Archives for April 2014

Action and Intention

Action and intention in the springtime

It is April! We have more light through the day if we are subjected to the horrors of daylight savings time and then the rites of spring. The warmer days creep up in rapid succession and before you know it Easter is overtaken by Memorial Day then the 4th of July then school starting again.

This rapid onslaught happens unless you take a moment to step back and be present. Being present can be very hard for us moms who have the demands of our little one constantly tugging on our clothing as well as a million other responsibilities.

In my yoga classes where I work with mothers around their childbirth journeys I cue special themes at this time of year to hopefully gear them up to make the most of the beautiful weather and what it does for our souls. Perhaps my favorite theme is “action and intention” at this time of year.

Before spring hits and we have to leave our domestic cocoons is a fantastic time to pause, breathe, then honestly reflect if your actions align with your intentions.

For the woman who spends a great deal of time at home it is easy to lose sight of your intentions because life happens. If this is your first step, then take a moment to think about how you want to be conducting yourself in your daily affairs. If you know the path you want to be on then honestly hold a private conversation to determine if you have been walking that path or imagining it from far away.

Some examples of intentions to examine are:

Are you eating the right kind of foods you said you would eat when the winter holidays passed?

Are you and the family moving as much as you had planned on?

Are you interacting with your relationships as warmly as you think you do?

When working from home are you setting boundaries of when you are working and when you are able to wear your mom hat?

Have you been practicing your religious or spiritual discipline if you have one?

If you did a vision board or set any long-term goals then reflect on those. Next set up some sort of realistic accountability to align your action with intention. And then go forward into spring feeling empowered to fully utilize the newness of the season.

Above all treat yourself with gentle kindness if your actions do not perfectly line up with your intention. This is the case for pretty much all of us, especially moms who have to deal with the balancing act of life for us and our littles.

It is April! It is spring! Use this time to your advantage or at least enjoy the peace and quiet as you sip on a nice glass of wine to reflect on this post.

Kia Ru wears many hats. She is an Ignite Fitness and COCreate Organizer, ShiftCon speaking coordinator, yoga instructor at-large, an ecologist on parenting hiatus, and a writing and image contributor on wellness, green and parent topics. She blogs at: http://bodhibear.net/

Ways To Relax When Working From Home

There is nothing better than avoiding the daily commute to and from the office by either having a fully work from home job or being allowed to work your job from home on specific days by your boss. Working from home is great for many reasons, but it can be just as stressful, if not more, as working in an office as many people feel that they have to prove, and more importantly show, that they working even harder than they would under the watchful eye of their manager. This can lead to working from home being difficult and you needing to unwind at the end of the day or, if you can manage it, during work hours. My top ways to relax when working from home are as follows.

How to relax when working from home.

  • Shopping

No, not food shopping, the shopping used to relax yourself while working from your own home office, sitting room or even bed is spending your hard earned cash on something irrelevant or an item that you have been after for a while. I find that firing up Ebay or Amazon and spending a relaxing couple of hours browsing the sites before settling on something eases the tension of putting in the extra work while at home to justify the fact that I did not have to travel into the office for the day.

  • Gaming

This can take many forms with either playing the standard games of Minesweeper, Solitaire or Hearts on your machine or web games available all over the internet both excellent ways to wind down for 4/5 minutes while you’re still busy with work. Sometimes while dealing with stressful customers or even jealous colleagues on communicator who are stuck in the office a quick game of cards or Pac-Man online is a great way to recompose yourself.

If you have a little more downtime for some gaming action, then I find online gambling to be a perfect way to relax, especially when I win some cash! I like to play online bingo when I get the opportunity as the game is automated and is relaxing to watch, while taking a relatively short time to complete. Playing online slots is also a greatly relaxing thing to do while staying sat at your computer and if you can manage a 15-20 minute break at minimum then a few hands of Texas Hold’em poker is also refreshing and gets me back in the right frame of mind for more work. You can play on my favorite site, just click here.

  • Exercise

Exercising is known to release ‘feel good’ endorphins in your brain so if you’re suffering from a lack of motivation or are feeling lethargic, possibly as you’ve got the cover pulled over your head after going back to bed with the laptop sitting on the floor to show as online to your colleagues (not that I’ve ever done this!), then five or ten minutes of exercise – such as some sit ups, crunches or even turning the music up loud and dancing around like a loon – helps you feel less stressed, more awake and completely relaxed and reinvigorated.

  • Baking

This is one of my favourite ways to unwind while I’m meant to be working from home as I have a tasty treat as a reward at the end of it. I bring my laptop into the kitchen and leave it on the table with the sounds on the communicator turned up loud so I can hear if anyone is looking for me and then throw myself into baking myself some cupcakes following the recipes on Fantasia Cakes that I can sit down and pig out on once they’re done. The best part is that I don’t even have to share them with my colleagues! Good times!

How do you relax at home when you’re working from your home office?

Thank you to ButlersBingo.com for sponsoring this post. Amazon link is an affiliate.

Five Workouts For Work At Home Moms

Twenty four hours a day barely seems like enough time for the work-at-home mom to juggle her business and family responsibilities. The work-at-home mom is smart though; she knows if she doesn’t take time to care for herself, other important facets of her life suffer. Exercising is non-negotiable. Here are five workouts for work at home moms, to make it happen and fit it into your lifestyle.

Five Different Workouts for Work At Home Moms

Strength Training — Muscle Building & Calorie Burning

“Life is easier when you’re strong,” says Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness. Carrying groceries into the house. Taking a laundry basket full of clothes upstairs. Putting your kid in his car seat. With muscle strength and a strong heart, a mom—who’s part Superwoman anyway—can more easily perform her daily duties. Other optimal side effects of strength training include an increased metabolism, more energy, boosted confidence and less anxiety. You don’t have to lift a barbell or do bench presses for hours at the gym to enjoy the benefits of strength training. As long as you have a wall and chair, you can create lean muscle mass and manage your weight with these six strength-training exercises provided by YouBeauty.com, including push-ups, tricep dips and squats.

Fitness Videos — Schedule Committed

The full-time working mom can feel like a slave to her schedule. From replying to emails to sterilizing bottles, every minute counts. If your calendar is your sacred bible and you live by a regimented timeline, at-home fitness videos are an effective workout solution. GaiamTV.com offers a diverse collection of video workouts that range between 10 minutes to an hour. Schedule the type of workout you want ahead of time — and you’ll know that from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., after the little one goes down for his morning nap and before your conference call, you’re going to get ripped with Jessica Smith or Mari Winsor.

CrossFit WODs — Varied & High-Intensity

You’re a CrossFitter at heart but had to give up your box membership to help fund your startup. Perhaps your demanding schedule kept you from making it to classes. There’s no shame in being a home WODer. Just because you can’t be in the gym doesn’t mean you can’t stay challenged and sweat hard. Invest in a couple key pieces of equipment, such as a kettle bell, jump rope, plyobox or medicine ball. Check out Reebok CrossFit One’s “no excuse, no equipment needed” CrossFit WODs that are bodyweight-focused. Then change it up and do workouts posted to the Pinterest board “CrossFit WODS I can do at home.”

Yoga — Stress Reliever

Rather than rant on Facebook or pull out a bag of chips from the pantry, turn to your phone and hit the mat, your yoga mat that is. A fussy toddler and unsettling email can put emotions into an uncontrollable whirlwind. It can happen any day, any time. Use yoga on your phone as your impromptu remedy for stress management. Even if you can’t dedicate time to an entire session, taking 10 minutes to engage in poses and breathing exercises can restore balance. The yoga app Pocket Yoga encourages a consistent yoga practice and offers 27 different sessions. 5 Minute Yoga offers quick-fix asana sessions that can settle the mind and body when time is limited.

10K Training — Goal Oriented

Is your business and livelihood founded on setting goals and achieving them? One right after another? You have the makeup to be a hardcore runner. For the beginner, make a goal to complete a 10K race. In order to cross that finish line of six miles, you’ll train so many days a week and conquer a certain number of miles per day. You may even want to sign up for a 5K race as momentum and inspiration. After you run that 10K, you can move on to train for a half marathon or strive to improve your PR (personal record) with a faster time. Envisioning the medal and glory of achieving what you set out to do will get you out the door and in your running shoes.

Making the Most of Your Family’s Schedule (Video Tip)

Do you have a wall calendar for keeping your family’s schedule straight? Are you making the most of your family’s schedule? Kari of Driskotech is sharing awesome tips today.

Tips from Driskotech on making the most of your family's schedule

Kari Driskell is a previous middle school math teacher, mother of two busy lil blonde headed girls, wife of a busy high school football coach, a Premier Designs Jeweler, and owner of DRISKOTECH. Driskotech is a brand new company that specializes in helping direct sellers and small business owners create fun and engaging videos, meant to be shared via social media, and especially during their online Facebook Parties! In her spare time she enjoys THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, folding laundry, and watching her kids on the soccer field… and not particularly in that order. She is an avid run-on sentence writer. Check out her DRISKOTECH Facebook fanpage at: www.facebook.com/DRISKOTECH

How to Start Off Strong in a New Business

I went to college to be a high school teacher.  I was taught, trained, and educated on how to do that job.  I was given many opportunities to practice it before I actually had to do it all by myself.

Four children and ten years later I found myself in front of a new job working in network marketing.  There was no college course to pass before I started.  No practicing.  It was sink or swim!   Jump or fall!  Hit the ground running or watch from the sidelines!  As fate would have it, I found myself amongst the best of the best.  The leaders of our company are my up-line and I was able to learn from them.  Very quickly! So today, I’m going to share my guidance on how to start off strong in a new business.

how to start off strong in a new business

I was able to get a handle on what I had gotten myself into with just a few key tips:

1 – WHY?  I quickly created my why.  Why had I decided to join take advantage of this once in a lifetime business opportunity?  There is no right or wrong reason but there needs to be a reason.  That reason can change as you grow your business.  Your why will be the reason to keep going when you’re not sure you did the right thing.  When the doubt creeps in, go to the why!

2 – Enthusiasm and confidence!  Right away, announce to your friends and family what you are doing.  You are so excited to share your new business opportunity and you can’t wait to tell them all about it!  In my particular company, Rodan + Fields, we have many success stories to use as examples.  Whether it’s a nurse that retired her husband, a stay-at-home Mom that’s supporting mission trips, or an already successful business owner that saw the power in partnering with our DRs…. The stories are out there to be used while you create your own success story!

3 – Create a list.  For me, it was a list of everyone I knew with skin!  Whatever the product or business you need a network.  You need a dream team of names that you think would be awesome as business partners.  You need to grow your social network contacts.  Create a list and grow that list every day.  Use that list and go back to #2!

4 – Goals.  Not just empty goals like I want to make a lot of money.  Instead use a method I taught my high school students… SMART goals.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound.  I encourage my new team members to have 1 short term SMART goal (first 30 days) and 1 longer term SMART goal (6 months).

5 – Get organized.  It’s easier to start organized than it is to organize all of your unorganized stuff.  Everything from business card contacts to receipts for tax purposes.  Have folder, binders, notebooks, hi-liters… whatever helps you stay on top of things.  I’m a teacher at heart and there’s nothing more exciting than new school supplies!  Binders, pens, dividers, clean notebooks!  It’s worth the trip to the office store to feel ready to go!

Finally, and perhaps most importantly I believe a good attitude can get you anywhere.  I coach my team on two things: patience and faith.  I am full of faith, the patience department lacks a bit.  However I fully believe that it’s not a question of IF it’s going to happen.  Instead it’s a question of WHEN it’s going to happen.  I have been disappointed, discouraged, even hurt but I always keep moving forward.  I have faith that I am creating my success and am patient enough to let it happen when it’s supposed to!

Jamie Walker is a work-at-home Mama of four little people ages 7 and under.  She has always enjoyed teaching and helping others reach their goals. Jamie is a Level 4 Executive Consultant with Rodan + Fields.  When she’s not working with her team to help them grow she’s trying to convince her husband she needs to hire a maid… oh and someone to deliver Starbucks on demand!  Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Starting off strong in a new business

5 Ways To Fit In Exercise When You’re a Work At Home Mom

5 great ways to fit in exercise as a work at home mom

Working at home can be awesome, but it can be isolating. If you don’t plan correctly it can also be sedentary. If you’re like most women “exercise” and “me” time is usually low on your priority list.

When I made the leap to work at home mom from work outside the home, my expectations were a little skewed. My working days were exhausting as I tried to juggle exercise with the responsibility of raising 3 kids and bringing home a paycheck. I’d daydream about rising before my family to exercise. I would then wake them gingerly with the aroma of fresh baked whole grain bread wafting from the oven. I’m pretty sure I was wearing a bikini in this scenario.

Though I did bake bread once the first week I was officially self-employed, it’s pretty much been Wonder White since. Finding time to exercise has been its own struggle. I’ve been a committed runner most of my adult life, but found it difficult to stick to a consistent schedule since my husband worked odd hours. I took a significant pay cut to work from home and raise my children, so I couldn’t really justify spending money on an actual sitter just to workout.

It didn’t take long for a day or two without exercise to stretch into a week and then a month. A modest weight gain caused by replacing running with a few glasses of wine in the evening for stress relief caused a downward spiral toward depression.

Luckily I was able to recognize the problem and find a solution before I really hated the life I chose and/or became an alcoholic. I had a frank discussion with my husband about what I needed and we both brainstormed to find something workable.

5 Great Ways to Fit in Exercise when you’re a Work at Home Mom

Trade childcare with a neighbor for an hour. Yes, it takes 2 hours out of your day instead of one, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Find a used treadmill on Craigslist. Take advantage of someone’s failed good intentions and save money on an essential piece of fitness equipment for a work at home mom. With a treadmill you’re not limited by weather or daylight. When my kids were small, I logged many miles on a treadmill.

Tip: To make it more tolerable, try catching up on your favorite television series or listen to a podcast specific to your industry. I personally love multi-tasking.

Find free workouts on YouTube. Not only is this method economical, it is a great way to mix up your routine.

Consider investing in a good jogging stroller. Whether you are power walking, running, or taking a leisurely stroll, a buggy specifically for the purpose of exercise will make the experience positive.

Schedule exercise into your calendar and commit. You wouldn’t cancel a meeting at the last minute, right? This hour from your day will most likely result in  greater productivity and increased patience.

Whatever method you choose to get in your workout, consistency is key. Neglecting yourself for the sake of family is not doing anyone any favors. I chose to work at home because I wanted the privilege of spending as much time with my kids as possible. I also have a responsibility to behave in a way I want them to emulate. Choosing to make my health and well being a priority is a perfect opportunity.

Poppy Marler is a runner, writer, and mother of three from the Pacific Northwest. In between Nyquil Martini Benders and triathlon training, she can be counted on to look up from her keyboard long enough to shuttle a teenager to the mall or dole out requisite maternal affection. Poppy is the author of the lifestyle blog facing40.com and 1/3 of the Blogging Betties Podcast (www.bloggingbetties.com).

Candy-Coated Popcorn Party Mix (Gluten Free)

I whipped this up for my girls’ Easter parties at school, but because of all of the seasonal M&Ms, it would be perfect for any holiday or party. I was inspired by this recipe I found on Pinterest, but because both girls are gluten free, I adapted it a bit. It’s so versatile, though, you could really add in anything you wanted! It’s really quick and easy to whip up, too. Here’s my recipe for (Gluten Free) Candy-Coated Popcorn Party Mix:

Candy-coated popcorn party mix

 

The following instructions make about two cookie sheets worth of mix, or about 15 treat bags. I doubled the recipe in order to make enough for both classes.

Ingredients:

One package plain M&Ms

2-3 cups Corn Chex cereal

1 bag popcorn, popped (I used Act II light butter popcorn)

1/2 package Candiquik Vanilla Candy Coating (I used the package with the microwaveable tray)

Candy-coated popcorn party mix

Instructions:

Carefully pour popcorn into a large mixing bowl (in order to keep the unpopped kernels from falling in, or just pick them out if they do), top with cereal and M&Ms.

Cnady-coated popcorn party mix

Melt the candy coating according to instructions on the package. Carefully drizzle the melted candy coating over the mix in the bowl, then stir thoroughly to coat all of the ingredients and distribute them evenly.

Candy-coated popcorn party mix

Spread the mixture onto one or two wax paper lined cookie sheets, and place into the refrigerator until candy coating is hardened.

candy-coated popcorn party mix

Break party mix into pieces and enjoy! (Or try not to enjoy TOO much, and fill treat bags for a party. Ahem.)

Be careful…this mix is super addicting! But so, so easy to make. 

Turning a Blog Hobby into a Career

My blog started as a requirement for school. After the class was over, it transformed into a hobby that led me on a new career path as a work at home mom. The transformation from hobby to career has had its ups and downs, but I’m happy I stuck with it. I am able to work from home with a very flexible schedule that allows me to spend more time with my family while also earning an income. Along the way I’ve learned a few things about turning a blog hobby into a career and am I’m going to share them with you today.

Focus on what you enjoy doing

When starting a blog, you have complete control over the content. Focus on what you are passionate about and enjoy doing. For some it’s cooking, for others it is DIY projects, photography, writing, etc. Find that passion and embrace it in your blog.

Don’t be afraid to change

If you realize along the way what you’re doing no longer fits you, change your path. Depending on what the change is either start a new blog or rebrand your current one. Take that new idea and run with it.

Network, network, network

I can’t stress enough how important it is to make connections online. In today’s world, people are connected like they never have been before. Get out there and network with as many people as you can. Connect with them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, whatever. Be friendly and authentic. Help people where you can and in the future, you might find a few of these people will help you when the time comes.

Find your balance

It’s very easy to get sucked into the online world, especially when you first start blogging. You want to grow your blog and connect with as many people as you can, but it takes a lot of time. Find a balance between the online world and the real world. Stepping away from the computer and phone while you spend time with your family won’t hurt your blog or your future career plans.

Be patient

Turning your blog hobby into a career takes time. You need to establish yourself in the online world and make connections. For most of us, we won’t start making money right away. In fact, it could take a year or more for you to start seeing opportunities to make money. Be patient and keeping working. It will pay off in the long run.

Jessica Torres is the chief cocktail creator at One Martini. When not playing bartender in her kitchen or on the Internet, Jessica can be found improving her food and drink photography, spending time with her family or attempting to nap. Jessica also works as a freelance writer at allParenting and Savvy Sassy Moms. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter where she shares even more about cocktails.

Home Office Organization In A Limited Space-Corner Office

Lisa Allen writes at Back To Allen and is co-producer of the Listen To Your Mother-Kansas City. She works at home, but only has a corner in a room in which do work. Here’s how she stays productive and on task with home office organization in a limited space–her corner office.

How to make the most of a home office when all you've got is a corner

According to Lisa, this first picture is  “what I see when I’m actually sitting at my desk…even though I work from home, I make it feel like I’m “at work” and have pictures of my kids and of me and my dad on my desk. I also keep recent thank you cards/nice notes where I can see them. They make me feel good and keep me going when I get down. Also, I’m visual so the black organizer on the right–that I used when I was a paralegal and had to do a ton of typing–now holds current reminders of things I want to accomplish.”

twahm lisa allen

The other picture shows “the corner that I work in. I installed shelves up to the ceiling so that I could keep everything organized. The shelf right above my chair has binders that organize current projects–my work is project-driven so I have to keep notes/info separate. I keep file folders with info that I need–Editorial Guidelines, domain info, idea files, etc–out and visible so I don’t forget I have them. I use the drawers of the file cabinet and the desk to store supplies. I also have stuff hanging….I have a year of school info and feel-good stuff on a half dry erase/half cork board. Through the year I switch things out…it’s a mix of a vision board and a memory board.”

twahm lisa allen 2

I love that even in such a small space, Lisa has used what she has to feel like she’s in an office (the notes, the dry erase board, the picture frames) and the entire wall, to the ceiling, to maximize storage.

Do you work in  a small space? What keeps you organized and on task?

Stealing Moments for You

Working from home means that you never leave the office. If you’re like me and you have your email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on your phone, you really never leave. Then, as is the nature of a work-at-home-parent, there’s your 24/7 job of, well, being a parent.

My for-pay job(s) has me on the computer or phone for what seems like hours on end. And the kids? Well, they seem to always want to eat or play a game.

Stealing moments for yourself feels like a laughable non-option. It’s not.

stealingmoments2

 

  1. Turn off the phone and close the computer. Set times for yourself to be “on” and “off.” I try to make sure that I’m “off” by 9 pm if possible. This gives me a chance to actually look my husband in the face instead of barking our conversation over our kids’ heads.
  2. If the weather is nice enough, get outside. My boys love to be outside right before lunch. We take a walk to our post office (about a block down the road) and then draw or swing. While they are playing happily, I have time to let my mind wander.
  3. Prioritize your to-do list. My list seems to be never-ending. As soon as I think I have made it through, I remember about three other things to add to the list. This makes me look closely and work on the biggest issues first. What is due soonest? I take care of those first and still meet my 9 pm deadline. Otherwise, I could sit at the computer without moving for the better part of any day.
  4. Take a shower. This sounds really silly, but if your house is anything like mine, going to take a shower is one way I can guarantee about fifteen to twenty minutes of alone-time. It’s after I take the actual shower that I might sit in my bathroom and work on my nails or straighten the counter.
  5. Get to sleep at a decent hour. I know it’s tempting to stay up really late and get more work done. Believe me — I’m guilty of this one. But just five extra minutes that I swear I’m going to spend doing just one small task always leads to another five minutes and another. Next thing I know, I’ve found myself hitting the pillow at midnight.
  6. Find a way to hang out with your BFF. I have one very close friend, and she’s as busy as I am. We try really hard to get out to eat once in a while so we can catch up without kids or husbands bugging us. Mommy needs a chance to talk to real adults about her favorite topics, too!

What ways do you try to steal some peace and freedom just for you?