Getting Work Done When The Kids Are Home

GettingWorkDonGuest Post from Susanne Myers & Tracy Roberts www.HomemakersHutch.com

Working from home has all sorts of challenges any time of the year, but during the summer when the kids are home from school, things get even trickier. Your regular work routine is interrupted and of course you want to spend time with the kids, taking them to the pool, the park, or sneaking away from work all-together for a much needed family vacation.

Aside from getting ahead before school lets out and scaling back on what you are trying to get accomplished during the summer months, there are some things you can do to make sure you stay productive over the coming months so that you’re raring to go when school starts up again.

Business can be slower during the summer months for a number of reasons but no matter if you’re Direct Sales, working as a Virtual Assistant or running a blog, getting stuff done with focused productivity now can launch you into a more productive and profitable Fall and Winter.

Get Up Early

Our biggest tip for summer productivity is to get up early… ideally while everyone else is still sleeping. Even just 30 minutes of uninterrupted work time when you first wake up can do wonders. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll get done if you sit down and focus on your most important tasks. That means don’t check email and most definitely stay away from Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Use this time for your most productive work. Write a blog post, answer lengthy emails, schedule out your day and week and if it isn’t too early, get your phone calls done without interruptions.

Work In Focused Small Bursts

Throughout the rest of the day, find little pockets of time and work in small super focused bursts. You may just have 15 minutes while the kids are playing quietly. Set a timer and get to work. Decide ahead of time what you need to get done.

You’ll find that things that often take you an hour or longer can be done in a focused 15 minute of work. Work hard, and then get back to hanging out with the family.

Divide Your To Do List

Think about what you get done in typical week (or what you would like to get done). Some tasks will need your undivided attention and focus. Those you want to deal with early in the morning or during your small bursts of focused work as outlined above.

Other things however are just as helpful, but don’t require the same amount of focus. If you’re a blogger, this may be social media, approving comments and the likes. If you’re in Direct Sales, this may be participating in forums and Facebook groups, distributing flyers or catching up on emails from your downline and potential party hosts.

Divide your to-do lists and safe the “easy” stuff for when you’re out and about or hanging out with the kids. See what you can do from your smartphone so you’re not tied to a laptop and wi-fi for as many tasks as possible. It’s amazing how much you can get done throughout the day once you figure out everything your phone can do. And don’t forget about handing out catalogues, samples and striking up conversations while you’re out and about.

Last but not least, don’t forget to let go of work and enjoy your time with the kids. They grow up fast and it’s perfectly fine to slow down during the summer and just enjoy.

partners

Susanne Myers from HillbillyHousewife.com and Tracy Roberts from MomsInABlog.com took their friendship from online to real life and then banded together to create The Homemaker’s Hutch.

They wanted to put homemakers and moms in touch with the best homemaking advice, tools, recipes & resources. But it’s about so much more than that. It’s about taking some time for yourself curl up on your couch with a cup of coffee or tea and browse through a fun and informational magazine.

It’s about connecting with other homemakers and moms just like you and the two of them. Homemaker’s Hutch is an online magazine, but it’s so much more than that. Susanne & Tracy are committed to building a thriving online community.

They would like to invite you to check out the Homemaker’s Hutch Digital Magazine. Each monthly issue is packed full of hands-on advice, delicious recipes for things your family will actually eat and plenty of support from moms and homemakers just like you.

Sign up today at www.HomemakersHutch.com

While you’re there don’t forget to sign up and get their gorgeous and Free Family Dinner Conversation Cards.


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Top 10 Uses for Ziploc Baggies

Tips-Pages-Graphic-9Do you have a ton of Ziploc bags at home that have perhaps been sitting around for months and you don’t know what to do with them aside from storing food? Here are a few ideas for how you can put them to good use.

Ice Packs
As parents there is no escaping the occasional “boo boo”. When these moments happen it never hurts to be prepared. You probably have bandages, ointment, and peroxide. However, do you have an ice pack on hand? If not, try this simple DIY recipe for ice packs.

All you will need is a quart-sized Ziploc bag (preferably the double sealed kind), a bottle of liquid dish detergent (9 oz), and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol. Simply pour these ingredients in a Ziploc bag (it should not be full), squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing it, and toss it in the freezer. It should be ready for use overnight, but it will never fully freeze so you can mold it to fit body parts.

Storing Herbs
Do you buy fresh herbs from the grocery store or grow them in your garden? Want to make sure you get the most from their shelf life? If you plan to use them within 1.5 weeks, wash them, wrap them loosely in a Ziploc bag and then place it in the crisper in your refrigerator. If you are not sure when you will use them, it is best to freeze them. To do this, make sure that you spread them out in a single layer in the Ziploc bag and store it flat in the freezer. You can store them for up to a year in the freezer.

Pipe Frosting
Baking a cake or cupcakes and don’t have a piping bag for your frosting? Make your own by filling a Ziploc bag with frosting and snipping a small hole in the corner. If you have a small child, you can also make yogurt melts (like the ones that Gerber makes) by using your Ziploc piping bag to pipe dots of yogurt on a cookie sheet, and freezing it. They make for a great toddler snack – especially during the summer months.

Kneading Dough
Doing some baking (or perhaps some crafting) and hate to get your hands dirty? Simply place the dough inside a Ziploc bag and knead away! Personally, I love kneading dough as a way to relieve stress, but I love that this helps to keep my hands clean during the process.

Bubble Wrap
Do you have something small to ship but don’t want to buy an entire roll of bubble wrap to keep it from rolling around in the box? Place the item in the box with a Ziploc bag. Stick a straw in the opening of the Ziploc bag and then seal it. Using the straw, blow air into the bag until it is inflated to the size you need, then slip the straw out and seal the Ziploc bag completely shut.

Mess-free Painting
Love letting your kids paint? Don’t love the mess they can leave behind. Try this: squirt some paint into a couple of Ziploc bags and tape them to a table on top of plain white paper. Your kids can paint away – without the mess.

Homemade Ice Cream
This is a fun and tasty treat for your kids. For each serving of ice cream you will need ice cubes, 1 cup of half and half, ½ cup of rock salt, ½ tsp, 2 tbsp sugar, ice cream add-ins (fruit, candy, caramel, etc). You will also need 2 ziploc bags – one pint size and one gallon size.

In the small Ziploc bag, place half and half, sugar, and vanilla extract then seal it tightly. In the large Ziploc bag place the salt and ice as well as the smaller bag. Seal it well. Now comes the part your kids will love. Shake the bag vigorously for about 5 minutes (until the mixture in the small bag hardens. Once it is the right consistency, remove it from the large bag and add in your mix-ins. Your kids can eat the ice cream right out of the bag and simply toss the bag in the trash when they are done.

Marinate Meats
I think that the easiest (and less messy) way to marinate meats is to use a Ziploc bag, simply place your meat inside the bag, pour in your favorite marinade, squeeze out as much air as you can, and seal the bag shut. I find that doing this results in more flavorful meat as the marinade covers every inch of the meat.

Stocking Storage
I don’t know about you, but runs in my stockings are the bane of my existence. To keep your stockings from getting snagged on something in your drawer, keep them in a Ziploc bag.

Homemade Playdough
Another great DIY project is homemade playdough. There are quite a few recipes out there. One no-cook recipe requires ¼ cup of salt, 1 cup of flour, and ¼ cup of water. Mix the dry ingredients first, add the water, and then knead them together into a clay consistency. I like to add unsweetened kool-aid to give the playdough color as well as a nice scent. Once your kids have finished playing with it for the day, you can store each color in a separate Ziploc bag.

What ways do you use ziplock baggies?


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Top 10 Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Tips-Pages-Graphic-8If you have hydrogen peroxide in your home, chances are it is in one of two places – your first aid kit or your bathroom. Maybe inside your first aid kit in the bathroom. Most people use it as an antiseptic for scrapes and cuts. But did you know there are a lot of other uses for it?

Beauty Aid
Ok, so let’s talk about beauty first. What are a few things that you can use hydrogen peroxide for when it comes to looking your best? Well…first of all, it’s really great for fighting acne. Simply dab some on a cotton ball and apply to your acne.

You can also use hydrogen peroxide on your nails. Why pay $10-$20 for a French manicure when you can simply rub some peroxide on your nails to whiten them. You can also use hydrogen peroxide to give yourself highlights. All you have to do is mix equal parts of peroxide and water, spray it on your wet hair, comb through, and let it dry.

Dental Care
Peroxide is also great for dental care. This may not be that surprising since many toothpastes boast hydrogen peroxide. In fact, you can make your own at home by simply combining hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. I like to add a little peppermint extract to mine. Peroxide is also a great replacement for those expensive mouthwashes. And using it daily can help to whiten your teeth.

Bathroom Duty
You may keep your hydrogen peroxide in your bathroom, but did you know that you can actually use it to CLEAN your bathroom? It’s disinfectant properties makes it great for cleaning countertops sinks, tubs, and toilets. You can use it to whiten grout. Simply spray the grout with peroxide, let it sit for a couple of hours and then scrub it with soapy water and a toothbrush. Get your mirrors clean without the streaks by spraying them with peroxide and then wiping them with a paper towel or newspaper. You can also remove tile stains by mixing peroxide with flour, applying the paste to the stain, covering it with plastic wrap over night and then rinsing it clean.

Fruits & Veggies
Need to clean your fruits and veggies? Spray them with peroxide and then with vinegar. You can also add a cup of peroxide to a sink full of cold water and soak your fruits and veggies in it for 20-30 minutes. This actually helps them to stay fresh longer.

Stain Removal
Do you have stains on your carpet, furniture, or clothes? Peroxide can help! For blood stains simply pour peroxide on the spot, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rub it and rinse with cold water. For wine (or grape juice) stains mix together equal measures of peroxide and liquid laundry detergent. Pour the mixture over the stain and then blot it out with a clean cloth before washing it with warm water.

Laundry
If you need to whiten your laundry but don’t like bleach, simply pour a cup of peroxide into the washing machine when you do a load of clothes. If your husband has a ring around his collar mix together two parts of peroxide with one part of liquid detergent and spray the area. Let it sit for an hour before rinsing. This is also a great technique for getting rid of those dreaded armpit stains!

Kitchen Duty
You can also use peroxide in the kitchen. After you use your cutting board rinse it and then spray it with some peroxide to cut down on cross contamination. You can use peroxide to clean out your refrigerator. Have some dish rags that need cleaning? Soak them in equal parts of water and peroxide for 20-30 minutes.

Fight a Cold
Feel a cold coming on? Put a few drops of peroxide in your ear, wait for the bubbling to stop (about 10 minutes), drain, and repeat on the other side.

Ear Health
Speaking of ears, you can use peroxide to clear those up as well. If you have an ear infection, pour 6-8 drops in the affected ear to alleviate symptoms. You can also use a couple of drops of olive oil and then a couple of drops of peroxide in your ears to clear out ear wax. Simply sit, head tilted, for a few minutes, and the flush it out with warm water.

Detox Bath
Need to detoxify your body but don’t want to have to pay or drink some weird concoction? Add 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of dried ginger to a tub of hot water. Soak for at least 30 minutes to detox your body or help with skin irritation.

What ways do you use hydrogen peroxide?


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Top 10 Uses for Empty Baby Food Jars

Tips-Pages-Graphic-10If you are like me then it can pain you to throw away containers that you think are in perfectly good condition. Some people may call it hoarding. But it’s not hoarding if you get some use out of it, right?

One thing that a lot of frugal moms tend to hold on to are empty baby food jars. You just KNEW that there had to be something you could do with the. But maybe you never figured out exactly what that is. Well, now you can have 10 some things to consider.

Party Favors
I think this idea is just plain old adorable. I attended a birthday party for my friend’s child last October. Her son was turning one and she had saved up some of his empty baby food jars and used them for her party favors.

She decorated each bottle like little monsters, using pipe rods and googly eyes to affix eyes, arms, and wings to the jars, and paint to decorate the actual  bottles. Inside she had pieces of candy (including the Halloween must-have – candy corn) and had them set out on the table for the guests.

Homemade Finger Paint
Instead of buying finger paint every time you run out, why not make your own? Simply mix three tablespoons of sugar, half a teaspoon of salt, half a cup of corn starch and two cups of water in a saucepan. Heat it until it thickens and then pour the mixture into a set of empty baby food jars. Add some food coloring to each jar to make the colors you want and let them cool.

Matching and Sorting
Baby food jars are a great tool for when you are teaching your child how to match and sort. You could simply have them place like objects into different jars. You could even paint the jars different colors or label them to show your child what goes where.

Spice Rubs
Do you consider yourself a culinary master when it comes to mixing up tasty spice concoctions? Perhaps everyone loves the homemade Mexican spice you use? Or maybe they go absolutely bananas over your secret recipe of spicy goodness? Why not make some in bulk, ration them out into nicely decorated baby food jars, and give them out as gifts around holidays?

Magnetic Spice Racks
Speaking of spices, you could also attach magnetic strips to the bottom of baby food jars, fill them with your favorite spices and hang them up on the fridge, the side of the oven, or on a magnetic board near your stove for easy retrieval. No more rummaging around in the cabinets for that one spice you need.

DIY Bubbles
To make some great homemade bubbles simply mix together one cup of water, 2 tablespoons of glycerin, and four tablespoons of dishwashing detergent. Twist a craft pipe cleaner into a wand and blow up some fun!

Indoor Gardening
Always wanted to have your own little garden of herbs and spices? Empty baby food jars can be the perfect little containers for you to use for an indoor gardening project.

Advent Calendar
To make a neat little advent calendar this Christmas season, glue 25 numbered baby food food jars to a tray and putting a little treat inside of each one. You can even glue them into the shape of a Christmas tree!

Snow Globe Activity
One cool winter activity is to help your kids make their very own snow globes. All you need are empty baby food jars, water, glycerin, and glitter. Simply fill the baby food jar with water, add glitter and a few drops of glycerin and give it a shake. If you can find small toys, you can use waterproof glue to secure them to the bottom of the jar before adding everything.

Air Freshener
If you like gel air fresheners, you can actually make your own at home. First heat 1.5 cups of water to a simmer. Add 6 packs of powdered gelatin and remove from heat once it is fully dissolved. Add 1.5 cups of water and stir. Add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil. Pour into your baby food jars and let them sit overnight at room temperature. If you are giving them as gifts, wrap them in pretty tissue paper and tie with a ribbon. If not, you will have enough for every room in your house.

What ways do you reuse baby food containers?

 

 


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