7 Mom Life Summer Hacks

7 Mom Life Summer Hacks

Oh, moms! Summer is HERE. Whether your kids are going to mommy camp or day camp, you’ll likely find yourself with plenty of hours to fill. Let’s be real– the “summer reading challenge” at the library is only going to take you so far. Letting them watch endless TV is extremely tempting but you know, in your heart of hearts, you need to get them off the couch, especially if you want them to go to bed before the sun goes down! (Summer survival tip numero uno: wear ’em out!)

Here’s Mom Life Collective’s round-up of summer activities to fill your kid’s cup and have fun with your kids this summer.

3 Exciting Ice Cube Activities

Who doesn’t have ice cubes handy? This activity from Red Crayon Imagination requires minimal effort and incorporates early childhood concepts as they play. As the weather warms up, moms everywhere are looking for fun activities to keep their kids cool. This minimally messy activity is perfect for indoor or outdoor play for children ages 12 months through 5th grade. It requires almost no prep work making it easy and fun for the whole family!

9 of the Best Rainy Day Activities for Kids

Some of you have been a verrrrry rainy spring, which may not bode well for the summer days ahead.  Be prepared for those rainy days with 9 of the Best Rainy Day Activities for Kids, from The Professional Mom Project.

Free Summer Activities for Kids

Keeping the kids entertained during summer vacation can easily add up (daily ice cream cones, I’m looking at you) but there’s plenty to do that is free. Hodgepodge Moments’  list of free summer activities to do with your kids will help you hit your summer bucket list without busting your budget.

The Advantage of Adventures Outdoors with your Children

You might be outside a lot during the summer but how much are you actually exploring the great outdoors? Enjoy summer at its’ finest by escaping to the woods. A hike is so much more than a hike, as Adventures of Abby Girl demonstrates in this post.

Homemade Bouncing Bubbles

Personally, I think the best way to avoid the summer slide is to have fun with science. Bonus points if it includes items that you probably already have in your house! This bubble recipe from A Little Pinch of Perfect uses only three ingredients, and no glycerin or corn syrup.

DIY Solar Oven

You don’t have to go camping to get your fill of s’mores. Kick up the fun a notch with a STEM twist on the gooey treat by cooking the s’mores in a solar oven. Kiwi Co. Corner tells you how to do it.

Encourage Independent Play

In my research for this post, I legit googled “How to Get Kids To Leave You Alone During Summer Vacation.” In all seriousness, though, we need some downtime and we can’t always resort to plopping kids in front of the TV or you know…just ignoring them!  If you’ve got a toddler, check out these ideas from Lazy Mom’s Blog.  If your kiddos are a bit older, these Quiet Time boxes from Teaching Mama are genius.

How to Better Manage the Elusive Work-Life Balance

How to Better Manage the Elusive Work-Life Balance

I thought I was figuring out work-life balance. I send the kids to school just before 8 am, work like a mad woman until 2:45 pm, and then rush to pick them up, usually late. And that was supposed to be the end of the workday for me so that I could be available to help with homework, make dinner, keep up with the house.

That was the plan.

But then, I started taking on more work. I needed to be able to contribute more financially to the family. With the increased workload, I’d rush to get the kids, speed home from school, throw a snack at them and bark some directions at them, and hop on a phone call or two. I might shut down my computer by 5 pm, or I might continue working later. Then, I’d realize I had not prepared anything for dinner, and I’d totally lose my cool as I tried to create something quick and healthy and delicious… or just order pizza.

I took on more work and it extended from these hours to working in the evenings and through the weekend too, to get it all done. Plus, I was still responsible for doing all the home and family stuff. Not because my husband demanded it, but because that was our arrangement, and I didn’t want to admit that I’d taken on so much work, I could no longer keep up with everything.

In March 2018, I was about 3 breaths away from having a full-on nervous breakdown. I felt like a rubber band about to snap – sure a panic attack would ensue at any moment. I was gaining weight rapidly, my health was in decline, I yelled at my kids all the time, I gave very little to keep my marriage happy. But I pressed on, pretending that I had it all under control.

And then my dad died.

My world came crashing down, and I realized I was no longer “living the dream” but I had found myself in Hell. My whole world was chaos. The children were suffering, my marriage was suffering, my clients certainly weren’t getting my best, and I was falling to pieces.

Something had to give. Immediately. I could no longer work at this rate. I had a total shift in priorities.

Balancing your business with raising a family is no joke.  A business is just as needy as kids, but it’s a different kind of neediness. I confess that I used my work as an escape when my kids were little. My work allowed me to be something other than mom, to use my brain in a different way, and engage with actual adults.

Then one day I realized that my little kids are not so little anymore. My youngest is in kindergarten and my oldest just turned 11. I actually want to spend time with them, instead of always looking for a break from them,  and enjoy them as people, not just as little kids that need me all the time. While the older two no longer crawl all over me, demanding physical attention, they still need me, just in a different way. They are growing into independent, funny, opinionated, intelligent conversationalists. If their babyhood went by fast, I know these years will go by even faster. And YET, I still have a business to run. My business has grown along with my children and I feel like I’ve reached the point that while my peers are talking about scaling UP to bigger and greater things, I am looking for ways to scale DOWN. Or at least transition to more passive streams of income and a lot less one-on-one work that requires all of my attention.

Here are four changes I made or am making to make that happen:

  1. The Four Day Work Week: With all of my children in school all day, there was no reason why I couldn’t limit my work schedule to the school day, plus have a free day to do other things. As I finish up long-term projects, I’m being more considerate of what I take on going forward.
  2. Bumping Up My Passive Income: I had the realization that I was sitting on a goldmine of assets that could be sold through an automated sales process as long as I was smart about marketing them!
  3. Just Say No: I touched on this in #1, but a big part of creating a work-life balance is learning to say no. In the early days of my business, I felt like I had to take on every client and project that came along because I wanted the income. My business is a little more established and I don’t have to work as hard to get new clients, so I’ve learned to break the habit of saying yes to every project that comes along. Sometimes, I need a gut-check from my team before taking on a client but there is no longer an automatic YES from me, and that has been a game-changer.
  4. Build Up Systems and Processes: I have a great team that helps my business run, but my team can’t do anything if I don’t have systems and processes in place so that things can run without me, like client in-take, answering FAQs, and managing my online community. This is a work-in-progress for us but it’s also a real game-changer.

To be honest, I’m still working on managing the balance between work and family. I’m not at the point where I can say that I’ve nailed it; but as we head into the summer months I feel pretty confident that I’ll be enjoying time with my family instead of hiding out in my office, trying to get all my work done and feeling guilty about it. We actually have a vacation planned, and instead of panicking, I’m excited about the systems I’ve put in place so that my business will keep on keeping on while I’m hopping giant waves with my little people. It’s gonna be swell.

Health & Wellness For The Whole Family

Alexa Bigwarfe is a wife, mother, author,publisher, and podcaster. Her writing career began after her infant daughter passed away at 2 days old. She has published numerous books of her own and for many other writers and entrepreneurs through her author coaching and publishing business writepublishsell.co and hybrid-publishing company Kat Biggie Press. She loves sharing resources with busy moms and talking about things that matter most to moms on her podcast Lose the Cape! She helps busy moms learn how to make money through writing so that they can stay home with their children like she has been blessed to do. Sign up for a free trial module in her course Make Money Writing at: http://writepublishsell.thinkific.com/courses/writer-biz-workshop You can find her on Facebook @WritepublishsellLLC and on twitter @katbiggie.

How to Avoid Creative Burnout When Your Hobby is Your Business

How to Avoid Creative Burnout When Your Hobby is Your Business

You’ve probably heard the popular saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work  a day in your life.” While there’s some truth to that sentiment (because there are definite perks to doing what you love for a career,) when your business is centered around one of your favorite hobbies, burnout is a very real risk. Whether you own an Etsy shop or are a blogger, if the products you create are based around your favorite pastime, suddenly there’s a lot more pressure on an activity that you used to do for fun. When you’re a mother and the primary caregiver, if you feel like all of your time is either working or taking care of your family, this pressure increases your chances of experiencing burnout.

 

I have first-hand experience dealing with this. I’m a writer and blog about planning, journaling, and creativity. A lot of my posts on both the blog and social media include pictures of my weekly layouts and journals. Even though I write about embracing imperfection in my posts, there still is the added pressure of deadlines to my pages I create. It’s not always making a layout for the pure fun of it; it’s more of an “I have to get this done now or I’m behind schedule” mentality. I’m sure other creative entrepreneurs, from those who sell their crafts on Etsy to those who sell eBooks on Amazon, can relate to this mental shift. With that in mind, read on for my five tips for avoiding creative burnout when your hobby is your business.

 

Schedule Time for Only Your Hobby

This may sound like an obvious suggestion, but it is easy to forget to make time for your hobby when you’re in the thick of deadlines and creating content. It’s important to allow time in your schedule to only do your hobby or practice your craft, whether it’s creating scrapbook pages, sewing, gardening, writing, or making art. Don’t allow yourself to worry about whether what you produce is good enough to post on Instagram or your blog. In fact, I would suggest if it has been a long time since you’ve been able to do your hobby only for fun, don’t take a picture and Instagram it. You don’t want to either lose your precious time getting pulled into social media or worry about whether your picture looks good enough.

 

If your free time is limited because of your family responsibilities, if you have a partner, see if you could trade off a few hours with each other for having some free time to pursue your hobby in exchange for your partner to have some time to themselves. If your partner isn’t available, consider either hiring a babysitter or asking extended family to watch your children for a couple hours.

 

Splurge on New Supplies

Sometimes, when I’m feeling uninspired in my planner layouts, all it takes for me to find inspiration again is allowing myself to get new supplies for my pages. This doesn’t have to be expensive. For me, this could be as simple as new washi tape, journaling cards, or stickers. If your budget allows it, though, maybe indulging your hobby by letting yourself pick up new supplies that you’ve been coveting for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to buying (or you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time to use new supplies.)

 

Learn a New Technique

When I’m feeling stuck on my art journaling pages, sometimes picking up a magazine with fresh techniques gives me the push I need to try out new ideas and I don’t fall into a rut trying to come up with only picture-perfect pages. Learning a new technique is a great way to break the tedium of creating content for your business and can be liberating. If money is tight, YouTube has so many great tutorials on it for creative projects that you’d likely find some great ideas for inspiration. You could also check out Pinterest and blogs for ideas, too. Be careful of falling into the comparison trap, though. Remember, you’re trying to learn a new technique for you, not for your business. If the new skill ends up helping out your business, that’s wonderful, but that shouldn’t be your focus at this time.

 

Journal

Before you turned your hobby into your business, there was a reason you loved doing your hobby. Spend a few minutes journaling about what you love about your favorite activity and why you started it in the beginning. Not only will this help you remember all the reasons why you love doing your hobby, but this is a great way to reconnect with your personal “why” for your business and can give it you a renewed sense of purpose.

 

Try a New Hobby

If your workload for your business has left you feeling burned out about your hobby, then maybe spending some time trying a different activity in your spare time may help shake off the blocked feeling. For example, if you’re a writer, you could try your hand at sketching. It doesn’t matter if it’s an activity that you’d be good at; in fact, a beginner’s mindset will help you feel like you have a fresh outlook in other areas of your life, too. It’ll help you shake off boredom if you’ve been in a constant creation mode and break the cycle of repetition.

 

Your Turn

If your business is based on your hobby, how do you avoid burnout? I’d love to read your suggestions in the comments!

 

Health & Wellness For The Whole Family

Kelsey Josephson is an introvert who enjoys connecting with others through writing and mixed-media. She lives with her husband, two young children, and a very sensible cat. She can be found blogging about planning, journaling, creativity, and how those three things tie into self-care at www.simplykelseyjo.com.

Simple Tips to Eliminate Toxic Skin Care Products

Simple Tips to Eliminate Toxic Skin Care Products

Women come into contact with hundreds of chemicals each and every day due to the multiple products we use.

These toxic chemicals can lead to skin irritation, infertility, cancer, injure our unborn children when we become pregnant, contribute to weight gain and much more!

 

While over 1300 substances are banned from personal care products in Europe, only 11 are banned from skin care products here in US! In fact, in the US there’s no regulation on labeling. Which means that a manufacturer can call their product natural when it isn’t, leave ingredients off the label, or develop alternate names for ingredients.

While it is never my goal to scare or overwhelm you, talk of toxins that harm our health in items we’ve been using for years can stir up some icky feelings. I will ALWAYS give you non-toxic options that will help to alleviate that fear and overwhelm. I’ve been there. I’ve used toxic chemical filled products for most of my life. I’ve definitely been overwhelmed! Take baby steps in your healthy lifestyle journey and know that each step is HUGE in decreasing you and your family’s toxic load.

 

That being said, we’re going to jump in and talk about the most common toxins found in cosmetics:

Phthalates. Phthalates can lead to birth defects, damage liver, kidney, lungs and reproductive system. They can also be found in at least 70% of our personal care products. Phthalates are substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. We are exposed to phthalates in skin care products, food, and many more household items. Personal-care items containing phthalates include perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray. The Baby Care Products study found that “infants receive widespread exposure to a variety of phthalates found in lotions and shampoos. These exposures are especially concerning for young infants who are most vulnerable to harm”. (source)

Parabens. Parabens are a preservative. Neither parabens or phthalates are regulated in the US.  Both parabens and phthalates disrupt our hormones, contribute to infertility and are possible carcinogens…among other negative health risks. This study done from Environmental Health Perspectives that shares that parabens were detected in urine of 99% of women who were tested.

Fragrance. Fragrance is made from chemicals. I feel like that’s ’nuff said because our body is not meant to come into contact with chemicals. But understanding is important so I’ll elaborate. In the US, there’s no regulation on labeling of food or personal care products. Manufacturers that use ‘fragrance’ on their label can be hiding hundreds of chemicals behind that one word. I’d like to add that some companies are try make fragrance seem natural by saying that it was derived from essential oils or flowers. Don’t fall for it! If the word fragrance is on the ingredient list, you now know without a doubt that there are several chemicals. Per a report by the Committee on Science and Technology 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum. They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxics and sensitizers—capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

 

Back to my mention of taking baby steps in your healthy lifestyle transformation. Fragrance is the #1 word I teach my clients to look for on the ingredients label. It saves you from having to search for dozens of other possible chemicals listed. Know that if you see “fragrance” on the list, it’s toxic.

 

What can you do?

Head to www.EWG.org. They also have the free ‘Healthy Living’ app. Enter (or scan using the app) some of your current skin care products. If it rates 1 its awesome (non-toxic) and 10 is horrible!

The most important thing to do to live a healthy lifestyle is to read the ingredients; whether it’s on skin care products or food. You have to know what’s in it! If you see phthalates, parabens or fragrance on the ingredients – don’t use that product.

Also, don’t be embarrassed to ask professionals what is in the products they’re about to use on you (ie massage therapists, aestheticians, health care providers). For example, a while back I went to have my womanly checkup with my doctor. I asked to see the lubricant they use which had only two ingredients listed on it and they were both in the parabens family! I politely declined that exam, then booked again when I could bring my own non-toxic lubricant (aka lubricant).

 

I want to make transformations as easy for you as possible so here are some brands that I KNOW are non-toxic:

 

  • Makeup: Be Pure Beauty, Alima Pure and Beauty Counter. Alima Pure is the brand I’ve been using for a couple years.
  • Sunscreen: I use and recommend Babyganics and Goddess Garden. (I love ALL of Babyganics products, by the way. They have cleaning products, laundry soap, diapers, wipes).
  • Shampoo & conditioner: Desert Essence Fragrance Free and then I like to add my own essential oils.
  • For more of my fave non-toxic products, head here to my ‘Fave Stuff’ page!
  • My short e-course, Beautifully Safe Skin, goes into more detail about how to have the best skin you can have using food, clean skin care products, essential oils and stress reduction. I share more of my favorite products and some DIY recipes.

 

Health & Wellness For The Whole Family

Bri is a mom, wife, RN, and Certified Health Coach. She started doing research to find the possible causes behind her brain fog, fatigue, depression, anxiety, migraines and infertility and what she found surprised her! She found that she was overloaded with toxins from products and food she was using everyday. She has transformed her lifestyle to be as toxin free as possible and is happier and healthier than ever! Her passion is guiding you through your own healthy lifestyle transformation so that you can experience true wellness.

How to Write a Sales Page Without Feeling Super Gross

How to Write a Sales Page Without Feeling Super Gross

How to write a sales page without feeling gross

I know writing sales copy kind of sucks sometimes. Self-promotion can feel icky. One post should be enough…right?

Nope, nope, and nope.

As women entrepreneurs, it can be hard to write sales copy especially if we are promoting what is essentially a personal brand. Which means, selling and promoting…who we are.

YIKES!

I know.

But what a sales page really is is a journey or a story explaining how you can help your ideal clients. It’s a way to take your people on a journey from “I know you have this problem and it sucks” to “this is exactly how I can help you and make this thing better! yay!” Doesn’t it feel better to think of it that way?

So how exactly do you do that? Well, a couple steps to go ahead and implement:

1.) Get over yourself. Yes – just know that you’re running a business, sister. It’s time to treat it like that. It’s not about selling your soul or being obnoxiously self-promotional. It’s about letting people know what you’re a rock star at and how your gift can help them.

2.) Get to your happy place. Romance your inner writer. Go to your favorite writing spot, bring your favorite coffee, wear your favorite leggings and listen to your best writing music. The happier you are when you’re writing, the better your writing will be. (It’s also key to have your fundamentals taken care of too – get enough sleep, eat, and drink water before sitting down and expecting yourself to bust out some kickass copy.)

3.) Get writing. You’ve gotta take action eventually, right? You can do the mindset stuff, do the planning and get yourself to your happy place. But then you gotta do the writing, my love. If that freaks you out big time, I’ve got you. My Sales Page Bootcamp helps you write your whole darn sales page in small chunks that can be done in about 30-45 minutes a day. And then 10 days later- voila! Sales page written!

Health & Wellness For The Whole Family

Tara Bosler – Writer Gal Extraordinaire – loves to help highly-motivated creative women entrepreneurs grow their biz with engaging copy & content. She has always loved writing. Before becoming a copywriter, Tara taught Communication and Gender Studies at the university level for over eight years. When she was told that her contract wouldn’t be renewed because she didn’t have a PhD, she launched her business. Tara writes for some of the most incredible women she has ever known. Women who are launching their own business, rebranding or leveling up. They also work from home with kiddos running around. They also have big dreams and passions they are crafting in their own ways.

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