I know I’m not the only mom who occasionally (ahem!) forgets to plan a meal and stands staring into the fridge at 5pm, trying to figure out what to make using what we have in the fridge. And I also know I’m not the only mom who actually does sit down and plan a meal, including side dishes, and isn’t home in enough time to start the meal so we eat when we’re supposed to.
To combat this I pick easy weeknight meals and do as much prep work in advance as I can.
Prep in Advance
The first thing I began doing is to assume we will be held up, delayed or otherwise arrive home late if we are supposed to be out of the house anytime past 3pm. Thanks to the kid’s evening activities on certain days of the week, we have to start dinner at 4pm and begin eating by 5 to leave on time for martial arts, guitar lessons, scouts and everything else.
If I know I am going to be out of the house in the afternoon any given day, I do any needed chopping, deboning, cooking rice and other needed tasks the night before or in the morning before we leave. This means that a meal that can take 30-45 minutes to do can now take 10-30. This allows us to get out of the house on time for our 6pm Scout meeting even if our ‘supposed to be home by 3:30’ class or meeting extends to 4pm or later.
I store the prepped items in bowls or ziplock bags by meal, fish them out of the fridge when I get home, grab the recipe and get it done quickly.
A Note About Soy Sauce
Several of these recipes call for soy sauce. If you don’t have any food allergies or intolerances, soy sauce is fine. But if you are gluten-free, I recommend you use a gluten-free tamari (which contains soy) or coconut aminos. If you are soy-free, use coconut aminos.
Chicken and Turkey
‘Bourbon’ Chicken from Intentionally Domestic
Summer Salad from Every Day Full
Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets from Whole New Mom
Nourishing Chicken and Broccoli from It’s A Love/Love Thing
Broccoli Cashew Chicken from Recipes to Nourish
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken from Strength and Sunshine
Marinated Turkey Breast from The Fit Blog
Instant Pot Ginger Garlic Drumsticks from Living Sweet Moments
Honey Tabasco Lime Boiled Chicken Thighs from A Sprinkling of Cayenne
Simple Chicken and Vegetable Curry from Delicious Obsessions
Chicken Cabbage Stir-Fry from Wholesome Yum
Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken from Strength and Sunshine
Teriyaki Bowls from Every Day Full
Pineapple Ginger Chicken from Recipes to Nourish
Skirt Steak Fajitas from Delicious Obsessions
Eggroll in a Bowl from Intentionally Domestic
Ground Beef with Kale and Mushrooms from This Is So Good
Korean Beef Recipe from Having Fun Saving and Cooking
Taco Bowls from Every Day Full
Healthy and Easy Beef Fajitas from The Fit Blog
Classic French Ratatouille from Bacon is Magic
Scrumptious Super-Quick Pulled Pork from Lisa’s Counter Culture
Five Spice Pork with Broccoli, Carrots and Garlic Scapes from This Is So Good
Honey Sesame Seared Salmon from Delicious Obsessions
Baked Salmon with Maple Glaze from Having Fun Saving and Cooking
Home-based businesses can be amazingly rewarding for moms looking for a means of income or something to call their own. I began my home-based business journey as a blogger. Then I moved into also doing direct sales as well as supporting my husband in his two businesses. As we have done multiple home-based businesses, but I have found that there is a lot in common with the motivations why people launch their own business and succeed.
So many moms feel overwhelmed with being a mom and possibly homeschooling that they don’t think they can add another thing to their plate. But I have found that often adding a business helps the mother focus on self-care, eliminate what is weighing her down that isn’t necessary, aligns her expectations more with what they should be and makes her happier so her family benefits from both the happiness and the income.
I have also found that often a mom is pulled between caring for her family and caring for herself. Many times women in our society have been taught that in order to be a good mom, they have to deny all of their needs and care for all of their children’s needs and most of their wants before they can even consider taking care of themselves. Unfortunately, many women buy into the idea that they have to sacrifice all of themselves in order to have children who even might be marginally happy.
My experience is that this is counter-productive to their home and their children because it creates an unrealistic expectation on the part of the child and possibly the father that the mother will always be orbiting around them and put their wants ahead of her basic needs. It also sets up the idea that a woman and especially a mother must sacrifice herself and even damage her health for someone else’s wants. This isn’t how the Bible calls us to live as women, wives or mothers.
I find that having something for yourself, such as a business, that doesn’t involve the children or the husband gives the mom some time, mental space, friendships and connections that she so desperately needs in order to be able to parent well. When I have time to focus on my business, go to meet friends and have mental stimulation with something that isn’t homeschool, chores or food, I am much happier, patient and much more at ease when I get back home to my family.
In reverse, I find that women who continue to believe they must sacrifice all of themselves for their children will struggle with how to balance a home based business with the increasing demands of children and home. They often think things will get better as the child or children get older, but I have found that they demands don’t lessen, they just change. As my children are now teens, I’m discovering this season is just as busy and rewarding as younger seasons were, they just involve more sleep and less handling bodily waste for the parents and less crying and hopefully less tantruming for the kids. This leaves a mom who is burnt-out, past exhausted, struggling and totally empty with nothing left to give her family.
For women who are motivated, a home-based business can far outpace the ability to exchange time for set amounts of money. Especially in direct sales, as I can teach others how to duplicate myself, my income can multiply without me multiplying the number of hours I work. Bloggers can set up products and systems that allow them to scale their work so that they can scale their income up without much more work outside of customer service, but I find it takes much more in the way of time and training to earn income as a blogger verses a direct sales business.
Here are five ways to know that you’re ready for a home-based business.
If you feel swallowed by not having your own identity, you might be ready for a home-based business. If you’re constantly identified as only Jeff’s Wife and Belle’s Mom but never by KerryAnn, you might need something of your own.
When my kids were in early elementary, I struggled to find my place. Everything I did and everyone I was connected to identified me not by my own being, but by my relationship to someone in my family. I was always Mrs. Jeff or Trey’s Mom. Al’s only girl. Pam’s daughter. Despite being a busy mom, I had no activities of my own where I was just KerryAnn.
I felt like I had lost my identity as KerryAnn and I needed to find it again. So I began blogging and went into direct sales in an effort to help other mothers. This gave me a badly needed creative outlet and it also gave me a stand-alone identity where I could form relationships with other women based on a common interest and not because we had kids at similar ages and stages.
This began the process of helping me find my tribe. Your ‘tribe’ is a group of women who resonate with you- they have the same interest and hobbies, they same outlook, and they are supportive towards each other.
A home-based business can give you the mental stimulation you crave in the middle of an unrelenting stream of mundane household tasks. If you are worn out by the constant stream of unending meals, dishes, laundry and hearing “MOM!” a million times a day, a home business can give you some mental space in which you can focus on something that is productive and has goals, but can be done when you have time for it.
The lack of goals and end-dates in home-making can be maddening to a motivated woman. It seemed like no matter how many dishes I washed or loads of laundry I washed, folded and put away, there was always MORE. No breaks. no shifting gears. No ability to get mental stimulation, variety or a feeling of satisfaction from a job well done. And no ability to shift gears and congratulate myself on being able to complete something and move on.
The bonus is that when you’re your own boss, you decide where, where and how you work, so it doesn’t have to conflict with your commitment at home. And you can interrupt it anytime your kids need you.
When Was The Last Time You…?
If you need more self-care, a home-based business can spur you towards it! Self-care is a critical component for mothers, and one that is the first to be sacrificed. Society expects women to go without showering, hold pee until they’re bursting followed by an audience in the bathroom once you finally do go and not brush their teeth for days while their kids have every want answered within seconds.
Starting a home-based business made me focus more on self-care because I was in front of the camera more. Speaking to more people. Out in public more. Showing my face on Facebook and doing live video feeds.
Suddenly I was concerned about taking a shower regularly and keeping my teeth brushed because it made ME feel better. I made the time for self-care because overall it made me feel better and I was therefore more patient during trying moments of motherhood.
It also made my husband and kids happier because I looked better. It was a win-win!
When I launched my It Works business, I wasn’t working alone. I instantly had a group of women who were invested in helping me succeed. Some of these women became close friends. Since people tend to join direct sales businesses under a sponsor whom they resonate with, this can be an amazing way to connect to women whom are like-minded in beliefs and lifestyle and how similar goals and values.
Now when people join my team, they have an instant tribe that can lead to life-long, deep friendships. It has for me because my team cultivates a spirit of friendship, acceptance, and we cheerlead each other from the bottom of our hearts. We have can-do attitudes, and we know other cheering other women for their accomplishments doesn’t take away from our own.
I turned 40 this year, and my need for close, deep friendships grows as I get older. Soon my children will be grown and gone, and close friends help that transition and to fill that void. My life will look very different in six years. Having an established business and deep relationships will help to bridge that difficult empty nest gap that we’re soon facing.
What About Socialization?
Don’t you hate hearing that question when you homeschool? I always answered that we spent an awful lot of time in the car and out in public for people who weren’t supposed to be well-socialized!
The truth is that having the ability to socialize around a common interest can be very important for a mom, too!
I found often in social opportunities for my kids, I was being put in with women with whom I didn’t have much in common outside of homeschooling. Let’s face it- we lead a VERY different lifestyle with both adults working home-based businesses and equally co-parenting. I have a hands-on, very involved husband and I do not bear most of the burden of child-rearing alone while he is gone from home many hours a day. I needed to be able to get out and socialize with many women to find more people with whom I clicked.
This business has allowed me to go on trips, meet people in public and online, and meet other women who are in the same business but not on the same team. First as a new distributor, and now as a leader in the company. Even though I’m very much an introvert, this socialization has been refreshing and energizing for me!
Oh Yeah, And There’s Money!
The final and most obvious reason you might be ready to start a direct sales business is if you’re in need of income but you don’t want to invest hundreds to thousands to get a different type of business off of the ground.
When I was doing paid content courses on this blog, it costs me hundreds a month to host it and I had to spend many months of hard work to build an audience. With direct sales, the start-up cost is low, you don’t have to worry about creation of product, marketing materials and more. You join in with a proven system and product, and if you join a solid team like mine, you walk in with training and support built-in.
If you’re thinking about trying a direct sales business, I encourage you to dive into It Works! I train online, you don’t have to be local. I’m in the top 1% of the company and I work amazingly hard to support all of my team in reaching their goals with plenty of training and support!
I posted last Tuesday about the tools I use to keep myself organized and run my home-based business and homeschool. I did a Facebook live this week that shows you exactly what a bullet journal is and how I use mine to organize everything without going crazy or forgetting anything. I hope you enjoy it!
Follow my BuJo- Bullet Journaling! Pinterest board for more Bullet Journaling ideas!
If you’d like to see more Facebook Lives about a variety of topics, follow me on Facebook!
My blogging days began on blogspot in 2005 as a way to keep track of recipes, share my daily life with those I know and remember the funny things my kids said when they were small. In 2007, it moved to WordPress and I launched the Menu Mailer when I came down with celiac and realized there were no good gluten and dairy-free recipes to speak of that were full of flavor and life.
I built the Menu Mailer and this blog to levels that would support our family through unemployment when my engineer hubby was laid off during the crash of 2009. He eventually found a new job and we settled into routine again. Then I joined It Works six months later, took off with that business and ran both for a while. I built my It Works business into a six-figure enterprise and brought my husband home from engineering permanently.
Together, we then launched two businesses new which are his focus. Combined, we have five businesses. Three that he runs, and I do both this blog and my It Works business.
That’s a whole lot of 1099 income. And with that comes a lot of tax headache. It also means I have to take the bull by the horns and do all of the social media, promoting and everything else needed for my businesses without someone reminding me or task-mastering me.
I really have to keep my stuff together or that means a wheel falls off somewhere. There are a number of tools that have made my life much easier. If you run any type of a home-based business, these might be good options for you to help you stay organized, keep your business running smoothly and keep you from pulling your hair out come tax time.
Keep It Together, Man!
Bullet journaling helps me keep it together. Next Tuesday, I will be doing a vlog post all about how I bullet journal and use it to organize both my business, our homeschool and our home. I also use it to help me keep my goals at the forefront, and make sure I get my self-care done.
I can’t emphasize enough how my bullet journal has changed my life. It has upped my productivity and lowered my stress. It has allowed me to plan and track things in a way that a normal calendar or planner can not.
Keeping a Bujo can be inexpensive. I know you fill find some groups online that use stickers, a few hundred pens, washi tape and the like. It doesn’t have to be that way. I use an inexpensive journal, a regular pen and a few colored pencils from my kid’s elementary school days.
My kids also bujo to help them stay on track with their days. With one starting high school in the fall, we want to establish good study habits and time management early on.
Be looking for that post next Tuesday! In the meantime, check our my Bujo posts on Pinterest!
Taking the Social Out of 1am Posts
If you have a social media presence, you understand that people live in different time zones, and that your audience might not necessarily be online at the same times you’re able to be.
I try to go to bed before 11pm every night, but many moms routinely stay up until 1am or later on the East Coast, which is only 11pm on the West Coast. If you aren’t posting when your audience is online, you’re losing out.
Native posts using the provided tools absolutely gets the more viewership on all platforms because those tools give you bonus points in the algorithm that decides what gets seen. However, Buffer allows me to schedule posts to go out during high volume viewing times when I can’t be online. Whether it’s due to a conflict in the schedule, a sick child or needing some sleep, my posts can still go up. Having less viewership on a post is better than no post and no viewership at all.
It works on both the desktop and as an app for your cell phone and ipad. Buffer will schedule posts for Twitter, Pintrest, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook profile/pages/groups that will post automatically at the time you desire. It will also schedule Instagram for a push notification from your phone, which you then use to post live. Instagram’s terms of service currently do not allow for any autoposting services, only native posting in real time is allowed.
Their Chrome extension rocks my world and makes sure that I always have fresh, new content on my Pinterest all the time. It takes literally 5 seconds to schedule a pin to post while you’re surfing the web.
Tax Headache Removal Service
Every Monday morning, hubby and I start the week with a business meeting. We take all business receipts from the previous week and put them into the pre-paid envelope for Shoeboxed and mail them off. For receipts that came into email, we forward them to a special email address. When Shoeboxed receives them, they scan them, have a computer pull off the vendor name, payment type, date and amount, and puts them onto a website where all receipts can be categorized, which it does for you automatically once it learns you business habits and needs. Easy peasy.
Come tax time, everything is already there. I only have to wait for my 1099s and pull my mileage report from MileIQ (more about that below). Shoeboxed allows you to give your accountant access to your account, so he can do his thang.
This is seriously worth the pricetag. They will bundle and mail the receipts back to you if you wish, or you can request that Shoeboxed shred the receipts. $15 a month for up to 50 documents is more than enough for most small business owners and it will take a load of frustration and stress off of you.
Coming and Going at a Reduced Price
Mileage is the other big pain come tax time. You either have to keep a paper log in your car and woe be unto you if you forget to write something down, or sit down with Google Maps and attempt to reconstruct the whole thing once tax season rolls around. Either way, things get forgotten, it eats up a ton of time and you get aggravated AND you lose valuable tax deductions!
MileIQ uses the GPS tracker on your phone to track all of your comings and goings. Every Monday when we have that business meeting we mentioned above, we both sit down and open up MileIQ. It shows you every time you left the house and allows you to categorize every drive as either business or personal, and you can even mark drives are charity or medical. So no miles get lost come tax time.
MileIQ will then email you a monthly report or a yearly report, your choice, of all of your mileage. Hand it to your accountant and you’re done. Super easy and far less stressful than spending 20 hours with google maps, a stack of receipts and your calendar.
Fighting Fires with a Timer
One of the biggest keys in being able to accomplish a lot is to prevent forest fires. Prevent the things that come up and suck your time and energy away from your money making activities, the things that you need to be doing.
In order to accomplish this, I engage in time blocking and I allot myself a certain amount of time each day for working on areas that can become fires. That prevents problems.
If you have a big or overwhelming project or a fire spring up, instead of dropping everything to work on it non-stop, it’s better to block several hours, work as hard as you can during that time, and leave more work on it until the next day. That way, you don’t wind up in crisis mode- fire after fire and you can never get on top of it all.
Using this method to prevent fires is amazing. It can allow you to eat the elephant one bite at a time. I’ll talk more about this when I do my Bujo journal, as I use my journal to track and prevent fires.
I hope these are a help to you. Running your own business can simultaneously be the most amazing, uplifting and maddening experience! Still, I adore working a home-based business, and I wouldn’t do it any other way.
This is the time of year where you see so many rejoicing at the end of school. People have been asking my kids what they have planned for summer, and are always surprised when my kids reply that we school year round with only short breaks. Many moms can’t imagine why we would choose to not take a single, long break of several months.
My two will be in 7th and 9th grade this coming Fall. We have done a lot of unschooling in the past, but my two have decided they wish to use more formal curriculum and co-op classes, so that is the direction we are moving in for them. Both wish to attend college, and start dual enrollment at 16. Our county offers that program for homeschoolers and between that and in-state tuition at the local university, both will be able to get a stellar college education without going into debt.
We run our school years from July 1st to June 30th due to North Carolina’s homeschooling laws dividing a school year by these dates. Our state requires end of grade testing each year, so we complete our testing in the middle of June then take two weeks off before starting again.
Our state requires 180 days of school a year, but we tend to complete 225 or more a year using this system. As a result, the kids get the same amount of work done or more, but are less stressed with heavy loads. They also often choose to engage in academic subjects on Saturdays when they’re bored, so I never worry about hitting the minimum the law requires.
This built-in extra time is especially important with high school approaching, as there are many life skills that teens need to learn along side of academics. This also gives the adults time to run the five home-based businesses that we run, and gives the kids time to be kids and also begin learning business skills.
Here are some of the many reasons why we choose to run school year round. [Read more…] about Why We School Through Summer