how you want to spend your day.  Make your to-do list, prioritize and most importantly, stick to the plan.

We know this is what works, yet we don’t always implement it, why?  Because we’re overwhelmed and we haven’t taken the time to plan our day. If you can’t plan your day, how can you plan your life?

Should You Work Your Home Business During the Summer?

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School is out, the kids are home, moms are busy! But that doesn’t mean that our home business stops. People still need what we’re offering and people still need to earn an income, including ourselves. So the show must go on. It may be a challenge but it is absolutely NOT impossible!I have a seven and a ten year old and they just started summer break last week. It’s been exciting to say the least. But I’m still working and getting them back into the swing of “Mommy works from home.” Although things are hectic and not as quiet as it is when they are in school, I still always excel in my business during the summers. Actually when I go back and look at each summer of my business since 2006, they have been my most productive and successful months!In the summer of 2006, I was fairly new, I started in May 2006. I was a SAHM mom at the time and I worked my business around the kids, they were two and five. I would make my calls when my two year old was napping and my five year old was watching a movie. It really doesn’t take THAT much time to get those 3-5 presentations in. If you work this business smart and focus on the work that gets results, which is talking to new prospects, you CAN be successful on part time hours around the kids. It’s all about working it smart. Then before and after nap time, I would answer emails or post ads just around my life whenever I had time throughout the day. Doing those things consistently day after day helped me to have a very successful summer. I hit my first promotion that June and ended the summer with over 40 new team members.

In the summer of 2007, my summer was actually very different than the previous one. In early 2007, I went through a divorce and had to get a full time job outside of the home. When I filed for divorce, I had already reached some success with my business. I had hit my second promotion and had built over $1,000 a month in residual income. But it just wasn’t enough yet to support my kids and I on my own. I knew it eventually would be but in the meantime I needed a job while I was building. So I found myself back in the cubicle. But instead of letting that discourage me and slow me down, it fueled me and I went FULL FORCE. So that summer, my kids were in daycare. I didn’t have to worry about making calls at nap times, I made my calls on my lunch break. What I realized during that time of making calls in the Florida heat in my car is that I really missed being at home dealing with making calls around my kids. So I learned to be grateful for that time with them instead of stressing about it. All those calls from my car paid off, by the end of that summer, I hit my third promotion and built an incredible foundation toward firing my boss.

In the summer of 2008, my summer went back to normal. All that hard work I did in 2007, paid off. I fired my boss and was home full time again with my kids. We had our our life back and we loved it. But I was still on a mission to reach 50k in annual residual income. So the kids and I made a plan, we set a schedule and stuck to it. They knew that WE were working on a goal together and that goal was 50k. That 50k was not only going to allow me to STAY home with them, it was going to allow us to get back to the lifestyle we were used to. It was going to give us more freedom. So that summer, we went on a mission. By the end of the summer, I did hit 50k!

In the summer of 2009, our life turned upside down. Earlier that year, we found out that my little sister, Dawn, only 28 years old, had terminal cancer. That summer, we spent most of our time at hospice spending her final days with her. I still worked my business part time around all of it and continued to enroll people weekly. But I did cut my hours drastically. These were days and hours I was not going to get back. I can remember a few times when Dawn was sleeping, that I went outside and made a few presentations here and there. I worked my business around my family. The beautiful thing about this is that even though I did go part time, my 50k income was still there. My check still came every month, my check still grew. What I had worked so hard for in the previous years allowed me complete flexibility to spend time with my sister. My sister passed at the end of that summer. Although it was THE most heartbreaking experience I have ever endured, I’m grateful I could be there for her. Grateful that I didn’t have to miss those days with her because I had a boss and was stuck in a cubicle.

In the summer of 2010, since the previous summer was so hard on my family, we set a goal to have FUN that summer. We had lots of waterpark and beach days, we did all kinds of fun stuff. And that’s the plan for this summer too! If you notice, summer of 2006 compared to today is a lot different. I worked hard my first two summers, made sacrifices, but look where you get with those temporary sacrifices, you get to freedom. That’s what we’re working for here. And while I do have freedom now, I still LOVE my business and still will continue delivering on MY promise to help each and everyone of our team members that work with us, be successful and reach the same level of freedom. So I WILL be working this summer around my fun time with my kids. I will still touch my business for a few hours everyday.

It would be very easy to just sit back and say “Oh the summer months are slow” and just stop working and pick back up in the fall, but it wouldn’t be smart! I’ve enrolled some of my top leaders during the summer months. If I took off and didn’t work those months, I would have missed out on them. We’ve also had SO much success on our team during the summer months, tons of promotions. 

Now I know that when you have kids at home with you during the summer that it can be challenging. But if you start your day with the right attitude that you are just going to go with it and make it happen, you can get it done without stress, without having to yell at your kids all day. I personally try to wake up before them, get my coffee, answer some emails and then I start my to-do list. That to-do list saves me every time. It’s SO easy to get distracted with all the “Mommy, I’m thirsty”, “Mommy, Brittani looked at me.” But each time I walk away from my desk and come back to it after I’m done taking care of them, I can look back at my list and get back on track very easily.

Moral of my story, the summer months can still be incredible months. I know in this industry you will hear people say that the summer months are slow. But the fact is, it will be as slow or as fast as you make it!  Make a choice to continue to work it hard and consistently everyday! You will be so happy that you did!

10 Things for Kids to Do While Mom is Working

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I was just sitting here looking at the calendar thinking “Oh my goodness, the kids will be out of school for the summer NEXT WEEK!!!!”  Time to get a little savvy and make sure everyone is busy and happy during the next few months so this mommy doesn’t go CRAZY! :)

Balancing working at home and keeping the kids entertained can be a full time job in itself, especially when you have young children at home.   When I first started working at home, my kids were two and five and it was stressful to say the least.  Mommy needed to work and the kids wanted and needed mommy.  But like any other obstacle in life, there is a way around it.  Sometimes we have to outsmart the situation and get down right creative.  My first few months working at home, we worked on polishing the well oiled machine of keeping the kids entertained and stimulated while I worked.  And even though the kids have entered many new phases and had little moments over the past five years, WE are loving and enjoying mommy working at home!

I have always incorporated and included my kids in my business.  After all, this is a family mission, not just mine.  I let them know what OUR goals are and what WE need to do to reach them.  And my daughter loves to help me with anything creative I work on.  As I type this, she is sharing her ideas of what I should include in this article.  I love to encourage her to participate in our family business, so I will proudly include her ideas!

1. Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts can keep some kids busy for hours. Keep the activity simple so the kids can do the projects on their own.  I have a play room setup for my children that includes an art station.  It is fully equipped with art project kits (that I buy on sale at the art store), scrapbooking supplies, coloring books, painting and drawing paper, crayons, markers and paint (washable of course), color pencils, the whole nine yards!  I get them setup and it gives me quite a bit of quiet time to devote to my business.  They have fun and mommy ends up with A LOT of refrigerator art!! 

2. Educational Online and Computer Games

If you have an extra computer, this is an awesome activity for your children.  There are an enormous number of computer and online games to entertain and most importantly, educate your children.  With computers being such a large part of our daily lives these days, it’s great to teach them the basics while they’re young and give them a nice head start.  Brittani just walked in here with a list of her and my son, Landon’s favorite sites: (many of these sites are recommended by our local school system) just watched her perform a knee surgery on this site, totally cool!

I set time limits for them, they each get an hour at a time.  This solves the fighting with each other over who gets to play and when and also helps them understand that it’s time to get off the computer.  Kids can easily get addicted to computers just like us adults!

3. Reading/Audio Books

Though many kids younger than eight can read, for reading to be an independent activity children have to get to a certain level of proficiency. Let kids choose several library books. I encourage my older daughter to read chapter books to my youngest, who is not quite an independent reader. However, it takes an effort to find books that interest both.  Also there are many wordless or nearly wordless picture books that will engage kids of all ages.  For those who are not ready to read independently or don’t have an older sibling to read to them, listening to kids’ audio book is a great alternative!!  Most importantly, the kids LOVE this activity!  All while, it improves their reading skills and keeps children mentally engaged. Kids can learn to appreciate the art of storytelling before they can read. And kids who can read can expand their horizons. Those who are not strong readers can enjoy a good book. They still should do actual reading at another time. But if a child struggles with reading, then while you are working is not the time for independent reading.  Audio books are expensive, so I check them out of the local library.

4. Chores

This may not sounds like a whole lot of fun BUT my kids think it is so cool when I write each of them a list of chores to do.  It helps them to feel independent. While preschoolers are capable of simple chores, often they can’t do them independently. However, kids kindergarten age and up should be able to complete regular household tasks without your help. Teach them how to do the chores when you’re not working, then make a daily list. And some jobs can be fun. And it will be one less job for mom.  After all, a family is supposed to be a team and everyone is supposed to contribute.  Teach that early in age and your family will run much smoother.

5.  Creative Play

This is not something you can plan or completely depend on, but when it happens, it’s a beautiful thing. Younger kids are naturals at this, creating elaborate fantasies with stuffed animals or action figures. With older kids, you can encourage imagination by suggesting they produce a play or write a story.  My daughter loves to write stories and songs while my son would much rather pull out all the linens from the closet and build a fort.  It’s even more incredible when they team up and get creative together.  I love the sound of my kids laughing, getting along and being creative together while I’m in my office working.  It’s such an amazing example of why I am working from home in the first place!

6.  Naps

Some work-at-home moms work during nap time and get a lot done. But keep in mind that napping habits change frequently. Don’t schedule important phone calls or figure on meeting a deadline during the nap time.  When I first started my home business, my son was two and my daughter was about to start Kindergarten.  Those three hour naps were a blessing to my business.  That’s when I would make my calls and any other things that required either full silence or my complete concentration.  The nap times got shorter and shorter through the years but this still remained a great time for mommy to work.

7.  Play Dates

Believe it or not, hosting a play date can actually be an opportunity to work. School-age kids can, and should, play together without a lot of adult intervention. If you plan to work while they play, remind your child of the ground rules in advance and invite a friend that they get along with well. If you’re hosting a toddler or preschooler, you have to stay pretty close, so working is not an option. But this is a good opportunity for a kid swap. You host one day, and the child’s parents reciprocate another.

8.  Play Outside

The feasibility of this depends on your home and yard’s set up and children’s ages, but it’s something to think about when the kids are home, especially on summer break. I personally take my laptop outside with me or ask them to play in front of my office window. But you absolutely must keep a close watch.  This is a great option for those with fenced in back yards especially.

9.  Play with Toys

Sounds obvious, but any parent who’s sifted through the toy box just after the holidays knows how quickly kids lose interest in their toys. Put away some toys for a period of time. When they come back into rotation, they seem like new. I have been doing this every year since my kids were toddlers and it has worked brilliantly even at their ages now.  Board games, cards, construction toys, trains, play sets and puzzles can keep kids engaged for hours. But sometimes they have to be reminded of these toys.  My kids are notorious for saying “There’s nothing to do!!” until I go in to their playroom and pull out something they haven’t done in a while.  Then they become instantly engaged and happy and mommy can work.

10.  TV and Video Games

I know there are major mixed reviews on these two activities.  I get both sides, I do!  I am right in the middle, I find myself very balanced in this issue.  I feel that everything in moderation is okay.  My kids don’t watch TV and play video games everyday.  But if mommy has a special project or a deadline to meet, sure, I will absolutely pop in a movie for them.  Or ask them to go play Mario Kart on the Wii for a little while.  Of course you don’t want those things to be your electronic babysitter but it is a good option every now and then.

I truly hope this helps you find some balance with working at home with the kiddos home.  Create special memories with them, you won’t get these years back!

Wishing you an AMAZING summer with your kids! 

Two Simple Words that Can CHANGE Your Life!!

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As I was going through my son’s school folder this morning, I ran across a local kid’s newspaper that is sent home periodically.  I started quickly browsing through it to see if there was anything interesting and I ran across an article that I felt was so necessary to share with everyone I know this morning.  These are rules in which I live my life by and have helped me to live each day with a grateful heart. 
I so often hear people around me complaining on a daily basis and a lot of times I’m known as the “All sunshine and rainbows” girl as I always find a bright side to every daily situation.  I get looked at like I have two heads sometimes by the perpetual pessimists, but that’s okay. I love my positive attitude and I am PROUD OF IT!!!  It has helped me through so many difficult times in my life and I couldn’t imagine where I would be if it wasn’t a part of me.  A positive attitude is really just a choice, a mindset, and if you just change a few things around, how you speak, how you react, etc., it will absolutely become a part of who you are!  That’s when you will see your life transforming on MANY levels.  So with all that being said, here is the article:
“Have to” or “Get to”
By Jon Gordon
Who knew that two simple words could change one’s mindset, perspective and approach to work and life? Just two words have the potential to enhance joy, productivity, performance and change a complaining voice to an appreciative heart.
So often we say things like, “I have to take the kids to practice.” “I have to go to this meeting.” “I have to finish this project.” “I have to go to work today.” “I have to take care of this customer.” “I have to share this new information with my team.” “I have to see my family this weekend.”
We act as if we don’t have a choice. As if we are imprisoned by a paycheck and the expectations of a world that forces us to do thing we don’t want to do. But in reality we do have a choice. We can choose our attitude and our actions. We can choose how we view our life and work. We can realize that every day is a gift. It’s not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do.
We get to live this life while so many like Tim Russert and my Mom have left this world far too early. We get to drive in traffic while so many are too sick to drive a car. We get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. We get to raise our children even if they drive us nuts at times. :) We get to interact with our employees and customers and make a difference in their life. We get to use our gifts and talents to make a product or provide a service. We get to eat three meals a day while millions of people are starving. We get to work on projects, answer phone calls, serve customers, participate in meetings, design, create, share, sell, lead and suit up every day for the game of life.
Yes there will be challenges and life isn’t easy but each day we wake up we get another opportunity to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. We get to uplift, inspire, encourage, and impact others. We get to live this life. Let’s make the most of it by remembering that life is a gift not an obligation.
Hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did!  Please share this with anyone you’d like!  I know it will brighten their day and could help them make a positive change!
Have a blessed and beautiful day…because you GET TO!!