Live Like A Girl

adalyn2I am a very structured person. I like lists, I like plans, and I like order. And I have 3 kids under the ages of 5. Having kids has been a great lesson to me on living in the moment, knowing whats important, and getting my priorities in order. My middle child, Adalyn, teaches me that daily!!! At 3 years old she dances to the beat of her own drum, ignores rules and order, is her own boss and lives like a fierce and fabulous girl.

If you need a giggle, here is a normal week with Adalyn.

 

Going into Lowes to use the restroom, she announces “I’m wearing boy underwear today!! I stole it from Will!”

 

De-cluttering my closet, she pulls everything from the trash pile “Mom, can I keep this?? Yes or No.” “No, put it back in the trash” “Mom, Yes or No. But NOT No!”

 

“Mom, while you put Liam to sleep I colored my belly. Its pink!!”unnamed4

 

On what to have for breakfast: “CHOCOLATE!!! Lots of CHOCOLATE!”

 

“For Halloween, Im going to be Astrid!!! Not a princess! A dragon rider!” (From How To Train Your Dragon)

 

On why she was closing all the doors in the house ” BECAUSE I WANT TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

 

 

Her Current Favorite Songs: Timber, Shake It Off, and Let It Goadalyn3

 

Her Favorite Activity: Taking care of her “one baby Liam”

 

On what she wants to be when she grows up “I want to wear Lipstick and give shots!”

 

Favorite Superhero: Pink Ones

 

Favorite Food: Ice Cream and Broccoli

 

 

Spending time with Adalyn reminds me that being yourself is the best person to be.  She is the middle child with an older and younger brother, and boy is she FIERCE! Sure she is only 3, but she sings even when she doesn’t know the words, she dances to her own beat, she dresses like she is a superhero princess, she tries to fly and doesn’t cry when she fall, and she says whatever is on her mind. My wish for her is that she never changes and always embraces every part of herself that makes her different from others. And that she always remembers that being a girl means she is strong, fierce, beautiful, and capable of anything she wants! #likeagirl

 

 

Dana

Skinny Puppy Chow

chexI love sweets. Forget pizza and pasta, sweet snacks are my go to item!! I can eat salad all day long if need be if it means I get chocolate for dessert haha. I’m always on the hunt to find ways to make my favorite treats a bit healthier, and this week I made Skinny “Puppy Chow”. No its not dog food, its peanut butter chocolate covered chex mix. SO GOOD!!!! Its also a great sweet snack for kids!!will and chex

Here is how I made it:

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Wheat Chex Cereal (you can use regular too)

2 Tbsp Natural Low Fat Peanut Butter

2 Tbsp “I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter”

2 Squares Sugar Free Dark Chocolate

1 Package Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding

1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the butter, peanut butter, and chocolate in a large pot on the stove. Melt over low heat and stir consistently to prevent it from burning.  Once it has all melted, remove from the stove.  Pour the chex mix in the pot and mix it up well. Dump the chex onto a foil lined cookie sheet to cool. Once it has cooled (approx. 20-30 minutes) pour it into a large Ziploc bad and add the pudding and powdered sugar. Shake gently to mix. Store in an air tight container or bag for 3-5 days.

Dana

Tax Writes Offs For Small Business Owners

tax write offsFor many small business owners, tax time can be very scary!! It was for me when I first got started, until I did my research and learned how easy the IRS makes filing taxes for small business owners. Plus, many things you never would even think of, can be written off at tax time. When you own your own business, remember that any expense you put into your business, is a tax write off. Whether it is training, supplies, work meetings etc. Make sure to always save your receipts though and keep documentation of what you are spending and bringing in with your business. And never be afraid to ask someone for help in filing your taxes. Its always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Here are a few expenses you can write off at tax time:

  1. Home Office. No matter if you rent or own your home, if you have a designated space where you do your work, then you can write that off at tax time. Keep in mind it needs to be a true office space, not your kitchen table or bed. You can write off $5 per square foot of the office area for up to 300 square feet. So if your office is 150 square feet that is $750 you can write off! http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Home-Office-Deduction
  1. If your office is at home, you can also deduct the cost of utilities. You need to figure out what percentage of your day is your work time though to get the cost you can write off.
  2. Internet used for your business can also be written off at tax time. Like utilities, you need to figure out what percentage is used for work vs leisure.
  3. If you have a car payment, and use your car for doing your business, that can be deducted. This is tricky though in that you must be driving to meet a client, pick a client up, or delivering products. Going to get coffee or groceries does not count.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/index.html

  1. Retirement Plans- If you have set up a plan for retirement that is tax deductible. Even if you only put in a little bit each month.
  2. Office Supplies- Items like paper, pens, ink cartridge, work computer, work printer, work fax machine, mailing supplies, business cards, thank you cards for business, etc are all tax deductible
  3. Health Insurance- If you pay for your health insurance yourself and are a small business owner, that is tax deductible
  4. Child Care- If your kids are in child care at anytime while you are working, that is a tax write off
  5. Training- If you attend training events for your business, that and the cost to get there is tax write off
  6. Start Up Costs- If your business required money up front to get started, you can write all of that off at tax time
  7. Hiring an accountant to help you with your taxes!
  8. Advertising for your business
  9. Websites, domains, and maintenance that promote your business and company

Remember, when in doubt at tax time, always ask for help!! This is not something you want to mess up on. I personally do my own taxes as a small business owner and while its time consuming and tough, it can be done. If you aren’t comfortable doing them yourself, hire someone to help you!

Great Sites to Check Out For More Information:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Deducting-Business-Expenses

http://www.freshbooks.com/blog/2013/10/22/10-tax-tips-for-owners-of-a-home-based-business/

Dana

Make Money From Home

Everyone is always looking for a way to make a little extra money, and as a Mom I am the same way. I want to be home with my kids, but I also want them to enjoy extracurricular activities, have a college fund, and take family vacations. Finding legit ways to earn a buck or two on the side while they sleep is always a good thing in my book. Here are over 30 ways you can earn money, without working set hours, being on the phone all day, or bugging people to buy a product!


make money from home

*Promote a Product. Sign up to be an affiliate for a company/product you love or join a company to be a promoter. Both ways earn you commission for using a product you love. Check out our DIRECTORY for some great options.

*Babysit for kids or pets in your community.

*Fiverr.com This is a site that allows you to sell services from thins like holding a sign, making an online flyer, writing a blog post and much more.

*Phone Apps (iPhone or Android): More and more apps are popping up that will pay you for simple tasks such as taking a picture of a restaurant menu, of yourself drinking Starbucks, and more!

Juno Wallet

Gigwalk

CheckPoints

WeReward

*Amazon MTurk: Complete tasks and get paid for them. Hosted by Amazon

*Clickworker: similar to MTurk in that you complete tasks and get paid for them. Tasks vary from data entry, surveys, image captioning and more.

*Humanatic: You listen to calls and place them by their importance for the company.

*Tutor: Be an online tutor during your spare time with one of these sites

Tutor.com

Ispeakuspeak.com

Openenglish.com

*Zaarly.com This site will connect you with people looking for random services such as house sitting, pet watching, music lessons and more.

*Virtual Assistant: Help someone online by being a virtual assistant! Here are a few sites to find jobs at:

Ivaa.org

Virtualassistantjobs.com

Teamdoubleclick.com

*Field Agent: Allows you to make money by completing short tasks

*GigWalk: Mobile workforce that allows individuals to use their smart phone to perform and get paid for tasks

*Writing Jobs: You have many options when it comes to finding a writing job. Some pay $15 an article, others pay less or more. Check out these sites to find one that is a good fit for your sills and experience:

JournalismJobs.com

About.com

MediaBistro.com

Problogger.net

Editfast.com

Chacha.com

Justanswer.com

*Run errands: Often times you can find people in your community who have trouble getting around or need someone to drive them places. This is a great way to earn some extra money. Ask around at churches, retirement communities, doctors offices etc. Also make a flyer and hang it in popular spots such as grocery stores.

*Viggle: With this app you can get paid when you check in for watching TV shows, commercials, or ads!

*Survey’s: Survey sites are another great way to make a few bucks. Some you can do from your cell phone, others you need a computer. Sign up for multiple sites to make the most money during a month’s time:

Survey Savvy 

Paid View Point

Swagbucks

Ibotta  (discounts and cash back on groceries at your choice of stores!)

Inbox Dollars

Fusion Cash

*Crafts: You can make a good income by selling crafts such as home made cards, front door wreaths, picture frames and more. You can set up an etsy account to sell your products and advertise them.

Dana

Christmas Is About Love

mery christmasFor many people Christmas is a very stressful time of year. But that’s because we get lost in the hussel and bussel of things and forget the real meaning of Christmas. The fact that we all are loved and precious in the eyes of God!!! I feel Christmas is too materialized and gift gifting, instead of giving LOVE!!! To me, that is what the Holiday is all about, love!!!

One way I avoid getting stressed during the Holidays is not concentrating on giving expensive gifts. I guess that makes me cheap, but instead we find a family in need and give money to them. My husband and I are lame and normally we buy our own gifts haha. But to us, with 3 little kids and no family near to help, the best gift is a nice take out dinner and a movie on the couch. Quality time is what we enjoy!!xmas tree

We do have a VERY large extended family and I feel bad not sending them gifts, so we have the kids do home made presents!! Again, some may call me cheap, but to me a home made gift may cost less BUT it takes a LOT more time and is done with love. Let me tell you, trying to decorate cards with a 4 1/2, 3 and 6 month old is NOT easy at all. But that is something my kids took time making. That is something I searched for high and low. It is something we spent a lot of time on and made with love vs just quickly picking up. In most cases, our homemade gifts takes days to finish. And the excitement from my kids is priceless!! They love the idea that we are making and mailing presents to the people they love. When I tell them, this is going on someone you loves fridge, they light up and work so hard to make it pretty. That right there is priceless because they truly are sending LOVE!!!

unnamedminnnnnSo what are some good homemade gifts??? All you Mom’s are going to hate me, but painting cards is a great one! Check out the card we do. I made the design myself and then printed it on card-stock. Feel free to save you use!!! I let them fingerpaint and decorate the outside, then we sit and write each of their names (helping them) on the inside. They love decorating cards with paint….just make sure you get the washable kind HAHA!!! We also put a family photo in there. You can get them developed for pretty cheap at online sites like Snapfish and even find online coupons to save more.

unnamedorna

Another great gift we like is homemade ornaments. You have a lot of options with these and Pinterest is a great site to use for more ideas!! This year we bought a pack at Michaels that was 25% off and they are stickers…..not my favorite idea haha! We also did homemade salt magnets (directions at the bottom) or you can do homemade salt dough ornaments! Another great idea is potholders with handprints, ornaments with handprints, or plates with handprints. For me personally, I prefer things they can sit and paint as they get more time painiting vs just doing a handprint. The longer they can paint, the happier they are!!

ce3cbf23f64acf0ab7d4981bb1c34b8d171b6177de66f3b5a409396991525db614566398765062650gIq0c2Tdc

SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS

Ingredients:

A cup salt

2 cups of flour

¾ cup of water

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl mix salt and flour together.
  2. Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency.
  3. Turn the dough onto the bench and kneed with your hands until smooth and combined.
  4. Make your creations using the salt dough. (I use cookie cutters for designs)
  5. If you are making ornaments, make sure to poke a hole for a string.
  6. Place the salt dough creations into the oven at 180C.  The amount of time needed to bake depends on the size and thickness of the salt dough creations.

Tips 

  • Store your salt dough in an air tight container as it keeps well for a few days.
  • You can paint your creations with any-type of paint
  • Salt dough can also be aired dried and is an alternative to oven drying.
  • Let the kids decorate the salt dough creations, they have so much fun with it!!
  • Use the salt dough to make ornaments, magnets, and all sorts of keep sake items!
Dana