Join the Private Blogging With Passion & Purpose Facebook Group!

Join the Private Blogging With Passion & Purpose Facebook Group!

Real Solutions for Real Families Living Real Life

51 Ways To Be A Fun Mom Even When You’re Stressed or Tired

Get 51 Super simple ways to be a fun mom and really connect with your kids every day even when you're stressed and tired! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #motherhood #momgoals

Would your kids call you a fun mom? Think about that for a second… are you way too consumed with adulting to notice that your kids really need a mom who is happy and fun?

Look, I get it. I can be as uptight as they come! I spent my early years as a mom focused on getting all the things done and doing what I called “putting out fires” every day. I missed soooo much when my girls were little. And the funny thing is, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since my first daughter was born. So I’ve always been there!

Get 51 Super simple ways to be a fun mom and really connect with your kids every day even when you're stressed and tired! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #motherhood #momgoals

I’ve been with my kids from the very beginning. It’s crazy how disconnected I was sitting right next to them.

I was determined to change that when my son was born three years ago. I made a decision to become the mom I really wanted to be and soak up all the good stuff. To be intentional about being present with my kids and not just their disciplinarian, dinner maker, and chauffeur.

I mean, I’m still all those things but I want to be more!

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Ways to Be a Fun Mom

I want to become the fun and more present mom I know my kids really need. It’s not just about being fun but about building the foundation for a life-long relationship. Sure, I’ll always be their mom, but we don’t get a guaranteed ticket into their heart. And that’s where I want to be for a lifetime… in their most intimate place.

In this crazy upsidedown world, I want my kids to never hesitate on coming to me with every question, issue, and fear they experience so I can lovingly help them through it.

Let me tell you, your kids won’t be rushing to you as the uptight, super strict, and always shouting mom. Heck no!

And I’m not talking about doing things to become your child’s friend either. Nope! You are their parent and should be respected as such. But we can be nice and welcoming in how we relate to our kids.

Related: 50 Ways to Show Love To Your Child in Their Love Language

Sure, we all have days when our precious little ones just get on your last nerve and you feel like snapping and are miles away from “fun-town.”

Just try doing these things little by little and I promise you’ll see a difference. And you and your kids will be so grateful you did!

Let me just give you one disclaimer first. The younger your kids are the cooler these activities will seem to them. The older your kids get, the more they’ll act like you’re embarrassing them or you’re being lame for trying.

Let me encourage you that this is just a facade and even your tweens and teens secretly love it when you make an effort to be interested in them even when you may actually be embarrassing them! So give these a try even if you don’t get the reaction you were hoping for.

51 Ways to be a Fun Mom

  1. Have random and undistracted conversations about whatever they bring up. Ask questions and actually be interested in what they say.
  2. Read a book aloud. This is great to do even as your kids get older in the form of a mystery or adventure novel. Here’s my complete kid book recommendations list.
  3. Make slime. Yes, it’s messy but they love it.
  4. Work on a fun activity kit together. These activity crates are my kids’ new obsession!
  5. Go on a scavenger hunt style nature walk. Make a list of things you want to see and score them by difficulty and keep score on the walk. Offer small prizes based on how many points earned.
  6. Race your kid at the park. The faster you are the cooler you appear to be.
  7. Make a craft.
  8. Go swimming.
  9. Play their favorite video game.
  10. Have a contest to see who can do ______ better, faster, neater.
  11. Let them miss a day at school to go to the movies. My husband actually did this one!
  12. Do what they love. If it’s soccer, play soccer with them. If it’s dance, learn the steps with them.
  13. Invite them to run errands with you and stop for ice cream.
  14. Cook a meal together. Here’s a kid’s cooking class that’ll your kids will love.
  15. Play Would You Rather. Here are some questions to get you started. 
  16. Tell jokes.
  17. Watch a Netflix movie marathon complete with buttery popcorn.
  18. Go on a bike ride.
  19. Bake your favorite cookies and turn them into ice cream sandwiches.
  20. Go to a painting class.
  21. Keep a shared journal that you write in separately to share your thoughts. I love this journal! This one’s perfect for boys.
  22. Take a kid-friendly fitness class or enroll them in a kid’s fitness gym. My kids love this one.
  23. Work out together at the park.
  24. Visit a splash park in the summer.
  25. Read kid magazines together and take all the quizzes.
  26. Do silly pranks on each other.
  27. Make your kid laugh with a tickle fight.
  28. Have a silly face contest and post the winner on your social media or just laugh at it.
  29. Make a crazy milkshake.
  30. Have a spa night. My middle daughter loves this!
  31. Play superhero. My son equally loves this!
  32. Write a book together.
  33. Share an art journal if your child loves art. This is such a cute one!
  34. Have a dance party.
  35. Have a totally electronic device free day.
  36. Order books from a monthly subscription service for kids. This makes reading a fun and gift-like experience. My family loves this book subscription service that sends all their books wrapped like birthday gifts!
  37. Have themed dinner nights.
  38. Read a devotional together and work through the activities and questions. This fun devotional combines God and Science in a really fun way.
  39. Play their favorite sport at the park.
  40. Create an obstacle course in the backyard and race to complete it.
  41. Invest in the things they love. My daughter is a brilliant artist so I’m always surprising her with new sketch pads or other art supplies.
  42. Fly a kite.
  43. Have a slumber party in the living room.
  44. Let your kids get really messy. I personally don’t like when my kids get messy, but this is a sacrifice on my end to let them have fun.
  45. Have a water balloon fight.
  46. Put on a full drama performance complete with scripts and costumes.
  47. Have a pajama day during the week.
  48. Build an epic fort in your living room.
  49. Have cuddle time with the child who will still let you. This is great for those kids whose love language is physical touch. Get 50 love language ideas for your kids here!
  50. Add glow sticks to your child’s bath and turn off the lights!
  51. Always give them your full attention no matter when they need you.

Wow! That’s a lot of fun for you and your kids. Are you ready to put this tips to good use? Your kids will thank you for it!

Did I miss an awesome fun idea? Please, share your favorite fun activities in the comments below.

Are you lacking in the fun department lately? Snap out of your mom funk and try these simple ways to be a fun mom! Your kids will thank you! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momlife #motherhood #momadviceWant to go from grouchy and tired mom to fun and energetic mom? It's easier than you think! Get 51 simple ways to be a fun mom everyday! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #momgoalsGet 51 Super simple ways to be a fun mom and really connect with your kids every day even when you're stressed and tired! #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #motherhood #momgoals

The Epic 2018 List of Books to Read for the Whole Family!

Summer reading list for the whole family

 

Summer is here for my family which is marked when school is officially out for the school year. And we live in Florida so it already feels like summer is in full swing! And finding good books to read is at the very top of my family’s summer fun list.

The benefits of reading are enormous and at the very top of the benefits list is keeping my kid’s brains thinking, engaged, and learning over the school break.

I’m sure your kiddos came home from school with a list of books to read over the summer and there are no shortage of reading lists in your public library or your local bookstores. This book list is different because it has books for your entire family… yes, even you!

Summer reading list for the whole family

I have a confession to make… I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. Life is a lot more full now, and finding the time to sit with a book is definitely a challenge for me. But when I do make the time to read or listen to a great book, my creativity and motivation literally sky-rocket!

And this is why reading is so wonderful for our kids. When we select great books filled with inspiring characters and challenging stories we open our children up to a new world of possibilities. And this simply doesn’t happen with movies and television.

I chose these books specifically because they are so unique and feature characters and stories that teach our children about other cultures, lifestyles, and challenging life situations that they may never face themselves. These books have the power to teach our children compassion and opens them up to understanding life in another person’s shoes that they might never have the opportunity to walk in.

I’ve done my best to curate a list that will add a richness to your family and avoid books that would otherwise introduce negative influences such as sex, violence, and drugs. Keep in mind, that these topics are talked about in some of the older aged books on this list but in a healthy way. Please use your own discretion when purchasing any of the books on this list for your own family.

In my searching for these amazing books, I came across many books (not on this list) that glorified violence, bullying, negative stereotypes, and many that glamorized teenage sexual relationships. As a parent, I recommend highly using sites like commonsensemedia.org and pluggedin.com to help avoid any media that exposes and encourages these behaviors in our children.

Books, in my opinion, are very powerful teaching tools and can be extremely effective in allowing our kids to be positively exposed to topics and life issues in a profound way. However, if allowed to read books that glorify things like sex, this can work in a negative and damaging way. I encourage you as a parent to be mindful of this when choosing books for your tweens and teens to keep them safe.

Here’s to a summer filled with adventure and new possibilities for you and your whole family!

2018 Family Summer Reading List


Board Books (Babies & Preschool Age)

God Bless You & Good Night

This is an adorable and best selling book for babies and toddlers to create a loving bedtime routine.

In this book, sleepy little ones are reminded of God’s blessings and how much they are loved. The delightful rhyming story takes readers through several scenes of snuggly animals who are getting ready for bed. These sweet, sometimes silly rhymes and adorable art are sure to make God Bless You and Good Night a favorite part of the bedtime ritual for parents and children.

 

Dear Zoo

This fun pop-up style board book has been delighting little ones for over 30 years! Young readers love lifting the flaps to discover the animals the zoo has sent a monkey, a lion, and even an elephant! But will they ever find the perfect pet?

With bright, bold artwork, a catchy refrain, and a whole host of favorite animals, Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

This fun book is one of my son’s favorites to listen to and my favorite’s to read! The words are full of fun and melody and keep his busy attention until the end.

Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.

 

I Love You Stinky Face

This book is another one of my son’s favorites! He loves making monster noises at all the monster faces in the book. It’s a fun book to read together. In this book, a mother and child discuss how her love would remain constant even if her child were a smelly skunk, scary ape, or bug-eating green alien.

 

Moo, Baa, La La La!

This cute little book was actually one of my daughter’s favorite board books. She loves making all the sounds as we read the book and pointed out all the animals. It’s a great book to work on animal sounds and recognition.


Early Readers (Ages 4 – 6)

 

After the Fall

This story is a wonderful tale of what really happened to Humpty Dumpty after the big fall. Kids of all ages will love to hear the inspiring story of how Humpty got up and refused to give up on his love of flying in spite of his overwhelming fear of falling again. This is a must read!

 

Big Shark, Little Shark

This fun Step 1 book about two sharks is a study in opposites. Big Shark has big teeth; Little Shark has little teeth. Big Shark swims fast; Little Shark swims slow. But they are both hungry! Will they each succeed in finding a tasty snack? Little Shark is hoping that he won’t become fast food for Big Shark!

 

Super Friends: Flying High

My son is crazy about superheroes so I’ll be adding this fun book to our reading list! In this story, something strange is happening to all the birds in Gotham city. Pigeons are causing traffic jams, seagulls are making trouble at a nearby beach, and ostriches have escaped from the zoo! THE PENGUIN has enlisted his fine feathered friends to distract the DC SUPER FRIENDS while he swoops in and plucks GOTHAM’s biggest bank clean!

 

National Geographic Kids: Weather

My middle child loves non-fiction learning books about any subject. If your child loves soaking up knowledge on topics like the weather, sharks, or any other fascinating topic you’ll love these National Geographic Kids books.

 

The Book of Mistakes

Sometimes mistakes can be a good thing! Zoom meets Beautiful Oops! in this memorable picture book debut about the creative process, and the way in which “mistakes” can blossom into inspiration.

 

Max’s Castle

This was the first book my son chose to read in his Bookroo subscription – Bookroo’s Junior Box. It’s a really adorable and fun book to read. The story starts when Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon.

Amazing books kids love!


Elementary Readers (Ages 7 – 10)

 

Wishtree

This book pulls young readers into the story told in the perspective of an old oak wishing tree. Red, the quiet wishing tree, is the recipient of neighborhood hopes and dreams. When an immigrant family is harassed in the community, Red is motivated to act.

 

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story

This book is the inspiring true story of Malala Yousafzai as she defied the Taliban’s rules and spoke out for education for every girl. She was almost killed for her beliefs. This powerful true story of how one brave girl named Malala changed the world proves that one person really can make a difference.

Or sign up for KindleUnlimited and get FREE access to this book and many more! Get your first month FREE!

 

Wonder

This book tells the true story of August Pullman who was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. This book reinforces the message of compassion for others who a different and love is always the best choice!

 

The One and Only Ivan

The book is inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

 

 

Hatchet

This thrilling survival story features thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson as he is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self-pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.

 

A Wrinkle in Time

With the recent release of the movie adaptation of this classic novel, your child will love diving into the wonderful and mysterious world that Meg Murry and her small brother Charles Wallace are suddenly plunged into. This is a book that won’t be put down until it’s finished!


Older Elementary Readers (Ages 11 – 13)

 

Wolf Hollow

Eleven-year-old Annabelle lives in a rural Pennsylvania community in 1943. The continued fighting of World War II haunts everyone, but life is mostly peaceful—until Betty Glengarry’s arrival. Betty is cruel and threatening and thrives on inflicting pain. This is a story of a young girl’s kindness, compassion, and honesty overcome bullying. 

 

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it.

Ghost

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach.

 

Hello Universe

Have you ever felt lost in the universe? This book brings 4 unlikely tweens together on an adventure. In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball.

 

Lucky Broken Girl

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. She grows in ways she could never imagine!

 

First Rule of Punk

If your child was every struggled to fit in, they’ll love this book! When Malu has to move away from her dad and everything she knows, she takes her love of punk music with her. Following the rules of punk, she embarks on a new school journey, full of misadventures and hilarious life lessons. Malu is happy not to fit in with the crowd yet cannot bring herself to tell her mom that her passion for punk is not a rebellious phase—it’s who she is. When classmates label Malu a coconut (brown on the outside and white on the inside), she is determined to prove to her school and herself that she is proud of her Mexican roots. With tenderness and humor, Pérez explores the joys and challenges of being biracial.


Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Middle School Readers (Ages 14 – 16)

Out of My Mind

This book is hugely popular and tells an amazing story of a disabled girl’s inner struggles and triumphs. Born with cerebral palsy, Melody, 10, has never spoken a word. She is a brilliant fifth grader trapped in an uncontrollable body. Her world is enhanced by insight and intellect but gypped by physical limitations and misunderstandings. She will never sing or dance, talk on the phone, or whisper secrets to her friends. She’s not complaining, though; she’s planning and fighting the odds. In her court are family, good neighbors, and an attentive student teacher. Pitted against her is the “normal” world: schools with limited resources, cliquish girls, superficial assumptions, and her own disability.

 

Counting by 7’s

This book is a beautiful story of triumph over tragedy. Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing girl manages to push through her grief.

 

Ungifted

The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like Don’t try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students. It wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn’t be a more perfect hideout. That is if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level.

 

Fish in a Tree

If your child has ever struggled in school or has a learning disability, this is an inspiring and encouraging book with Ally. She’s has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions.  She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the troublemaker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Inside Out and Back Again

Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America. This moving story of one girl’s year of change, dreams, grief, and healing received four starred reviews, including one from Kirkus which proclaimed it “enlightening, poignant, and unexpectedly funny.”

 

Brown Girl Dreaming

This book is a President Obama “O” Book Club pick! Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child.


High School Readers (Ages 17-19)

Crossover

The Bell twins are stars on the basketball court and comrades in life. While there are some differences—Josh shaves his head and Jordan loves his locks—both twins adhere to the Bell basketball rules: In this game of life, your family is the court, and the ball is your heart. With a former professional basketball player dad and an assistant principal mom, there is an intensely strong home front supporting sports and education in equal measures. When life intervenes in the form of a hot new girl, the balance shifts and growing apart proves painful.

 

Long Way Down

In our world filled with violence and glorified acts of hate, this book takes teens on a riveting perspective of a teen tempted to enact his own violent revenge and the choice he must make. Fifteen-year-old Will’s big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother’s gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it’s a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to tell a story. Each of these people is already dead. As they relate their tales, readers learn about the cycle of violence in which Will is caught up. Readers will go on a journey to decide what action he should take.

 

The Fault in our Stars

My oldest daughter is reading this book right now and can’t put it down! This was made into a movie and is hugely popular. This book centers around Hazel, a terminally ill girl. Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

 

Paper Towns

This very popular suspense novel has also been made into a movie. The story opens when Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

 

Divergent

If your teen hasn’t jumped into the Divergent series, they’ll want to this summer. This entire series was made into a movie but the books are so much more thrilling! Divergent and its sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant, are the gripping story of a dystopian world transformed by courage, self-sacrifice, and love. Fans of the Divergent movie will find the book packed with just as much emotional depth and exhilarating action as the film, all told in beautiful, rich language.

 

In Search of Us

This sweeping multi-generational love story introduces readers to mother-and-daughter pair Marilyn and Angie. To seventeen-year-old Angie, who is mixed-race, Marilyn is her hardworking, devoted white single mother. But Marilyn was once young, too. When Marilyn was seventeen, she fell in love with Angie’s father, James, who was African-American. But Angie’s never met him, and Marilyn has always told her he died before she was born. When Angie discovers evidence of an uncle she’s never met she starts to wonder: What if her dad is still alive, too? So she sets off on a journey to find him.


Young Adult Readers (Ages 20+)

Code Name Verity

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun. When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane.

 

The Sun is Also a Star

It is Natasha’s last day in New York City, where she has lived for 10 years. Her family, living as undocumented immigrants in a small Brooklyn apartment, are being deported to Jamaica after her father’s arrest for drunk driving. Natasha is scouring the city for a chance to stay in the United States legally. She wants the normal teen existence of her peers. Meanwhile, poetic Daniel is on his way to an interview as part of his application process to Yale. He is under great pressure to get in because his parents (who emigrated from South Korea) are adamant that he become a doctor. Events slowly conspire to bring the two leads together.

 

A Separate Peace

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

 

Because You’ll Never Meet Me

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie has a life-threatening allergy to electricity, and Moritz’s weak heart requires a pacemaker. If they ever did meet, they could both die. Living as recluses from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times. But when Moritz reveals the key to their shared, sinister past that began years ago in a mysterious German laboratory, their friendship faces a test neither one of them expected.

 

Tell Me Three Things

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?


Adult Readers

The Poisonwood Bible

I read this amazing book a few years ago and it is one that I still remember vividly. It’s a book that changes you and how you think about challenges and facing adversity. This beautiful story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

 

 

One Thousand White Women

May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women are under the auspices of the U.S. government and travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

 

The Power of Habit

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.

 

The Miracle Morning

This is a powerful book that will inspire you to make changes that you’ve been wanting to for a long time. What if you could wake up tomorrow and any—or EVERY—area of your life was beginning to transform? What would you change? The Miracle Morning is already transforming the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world by showing them how to wake up each day with more ENERGY, MOTIVATION, and FOCUS to take your life to the next level. It’s been right here in front of us all along, but this book has finally brought it to life.

 

David and Goliath

This book literally changed the way I see adversity and it will for you too! Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland’s Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms—all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.


This entire book list is dedicated to learning new ideas, embracing creativity, and growing into our best selves. Let me know your favorite book recommendations and leave them in the comments below!

Are your kids complaining of being bored this summer? Check out this hand picked books to read your kids won't want to put down! #parenting #kidsandparenting #books #reading #bookshelf

Encourage your kids to put down their electronic devices and dive into a great new book with this super fun summer reading list for kids! #books #reading #booklist #familyfunIt's summer time and there's more time to read amazing books. Get your kids to want to read more with this super fun book list for all ages! #reading #books #bookstagram #bookshelf

Summer is here and that means even more time for reading great books! Here is a reading list with amazing books for all children's ages!

9 Ways to Maximize Your Savings on Amazon Prime Day + All the BEST Deals!

Get the best tips on how to save the MOST on Amazon Prime Day

Get the best tips on how to save the MOST on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day, which is now rivaling Black Friday (wow!), is getting ready to go down on July 16th! There will be so many savings happening it’ll blow your mind. I’m so excited!

But just to be clear, ALL the savings will be available to ONLY Prime members. No worries there, if you sign up now for a FREE TRIAL you can cash in on the crazy good savings and then cancel your membership before your trial ends in 30 days. But I honestly think you’ll pass on that.

Learn 9 reasons why I think you’d be crazy NOT to become an Amazon Prime member. 

Right now, it’s time to get the scoop on all the Prime Day Deals and how you can MAXIMIZE your Savings!

But first grab your FREE Amazon one month Trial!

1 – Cash in on Lightning Deals

Amazon has their Amazon Lightning Deals, which are excellently priced items but with a limited number of units available for a limited time. As a Prime user, you’ll also get the advantage of having early access to these deals before it’s open to the rest! These are similar to doorbuster deals on Black Friday.

Amazon puts anywhere from 200 to 2,000 deals on their Lightning Deal Sales.  These sales usually last 2-4 hours, and are limited to the stock AMAZON has. They are almost always shipped and sold by Amazon.  So you aren’t likely to find random or low-quality items, but you will find LOTS of name brand items like The First Years, VTech, and Ninja.

2 – Turn Your Swagbucks into Amazon Giftcards

If you love Swagbucks like I do, then you’ll want to go ahead and turn your Swagbucks into Amazon Gift Cards Now! That way you can have the gift cards loaded into your account before Prime Day, Every time I use Swagbucks Gift Cards it’s like getting FREE STUFF!!!

3 – Stock Up on Amazon Services

We are already seeing a few Amazon Deals on services like Audible, Kindle FreeTime, Kindle Unlimited and more! These are the Best Deals we see all year and you can Take Advantage of them now!!! Their monthly services will be dirt cheap on Prime day, so look at the ones your family could use the most and sign up then! They are offering 3 months of unlimited Kindle Reading for only .99!!

Check out the full list of deals here!

4 – Get $10 Credit Just for Downloading the Amazon Prime App

New members who download and use the Amazon Prime App for the first time will receive a $10 free credit to spend on Amazon! Sign up Here!

5 – Buy School Supplies

Um, yes! Back to school time is almost here so why not get those small but quickly-add-up-to-a-whole-lot school supplies on Prime Day. They are having great deals on everything from pencils to school uniforms!

6 – Expect HUGE Savings if You’re Expecting

If you’re pregnant, sign up for the Amazon Baby Registry and save on all your baby essentials like 20% off diapers and wipes. You also don’t want to miss out on the Amazon Baby Registry program where you can get a Free Baby Welcome Registry Box full of goodies, 15% completion discount for your registry, and get special baby coupons and email discounts. Just sign up for Amazon Family (no extra fee)!

Create an Amazon Baby Registry

7 – It’s Christmas in July, Right?

There will be tons of deals on children’s toys that your kids will love. Why not grab them up now and get your Christmas shopping out of the way now?

8 – Sign up for Ebates and get $10 Sign up Bonus

When you sign up for a new Ebates account, you’ll automatically receive a $10 sign up bonus. All you need to do is use the app for the first time and cash in. Then use this cash to apply toward your Prime Day purchases.

9 – Sign up for Amazon Prime

In order for you to participate in the money savings extravaganza, you’ll need your Prime Account set up. You can always cancel after Prime Day, but like I said, I don’t think you’ll want to!


If you’re ready to start saving NOW, check out some of the amazing offers available to you right now!

Amazon Discounts Available Before Prime Day

You don’t need to wait until Prime Day to start saving! Here’s an amazing list of Pre-Prime day deals you take advantage of right now!

Save 66% on 3 Month Audible Subscription

If you love audiobooks, you’ll love this great Prime Day offer. My husband is obsessed with Audible and I love listening to audiobooks when I’m cleaning. I know, I’m a little weird. Audiobooks are great for kids too! And now you can get 3 months for more than half off!

3 Months of Kindle Unlimited for .99!

If you prefer reading over audiobooks, you’ll go crazy for this deal. Only $0.99 for a three-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited – that’s normally $29.97!! You can also get 33% off a 12-month subscription or 40% off a 24-month subscription.

4 Months of Amazon Music for .99!

Starting now you can get a four-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited for only $0.99 per month – normally $7.99 per month! This deal ends on July 17th.

Get 40% Off on FreeTime Unlimited

This kid subscription program is awesome (we use it for our boys’ Fire Tablets) and allows you to customize what apps, videos, and books your kids have access to, how much time they can use their devices for, and allows you to monitor what they spend their time on while they play.

You can try a 3-month subscription for $2.99 or a 1-year plan for only $29.99 – normally $83! FreeTime Unlimited works on Fire, Echo, Kindle, & Android devices.

$30 Off Your First Amazon Fresh Order

Amazon Fresh isn’t available in every city yet but is a great fresh grocery delivery service. Check here to check your city’s availability and get ready to save big on your groceries this month!

Remember, these Prime Day Deals won’t last long so grab them now! And the only requirement to cash in on this deal madness is being an Amazon Prime member!

How to maximize your savings on Amazon Prime Day

9 Reasons You’d Be Crazy NOT to Sign Up for Amazon Prime!

9 Reasons You'd be Crazy NOT to Sign Up for

9 Reasons You'd be Crazy NOT to Sign Up for

My family has been an Amazon Prime member for many years now and we simply can’t go on in life without it! Ok, a little dramatic there but our Amazon Prime membership saves us SO MUCH money every single year that you’d be crazy not to grab your membership right now.

You can actually start your membership for free for a month, just to take all the savings for a spin and see how you like ’em!

I want to explain upfront that I’m not a “shopper” and by that I mean I don’t buy a whole lot of things my family doesn’t need. I’m not buying new couch pillows, new pairs of cute shoes, or a new accent chair every month. It’s not that I don’t want to, but my family’s on a money-saving mission, so for now I choose not to.
I said all that to say that all the savings I get from my Amazon Prime membership is for all the stuff my family needs and things I’m already buying every week. And not to mention the 2 day Free Shipping for all Prime merchandise is literally mind-blowing in and of itself!

But if you’re buying all the regular boring necessities for your household AND have the freedom to grab that new Cookware Set on a whim, you’re going to love Amazon Prime even more!

Plus, Amazon Prime Day which is now rivaling Black Friday (wow!) is getting ready to go down on July 16th! There will be so many savings happening it’ll blow your mind. I’m so excited!

But ALL the savings will be available to ONLY Prime members. No worries, if you sign up now for a FREE TRIAL you can cash in on the crazy good savings and cancel your membership before your trial ends in 30 days. Your welcome!

CLICK HERE to get the scoop on all the Prime Day Deals and how you can MAXIMIZE your Savings!

Now that’s get into the benefits of why having an Amazon Prime membership is such a benefit to your family.

1 – FREE 2 Day Shipping

This one is obvious but probably the biggest deal for my family. We purchase EVERYTHING on Amazon and if we had to pay shipping on every order we’d NEVER do that. And I love that Amazon doesn’t offer free 5-day or 10-day shipping. But they really go big on TWO DAYS! Can you tell I love it yet?

When buying things, I usually check Amazon first because I know I can find it and get it cheaper. My two daughters are in dance and their dance supplies are EXPENSIVE and need to be replenished frequently. I found all their dance shoes (brand named), tights, and leotards for half the price!

2 – 20% Off Diapers and Wipes!

This is a HUGE deal for parents! Diapers and wipes are so expensive and Amazon Prime gives a very generous 20% off. I’m almost out of the diaper stage completely. My 3-year-old son still wears them at night because he still can’t hold it through the night most nights. So this is basically a discount that lasts for 3-4 years per child!

If you are pregnant, you also don’t want to miss out on the Amazon Baby Registry program where you can get a Free Baby Welcome Registry Box full of goodies, 15% completion discount for your registry, and get special baby coupons and email discounts. Just sign up for Amazon Family (no extra fee)!

Create an Amazon Baby Registry

3 – FREE Video Streaming

There are tons of Amazon Prime movies and shows that are available for instant access to streaming. This is a great alternative to other services like Netflix or Hulu. This is great for when the kids are on summer break to watch a movie and create some magical quiet in the house.

4 – FREE Music Streaming

Along with the free movies and TV shows, you get unlimited music from over a million songs without the annoying ads! This is the Amazon equivalent of Pandora and you don’t pay any extra for it. When you sign up for the FREE Amazon Prime Trial you’ll get access to FREE Music!

5 – Access to FREE eBooks

Did you know that your Amazon Prime memberships gives you access to over 800,000 kindle books to read for FREE? You can borrow one book a month with No Due Date! It totally beats a trip to the library and no finding and paying for lost books! Feel my pain?

6 – VIP Access to Lightning Deals

During the upcoming Prime Day Event and during the Holidays this is SUPER fun. Most Amazon Lightning Deals go live for Prime Members 30 minutes before they open up to the public, that means the best lightning deals sell out fast and before non-prime members can buy them. It’s like getting a front row ticket to all the best Black Friday deals without the fear of getting tramped!

7 – Unlimted Photo Storage

This is also a huge benefit because those photos take up so much room on our phones. And not having to pay for DropBox storage is a big savings. You can literally sync your photos from your phone to your Amazon Account and store them for FREE! It’s the easiest way I know of to back up all those precious photos on your phone and it’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of time!

8 – 40% Off One Year Free Time Unlimited Subscription

I love this service! It’s basically a kids media streaming service that allows your child of all ages to have safe access to books, videos, apps, and more. And all their viewing is Ad free, which is HUGE because some of the ads they may see on YouTubeKids aren’t always kid-friendly, not to mention they are annoying.
Plus, the parental controls allow you the parent to choose exactly which media you want your child to access and for how long. You can also set educational goals for them and make it really fun! Right now you can get a One Month FREE Trial and after the price is ONLY $2.99 a month! That’s crazy.

9 – Unlimited Grocery Delivery for $14.99 per Month

This service is not available everywhere yet. It still isn’t in my city, and I live in a pretty big city in Jacksonville, FL. But you can check your city’s availability by clicking the image below. This is a great service and promised to ship your fresh groceries right to your door as early as the same day or the next morning.

Sign up for your Amazon Prime Membership Today!

9 Reasons You'd be Crazy NOT to Sign Up for Amazon Prime Pin

4 Things You Must Do When Motherhood is Kicking Your Butt!

What to do when motherhood is hard

Is motherhood kickin your butt? Do you spend your days second-guessing your decisions and feeling like you’ll never get this mom thing right?

Let me ask you another question – How do we as moms decide what was a good “mom day” versus a bad one? Is it when everything goes as we planned? Is it when no major catastrophes happened that day? What about when your to-do list actually gets done? What about if we “feel” like a good mom? Hmmm.

Or if all your kids listened and obeyed the first time all day? Oops sorry, that last one was part of a fairy tale. My apologies. 😉

The point is, how do we know if we’re doing a good job at this mom thing? I believe the answer is we need to learn how to set realistic expectations for motherhood.

What to do when motherhood is hard

This is especially true in our massively social media driven world where all moms seem to want to share is their highlight reel. I’m guilty of this too. I mean who wants to air their dirty laundry or dishes for the world to see?

But, I’ve got news for you. ALL moms have messy floors, dirty dishes, kids that talk back and disobey, and a to-do list a mile long that never seems to get done. Oh, and are plagued by this nagging feeling that you’re screwing up your kids. YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Here’s my post on Instagram where I get a little real on the topic. 😉

Messy Living Room on Instagram

Related: 51 Ways to be a Fun Mom even when you’re stressed and tired!

As moms, we’re a lot more alike than we think. Sure, we may have majorly different parenting styles and world-views but we love our children and work really hard to make sure they get their best chance in life.

That’s why we need to cut ourselves a little slack and begin to see motherhood from a different, better angle. I’m not necessarily proud to say this but most of the time when I’m struggling with anything in my life 9 times out of 10 I’m looking at it the wrong way.

Pessimism runs in my blood. I have to fight against seeing the negative side of things on a daily basis. And my motherhood struggles are no exception. And just so you know, I didn’t just write that to say that your struggles are all in your head and you just need to think more positively and everything will get better.

I merely want to point out that even when problems and struggles are so very real, having a healthy perspective and doing healthy activities go such a long way in helping us heal our way through those issues.

I used to suffer for months on end with depression and never told anyone. I just listened to my self-condemning thoughts and never did any of the things I’m sharing with you on this list. Instead, I allowed those thoughts to permeate my heart and make me feel hopeless.

I want you to know that simply by reading this, you’re an amazing mom. You care about your kids and your own wellness. And I want to encourage you, from the mom who always thought the worst of herself, that you don’t have to live in that place!

Keep reading and find your freedom.

Here are 4 things to need to do right now when motherhood is kickin your butt!

Related: Why Putting Yourself First Makes You a Much Better Mom!

Momlife Made Simple Email course

1 – Think Like Your Kids

Kids naturally think of themselves first, and their number one priority 99% of the time is doing something that brings them joy. In other words, a kid’s gotta have fun, right!

So why not take on that same philosophy yourself? Especially, when #momlife is kicking your butt! Take time to drop all the mom stuff, responsibilities, and burdens. And just do what you what makes you happy and brings you joy. That could be reading a great book. This book is a must-read when you’re feeling the mom-blues. It helped me work out some major issues I was feeling in my mom life. If reading isn’t your thing, it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you feel filled while doing it.

Related: Why All Moms Need to be Intentional With a Regular Self Care Routine 

I would also highly recommend spending fun time with your kids. I know at first glance this may seem a little counter-intuitive because we’re talking about motherhood kicking your butt. However, if the kids are driving you crazy it may be because they’re craving your attention. Not just your shared space in the room attention but your all-eyes-on-me, doing total fun stuff attention.

And you need this fun kid time too. The reason we struggle to sometimes enjoy just hanging out with our kids is we feel the pressure of #AllTheThings that need to be done and are piling up. I totally get it! But making real connections with your family is one of the best things you can do to reset your mom rut and start enjoying motherhood again. Need some ideas? I’ve got you covered here!

Here’s my favorite subscription service that my kids are obsessed with and makes fun time super interactive and educational. I highly recommend you check it out for yourself!

2 – Drop Perfection

No mom is perfect and we all have good stuff and not so good stuff, but we were made for our kids and they’re made for us. I believe birth is a divine appointment, and we’re all created by a loving God. With this in mind, I firmly believe that we don’t just have random kids. Sometimes it can feel like we do, though. Lol

Our children are given to us. Children that we’re already equipped to raise and understand even if it doesn’t seem that way. Trying to be perfect and making no mistakes is a total setup for epic failure.

In fact, perfection is really an illusion like a mirage in the desert. It tempts us to keep chasing it, but the truth is, it’s not real. We were created to simply be us. That’s it. Learn to be OK with your unique personality and parenting style. And stop comparing yourself to other moms.  Your kiddos need YOU!

Related:4 Surprising Signs You’re a Burnt Out Mom and How to Bounce Back Quickly!

3 – Say No to Mom-guilt 

Another powerful way to set realistic expectations as a mom is to say no to mom-guilt. Yes, you can get rid of mom-guilt. But having that guilty feeling is just par for the course for moms because the real source of mom-guilt is the love you have for your child. If you didn’t have that, why would you ever feel guilty?

The thing we must remember is we have grace. God’s grace causes things to work out well even if we’ve messed up big time. That same grace is there to help us move beyond our mistakes so we can move forward without heavy guilt baggage.

And guilt is a toxic emotion meant to stop you in your tracks and have you #InYourFeelings for far too long.

Related: The Truth about Mom Guilt and How to Get Rid of it Forever!

4 – Get Refocused on Your Why

After you’ve had a few kids, it becomes harder to remember why you wanted to have a family in the first place. To remember those visions you had of becoming a mother and what you wanted to accomplish.

My husband and I struggled with infertility issues so it took us almost 5 years before we got pregnant with our first child. The last few years before I got pregnant were agony. Every single month, 12 of them to be exact, brought extreme heartache.

It also was a season of vision, as I could see nothing but my baby for years before she came. We longed to finally meet her. In that time of waiting, I never thought of the mistakes I’d make or the frustrations I’d later feel raising a pre-teen daughter.

I only focused on loving her with all my heart and providing her with her absolute best chance in this life.

So, when motherhood feels hard and is really kicking my butt, I can simply refocus and remember that I’m doing just fine as long as I’m loving my kids with all my heart and still working to give them the best I can give.

You Are Doing the Best Work

Let’s all be honest with ourselves for a moment. When was the last time you ended the day with a positive thought about yourself as a mom? Do you even know your true value as a mom?

Motherhood is hands-down the hardest and yet most purposeful and fulfilling job anyone could ever ask for! We have a powerful and impactful ministry assignment to raise those little ones into who they were called to be. That’s a very big job and that’s partly why it’s so hard. That and the fact that those little ones are super messy, bossy, and generally all about themselves most days. 😉

I know that wiping running snotty noses, helping with homework, cooking, cleaning, driving kids EVERYWHERE, and breaking up sibling wrestling matches doesn’t feel very purposeful or fulfilling all the time. Just know, that all moms struggle with that stuff.

And whether you feel like it or not, motherhood is a calling. And all the biggest callings come with the biggest sacrifices. But I also firmly believe we ALL have the grace to do what we’re called to. You have the grace to be a wonderful mother… oh and a joyful mom too!

Go ahead and lift up another mom and share this post to all the moms you know. And together we can lay down perfection or guilt and embrace US.

Leave a comment below and bravely share how you’re going to embrace YOU.

Feeling like you suck as a mom? We all do some days. You need to start doing these 4 things right now when your mom life is kicking your butt! #motherhood #momlife #parentingstruggles

Motherhood is hard! Here are 4 things you MUST do when you feel frustrated and overwhelmed with motherhood. #motherhood #mom #parenting #momlife

How to Realistically Run Your Blog During Your Little One’s Nap

How to run your blog during naptime

How to run your blog during naptime

If you’re a mom blogger, you know how perfect blogging is for moms! I’m so happy I decided to pursue blogging as a full-time career. It provides me so much flexibility to be home with my kids and available for things like class field trips at school.

But working while at home with the kids can be super crazy-town!

In the beginning, before all my kids were in school, I blogged at home with them while they were babies and toddlers. In fact, I was doing more than blogging because I also had to work for money. 

So let’s just say I know a thing or two about working around the needs of my children. And early mornings and nap times were basically my office hours, and they can be yours too!

Every mom knows the beauty of this special time while the kids are asleep – PEACE and QUIET. And time to get stuff done without being pulled on in the process.

So what does a busy mom do during this sanity break? Do random chores, watch the latest episode of This is Us, call a friend and catch up, or take a nap?

Nope!

Because I’ve always been working from home at the very beginning of my motherhood journey, I’ve needed to be very strategic about how I manage my time.

I just want to quickly note here, I’m not saying those above things are bad. If you can get a nap in or catch up on house chores while your baby sleeps without taking a hit in your business… go for it!

For me, I’ve always needed to treat this time like I’m reporting to work… no matter how tired I am.

If you’re new to blogging or need a real plan to turn your blog into a thriving business check out this post first:

How to Start a Blog and Make it a Thriving Business From Day One

5 Tips to Help you Easily Work During Naptimes

Side Hustle Blueprint

 

1 – Have your time pre-planned in advance

When you’re doing anything inside of a small window of time, planning is your friend. If you sit down to work for an hour and spend 30 minutes thinking up how to best use this time, you’ve just wasted half of your precious time.

And that’s a productivity killer!

If planning isn’t your area of expertise, that’s OK. Just plan out a week at a time. Put the specific to-do items that can be done on each day on a planning sheet or calendar. You don’t need anything fancy. Just write it down. I have an awesome weekly planning sheet in my Passion Project Blueprint shown above.

This way when you start your work, you can actually do just that – work!

I use a tool called Trello to plan out all my calendar, planning, and blog tasks. I keep adding new lists along the way and I love it!

Related: 3 Tips to Less Distraction and More Focus as a Work at Home Mom

2 – Set a Timer

Setting a timer and working straight through until it goes off is a great mental strategy to keep you focused. It helps you to stop being a clock watcher and work until you hear the alarm.

Just don’t use a loud egg time or your regret it! Remember, naptime! 😉 Shhhh

Related: The Ultimate List of Productivity Hacks for Work at Home Moms

3 – Batch Your Tasks by Day

You’ll want to batch your tasks throughout the week so you can hopefully complete a whole project in a week. For example, I have certain days scheduled for my writing-related tasks. I schedule my graphics and other similar tasks for another day.

I also share my blog posts in Facebook Groups on certain days in different share groups. I am very strategic in my promotion schedule so I can keep working on “like” tasks in one sitting as much as possible.

This keeps me much more productive than if I had to keep switching for one random task to another.

Related: The Epic Guide to Using Facebook Groups to Explode your Blog Traffic

4 – Show Up Every Day

In order to see the results you’re looking for you need to show up every day. Working only when you feel inspired will seriously hinder your goal slaying abilities.

Even when you don’t see results right away – keep going! The key is to focus on the right tasks and not on measuring your results every second of the day.

There’s a time for measuring and tracking your progress, but your day to day focus needs to be on the work.

Pursuing your passion (with the right heart and balance) actually works to fill you up as a mom. And helps you become your best. And that’s a gift to your family!

Related: How to Successfully Balance Your Passion and Your Family

5 – Only Do the Tasks That Are Hard to do When My Son’s Awake

Do only the activities that need to be done in the quiet. I don’t recommend doing tasks that you can easily do when your kiddo’s awake. Reserve naptime for those tasks that require your full attention and concentration.

This is when I do ALL my writing. I write and edit my posts, my weekly newsletter, and any other projects I’m working on. And that list always seems to be getting longer!

I’m able to accomplish so much during this time so I can work through my goals quickly.

If you’re wondering when I get all the house stuff done?

My simple answer is, whenever I can fit it in! I also have older kids who help ease the load, and of course my husband.

Related: The Automation Tools I Use to Grow My Blog on Auto-Pilot

 I want you to be courageous right now and write in the comments below what your passion is, and if you’ve started working on it yet. And then publicly declare with the rest of us – I’m in!

Running a thriving blog takes time! If you're a stay-at-home mom blogger, you can still have a successful blog even working with little ones. Get the realistic steps to follow. #momboss #mompreneur #blogging #bloggerYou can still have a successful blog when working from home with kids. These productivity hacks will help you achieve success quickly! #blogger #blogging #momgoals #mompreneur #momboss #productivity

 

School Lunch Hacks That’ll Make Your School Year Mornings Hassle Free!

You're going to love these school lunch hacks to help you get your mornings back and easily pack a healthy school lunch! #school #momhacks #lunch #healthy #school2018

You're going to love these school lunch hacks to help you get your mornings back and easily pack a healthy school lunch! #school #momhacks #lunch #healthy #school2018For years when school would end each year, I would do a dance on the last day of school simply because it was the last day I had to pack school lunches for a few months. Anyone with me on this?

There were many reasons why I dreaded packing lunches for school… it was something I had to do every day, something I was saving to do in the morning, and a task that was pretty mundane and had no organization at all.

To sum it up… I desperately needed a simple system to follow to make it easier.

And systems create efficiency and for a busy mom, I think efficiency might be the key to happiness.

Whether that’s really the case or not, systems are the key to consistency, efficiency, and an overall hassle-free way of doing things. And after happiness, those are next on my list!

Are you with me? Let’s dive into this hassle-free system for school lunch making.

TIME MATTERS WHEN PACKING SCHOOL LUNCHES

I think for most moms, packing lunches in the morning is a really bad idea. Most of us aren’t morning people and even if you are, mornings should be devoted to things like quiet time, drinking coffee or tea in the blessed quiet getting prepared for the day to come. Or sleeping… sleeping’s good too.

Being able to simply make breakfast and help my kiddos get ready without hassling over making 3 lunches is so amazing! I can do that because I have a system that makes this process super easy and certainly one that I don’t even think about in the morning.

When do I pack my kid’s lunches?

It’s a combination of the night before and the weekend. And let me also explain that with this system, I’m basically assembling their lunches very quickly and storing their lunch boxes in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, all I do is put them on the counter for them to grab on their way out the door for school.

And if your kids are too little for school or you homeschool, this process is still great. Just pull out their cute little lunchbox at lunchtime and viola! Super easy!

Related: Why Every Mom Needs a Regular Quiet Time Routine

THE PREP PROCESS – DRY ITEMS

Basically, you want to create a process that requires as minimal effort as possible. Let’s start with the dry pantry items first. There are two ways you can do this and I actually use both.

I love saving money! I also love convenience. So I battle with whether to buy the cheese crackers my kids love in the big box and bag them myself or buy the pre-bagged crackers. Honestly, I always go with the self-bagging option unless those wonderful little pre-bagged gems go on a big sale… then I’ll treat myself for a week. 😉

If you’re buying crackers, cookies, chips, or any other snack that’s not individually wrapped, start by bagging them all ahead of time. At least a full week’s worth for all your kids. I get my kids to actually do this most of the time over the weekend.

I buy the snack sized bags in the square shape to keep them from over-filling their bags. **insert evil laugh here** The longer, rectangular bags are just too hard to fill. I can only seem to find the square ones at Walmart, though.

And yes, I know some of you are scolding me right now because I’m referring people to use plastic baggies instead of an environmentally friendly reusable bag. Well, I do my best to take care of the planet in other ways, but right now I’m not that mom. And I won’t apologize for it. Besides, they are really expensive and my kids love “accidentally” throwing away all my reusable stuff.

Simple, efficient, and cost-effective are my needs in this “mom of little kids season” I’m in.

But if you’re still looking for a waste-free option, I found the perfect, low-cost option for you. These cute divided lunch containers can be prepped for days in advance in the fridge and easily transferred into each lunch box in the morning! Plus, they are safe and toxic free.

Plastic reusable lunch containers

I also got a trick from my oldest daughter who helps me prepare the lunches most of the time. She took all the boxes of crackers, granola bars, and other snacks and turned them all on their sides with the tops facing out. Genius right!

Now I just reach up and grab and I can easily see when I’m out of stuff because my kids equally enjoy grabbing the last of a snack from a box and leaving the empty box inside the pantry or drinking the last of the lemonade and leaving to jug still in the fridge. It’s their calling card.

Looking to save money on all this food for lunches? Check out this post: 7 Apps That’ll Actually Pay You Cash & Save You Money on Your Groceries!

THE PREP PROCESS – COLD ITEMS

Now let’s talk about the cold food items. I like to take all the yogurt poaches, applesauce, fruit cups, cheese sticks, and any other cold snacks and remove them from their boxes. I then place them in clear plastic bins in my fridge.

This makes everything easy to see but it also makes your fridge look so pretty, clean, and organized. Plus, the kids can quickly grab a healthy snack after school because they don’t have to work so hard to find one.Clean refrigerator bins

I also do the same for fresh fruit like oranges and apples. I wash them ahead of time so they can grab and snack and I can throw them into their lunch quickly. And finally, I prewash and bag grapes too in the same snack bags. I just leave strawberries in the fridge to eat at home.

I’ve never had great experiences with strawberries in lunch boxes. They always turn to bright red mush that ends up staining their uniforms.

Finally, I do make their sandwiches the night before. My kids are super simple with what they like so sandwiches it is. Your kids may be more adventurous with their lunch entree so if possible, prepare it the night before to make it super simple.

Here are some of my favorite school lunch supplies to make packing easier and make my kiddos smile!



There, lunches are done and no more headaches! Your mornings are back.

If you love this post and found it helpful, you’ll be happy to know this is actually a lesson in my FREE #MomLife Systems Made Simple 5 Day Email Course. Want even more systems to make your #MomLife a breeze? Click the image below and get in on this ticket to stress and more peace!Momlife Made Simple Email course

MORE SCHOOL LUNCH HACKS & MEAL IDEAS

12 Amazing School Lunch Hacks and Lunch Ideas

Back to School Lunch Hacks

100 School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Want to Eat

15 Must See Household Mom Hacks To Save Your Precious Time!

Let me know your favorite school lunch hacks in the comments below.

You're going to love these school lunch hacks to help you get your mornings back and easily pack a healthy school lunch! #school #momhacks #lunch #healthy #school2018

7 Super Simple Habits Every Mom Should be Using to Build a Better Life!

These easy to implement habits will have you enjoying life and motherhood and you'll be glad you did! #motherhood #goals

These easy to implement habits will have you enjoying life and motherhood and you'll be glad you did! #motherhood #goals

How many times have you found yourself trapped in a cycle of doing something the hard way, but just couldn’t get off the hamster wheel?

This lady right here (hello) is the poster child for doing things the hard way! When life shows up pointin’ it’s finger at me and barking orders, being efficient and doing the “important” flies right out the window. I’m left putting out fires and greasing the squeaky wheels instead.

Or better yet, cleaning up spilled cereal.

But hallelujah! I’ve found a better way! Over the years, I’ve learned some things that make my life easier and I know they’ll make your life easier too.

But here’s the kicker… you’re probably NOT doing them. Or at least, not all of them. That’s because we’re so busy living our lives like one emergency room trip after another, instead of getting regular preventative check-ups to make sure things stay out of the crazy zone!

It’s time to give ourselves permission to stop and readjust. To get the ball rolling in the right direction so we can set ourselves up for success on the front end instead of always playing catchup. And I don’t know about you, but I hate playing catch-up!

My advice is to read this list and the ones that pop out to you – DO THEM. Don’t worry about trying and perfecting all of them. Let’s work together to take baby steps into lives we love…

Looking to go ever deeper with organizing your life? I’ve gotta treat for you! Click below to sign up for my FREE 5 Day email course – #MomLife Systems Made Simple!

Momlife Made Simple Email course

1 – Start Following a Routine

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it’s vital to your success and sanity that you follow a routine. Notice I didn’t say schedule. Schedules are for setting appointments and other activities at specific time frames. They’re necessary for keeping us on time and in the right place.

But what about the rest of the day when there’s no demand about what we do and where we go? It’s those spaces of time that can feel like a black hole, consuming our whole day and leaving you not knowing where it went.

That’s why I love routines! They’re great for you and your whole family. You can create your own routine by listing out all the activities and tasks you want or need to complete each day. Break those lists into a morning, afternoon, and evening category. You can add more of those categories like a mid and late afternoon as you see fit.

Write them out in the order you want to complete them. Now you need to add some anchors to your routine list. For example, quiet time can be an anchor for your early morning routine which means this is the first thing you do. Then your run on the treadmill can be another anchor to signal your early morning routine is ending and your mid-morning routine is beginning with taking a shower and getting ready.

Routines are based on developing predictable patterns of behavior or habits in your day. This way you’re not fixed on following a rigid schedule with time slots that never seem to work in the real world. You just naturally flow through your day with the larger anchor tasks keeping you in the flow and helping to remind you of what’s next.

Related: 17 Organizational Freebies to Get Your Organizational Game Back on Track!

2 – Live By a Real Budget

Having a budget is like having a routine for your money. Your budget tells your hard-earned money where to go and what to do. Without one, your money’s going somewhere, but it’s probably not where you had in mind.

Budgets have a bad rap because so many people feel like budgeting is something only financially stressed people do. It’s actually the opposite. A budget is really just a well thought out plan. And you better believe that the wealthy and well-off individuals in this world are following a well thought out plan for their money!

That’s precisely how they got rich, stay rich, and keep getting richer. Sure, their budget probably has a lot more to work with than yours or mine, but you’d be surprised how much extra money you have when you get intentional and cut out unnecessary spending.

Related: 7 Steps to Successfully Living on One Income & Staying Home with Your Kids

Check out this helpful video from

3 – Plan Your Meals

This is one that I personally didn’t do for a very long time because it felt like too much work on the front end. And when dinner rolled around each night I could actually feel the dread consuming me. Not a good feeling!

It’s really super simple, though. You just take a moment to sit down and write out a quick list of what you want to cook or prepare that week for dinner. It can really be as simple as that or as involved as you desire. You can plan out all your meals for the week or just your family dinners.

I wrote a post about using meal-prepping as a fantastic strategy for getting healthy meals on the table quickly. I go into much greater detail about the process and you can read it here: 4 Meal-Prepping Strategies for Getting Healthy Dinners on the Table Fast!

Related: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Planning and Prepping Your Family’s Meals

4 – Delegate Household Chores

I grew up raised by a stay-at-home mom who worked hard every day to keep our home in order. She pretty much did all the chores and cleaning in the house. I have very little memory of us having real chores outside of keeping our rooms clean. 

This is partly because as a stay-at-home mom you believe that cleaning is your job and no one else’s. And she was also a perfectionist who didn’t like seeing things being done “the wrong way.” I personally followed suit on both of these mindsets in my own family.

That is until I realized it’s not about me anyway. I may not give my husband a long list of chores to do because his work schedule is simply too demanding, but as my children get older they NEED to know how to run a home.

Doing chores not only develops personal responsibility, but it also teaches valuable skills to my kids preparing them for adulthood. They need to know how to keep a house, not just their own room, clean. They need to know how to do their own laundry, iron a shirt and cook a meal. Here’s my post on 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Children Accountability. 

But most importantly, you need help! Doing everything yourself isn’t the best plan for everyone. Getting everyone involved takes the pressure off you, and helps give you some peace and rest.

Related: How to Easily Get Your Kids in the Habit of Household & Chores Without Nagging!

5 – Practice a Regular Quiet Time

Speaking of peace and rest, practicing a regular quiet time is a game changer. Even if you carve out a few minutes every morning or some other quiet part of your day, the benefits far outweigh some lost sleep.

Spending a few moments just you and God, is a sacred time and one you’ll come to cherish. I wrote a very in-depth post about how to get started with practicing a regular quiet time. You can read the post here: Why Every Mom Needs a Regular Quiet Time Routine

I also created a super popular resource to help you journal your transformation during your quiet times. It’s called the Daily Transformation Journal because that’s exactly what’s going to happen when you put yourself first and practice a consistent quiet time routine. You can grab yours for FREE by subscribing to my VIP Vault.

6 – Set Regular Goals

Setting goals can feel overwhelming. Something that only super “successful” people do, not real everyday folks like us. Right?

True! Successful people are typically goal-setters and average people aren’t. Ever wonder why that is? It’s not because people who’ve reached a version of success are just drinking the goal-setting Kool-aid and telling everyone else about it.

It’s because the goal-setting came first – making them successful! When we have a target, we as humans instinctively try to hit it. As the wise saying goes, “when we aim at nothing, we’ll hit it every time.”

Having goals keeps us moving forward to the place we want to go. Otherwise, we’re merely drifting. And drifting is NEVER a good strategy for getting where you want to go. Get my Goal Slaying Toolkit with 20+ pages of printables to help you Slay your Goals! 

Related blog post: 12 Habits of Highly Successful Goal-setters for Busy Moms Like You!

7 – Have Date Days With Your Spouse & Kids

This is probably one of the most important, yet under-practiced items in this list. This is really where good intentions get shoved aside by busy, demanding schedules.

But by standing firm and carving out time for our loved ones in advance, we’ll be that much more successful.

For super creative/no-cost ideas made for “real life” grab my Family Time Made Simple Checklist! Start your family dates today by CLICKING HERE!

No matter how good your marriage is right now, you need to make time to be together one on one. It doesn’t need to be expensive or involve going out to dinner. Get creative and do things you both enjoy, keeping your personalities into consideration. Going to the gym to take a class can be a date day if you both love exercise keep the focus on enjoying each other.

Related: 2 Strong Enemies of a Healthy Marriage

Your children also need one on one time with you. I never realized this until my middle daughter outright asked me one day to go out for some alone time without the other kids. I was totally surprised by her request, but I took note. And I make sure to keep her on my calendar for special dates regularly. This is important to keep strong bonds and building lasting relationships with our children that will last a lifetime. 

To get specific ideas on showing love and spending time with your loved ones, check out my viral post: 50 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Loved in Their Own Love Language.

Adding new things into your life doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. It starts with making a quality choice to make your life better and easier! What are you planning to work on? Leave your plan in the comments below so we can keep each other encouraged!

These easy to implement habits will have you enjoying life and motherhood and you'll be glad you did! #motherhood #goals

How to Make Money: Side Hustle Ideas Perfect for Stay-at-Home Moms

Side hustles for moms

You’ve chosen to stay home with your precious little ones and sign on to become president and CEO of simultaneously the best and most difficult job you’ll ever do… oh and for NO paycheck EVER! Ouch! 

No need to worry mama… I’ve got you covered. In this post, I’m going to share with you how to make money from home even as a stay at home mom. Are you ready to start your side hustle?

How to make money – Side hustles for moms

Before we get started there are just a couple things we should cover first. The first is having the right mindset. The mindset to make money, that is. Having the mindset to receive money is pretty easy for all of us –pretty much a no-brainer. However, having the mindset and fortitude to get up every day and actually make money is another thing altogether. You are essentially becoming your own boss!

How to Make Money

Making money from home is a skill that needs to be practiced over time just like learning to care for your kids all day from home. If you asked one of your yet childless friends to come fill-in for the day at your house they’d never be able to flow from task to task like a pro the way you do.

It’s not necessary rocket-science but it does take finesse! When I started my stay-at-home mom journey I actually had no choice but to work from home right from the start. It was very challenging to balance a fulltime job and a new baby to say the least. And later came two more little ones and I’m still working from home.

The only difference now is I have over 10 years of practice under my belt and now I’ve got from doing work I hated to doing work I love by starting my own blog and side business.

And the second thing I wanted to share first is that you need to make time for your side hustle. Where, you ask?

Anywhere you can find it! As a stay-at-home mom, your days can be super crazy and exhausting. I’m with you! But here’s my tip to helping you carve out time for your making money ventures… work when your kids are sleeping! I know this sounds cliche but naps are the golden hours for getting any real work done.

Let’s get into the juicy, money making details! I’ve tried my best to categorize these side hustles by areas of skill and interest to make finding your perfect side hustle super easy!

Happy hustling!

Side Hustles for the Mom Who Loves to Create

Side Hustles for Creatives

1. Sell Your Crafts and Creations on Etsy

If you love making things, crafting, or doing any other handmade creations you can sell your lovely items on sites like Etsy. There are so many wonderful handmade creations on Etsy that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

That alone makes your creations more valuable and in-demand.

2. Sell Your Digital Products

Maybe you’re not so much into the handcrafted arena but you’re a whiz at whipping up amazing social media graphics, eye-catching checklists and other printables, or making unforgettable online videos. Maybe you use these skills for your own business or blog. Did you know other bloggers and business owners will pay you to use your awesome skills to grow their business?

You can become a freelancer on sites like fivver and freelancer or you can start a blog and offer your services directly!

3. Start Your Own Virtual Cake Business

Rebekah Allen loved baking and making sweets for her friends and family. Maybe you do too? She slowly starting transforming her passion for baking into a real business she can run from her home. She wants to show you how in her extremely detailed course – The Complete Digital Cake Business Startup Kit. If you love to bake, this is a must do!

4. Sell Your Own Stock Images

If you have a great DSLR camera and love photography, you can make a real income selling your photos online. Here is a great post to help you get started! Just be sure to store your photos in a secure online storage in case something unthinkable happens with your devices. You can store your photos for free if you are an Amazon Prime Member.

Here’s a great post that compares the varies services and companies to work with when selling your photos.

5. Sell Your Art Online

If you’re an artist who paints, draws, or does graphic design you can earn an income selling your work online. Jules of creatingbeautifully teaches artists how to create a totally passive stream of income by selling their art online. You can check out her course here! You can also enter art contests with little to no effort! Check out the latest art contests nationwide here.

Side Hustle Blueprint

Side Hustles for the Mom Who Loves to Teach

Side Hustles for Teachers

6. Teach English to Kids in China

If you love kids and teaching you’ll fall in love with sites like ABCSay and QKids. They connect moms like you (they LOVE moms!) with kids in China to simply teach English online. You can actually earn up to $21 per hour!

This is a real job and in many cases requires a college degree or some equivalent experience. Check out each site for their specific requirements. I can’t think of a cooler way to make extra cash!

7. Sell Teaching Materials to Teachers

If you are a former teacher, a current teacher, or you homeschool your kids, you’ll love Teacherspayteachers. This entire site is focused on connecting classroom material creators with actual teachers and homeschoolers with creative and innovative printables, worksheets, packets, and other classroom materials.

Basically, if you love creating worksheets or fun printable packets for kids of all grade-levels, try selling your materials to teacherspayteachers! I used this site a lot when I was homeschooling my kids a couple years ago. I loved it!

8. Become a Proofreader

If you’re a teacher through and through, you probably love words and are a stickler for proper usage of the written word. I was just generalizing there but if that’s true for you, think about becoming a proofreader or editor for other writers and business owners. In fact, there are a lot of interesting services being offered on sites like Fivver and freelancer.

9. Provide ChildCare

I know you’re busy with your own little ones, but you can get creative with this one if you love caring for children. With sites like sitter and urbansitter, you can actually have the children you care for come to you! Obviously, you’d need to follow their guidelines to qualify and pass a background check to get started.

You can also provide care at times when your own kids are already covered, like say when your spouse is home from work or on the weekends. Sittercity also has childcare opportunities for days, evenings for afterschool and date nights, and weekends.

Side Hustles for the Mom Who Loves to Write

side hustles for writers

10. Start Your Own Blog

I’m a little biased but, I feel like this one should be number one on the list. I LOVE being a blogger! This may sound silly, but I dreamed of blogging for many years but was too scared to take the leap. I love that blogging gives me a creative outlet to use my love of writing to help inspire, encourage, and make a real impact in the lives of people like you!

I am well on my way to turning this blog into a fulltime income and that is so amazing and mind-blowing to think anyone can make money blogging. If you’re new to blogging check out my post on how to start your own thriving blog! Curious on how to make money blogging? Check out my post on how my favorite blogging courses helped me do just that! And join my private Facebook group here.

11. Create Content for Bloggers and Business Owners

If you love to write, then you betta get writing! Business owners and yes, even bloggers who are so busy actually running their business need talented writers to keep cranking out fresh content for their blogs and social media.

If you have a sales background or a knack for persuasion, you can get PAID a serious premium for writing high-converting sales copy for sales pages and online ads. To get connected with these busy business owners, check out sites like Freelancer and  Fivver. Simply create a stunning and compelling profile and start applying for jobs. It’s that easy!

12. Start Your Own Freelancing Business

If you get your feet wet in the freelancing arena and love it, you may want to consider going pro. It’s simple to start your own blog to feature and offer your freelancing services and Elna Cain (the freelancing Queen) shows you how to set up your freelancing website in a weekend! Check it out here!

13. Write an Ebook

Everyone is an expert at something! Yeah, I know it sure doesn’t feel like it some days. But the truth is, what’s obvious and plain to us is oftentimes a huge revelation for others. Too often we sell ourselves short on the value of our own experiences and expertise. That’s where writing an ebook comes in. You can invest some time upfront and create yourself a totally passive stream of income later. Pat Flynn shows you how to write your own ebook in his free ebook here. 😉

Side Hustles for the Mom Who Loves to Shop/Sell

side hustles for shoppers

14. Use Cash Back Apps When you Shop

Using cash back apps has to be one of my favorite and easiest ways to earn real money on the purchases I’m already making. Apps like ibotta, Checkout51, Ebates, and Swagbucks allow you to scan your receipt after making your purchase and you’ll get paid real cash and gift card rewards on the approved items you bought. Easy money, right?

Related: 7 Apps That’ll Actually Pay You Cash & Save You Money on Your Groceries!

15. Sell Your Household Goods for Cash

Let’s face it, we all have a TON of stuff in our homes. It ends up cluttering our rooms, closets, garages, and storage units. And most of it is probably already forgotten until you need to go looking for something. Wouldn’t that old stuff be better served as cold, hard CASH? Yep! Sarah with Early Bird Mom has an amazing course that teaches you the best way to find, organize, and most importantly, maximize your profit from all your stuff. Check out the course here! 

16. Shop and Deliver Groceries

Companies like Instacart and Shipt are literally changing the way we all shop for groceries. But they’re also creating new and fun ways for people to make a living with a super flexible schedule! Do you go to the grocery store a thousand times a month to buy food for your family? Good, you’re already qualified!

All you do is go to grocery stores like Target and fill up the requested order and simply deliver those goods to the person’s door. It’s that simple! This is great for when the kids are in school and you get to go spend other people’s money while putting more in your own pocket. That sounds like a win-win!

17. Become a Mystery Shopper

If you already love to shop, mystery shopping could be a perfect side hustle for you. Basically, mystery shopping involves you going into retailers and posing as a real shopper. You usually need to provide the mystery shopping company with a real employee’s name and the details of your shopping experience. The pay for a complete shopping assignment is typically between $7-$20.

Some reputable mystery shopping companies you can check out are:

18. Start a Direct Sales Business

Many moms are joining some amazing network marketing companies and are sharing AKA selling the products they personally love. I am apart of a direct sales company that I absolutely LOVE – YoungLiving. It’s a health and wellness company that specializes in Essential Oils. These products have helped my family in too many ways to mention here, and so sharing those same products with my circle of influence and getting paid to do it is a no-brainer.

There are other network marketing companies that are also perfect for moms such as Mary Kay, Paparazzi Jewelry, LipSense, and Stella and Dot.

Side Hustles for the Mom Who Loves Admin Work

work at home mom success

19. Complete Online Surveys

Online surveys are an easy way to earn extra cash for giving your honest feeback and answering simple questions. You can even do them while watching TV in bed. #WinWin! Some of the reputable survey companies I’ve used and earned money from are Opinion OutpostPaidviewpointVindale ResearchHarris Poll, and Global Test Market. They are super simple to get started and they will send you surveys right to your email inbox. You won’t get rich on surveys but it’s easy cash on the side!

20. Become a Website Tester

Becoming a website tester works very similar to completing surveys. The major difference is the pay is usually more and you need to complete a special online task as it pertains to a company’s website. Many assignments require you to record your screen and voice as you complete your website assessment. It’s actually fun and not complicated at all. Here are some usability testing sites you can check out today:

21. Become a Virtual Assistant

Gina Horkey was a busy mom working a full-time job and decided she needed a change. Long story short, she became a virtual assistant and started earning $4,000 of side hustle income in addition to her day job and taking care of her baby and toddler! Click here to grab her FREE guide – 150+ Services You Can Offer as a Virtual Assistant (and Get Paid for)! 

22. Become a Social Media Manager

Heather Montgomery created a really great course to teach people how to start their own social media manager. I worked as a social media manager for a bit last year, and it’s a really fun way to make money and build a sustainable business. Her course is called Social Side Hustle: 21 Days to Becoming a Social Media Manager. Yes, she said 21 days!

To get even more Side Hustle Ideas, grab your FREE Side Hustle Blueprint and get more side hustles perfect for stay-at-home moms with best practices to earn the most money and a super helpful income tracker to stay on track!

Side Hustle Blueprint

What side hustles have you done that worked? Please share in the comments below!

Looking to make extra cash on the side? Try starting a side hustle! Don't worry these are perfect for your busy stay at home mom schedule! #makingmoney #personalfinance #money #mompreneur #momboss

Making extra money from home is easier than you think! Find 20 simple side hustles moms can start to earn extra income today! #sidehustle #makemoney #savemoneyLooking to make extra money from home as a stay at home mom? Get 20 easy and legit side hustles you can start today to make more money! #sidehustle #makemoney #savemoney #mompreneur #momboss

The Mom’s Guide to Starting a Blog and Make it a Thriving Business From Day One

how to Start a blog

how to Start a blog

So you want to Start a blog? Let me tell you starting a blog or any business for that matter is tough. But doing so with babies and toddlers underfoot or working a full-time job can feel downright impossible. But it isn’t, I promise. That’s because so many moms, including myself, are doing it every day!

This post will help you set your blog up for the success it deserves by doing what many bloggers miss – laying the proper foundation from the very start.

If you have a desire to share your ideas, create/sell a product, provide a service, or start a ministry… then it’s time to start your blog today!

And yes, a blog is a business. So don’t be tempted to treat your dream of starting your own blog as a hobby if you want to get the results you desire. You need to treat it like a business right out the gate. And you don’t need a solid eight hours a day to make that happen, either.

But we’ll get to that later!

Let me start off by quickly defining what a blog really is. Your blog is the vehicle for your business. It’s what brings people to your business through your sparkling and unique personality and the valuable content you create and share.

So, then what is your business? Your business is your actual cause, idea, product, or service that you’re offering to your ideal community.

The distinction between blog and business in many cases (as it is with my blog) is a fine line. What’s important is that your mindset is ready for business – no matter what your blogging mission actually is.


How Do You Start a Blog That Thrives?

Your blog will take time to grow… that’s a given. But if you put a solid foundation in place, have a vision that keeps you focused, and develop systems early on in your blog – your success of tons of visitors, subscribers, and customers will happen so much sooner!

Sound great?!?

Just remember, it’s not as simple as just throwing up a website and getting to work. You must, must, must build a solid foundation and the proper framework for your blog.

***And even if you already have a blog but never took the time to build the proper blog framework, it’s never too late, so this is for you too!***

This post will give you the 4 steps to start your blog the right way. Too many bloggers and business owners get frustrated early on because they didn’t take the time to do what I’m getting ready to walk you through now.

I’m going to warn you, though. This post is extremely long and thorough! I’m not trying to be long-winded for the mere sake of it. I save that for my husband!

But seriously, I worked hard to put together a resource you can return to again and again. So, bookmark this post so it doesn’t get lost… I’ve packed this post full of resources you’re going to want to come back to later!

Are you ready to start your own thriving blog?

Be sure to grab your FREE copy of this amazing Blog Planner and SEO Checklist below to make the process of creating, optimizing, promoting, and monetizing your content a breeze!

Get your FREE Blog Post planner


1 – Write Your Plan

The first step in the process of starting your blog is to visualize and understand what it is you really want to accomplish with your business. This isn’t always clear in the beginning. It may seem like you’ve got your concept down-pat until someone asks you to explain what you do … and the stuttering begins…

There’s wisdom in writing down the vision for your business and keeping it nice and simple. That means, don’t be tempted to make it super “sophisticated” – which is just code for over-complicated.

Been there… Done that!

Start out with your end desire in mind. Don’t be afraid to really go with the BIG vision in your heart. Still… Big, not complicated; there is a difference.

It may seem over-the-top crazy right now but just go with it. You’ll be in good company with all the crazy dreamers out there who sacrificed to make our lives better. I’m glad they didn’t let fear water down their dream! So don’t let fear cause you to water down YOURS!

Related: How to Find the Courage to Fearlessly Chase Your Dreams

Know Your Customer Avatar

As you write out your vision, it’s an absolute MUST to visualize who you’ll be helping. That’s your customer avatar – the person who is waiting for your idea, service, wisdom, product or anything else you’re offering to gift to the real world and not just something taking up space in your head.

We’re all waiting for you, so don’t forget about us in the process of creating your vision.

Ask yourself these questions to help get you started…

Do you have a product that’ll solve a problem?

Who needs your help and how badly do they need this help?

Will your blog be a resource that will make a difference?

Do you plan to provide a service that’s designed to make someone else’s life easier?

Again, who needs this help and how would their life be positively impacted by it?

It’s always a good sign when your customer needs what you have in a major way. Concentrate on how their lives will be positively impacted, changed, and transformed by what you have to offer. Think about where you want to lead them.

This is important… do not be tempted to create a group of people, but create ONE person as your ideal customer, subscriber, reader.

A rookie mistake that I believe ALL bloggers make (including myself) is to see your tribe as a massive group filled with many different personalities, needs, and desires. When, as hard as this may sound, you must really see your audience as one person.

Create your perfect fan and build an “avatar” with a name, face, hopes, and problems; and craft everything you write, offer, and do around that person.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s been said many times in the writing world that when you write to everyone, you write to no one. ” quote=”It’s been said many times in the writing world that when you write to everyone, you write to no one. ” theme=”style1″]

The more you know about your tribe, the easier it will be to find them with your carefully targeted marketing so you can provide them with the products and/or services they need (books, blog posts, ideas, courses, inventions, etc.) and blow them away!

You also need to become an expert on your tribe. You need to know where they live, hang out, and also where they shop. You need to know what they like, what they love, how they communicate, and what’s important to them.

And here’s a BIG one – know their fears, problems, annoyances, and what keeps them up at night!

Now that you’ve written down your concept (What you’re offering) and Who you’re offering it to – it’s time to focus on How you plan to get it done.

This is the nuts and bolts of your business plan. Oh, I didn’t tell you were writing a business plan?  

Oops… Don’t worry you’re doing great.

Don’t stop now!

Know Your Numbers

I didn’t say it earlier because the words “Business Plan” can be intimidating. It was for me. But it’s really not that bad, and look how great you’ve done so far!

All you’re really doing is setting yourself up for success! So, like I said, now you’re going to write down your plan of action. We’ll start with your budget.

No matter how “boring and intimidating” this step may seem, don’t skip it! You need to carefully determine ALL costs associated with starting your business. This will vary tremendously depending on the type of business you’re starting.

Some of the expenses you want to consider for your blog will include the supplies you’ll need, costs for advertising, people who you may need to hire (work you’ll need to outsource), and monthly maintenance expenses for your website and social media.

For some ideas of blogging tools and their costs, check out my detailed post on the blog automation tools I use.

Don’t let the initial costs of start-up get in the way of starting your dream. The good news is starting a blog isn’t that costly upfront and there are many free or super low-cost options to get you started. That way, you can upgrade as you start making money later.

Here’s a great post from SmartBlogger that goes further into detail on creating a blog budget, and they have a cool budgeting spreadsheet right in the post to help you with your numbers.

You’re welcome!

Know Your Daily Action Plan

Now that you’ve earned a Ph.D. in understanding your tribe and having numbers your CPA would be proud of, you’re almost done with your business plan.

Believe it or not, business owners pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for the information that you took the time to discover on your own! The only thing left to do is to be clear on the actions you need to take to get your desired results.

You need to be absolutely sure the tasks you’re working on are the “right” actions. It doesn’t make sense to do all this work preparing your business for success if you spend time doing things that aren’t fruitful.

Your daily actions have to line up with the overall vision for your business. If they don’t, it’s highly unlikely you’ll see success in your business.

If you’re not exactly sure what your daily activities should be, go back and review your vision. Look at the end of your vision and reverse engineer what it’s going to take to grow and nurture your blog to that place. You can design and create the life and business you want to have!

For example, do you need to create fabulous content that will establish yourself and brand as an expert? If so, content research and curation should be built into your daily/weekly priorities.

I Only you know your blog and what needs to be done and you’ll learn even more as you keep growing. Just beware of the unrelenting power of resistance which plaques creatives and entrepreneurs alike.

Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles beautifully brings to light the struggle of this invisible, yet ever-present resistance; which works to block us all from our dreams.

It helped me recognize I’m not alone in my struggle with insecurity, distraction, and self-sabotaging behaviors. This book was a real game-changer for me. And best of all, it’s a super quick read!

Another roadblock for bloggers and business owners is Shiny Object Syndrome. This is when there are so many… too many paths to take and so you either try to take them all or shut down altogether. 

Don’t fall for it! Create your plan and stick to it long enough (at least a full 3 months) until you see results. If you see that it’s a bad plan after sufficient time and testing… you’re free to choose another path!


2 – Add Your Blog into Your Real Life

Once you complete your business plan, you need to make a firm decision that you’re a business owner NOW. This step could have been rolled into number one, but I believe this one needs to stand on its own.

Even if your business is becoming a freelance writer or starting a lifestyle blog – you’re a business owner. You have to respect your new decision and integrate it into your life.

This first step to adding your business into your life is making sure your family’s on board.

That’s extremely important! You’ll need your husband and children’s help doing many of the things you used to do before becoming a business owner. And please don’t launch into this new venture thinking you can doing everything you used to AND run a successful business.

You need help, so you don’t crash and burn from pure exhaustion. Your business should enrich your family – not run it into the ground. And a burnt-out momma will do just that! And there can be balance in the Mom Biz life.

Related: How to Successfully Balance Your Passion and Your Family

Instead, use your family to help you achieve your dreams, and you’ll be a happier, healthier you and your family deserves that, and so do you.

Any new endeavor requires new habits, actions, and daily routines. You can’t expect your business to grow and be successful if you only work it when you feel like it or have a free second. Never decide to work only when you have that stroke of genius.

No… you have to MAKE time – every day.

If you’re a mom or have a full-time job outside the home – your time is slim. But NOT non-existent. You’ll need to be skilled at the art of saying no and scaling back your life, at least in the beginning.

Even if you seriously have only one hour a day to work on your business – you’ll still be successful if you stick to that one hour EVERY day.

Related: How to Realistically Run Your Mom Biz During Your Little One’s Naptime

Darren Hardy teaches in great detail on the powerful concept of the compound effect in his book – The Compound Effect Basically, he shows readers how small changes made consistently, over even a very short time, will have exponential results. I strongly recommend this book which really gives us all hope that we don’t need a full 8 hours a day to make a BIG impact!

So there, you can stop telling yourself you don’t have enough time! And instead, decide what time you need to work – and do it faithfully.

I personally work every day for at least 2-3 hours before my children get up for school, and when my 23-month-old son takes his afternoon nap for 2 hours. I sometimes will try to catch up on work stuff in the evening, but I’m honestly too tired, so I stick with the early hours instead.

Now, once my son is old enough and all 3 of my kids are in school for 8 hours a day; I won’t need to work at these crazy, early hours. But for right now, I sacrifice so I can be fully available to my family. It was hard in the beginning but only took a few weeks to get used to.

**Update: My son is now in preschool! So, my days are now fully dedicated to work and my evenings are all about my family! It’s working extremely well for my family now. It’s my new season.**

Overall, becoming your own boss is harder than you can imagine. But if you’re pursuing a calling and not just a paycheck, you’re off to a great start.

Related: Why Most People Don’t Really Want to be Their Own Boss


 3 – Share, Share, Share!

Now that you’ve laid the foundation, the first thing you want to do is to get your blog up and running. So you need a website which will serve as your home-base. And that’s extremely important to know because through social media is an excellent and widely-used tool for getting your message out – it’s not your platform.

Social media sites are really in charge of EVERYTHING that goes on their platforms, not you. They can change the rules anytime they see fit, and those changes may or may not be beneficial to you.

You want to use those very effective platforms to do ONE thing – drive all your fans and followers straight to your home-base (your website). If you don’t have one, that’s a big, rookie mistake. Don’t be a rookie. And think like a professional.

You’ll need to make 3 choices when setting up your website. And just be aware these are exactly the same regardless of whether your business is a blog, a service-based business, or selling physical or digital products. No matter what you’re offering – you need a place to call home. So, let’s get started.

Related: 6 Things You Must Stop Doing After You Start Your New Blog!

Choose Your Platform

You need to choose your site’s platform. This basically means the place where you’re going to “house” your site. There are a few platforms to choose from, but one platform has risen above the pack and become the industry leader. (Source)

WordPress is easy to use and best of all – it works really well. They also provide great support to their customers and that’s EXTREMELY important, especially if you’re not tech savvy.

Another awesome benefit is the enormous community of creators who build plug-ins, tools, and themes designed to work directly with your WordPress site. If you’re looking for a great theme, I’ve used Web-Savvy-Marketing themes when creating sites for other business owners and they look awesome.

There are two different types of WordPress sites:

WordPress.com – This version allows you to host your site on WordPress servers, and they allow you access to update content. There is a free option, however, your domain name will include the .wordpress.com (subdomain) and you have very limited storage space and customization options. There are premium options that provide for a little more flexibility that range from $2.99 – $24.92 per month.

WordPress.org – This is the more common version of WordPress that most website owners use.  Its what’s called the self-hosted WordPress option that allows you to host your site on the hosting provider of your choice and provides for the most flexibility and customization. This version allows you to host your site on your own server and is highly recommended.

There’s a little more set-up on the front end but you’ll have complete control over the look or your site, how it operates, and how you’re able to make money. This version is the hands-down winner if you want to really operate a business because you need complete control and this is the version that delivers that option.

Choose Your Hosting

If you decide to go with a self-hosted WordPress site (WordPress.org), you’ll need to set up hosting. Hosting is simply a server that houses your site and allows others to find it. So, your hosting is EXTREMELY important. The upside is hosting is very inexpensive across the board. But most of all, you want to be sure your hosting is reliable and has excellent support and customer service.

The clear winner in my experience is BlueHost.com. My husband and I have been customers with BlueHost for many years and have only good things to say. And let’s just say, we’ve made a number of mistakes along the way and needed BlueHost to walk us through the process and sometimes even come to our rescue! And they always delivered. My top-2 favorite things about Bluehost is that 1) They don’t allow pornographic websites, and 2) They are available 24/7!

All you need to do to get started is choose which plan you want by clicking on the image below. If you’re just starting out and you have to be more mindful of your budget, just choose the basic plan. They make it easy to upgrade when you need it at any time.

Start a blog Using Bluehost Plan

Choose Your Domain Name

Finally, you need to choose your domain name, which is your website’s “online” address. My domain name is www.familyfelicity.com. You may already have a domain name and if you do that’s great, but if not it’s not difficult to find one.

Just use the simple BlueHost search feature below to see if your desired domain is available. If not, you’ll need to keep trying until you find one. If you don’t already have one, Bluehost will require that you choose one at setup. But the great thing is that it’s absolutely FREE for the first year (included with your hosting package).

Here are some simple tips when trying to come up with your name:

  • Keep it short and easy to remember
  • Use keywords for your business niche if possible
  • Don’t add symbols in the name
  • Use a .com name if possible

Once your hosting & domain name is set up, Bluehost makes it easy to setup your website with a WordPress 1-Click Install which literally takes about 2-minutes.  Simply answer a few questions about the name of your site, and your username and password, and now you’ve got your own legit website! 

Now you’re ready to start adding your content. This is the fun part where you get to tell everyone who you are and what you have to offer. I’ve added a video below created by BlueHost to help you navigate through the process and make it a little easier.

The next video helps you to create your first blog posts.

4 – Build Your Email List

Building your email list is something you MUST begin doing from the very start of your blog. In case you didn’t know this already, your email list is your future gold mine. Basically, this group of individuals who liked what you were offering so much that they gave you their email address for your free goodies are now starting on a journey with you.

Related: The Automation Tools I Use to Grow My Blog on Autopilot

As a subscriber, they’ve taken action with you. You asked them to sign up for something and they did. This may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you it is. A person is much more likely to purchase something from you later down the road if they’ve already conducted business with you in the past.

Even if you don’t have plans to sell products on your blog, at some point you’ll want your readers to “do” something. And it’s your faithful subscribers that’ll be more likely to do it than the random visitors that come and go to your site.

And the stats are there to prove it!

So how do you capture these email addresses?

You offer them something of great value to them for FREE. This is the basic, no-frills way to build your email list. There are many more ways, but it’s too much to discuss in this post. We’re already at 4,000 words here!

You can offer a free guide or book if you’re an expert in a particular subject or industry. You can offer a valuable service for free like a website audit if you help blogs run their social media. Don’t be tempted to offer a “free consultation” though. They’re not as effective.

You also need to create noticeable and convenient places for readers to opt-in to what you’re offering, so make sure they can be found easily like on your sidebar, within blog posts, and even as a pop-up offer.

Once you start to capture these emails, you’ll need an email service that’ll deliver your freebie to your new subscriber. As well as allowing you to communicate with them regularly to stay in contact. This is where your readers get to know you and is the perfect place to offer them great stuff both free and paid to make their lives better.

There are many email service providers doing great work, both free and paid. I used to use Mail Chimp which was free for me because I didn’t have a very big list at all, and is a great start. But there were many things I was having difficulty doing so I later switched to ConvertKit which was created especially for bloggers like us.

I started to notice a huge migration of bloggers running to ConvertKit and I did my research to see what all the fuss was about. I’m glad I did, and my email list has been growing ever since!

If you need more step by step instruction on how to build, grow, and nurture your email list you definitely need to invest in Crystal Paine’s Build Your List 101! I personally took this course and she doesn’t leave a single thing out, including the best way to stay in regulation with the new GDPR data collection laws.


If you have a growing list but want more juicy details and step by step instructions on how to nurture those new subscribers and turn them into a highly engaged and ready to buy fans… you NEED Inbox Invitation Course! Sarah does a phenomenal job showing her students how to make email easy and make money through your email list. You can check out her very inexpensive course HERE!


After laying the foundation for your blog, you’ll need to understand how to properly and quickly drive traffic to your site, set up your monetization strategy, and like I said above, grow your email list.

And to do this effectively, you need education, my friend!

In the beginning, I didn’t want to invest ANY money into my blog until I was making money. It took me a few years to realize I wasn’t making any money because I wasn’t investing in my blog!

So, I searched and searched for blogging courses that didn’t require me to get a second job to pay for them, but gave me all the goods I needed to reach my blogging goals. And I found them!!

You can check them out for yourself here: 9 Blogging Courses to Grow Your Blog Insanely Fast for Under $100!

For courses that teach you how to fully set up your blog and get started beyond what we’ve discussed in this post, check out these amazingly helpful courses.

Building a Framework

Building a Framework Course

This course was created by Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog. I’m sure you’ve heard of her… she’s amazing! This course is EXTREMELY affordable at $97 for all the foundational blog information you get. It’s crazy that’s she’s never raised the price!

This course literally walks you through every step of starting, growing, maintaining, and even monetizing your blog. Yes, the whole kitchen sink is inside this course. If you’re new to blogging or feel like you’ve missed some steps along the way, this course will be your go-to resource!

Get more information on Building a Framework here!

Blog Start Up 101

This course was created by Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com. She has a tremendous amount of expertise about blogging successfully and recently launched a new blog, YourBloggingMentor.com which is a wonderful blogging resource. She has a wealth of courses under her blogging belt and this is the one you need to invest in if you’re brand new to blogging.

If you haven’t launched your blog yet or your blog is extremely new, this is the go-to course for you, plus the price is such a bargain. But don’t let the low price make you think it’s not packed with value. She walks you through every step you need to take to get your blog set up the right way and handle all the tech that’s necessary in the beginning stages.

Check out Blog Start Up 101 Here!

Get your FREE Blog Post planner

Getting started with your dream business is easier than you thought, right? In just 4 steps you can have a blog that’s ready to interact with the world!

That’s exciting and I can’t wait to hear what type of blog you’re going to start.

Please share your comments, questions, or thoughts below as other readers and I would love to help you get started on your business journey!

 

how to create a business plan for your blog
Starting a blog is more than putting up a website and writing blog posts – if you want success! You need to build the right framework with a solid plan and treat it like a successful business from day one. Get the 4 fool-proof steps to starting your own successful and profitable blog today.Complete blog start up guidehow to create a business plan for your blog