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Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for CWAHM Blogs

101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

 

25. Switch Drinks
CWAHM reader Tricia Kongos offers this tip: “Order water to drink at restaurants instead of soda.” This will not only cut down on your bill every time you eat out, but will also eliminate calories from your diet.

 

26. Use Expiring Items
Make a point to put food items that are nearing their expiration front and center so they will be used first. A study by by the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that Americans throw away roughly 40% of their food, which equates to roughly $2,275 a year for a family of four.

 


27. Slash Your Cable Bill

“Get rid of Cable or Satellite TV-between free air stations (your local stations) and options like Roku, Apple TV, and the like, you can watch many show and movies for a fraction of the cost of cable! Subscriptions to Hulu Plus (regular Hulu is free on you computer), Netflix and similar services are less than $10 a month! It’s worth looking into-we cut our satellite bill from $120/month to $19/month!!”

– Anne Bennett
www.momsdrivenfromwithin.com

 

Do you have a money saving idea that you’d like to see featured in this CWAHM series?
Fill out this form to submit your tip!

Read the entire series here!

 

 

101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

22. Make a monthly budget
“ If you don’t know the magic number of how much you spend each month on food, clothing, gasoline, car washes, eating out, etc., you’ll never know where you can trim the fat and save money! You might not realize that your family spends $400/month on fast food and restaurants until you take the time to add up each transaction!! Then you can decide if that’s a reasonable amount for your budget or if you need to lower that amount! It’s so much easier to SAVE money when you know WHERE it’s all going!”

– Anne Bennett
www.momsdrivenfromwithin.com

 

23. Count The Cost
Before you buy groceries or other items in bulk, check the cost per unit (CPU) to determine which is truly the better bargain. I noticed this recently when our grocery store had crackers on sale. It ended up being cheaper for me to buy 3 small bags of the crackers (which were on sale) instead of the “family pack” (that equated to the same amount as the 3 small bags) at regular price.

 

24. Freeze It
“Freeze meals or extras. I recently make cupcakes but had too much. I froze the rest and pulled out later for a treat.”

– Roshanda Pratt
www.facebook.com/REPCommunicationsNetwork

 

Do you have a money saving idea that you’d like to see featured in this CWAHM series?
Fill out this form to submit your tip!

Read the entire series here!

 

 

101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

19. Shop Off-season
This tip comes from Roshanda Pratt, CWAHM’s Media Director. Roshanda says that to save money she often shops in the off season, for example buy winter clothes in the spring, etc.

– Roshanda Pratt
www.facebook.com/REPCommunicationsNetwork

20. Keep It Cool
CWAHM reader Tricia Kongos shares one way that her family has found that helps save money by keeping heating costs down in the winter: “Turn thermostat down in the winter and wear a sweatshirt!” I bet some of your reading are glad you live in warm climates! 🙂

– Tricia Kongos

21. Use Rewards
Mother of four Anne Bennett gives this great tip: “Use reward cards!! Now, I’m not talking about credit cards, but the free reward cards that you can accumulate points on for $ off! Especially if it somewhere you shop regularly! Some cards can also be used to load digital coupons on top of your regular savings as a card holder.”

– Anne Bennett
http://www.momsdrivenfromwithin.com/

 

Do you have a money saving idea that you’d like to see featured in this CWAHM series?
Fill out this form to submit your tip!

Read the entire series here!

 

 

  1. 101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

16. Homemade Soap
Another way to keep a little extra cash in your wallet it to make homemade hand soap. There are hundreds of recipes and ideas out there, but here’s one to get you started: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/easy-homemade-soap

17. Cut Out Vices

This one seems simple, but actually putting it into practice can be much more difficult. However, cutting out vices like smoking, liquor, etc can save you hundreds of dollars a month. If your vice is something you’ve done for years, consider asking a friend to hold you accountable or seek out a treatment program at a church or ministry near you.

18. This tip comes from a fellow CWAHM:
“Jill, one of the ways I am able to save money by staying at home is that my family is able to eat my home cooking rather than getting a bite on the run on the way home. It makes us healthier, also.
I use the crockpot a lot to give me the most time to work on my home projects and meals are hot and ready when we are. This year I bought 3 crockpot cookbooks to help me come up with new ideas. Often I use the old favorites but modify them. Such as cooking the taco mix in the crock pot and adding the shells, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese etc at the table.”
– Kathy Wilson
TipsToAHealthierYou.info

Do you have a money saving idea that you’d like to see featured in this CWAHM series?
Fill out this form to submit your tip!

Read the entire series here!

 

 

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis past week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were having a conversation. Of course, it was more like a monologue, but you know how that works.

We were thinking back over the years of our life together and reminding ourselves of some of the great and wonderful times we have had. The friends we have made. The activities we have enjoyed together. Of course, there were the grandchildren and my wife had a great time talking about the grandchildren and I chuckling along with her.

After a moment of quietness, my wife said rather seriously, “Who is the friend you miss the most?”

Boy, was that a question!

I had to really think about that, then I mention somebody she knew and we moved on to another subject.

However, thinking about that a little bit later I did acknowledge that the friend I missed the most was Tom Foolery. I guess, as you get older you more or less outgrow that friendship. But I certainly do miss him.

Being older now, and supposedly wiser, I am expected to have a certain serious decorum. I am to take everything very seriously and professionally. I suppose I am seriously a professional geezer.

Why is it when you get older people expect different things out of you?

I do have fond memories of my high school years when I was not expected to be serious minded or professional. The great expectation back then was to enjoy yourself and have fun. Do not take life too seriously, was the motto of my younger years.

Now that I am older, I have to take life seriously. Who came up with that rule? I would like to send him to the principal’s office.

Someone once said in my hearing that 60 was the new 40. I do not know what that means, but I like to lean in that direction. Too many people, including my wife, take things way too serious. Where is the fun in that though?

I do remember quite fondly my friend Tom Foolery. We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed each other’s company totally.

I think, even at my age that a little bit of Tom Foolery is not going to hurt me in the least. Of course, my ribs might ache because of all the laughter involved. That it is a small price to pay.

I was thinking about my friend, Tom, when I was at the post office this past week. Every once in a while I have to take a package to the post office to have it mailed.

This day the line was quite long and the service people were working as hard and fast as they could. However, too many people had problems that could not be solved in a moment.

The line got longer and longer, the people inhabiting the line grew a little grouchy and grumpy, and I could hear some of the complaining behind me.

I notice loads of problems in life, but if standing in line for a long period is the worst of my problems, I certainly have a wonderful life. Not everybody goes along with that idea. Especially, the people standing behind me.

Pretty soon, one of the lady managers from the back came out to try to assist in the service. She said, “Is anybody here for pick up?”

I do not offer any logical excuse or explanation for what I said. Just that, the noodle soup upstairs was boiling and my mouth was unlocked at the moment.

I said to the lady, “Are you handling the pickup?”

“Yes I am,” she said very professionally as she walked over towards me.

“Are you available?”

Walking towards me, she said, “Yes.”

Quite seriously, I extended my hand and responded to her, “Where would you like to go?”

She stopped in her tracks and looked at me and immediately behind me the customers began laughing and clapping their hands. Read More→

101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

13. Cut Out Fast Food
This one is SO hard for me. I love to bake, but cooking is not one of my favorite things to do. However, eating out adds up QUICK. So, to save some extra money each month, consider cutting out as much away-from-home eating as possible. Make it a game and see how many meals you can eat at home and then reward yourself in some inexpensive way.

14. Stop Spending
In our culture, living on less can be very difficult. We’re bombarded with new things that we “need” and new gizmos that we must have in order to be successful. For the next month, challenge yourself. Set a goal to only spend $25 a week (or whatever amount your family agrees on) and see how well you can do!

15. Cut Out Soda
I’m nearing the year mark since I’ve had soda. Not only has our budget increased by around $50/month, I’ve also lost weight. What more can I say to convince you that those sodas that taste so good are not worth the calories or the $$.

 

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 101 Tips To Help Your Budget (And You!) at Home.

 

Read the entire series here!

 

 

Mar
08

Teenagers – the brain thang

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerWhen my kids were little, we used to make fun of the disrespectful, lazy, reprobate teenagers that frequented the neighborhood. We’d see them riding their bike the wrong way in traffic, saying bad words, or damaging property. I’d look at my boys, shake my head disapprovingly, and say, “Teenagers.”

Soon they started doing it too. When a group of drunk teens tried to pull an alligator out of the sewer in front of our house (hey, it was Florida), one of my kids looked and me and said, “teenagers, right dad?”

Right.

Except now I have two teenagers.

We live in West Virginia now, so there are less alligators, but there is still property to damage, bad decisions to make, and lots and lots of drugs (drugs are West Virginia’s state bird).

My wife and I commiserate a lot about our two teens. “How did this happen?” we frequently ask each other. We are good parents. I even write a parenting blog.

There are many factors involved in teenagers turning into teenagers. We might explore some of them in a future article. But today I’m going to share one fact that helps my wife and I deal with the times when we see our kids making immature or poorly conceived decisions:

Their brains are not done developing.

I’ve heard about it on TV before, how teens make impulsive decisions because of their prefrontal cortex still developing. On a CSI drama, one character remarked that they don’t finish brain development until age 25ish.

25? Is that really true!?!

Yes, in this case television didn’t let us down. The front of teenagers’ brains, the part where they make logical, informed decisions, is still developing. So instead of using it, they default to the part of the brain called the amygdala (try spelling that for a spelling bee). The amygdala is the part of the brain that reacts with instinct, aggression, and emotion. So teenagers are primarily using a brain that has them make poorly conceived, emotional decisions; usually impulsively.

So, my wife and I have to enjoy this state of unformed brain development for a few more years. Sometimes we talk about the Bible and how teenagers were already living on their own, frequently married, and working in full-time occupations. We lament that times have changed. Just trying to imagine our boys out living in their own house, being responsible for a wife or finances, and holding down a job, is a thought that is both scary and pleasant.

We’d love it if they faced some of the challenges that they think they can manage. But at the same time we don’t want them to make life-altering disaster decisions. But also at the same time we are tired of their attitude.

We can see why teenage kids of Bible times were out on their own; because they knew everything!

Sometimes when i feel like a bad parent, I read the parable of the Prodigal Son from the Bible. Here is a clip from it in case you are unfamiliar.

(Luke 15:11 – 24 NIV Bible) “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Reading this story gives me hope. My teens will probably make bad decisions, but I will watch out for them and provide a forgiving and accepting home base and family for them when they start to think reasonably again.

Or, in other words, they are going to make dumb decisions while they are teens and their brains are still developing. We dads will be there for them when they start using their developed brains.

This also gives me two pieces of advice that I think apply to all parents, especially Dads:

Don’t judge harshly: the Prodigal Son parable above is a metaphor for us (the kid in the story) and God (the father in the story) — if God is the BEST parent and unruly teenage kids (us) still make bad decisions . .

Which means don’t be too hard on yourself
Which also means don’t be too hard on other parents either — I’ve seen way too many parents with kids that used to ‘walk on water’ when they were younger and now have turned into little demon harlots. It’s sad when parents feel that they are all alone because they don’t want to admit that their kid isn’t perfect.
Give them grace through relationship: I did and said some horrible things when I was a teen. Some of it, as an adult, I am ashamed of. I suggest that you decide right now that you will love your kids — even teens — and accept them as people no matter what they say or do. Because it gets hard.

I heard a kid recently. . a kid that may or may not be the fruit of my loins . . say that he wanted to graduate high school, try lots of drugs, live with his female manager at the fast-food job, and make enough money to drink and have fun on weekends.

NONE OF THAT IS OK! However, there is still brain development occurring (thank God!) and I’m pretty sure most of that was said out of shock-value anyway. I hope.

Teenagers.

Mar
06

Have Mouth, Will Stutter

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI pride myself with the ability to express myself with the proper wording. I enjoy words and seeing how they relate one to another. Unfortunately, it has not always the case.

I have found through the years that I have developed quite the art of stuttering. It happens at the most inconvenient moments.

It is like the story of Honest Abe Lincoln and his wife. The story is not true of course, but it is very interesting. Mrs. Lincoln asks Honest Abe, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

Known as “Honest Abe” we all chuckle at that moment of stuttering for him.

I have had such moments of my own.

For example, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I might be sitting in the living room watching TV and all the time the person on the other couch is chattering. Me, I am not listening, just smiling and nodding my head in agreement. That has cost me quite a bit throughout the years.

The wife was chattering and then she stopped and said, “I want to know what you think about that? And please be honest with me.”

Now the stuttering syndrome begins. I had no idea what she was talking about. Now I am backed into the proverbial corner with nowhere to go. How I answer that question, may determine my health.

“Well,” my dear, I stuttered, “if you think it’s a good idea I just want you to know that I support you 100%.” Getting that out gives me a great sigh of relief. While saying this I am looking at her smiling very graciously.

“Oh,” my wife says rather sarcastically, which should have been a warning to me, “you want broccoli for supper tonight. Right?”

How you get out of a situation like that is something I have yet to learn. Sometimes, or maybe I should say, all the time, it is crucial to listen to what your wife is saying particularly the questions.

One morning after finishing breakfast, she looked at me smilingly and said, “Ya wanna take a ride with me this morning?”

The first time she asked me this question I was startled because I could not remember the previous conversation as to where she wanted to go that morning. Trying to be the gracious husband that I sometimes think I am, which is a solo opinion, I smiled, nodded and said, “Yes, of course, I want to go with you this morning.” Read More→

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Mar
04

5 Ways to Grow Your Online Business

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Once you have launched your online business, it’s now time to bring potential customers to your virtual platform. You may be wondering: how do I do that? Make sure to follow the five tips listed below to help market your brand to the masses.

Building Trust

While you will have taken steps to ensure your online business is safe and secure to use, there will still be customers who are wary of your page and unsure whether they can trust you. There are ways that you can instill confidence in your customers, such as making tweaks and changes to your page. To do this, you need to test your website’s infrastructure to clean up any images or broken links.

Make sure to look for poor grammar or fix any misspelled words. Also, having an ‘about us’ page can let your customers know more about your business, adding an element of trust. Another thing you could do is switch to original images. Many aren’t aware of this, but people have developed a buffer against stock photos. As a matter of fact, one eye-tracking study by Jakob Nielson found that people completely ignored generic stock photos on websites and had a preference for information-rich images of real people and products.

SEO

As an online business, you will want your products and services to appear on the first couple of pages of search results. This is known as SEO (search engine optimization), which can place your company higher than competitors. There are various ways that your business can stand out from the crowd, such as by adding in relevant keywords throughout your website that ensure your business appears near to the top.

Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, so customers can access your page while on the go. This also means improving your site’s performance since page loading speeds will have both a direct effect on search results and bounce rates. You can do that by first making sure that your hosting provider is up to par. You can then start making adjustments to your website like compressing images and using a content delivery network that will display your content from the best location possible depending on where your audience is accessing it from.

Optimize Your Checkout

If shoppers have trouble in the checkout stage when trying to purchase a product, they will simply visit another online store. Thankfully, there are various ways to make the checkout experience easier. Make sure to conduct some user testing, so you can know that everything is working in the correct order.

Asking family and friends to try and purchase some products can be a good place to start. You will be able to watch as they shop, and they can give you honest feedback. You should also make sure that you add security seals to increase trust as well and reduce cart abandonment. SSL seals, in particular, will increase trust, with Norton’s SSL seal being the most trusted.

Marketing

The way you promote and market your online business can have a huge impact on how much interest you get. First and foremost, you need to know who your target demographic is, so you can promote your brand to the right people. Next, getting on social media platforms such as Facebook and creating a business page can build awareness of your company and potentially be seen by millions of users. What’s more, you will be able to interact first hand with your customers, which can make them feel valued and appreciated. You could also try alternative marketing approaches like guerilla marketing or use contests and giveaways to gain more traction on social media. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Mar
04

101 Tips to Help Your Budget (and YOU) at Home – #10, 11 & 12

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101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

10. Make Your Own Jewelry
Sometimes a girl needs a little sparkle and jewelry can do just that. Jewelry, however can be pricey and many times it’s “unnecessary” things like this that get cut when the budget needs to be trimmed down. So, why not learn how to make your own jewelry? Find ideas and how-to’s online and create your own masterpieces – many times using items you already have on hand!

11. Take Up Canning
What better way is there to keep expensive fruits and veggies on hand than to can them? A good friend of mine handed me some canned apple butter this past fall and I fell in love with the idea of canning. She cans many different foods, from homemade apple butter to vegetables and even pickles! If you’re unsure how to get started, ask around at church or do some research online.

12. Make Products You Would Normally Buy
In an effort to both cut costs as well as control the ingredients going into the foods her family eats, a friend of mine began making her own versions of things like marshmallows, graham crackers, and spaghetti sauce. Now she makes just about everything from scratch – and you can, too.

 

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 101 Tips To Help Your Budget (And You!) at Home.

 

Read the entire series here!

 

 

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