MommyMandy l Texas Mom Blog

What I Wish I Knew Before Writing a Book

“Wow Amanda, you write your blog posts so well; you’ve got mad talent.” “Amanda, you should totally write your own book.” These are just some of the feedback I got from friends and family and motivated me to go on and write a book. Unfortunately, none of them told me of the painful truths about writing.


You see, writing a book isn’t an easy task, and it involves a lot more than just writing. As I was writing my book, I made many mistakes and discovered some harsh realities. Had I known them before, I’d have saved myself from a lot of stress and setbacks and would have written my book much faster and sold numerous copies.


Are you pondering getting a story on paper or sharing your life knowledge and experience with thousands that could benefit from them? Here are the things that I wish I’d had an excellent understanding of prior to writing and publishing my book.


Put Writing First


I liked to put writing off, and say I would do it later. After waking up, I would have plenty of time to check emails, review my bills, arrange meetings, and do everything else except write — not even 500 words! Little did I know that whenever I put writing last, nothing substantial was going to happen.


When I had the guts to write, it was hard to squeeze out all of my literary juices. I could hardly recall what I was trying to say or where I left off the previous time I wrote. Picking my writing up where I left off was a real struggle.


I took a while for me to realize that when writing a book, the most important thing one has to do is write. I had to minimize interruptions and put my writing first — before email, social media, the news and many other things. I needed to have a daily writing routine, which I could fit in around taking care of my family and my job.


So are you putting writing first? Prioritize writing, and work toward doing it every single day. If you don’t write regularly, you’ll lose focus and get stale.


Understand Publishing


I used to think that once I wrote my book, I would easily find a publisher. Needless to say, I was wrong. It’s important to know your publishing options before finishing your book. Once you know them, it’s easier to set your new project in motion before you’re done with the manuscript.


It’s also worth noting that marketing a book on your own is a daunting task. I was overwhelmed with the demands of the release, the huge workload I had to keep up with to put food on the table, the small follow-ups and many decisions related to the book that I had to make. Finding out if the editor got her copy, the number of copies to supply my next conference with, and purchasing tickets for my next couple of trips were some of the many things I found too much to handle.


You shouldn’t market your own product. For your book to really sell, you need to have someone else market it for you. The publicity department of a publisher can help you significantly. But you should also remember that your publisher’s publicity people may have many other titles to promote alongside yours, so try to be patient with them. You may be mad at how they’re handling your book, but it’s almost always never their fault. The strains on this industry are grueling.


It’s Expensive to Write a Book


First-time authors usually get small advances or none at all. Even the few that may be lucky enough to get a significant advance won’t get it in the form of a single fat paycheck. Contract negotiations take months, and payments are often split into three sections — these authors get a portion when they sign the contract, another chunk when they submit the manuscript, and a portion on the publication of the book. And you know what? The period between the offer and the book being published can take 18 to 36 months. And let’s not forget about the many expenses related to book writing. Even that huge advance can shrink quickly.


Get rid of the notion that it’s possible to live off an advance as you write your book. My publisher doesn’t give any author advances, so I crowdfunded my book. There’s no shame in looking for a second job. Book writing money can be unpredictable, so having a paycheck from elsewhere can come in handy. The additional income will take the pressure off yourself, allowing you to write about something you love rather than desperately figuring out the kind of topics that would sell the most.


You Can’t Survive Without a Website


As I was touring and promoting my book in different places, I noticed one thing — potential readers will quickly look for an author’s website to know about him or her better that is why I contacted guys at Webs Union to help me with my books promotion. That implies that in this day and age, you miss a fantastic promotional opportunity if readers can’t find you with a few keystrokes. I came to learn from experience that these website visits can easily translate into many books sold.


Over time, a website gets stronger as it continually connects an author with readers. The stronger this connection, the more likely the readers will become zealous advocates. As a result, they’ll spread the word to family and friends.


First impression matters, so it’s important for authors to pay attention to aesthetics as well as functionality as they design their sites. An author site must respond and perform for it to be successful as a component of book marketing.


Using free web design tools just didn’t cut it for me, so I sought the services of a professional. Hiring help relieves frustration, quickens the design process, and offers peace of mind as you rest assured your website will be set up properly and look professional. A website designer will help get your site off the ground, ensure everything is rightly placed, and provide guidance on how you can manage the site yourself.


Writing that book can appear to be an endless endeavor, but it’s very possible to make it. The secret is to learn from your mistakes (and mine too) and work hard to improve your craft. You’ll reach The End and hold that book in your hands. You just have to keep soldiering on.

How to Plan a Family Getaway

Family getaways are perfect for every family, and they can be done by every family, too. Whether your getaway is simply a picnic in the park or a getaway adventure, spending time exploring new places and spending time with your loved ones will never be wasted. When you want to go somewhere further than your local park, however, planning is imperative. You don’t want to go in without the right equipment, clothes, or itinerary. Plan using these tips, and you can instead enjoy your vacation time with your family to its fullest:


How to Choose the Best Destination for Everyone

Though there are a few limitations on where you can go on a vacation together as a family, that doesn’t mean that all types of vacations are right for your family. For example, going on a hiking trip is ill-advised for families with young children, but you can still certainly enjoy going to any of the beautiful National Parks that we have available and enjoying a camping trip.


Tips on How to Improve Your Packing

When it comes to traveling with your family, what you pack is paramount. You need to bring everything you need clothes wise to combat any unexpected temperature or weather change, and you also need to pack accordingly to keep your children and yourselves happy and healthy. This means ensuring that you have everything you need in a daypack ready to go. You should have sunscreen, hats, reusable water bottles, snacks, and emergency equipment like rain ponchos wherever you go. While if it were just you and your partner, you can often grin and bear it, however, children are more upfront with their feelings and their needs and a daypack can be your saving grace for any trip.


What to Rent for the Best Family Holiday

When it comes to where you will be staying, skip the hotel. If you book one room you will have to deal with uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, and if you book two you could be facing huge accommodation costs. Instead, rent a vacation home. They will be more comfortable, you can accommodate your whole family, and you will often have a kitchen or kitchen area to prepare lunches and breakfasts in – a win if you have picky eats. Wilbur Labs has designed VacationRenter to source all the vacation rental properties into one place, so no matter your destination you will be able to find your dream home away from home.


Building an Itinerary with the Whole Family in Mind

When you try to design your trip entirely with your kids in mind, there is so much all of you will miss out on. Go to the museums and tours – your kids will still have a fun time, and, if you’re lucky, they might learn something new. Just remember to space out your activities. One thing you can’t fight is how easily kids can get tired, so include plenty rest breaks between activities, and aim to go to things the whole family will love.


Wherever you go, remember to start planning as soon as possible. The more you know, the more money you can save and the better trip you can have together as a family.


Four Ways to Get Good Deals When It’s Time to Get the Kids New Clothes

Buying new clothes for the kids is a never-ending chore. Whether they’ve simply grown out of those pants or they have stained a bunch of their T-shirts, it can feel like you’re always dumping money into your kids’ closets.

Just because your kids could use some new clothes doesn’t mean you have to drain your bank account! You can get some really great deals on kids clothes, if you know where to look.

Coupons and Sales

Brands are always offering coupons and sales, so much so that it’s silly to buy anything full price.

The first step is to sign up for mailing lists for your favorite brands and stores. That way, they have a direct way of sending you discounts and coupons so you know when the next sale is.

Whenever you’re ready to go shopping, you should always search for coupons online. For example, offers from Adidas can climb to as much as 50 percent off! That’s a huge savings if you have to buy new tennis shoes and gym clothes for the kids.

Tax-Free Weekend

If you’re heading out to do a little back-to-school shopping, you should save your purchases until tax-free weekend. Although you’ll only save a few cents on the dollar, that can really add up if you have a lot to buy.

The cool thing about tax-free weekend is that it isn’t just clothing that’s on sale! You can buy a wide variety of items for the whole family that are tax exempt including:

  • School supplies
  • Energy-saving appliances
  • Books
  • Diapers

However, it’s important to look into the rules of tax-free weekend where you live. Some states impose limits on how much you can spend on each type of item.

Buy Second Hand

Buying second hand isn’t the most popular concept for kids, but the youngest members of your family won’t care! If you’ve got a child who’s younger than 10, chances are, you can get away with shopping at your local Salvation Army.

With a little persuasion, you can get your older kids into second hand shopping as well. There are a lot of high-end consignment shops that specialize in barely worn name brand clothing. That way they can get the brands they want and you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Shop Online

There are some great deals to be had in stores, but some of the best deals can be found online! You can find some great online coupons, and some deal sites specialize in offering just a few items at deep discounts. Strategies, like checking Twitter and downloading deal notification apps, can be great ways to help you save with online retailers.

Just because the kids need new clothes again doesn’t mean you have to empty your bank account! You can get the kind of clothes your kids actually want to wear, and you can save big at the same time, by following the tips on this list.

The top 5 benefits of owning a wine cooler

Wine is at its best at a particular temperature, light, and humidity. That is why it is usually kept in the cellar. However, for those without a cellar, there are wine coolers. A wine cooler helps the wine to retain its value until you drink it.

There are different types of wine coolers in the market and so you can check out wine cooler reviews to help you make the right choice.

Here are the top five benefits of owning a wine cooler.

  1. Wine will be stored properly

Wine is delicate and can be affected by temperature, light, and humidity. A lot of light makes the wine age prematurely while temperature and humidity change affects its taste.                                         

With a wine cooler, you can store your wine at the right conditions at home and enjoy it at its finest. You can set the wine cooler at the right temperature and humidity as well as control the amount of light getting inside.  Wine should be stored at between 50-80% humidity to prevent mold and the cork from drying out.

Also, wine needs to be served at the right temperature. For instance, sparkling wines are best served at 40 to 50oF while white wine is best at 50 to 60oF.

Wine can be spoiled by exposure to heat. It should not be stored at above 70oF to maintain its quality while very low temperatures can cause the cork to dry out and allow air in affecting the flavor of the wine.

A refrigerator is not the best place to store the wine because the temperature is very low and there is no humidity, all of which cause the wine to

  1. It prevents vibrations

The quality of wine can be affected by vibrations and age prematurely affecting its taste. For instance, if you store your wine in a refrigerator, the constant opening and closing will cause vibrations which will end up affecting the taste of your wine.

However, with a wine cooler, vibrations are limited since you only open it when you are getting wine.

  1. You will store the wine in the right position

Wine is best stored sideways to ensure stability and prevent the cork from drying out. With a wine cooler, you can store the wine horizontally, which is the right position. You don’t have to worry about it occupying too much space or sliding since the cooler is made specifically for wine storage.

Less expensive and low maintenance

In comparison to a wine cellar or a refrigerator, a wine cooler is less expensive. It is also of low maintenance since it is not made using many components unlike a refrigerator or a wine cellar. These can be attributed to the small size of the wine cooler and the way it is built for the sole purpose of storing wine.

  1. It is portable

Wine coolers are available in small sizes that are portable. You can carry it on your business trips or social gatherings, meaning that you can enjoy quality wine from wherever you are without worrying about the effects of temperature and humidity.

  1. Can fit in small spaces

You can still enjoy quality wine even if you have a small space. A wine cooler can fit in the cupboard, on the office table, on the shelf and other spaces, allowing you to store your wine in the best conditions so that it can retain its good taste and smell.

Photography: Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride

Everywhere you go, you add value to your own life and to others around you. How? You record special occasions. You immortalize interesting people. You freeze beautiful moments in time.

What’s your superpower?

You’re a photographer. It’s a way to learn and grow. It’s a way to connect with people and places. And it’s a way to make a difference wherever you go.

Photography is more than just a way to capture an image. Think of it as a way to use your technical expertise to extract meaning from wonderful moments hiding in plain sights. Should you take it up as a hobby or a side hustle? That’s a good question. But before you consider those options, you have to consider something else first: how to how to get good at it.

Here are three steps you can take to ace photography:

1. Get an education:

How do you gain technical proficiency as a photographer?

You can, of course, start by reading books and magazines on photography and by subscribing to blogs dedicated to it. Although you’ll glean many tips, your progress will be modest. You’ll get some traction, and you’ll be better than before. But to get momentum, you should enroll in photography classes.

You’ll learn all sorts of interesting things in a class. One is the rule of thirds. It’s a guideline for composing visual images. Essentially, you’ll get the horizon to sit on the horizontal line that divides the lower third of your photo from the remaining upper two-thirds of it. In this way, by dividing your image into a grid, you’ll create dynamic interest in your picture.

2. Buy the right equipment:

You have innumerable options when it comes to cameras. You can go with a small point-and-shoot or choose an impressive DSLR. It all depends on your preferences and budget.

For an all-purpose compact camera, consider the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70, and if you want an advanced compact camera, check out the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II or the Nikon D810.

What’s more, the equipment isn’t just about cameras, lenses, backpacks, and stands. You’ll also want to start editing your favorite images. Editing allows you to do all sorts of things; for instance, adjust the exposure or the color. Using cutting-edge software will make it easy to enhance your shots with adjustments that appear perfectly natural.

3. Get in plenty of practice:

Taking plenty of pictures in all sorts of different places and experimenting with different angles and camera settings isn’t enough. You have to learn to fine tune your observation skills, too. You can do this by analyzing inanimate objects on a plain surface, like a table, then set it on a window to expand your perspective.

You could also pause to evaluate your location before you shoot. And you can even go full-out Zen and take photographs in your mind.

Photography as a hobby

If you’re a fun, productive Mom, then this may be the perfect hobby for you. You can use this hobby to immortalize your family’s special moments, to document your children’s journey into adulthood, and to relieve the tedium of just managing and organizing things all day.

Photography will inspire your imagination, and it also works like a health tonic–as a wonderful, safe, effective, all-natural self-esteem boosting vitamin.

Photography as A Side Hustle

If you start to get serious about your photography, then you can use it as a side-hustle. There are many benefits to monetizing your hard-earned skills. The most obvious one is that you’ll earn an extra income.

Other benefits are that you’ll learn new things, meet interesting people, go to interesting places, and build a professional network. In the fullness of time, these wonderful experiences will lead to unexpected opportunities of all kinds.

In conclusion, it’s good to remember that behind every picture, there’s a story. It’s a story of love, adventure, and joy. Every time you see a picture you took, it will evoke a story, and it will dawn on you that you’re not just a photographer, but a storyteller, a chronicler of quintessential moments.

6 Ways To Spend More Time With Your Family

Today’s busy and hectic lifestyles mean that we can often find that days have gone by without us having had the chance to spend much time with our family. That’s a pity because the more time we get to spend together, the more bonding we can do and the happier everyone becomes. When no one talks to each other or even sees each other due to work or other commitments, life can be much harder than it needs to be. Thankfully, there are some easy ways which can help everyone spend more time with their families.


Change Your To Do List

You may think that you have a lot to do and that it all needs to be completed before you can take any time ‘off’ and enjoy your kids and partner’s company. However, if you really look at that to do list, you’ll see that it’s not quite as full as you might have thought. For example, there is sure to be at least one thing on the list that just isn’t going to be done. If that’s the case, cross it off the list and plan to do it another time. You’ve just saved yourself a large chunk of time that can now be spent with your children.


Look at each item on the list and ask yourself what would happen if it wasn’t done. If the answer is that nothing would happen, then put it off to another day if it means being able to have some additional family time, for example. Other items might be suitable for delegation – could someone else in the household do the job for you while you get on with something else? Finally, remind yourself why you are doing the things that do have to be done; some will be because they make you or the family happy, some will be for money and so on. This is the motivation you need to get it all done quickly and efficiently.


Get The Kids Involved

Of course, you are probably going to be able to get your chores done a lot faster on your own without the help of small children who do tend to take their time over their work, but getting the children involved in these household tasks is important. Not only will it show them how to run a household and keep their homes clean and tidy, or show them how to prepare a meal and cook it successfully, but they will also get to spend time with you even though you are still working. Children can learn to put their own toys away when they are done with them, which saves you the time of doing it later on. That time can be better spent playing a game or reading a story together.


Don’t Stress

Being stressed about finances or health can have a major negative impact on the time you spend with your family. Firstly, if you’re worrying so much that you can’t think of anything else, you will never be entirely present with your family, even if you do find some time to be with them. Your mind will always be somewhere else, and you will never feel entirely happy. Secondly, chronic stress takes its toll on your body and can cause physical problems such as heart conditions and high blood pressure. It can cause mental health issues too including depression.


It’s far better to deal with your problem at the outset because not only will you feel much better; you’ll be able to enjoy family time a lot more. If you have a lot of debt to deal with, for example, a consolidation loan from Bonsai Finance could help. If you are worried about your health, making an appointment with your doctor is the best thing to do.


Stop Wasting Time

If you think about your day step by step, you’ll notice something you may not have realized before. You will be wasting your time on a number of different tasks. If you can organize yourself, your family, and your home so that these tasks no longer take up so much of your time (or any of your time), then you will find that the tasks that do have to be done are completed a lot more quickly.


If you find that you are spending a lot of time searching for missing items of clothing, for example, install a small cubby for each person in the household by the front door. Anything that is found around the house can be placed into these cubbies, and it is down to the person who needs the item to find it there. There are many ‘hacks’ that can help you and teach everyone more responsibility at the same time.


Flexible Working

If you never ask about flexible working, you’ll never know, and while some employers don’t like to provide it, many more will. You may be able to start later or finish early, or perhaps work from home on some days. Although you will still need to get your work done, you’ll also be able to spend more time with your children. If your boss would prefer you stick to the usual routine and won’t offer flexibility then perhaps it is time to look for a job that will offer it. That may feel scary and even a little extreme, but sometimes it is necessary, and it is always good to try new things from time to time as well.


Cook Extra

Maybe it’s cooking the evening meal that seems to take up a lot of time for you. In that case, planning ahead is important so that you can prep as much of the meal before you come to cook it as possible. It is also a good idea to cook double the amount of food you need when you are making the meal. The extra food can be frozen or refrigerated and used as an additional meal at another time, saving you the job of cooking it. That means you can get a board game out or watch a movie, or even head out for a walk or a swim with your family, and not worry about having to rush back to make their meal.





Top Things to Outsource Now

Check out the top things that successful people outsource.

Tip 1: Outsourcing Pest Control

It is often a fallacy to assume that in-house pest control programs are more cost-effective than outsourcing it. It is easy for home and business owners to fall behind on the latest developments in pest control technology. This means that newer, more effective, pest control techniques may be outside the purview of a nonprofessional. In-house pest control does not ensure that the most effective pest elimination methods are being utilized. This can be mitigated by outsourcing local pest control to an company that is up to date on pest control technology and understands the most effective methods for eliminating pests.

Tip 2: How Hiring Movers Can Save Time and Money

Hiring movers can save a tremendous amount of time and money. Despite the size of the move, there can a huge investment of time and energy. Taking on this task yourself can take up a whole day or spiral into weeks of work. Not to mention potential injuries and hospital bills from a moving mishap. To avoid these potential injuries and time sink, hire a professional moving company to do it all for you.

Tip 3:  Outsource Small Business Needs

If you or someone you knows has a small business then you may considering outsourcing a few things. JDE Consultants services offers a plethora of automation services for any small business. The managed services offer support 24/7/365 with features including 24/7 cloud support, functional applications, data administration, and hosted system management. APR Energy offers mobile power plants for customers paying for the energy produced and potential energy generation capacity. These plants can be produced in weeks. Compared with traditional power plants, that take years to establish, APR plants are available in a fraction of the time. Genset generators are fuel-efficient, flexible, and scalable, allowing customers to meet their current needs and effortlessly scale up as their energy needs grow.

Tip 4: Hiring a Cleaning Service to Save Time and Money

Having a clean home or office is great, but what if you hate cleaning? Hiring a cleaning service, in this case, will allow you to avoid cleaning while having the tidy space you desire. Cleaning thoroughly often takes upwards of hours to do, and while cleaning services can be pricey, what if your time is more valuable than the cost of the cleaning service? If this is the case, hiring a cleaning service is a no-brainer. Especially if the area is considered biohazardous. Professional services should always be consulted when dealing with biohazardous waste for safety reasons and to ensure compliance with government regulations.

Tip 5: Tax Professionals

Hiring a tax professional can erase the headache from dealing with taxes and potentially save you some money. There is a fee associated with hiring a tax professional, but the professional’s knowledge and expertise can potentially decrease the amount of taxes you pay and increase your refund.

Tip 6: Moving

Moving can be very exciting, but with excitement also comes stress. Hiring professional movers with not only save time and allow the process to run smoother, but it will also keep your mind at ease. There are several perks to hiring movers. Movers will have all the equipment that you’ll need to get your items into your new home and planning ahead can be made easy. They can even help you unpack

Inflatable Castles-The best thing that happened to Backyard Play sets

A common problem in the modern families today is how to get their children some physical exercise. In this day and age, more and more children are becoming “zombies” and become addicted to either their TV screens, tablets, mobile phones, or their computers. Now, these are not bad things by themselves but as a parent in these times you have to be very creative and present them with alternative activities to at least limit their screen times and enjoy the real world!

The “Bounce House” as it is commonly called often comes in the shape of a castle and is very useful especially in the developing mind of a little boy or girl. Now imagine this in your backyard available for them at their pleasure. There are pros and cons of course but with due diligence, the cons disappear rather quickly. Read on below why having inflatable castles for your kids are a winner.

Getting the kids OUT to Play!

This is NOT a problem before but in this modern age, IT IS! A big plus for having a play set with an inflatable castle helps bring kids together and thereby helping them with their social skills development

Now if that isn’t an advantage I don’t know what is!

It greatly improves kid’s Balance and Physical Skills

When the kids are playing in an inflatable castle, they jump! And when they do, they learn crucial balancing skills as the castles surface is constantly shifting and moving.

A bouncy is safe

A properly installed and supervised inflatable castle in your backyard play set is about the safest play area your kid can be in a playground. Accidents do happen but are mostly due to lack of supervision and installation mistakes.

Having mentioned the above advantages, here are a few things to remember if you are planning to get one as an addition to your backyard play set. There are several safety concerns that you need to be aware of when planning on having one, whether you are hiring one or having one set up in your backyard in a more prolonged duration.

Make sure that it is installed by professionals; these people know the correct placement, its safe use, and most importantly proper anchoring. Some larger inflatable castles for kids have been known to be blown away by a strong gust of wind because of improper anchorage. Take into account the children’s sizes and their number when allowing them to play in the equipment, and at least one adult should be present while they are playing in the castle. It is a good Idea to ensure that children who will be playing in the inflatable castle are of at least on the average- the same size, weight, and height. Also, the Adult accompanying these children should ensure that there should be no rough play, tumbling or wrestling going on inside the enclosure. That being said, the safest way to use a bouncy castle is one kid at a time and to limit the use to children at 6 years of age and older.

So there you have it! Just like any other equipment, inflatable castles for kids are safe only when used properly and when following the guidelines.







Common Concerns About Talking to Your Kids About the Dangers of Drugs and Alcohol

If you’re putting off the drug and alcohol talk, you’re not alone. Most parents dread this talk for a variety of reasons. But that doesn’t mean you should keep hitting the snooze button on this one. This is an important talk for everyone to have, especially in light of the current opioid epidemic.

Here are some of the more common concerns about having the drug and alcohol talk (and how to address them).

  1. It’s too early

Some parents put the talk off because they think it’s too early to worry about these things. Why plant the seed before your child even knows what drugs are?

Although it is important to keep the conversation age appropriate, it’s actually better for your child to learn about drugs through you. This way, you’ll have control over how the conversation goes.

You can start talking to kids as early as two about how and why you’re only supposed to take small amounts of medicine – and only when you need it. It’s never too early to talk about drugs or alcohol.

  1. I feel like a hypocrite

Parents who experimented with drugs as teens often have a hard time addressing the issue with their kids. Naturally, they don’t want their children to follow the same path, but they don’t want to sound like hypocrites either.

If this sounds like you, think about what might have stopped you from experimenting and lead with that. You can be honest about your history (leaving out any sordid details), but add the “if I had known…” element to the conversation. If you had known that drug use could have a lasting effect on your memory, you wouldn’t have done it. Focus heavily on the negative effects that drugs have had on your life, and you can turn your history into a teaching experience.

  1. My kid knows more than I do

When our kids enter high school, they might have a good base knowledge of recreational drugs and what they do. They probably know all the street slang for the latest drugs too. In that way, they may know more than you. But they aren’t learning about all the dangers of these drugs from their friends. That’s where you come in.

Don’t get intimidated if you don’t know what Z-Bars are (it’s Xanax, by the way). All drugs and alcohol work by hijacking your brain’s reward center. Some are more addictive and dangerous than others, but you don’t need to know them all by name to have this conversation.

  1. It’s too late

Even if you’re sure your child has experimented with drugs or alcohol, it’s not too late to have this conversation. In fact, it’s a great time to start talking.

Your child made a misguided choice without having all the information. Now, it’s time to give him all the info. Avoid telling him things like, “drugs aren’t cool.” If he’s already tried them, it’s likely because he does think they’re cool. But that’s irrelevant. Stick to the facts about what drugs can do to a person’s body and life. Show before and after pictures of addicts and talk about how addiction grabs some people sooner than others. You never know when you’ll get addicted, but there’s a chance every time you abuse a substance.

Don’t worry about what your kids will think or if the conversation feels awkward. The most important thing is that you start talking. Also, as your kids get older, it’s helpful to think of this as an ongoing discussion instead of just one conversation. It does get easier as you talk more.

Completing Your Own Home Maintenance? Questions to Ask Before Starting

DIY home improvement has become an increasingly popular way for homeowners to save money on the cost of owning a property. By learning basic maintenance tasks, property owners are able to cut out the middleman (contractors) which has the potential to save them thousands of dollars each year. With great intentions in mind, homeowners set out to complete projects. Some, are simple enough to repair and actually do save them money, while others leave them with a bigger mess than they started with.

So, how do you know when you can complete a home maintenance job by yourself and when you need to contact a professional? There are a few questions you can ask yourself before getting started to make a more informed decision.

Is There a Lot of Material to Rely on?

There are online videos, how-to guides, and a host of other resources that homeowners can turn to to learn how to complete basic home maintenance jobs. They serve as great tutors and reference guides as you go along. If you search the internet and can’t find relevant information on how to do the job, perhaps it’s because it’s something that can’t be taught in a few minutes. In which case, you should contact an expert.

Were You Successful in the Past?

Certain jobs, like pest control, will be required on a more frequent basis than others. The task seems simple enough. Thoroughly clean your house, seal up holes, spray, and place traps or bait strategically around. If you’ve done this and still manage to spot pests in your house, it may be to your advantage to hire an exterminator in San Diego or whichever city you’re closest to.

How Familiar Are You with the Problem?

Experience is important when fixing things around the house. How much experience is required for you to complete the home improvement job? Replacing a washer on your bathroom faucet is a bathroom DIY project that may require nothing more than your ability to use a wrench to unscrew the fixture. However, installing a new toilet is a bit more complex as you’d need to know how your home’s plumbing system works, where the water lines are, and how to appropriately install the toilet so that it doesn’t start leaking or cause other plumbing issues. This would seem to be best left to a plumber.

Do You Have the Right Tools?

No matter what maintenance job you need to complete at your place you’re going to need some tools and supplies. Some things, you may already have at home like a toolbox, but other things you’ll have to invest in. Buying a ladder to clean the gutters is one thing, but if it gets to the point where you need specialized and expensive parts to complete the job, you may save more money letting a contractor handle it. This is also true if you’re not comfortable or sure of how to use the tools. If improperly used, you could end up injured or cause more damage to your property.

How Long Will the Project Take?

Time is a commodity that not everyone has a lot of. If you’re on a tight schedule, trying to tackle a major maintenance task may not work. Painting the kitchen walls, for instance, could be a job you could handle on the weekend with no problem. However, remodeling a kitchen on your own could take weeks or even months without professional help. Not to mention, the longer it takes you to rectify the matter, the longer your family goes without. If you’re trying to update the kitchen, your family has to find another means for cooking meals.

DIY projects have been saving homeowners money for eons. It is a rewarding way to invest very little in your home but to get a great deal in return. Be that as it may, not all maintenance tasks are best left in your hands. If you lack experience, don’t have the right tools, don’t have the time to commit, or can’t find resources to guide you along the way, these are all red flags. If you’re not 100% sure you can get the job done right, calling a plumber, electrician, general contractor, or other specialized expert is the best way to save money and protect your property.


How can a stay at home mom make money?

Motherhood is exhausting and expensive. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job. Sadly, it is a job you don’t get paid for. What’s a woman to do to make ends meet? And in this economy! Well lucky for you, there are a lot of home-based employment options for homemakers that can get you some extra bucks.

Sign Up for Freelancing Jobs

The internet is not just a place to watch cat videos and stalk people on Facebook. You can actually find some well-paying freelancing projects online, if only you know where to look. Clients and companies are always on the lookout for talented amateur artists, graphic designers, and content creators worldwide.

So, if you have a technical skill or talent, use it to earn some money. You just need to have some minimum qualifications to apply (a college degree or in some cases not even that); age is not a factor. The working hours are usually flexible and the pay is pretty good – what else do you need?

Sell Crafts on Etsy

If you have an artsy side, you can use your artistic creations to earn some quick cash. Sell your craft on platforms like Etsy. All you have to do is set up a profile on Etsy, upload your work and then spread the word online. One of the easiest ways to get subscribers and buyers is to offer free samples of your items. The start-up costs are usually very low, but it has good returns. You can even start your own website or e-store to tap into the international market.

Start a Blog

Blogging is the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks about work-at-home jobs. There are tons of platforms like WordPress or eBlogger where you can set up a blog and post content regularly. Start a personal blog (about your daily experiences, funny anecdotes, recipes and stuff) or a professional one (where you talk about stuff like politics, economics, review products among other things). And if you’re not good with the written word, try out other forms of self-expression like photography, illustrations, painting, music – the possibilities are endless.

Tutor Kids Online

If you have an academic specialty and have a few hours to kill every week, then online tutoring is the best option for you. Learning doesn’t always happen in the traditional classroom setting; students prefer an informal space where they get quick tips and short-cuts to crack exams. Platforms like Tutor.come and offer plenty of teaching opportunities to budding and professional teachers. Video conferencing, live chats, tutorials, blog posts are some ways in which students can connect with you. The pay is decent; you usually get paid on an hourly basis. Share your knowledge with struggling students and help them pass the semester – there’s no nobler deed than that!

Fill Out Survey Forms

A lot of the home-based job options require some degree of expertise and start-up investments. You don’t need any qualification to fill out survey forms and make money from it. Everyone, from big-shot companies to growing start-ups is looking for data – customer tastes, their likes, dislikes, trends of the industry and what not. And they’re willing to pay you for your opinion! There are tons of survey sites where you can sign up, fill in the questionnaires and get paid. What’s more, it’s free and it takes less than 10 mins to fill out a survey.

Sell Stuff Online

You know what’s the easiest way to earn some quick cash and cleaning out some of the junk cluttering your house? Having a yard sale of course. Now, it might be a bit inconvenient to organize a makeshift thrift shop in your backyard, but it takes but a few hours to sell stuff online. You can now get rid of the old clothes, toys, furniture, electronics, gadgets and everything else that you don’t need and get a good deal out of it. Platforms like Craigslist and eBay encourage buyers and sellers worldwide to interact and engage in business.

Make DIY Videos

Making videos for a living? That’s like the millennial version of a hipster life. Everyone loves DIY stuff, it looks cute and seems pretty easy. Shoot videos on makeup tutorials, recipes, jewelry and cute artsy things – people will lap it up! And once you have an impressive viewer base, you can monetize on the content. Platforms like YouTube pay people on the basis of the viewershipfor their video content. Then, you could get deals from sponsors. Place advertisements, collaborate with brands, launch your own line of products – the sky is the limit.

The Bottom Line

Sure, kids are a real joy (well, most of the time) and you wouldn’t have it any other way. But admit it, wouldn’t it be nicer if you could contribute to the household expenses? Maybe have a little savings of your own? You don’t necessarily have to work in a conventional 9-5 job anymore for that.  You can get equally lucrative earning opportunities online – and that’s where this guide intends to help.


Top 5 Tips for Preparing to Bring a Puppy into Your Family

If you have finally decided to give in and bring a puppy into your home as an addition to your family, then that is a great thing. Puppies, which grow into dogs, are lovable, loyal, and can bring years of joy to your family. However, they are just like having an extra child and you have to work hard to ensure that you have the time, patience, and love to take care of them.

The first thing you need to do is sit down with your family and discuss the very real responsibilities of pet care and decide if you are indeed ready to bring a puppy into your home. Once you have had this discussion and decided that you are ready for a ball of fur to join your family, read on below for some of the responsibilities and a few tips to help you prepare for bringing a puppy into your life.

A Way to Track Him 

One of the first things you should purchase is some form of tracker technology for your pet as a protective precaution in the event they run away. While a hunting dog tracker like the Garmin Alpha tt15 collar might be a bit big for your Pomeranian, these devices represent the peak of pet tracking technology. Look for something GPS-enabled, if possible. After all, it is now your responsibility to ensure that the dog doesn’t get lost, stolen, or wander away from home to tear up the neighbor’s trash. Not only can a tracking collar help you to find your lost dog, it can help you to train your young pup as well, something that can be tedious for sure.

Follow the Checklist

There are many checklists out there that will help you prepare to bring home a new dog to your family. Things that might be on the checklist you choose include questions you should ask yourself and your family before adopting a pet, whether you can afford the costs of a pet and other things to help you prepare for the new addition to your family. Making sure to follow a simple checklist will go a long way towards you not feeling overwhelmed with your new pet responsibilities.

Puppy Proof Your Home 

Think of your new puppy like a toddler that is just starting to explore their new world. You will want to puppy proof your home long before you bring the little darling into your life. Puppies chew on everything they can get their little mouths on, so put up those $200 pumps and make sure to put up cords and electrical wires as well, for your home’s protection as well as the pups.

Prepare Him is Own Space

Just like a human, your little canine pal is going to want his own space. Get him a comfortable dog bed, his own little water and food bowl, and a few toys that he can chew on and play with.

Give Him Love and have Patience

Just like a child, your puppy is going to make mistakes. Prepare yourself to have that patience and to love your puppy just like you do the other members of your family. Trust me, your love will be rewarded.

These are just a few tips for preparing to bring a new puppy into your family and home. Remember, a way to track your pup and giving him love and patience is the true way to win your puppies heart!

Glow Battle: A Light-Up Sword Game for Active Fun

Fight your friends, foes and family in this epic glowing game. You’ll need to run, attack, strategize and defend yourself — but most of all, you’ll need to connect with your inner warrior and lead your team to victory!

Everything you need for both teams!

Get youth off their phones, get people outside. It’s a fun game, the sticks are made out of foam!

Here is how to play!

Watch the kids all having fun!

This is the perfect all-ages outdoor game for groups, parties and events. The game will be available for purchase in July at


*A product was provided.

5 Tips to Selecting the Best Multivitamin Your Kids Will Love

Children should get the right amount of sufficient nutrients in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they grow. Ideally, these nutrients should come from healthy foods that are accessible and affordable for everyone. However, food preferences differ from one child to another, and not all healthy foods are appetizing. While multivitamins cannot wholly replace or replicate a healthy diet from natural food sources, they can serve as a supplement to provide nutrients that may be lacking from the meal. Here are five tips on how to select the best multivitamin for your kids.

  1. The Right Nutritional Composition

When choosing the best multivitamin for kids, you should look at the specific composition and make sure it has the right nutrients. For children, the multivitamin should have the majority if not all the 13 vitamins and 14 essential minerals. Vitamins A, C, and D should be there as these are very important for children’s growth. Moreover, the multivitamins should not exceed over the recommended dietary allowances. More doesn’t always mean better in this situation.

  1. Bioavailability

According to pharmacology and nutritional and environmental sciences, bioavailability refers to the degree and rate by which our body’s circulation can absorb any administered medicinal drugs. Just because multivitamins only serve as supplements to natural food sources doesn’t mean that they can be taken without adequate knowledge regarding dosage and frequency. It is always recommended to get advice from a physician on what type of multivitamins are right for your children. Bioavailability is different from one kid to another and can be affected by various factors involving the child and the drug itself. For the child, his or her physiological characters, history of function, and current prescription drugs may affect bioavailability. As for the multivitamin, the drug’s physical properties and formulation may have a direct impact on bioavailability.

  1. Safety

Safety of multivitamins can be measured concerning potency and the fact that the nutrients packed in the product are well within the recommended daily allowances set by health institutions. Some harmful additives should be avoided at all costs including artificial flavors, preservatives, and binding agents. These additives don’t carry any nutritional value and may cause unexpected side effects unknown to the child. While gummy vitamins or drink mixes may seem attractive to children, they usually contain sugary corn syrup which is unnecessary and can damage your child’s teeth. For safety purposes, every ingredient in the product not exceed the tolerable upper intake levels.

  1. Compatibility

Some children may develop specific allergies towards specific drugs. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep a list of ingredients that are not suitable for your child the next time you pick up a bottle of multivitamins. Moreover, you should also consider the age and gender of the child when choosing the type of volume of the multivitamins. For instance, children who are less than four years old may require fewer calories and protein compared to those who are older. Children who are between two and four may require the same nutrients, but boys may need more as they reach five or six compared to girls. Some children may have a much harder time to digest a specific multivitamin compared to others. These are just a few of the factors to consider for compatibility.

  1. Brand Recommendations by Experts

As a precaution and to make sure that you get the most benefits from multivitamins, you should ask for specific brand recommendations from physicians, nutritionists, and possibly other parents who have been in similar situations. This way, you can ascertain the credibility of the brand before buying the first thing that you see in the store.

Top 4 Activities to Do for an Ultimate Cairns Vacation

copyright image by

Cairns is definitely one of the most beautiful destinations in Australia. Aside from the Great Barrier Reef, there are plenty of attractions and places to see here. From glorious beaches to lush forests to bustling markets, you are sure to have something to enjoy with your family or friends.

A trip to Cairns will be worth your time and money, especially when you are with your loved ones. Everything is going to be fun and memorable as you are up for a lot of adventures. So, here are some of the best things you can do in Cairns to make the most of your tropical holiday:

Spend a day on Green Island

Situated just about 45 minutes by a boat ride from Cairns is the magnificent Green Island. Be sure to visit this relaxing sand island and appreciate the beauty of the sea. You can swim, snorkel, or simply stroll along the shore. A day spent here will certainly be refreshing as you witness a different sight aside from the city.


Check out Kuranda on the Skyrail and Scenic Railway

Be one with nature and head over the hinterland town of Kuranda. Ride your way up to Kuranda through Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and take the Scenic Railway when going back. This is one of the most famous things to do in Cairns, so don’t miss out on this one. Absolutely, you will be in awe of the picturesque scenery you will get to see while riding the Skyrail and Scenic Railway.


Wander around Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Discover the oldest living culture in Cairns! The rich history of Tjapukai aboriginal culture dates back more than 40,000 years ago, making the cultural park a top attraction in the city. If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the aboriginals, then this is the ideal spot to visit. You will be able to see the traditional owners of the land dancing, singing, and telling stories. It is a great way to understand the local people deeply.


Head to Marine World

Experience a one-of-a-kind adventure with the whole family at Marine World on the Eastern end of Moore Reef. The newly established Outer Reef platform is actually a purpose-built two-storey pontoon. Offering a fantastic five-hour pontoon tour, you will surely have one of the most unforgettable moments of your life here. Not to mention, first-time snorkelers will be able to enjoy such a nice experience.


Traveling to Cairns is always a great idea, especially when you are with the people closest to your heart. There are tons of amazing stuff that await you here, so be sure to plan your trip properly and ahead of time. Also, add these activities mentioned above to your itinerary and you will truly experience the ultimate holiday ever. Simply ask for help on car hire in Cairns here to be able to roam around the city hassle-free and safely. This way, you can maximize your time as well as seize every moment you are in this wonderful destination