Book Review and Activities: The Perfect Nest


Have you read The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend? I was laughing the whole way through the book. A cat named Jack loves omelets, and he delivers the perfect set up for acquiring eggs for his breakfast. There is just one problem. The nest is too perfect, and he can't get the birds to leave. The twist at the end will warm your heart. You may start a farm after reading this great picture book.

While you are reading the book, use the appropriate accent. It makes the book come alive, and your children will want to read it again and again.

Activities:
  • Visit a petting zoo
  • Take a tour of a working farm
  • Have breakfast for dinner
  • Cook together
  • Build a bird house
Happy Reading,

Amanda

Break Out of the Dating Rut

Are you a predictable person? It's easy to get in a rut and stay there when we feel comfortable. Dating is no exception. When you ask your significant other on a date, does she know when and where to meet you without saying a word. Change things up! Kick the boring date to the curb, and try these date ideas on for size.



  • Timing is Everything
    There are 24 hours in a day, so your date doesn't have to always start at 7 pm. Go on a morning date, lunch picnic, or an afternoon dance class. Change the time and see what happens. 
  • Theme Dates
    This one may sound a bit silly, but it's a blast. If there is a movie you have been dying to see, chose a theme around the movie. Pick a restaurant that correlates with where the movie takes place.

    Try an outdoor themed date. Eat under the stars, play a round of golf, and make s'mores by the fire pit. You have permission to use the full extent of your imagination for themed dates.
  • Progressive Dinner
    Please tell me that my husband and I are not the only ones that play the eight hours of "Where do you want to eat" game? Instead of taking up so much time deciding on one restaurant, visit several. Start at your favorite cafe for delicious appetizers, travel over to your swanky hot spot for dinner, and finish the night off at a quiet place for dessert. Make the food the main event for the date.
  • Learn Something 
    Grow your relationship and your skills at the same time. Take lessons from a golf pro, hone your cooking skills, or sign up for a watercolor class. The options are endless. Select something you are both interested in and have never done before. 
Snap out of the dating rut, and don't be afraid to mix things up a bit. Be adventurous together, and you will grow as a couple. 

Amanda

Etsy: Business Cards

Networking off line is as useful as managing your social media accounts. Putting a face to the name and brand can win you more clients than using social media alone. When you head out to your next local networking meeting, have one of these savvy business cards from Etsy in hand.

Letter press is hot right now. Impress your next client with a custom letterpress business card from Cotton Flower Press.


Of course, I had to include a writer's business card from Mallory Hope Design. The square shape catches your eye, and the layout is simple and attractive. 

While I was looking through the business cards on Etsy, this beauty from Pixels Printed caught my attention. It gives all the information in an interesting layout that will make you stand out from the crowd.


Design by Bitter Sweet has a card for the minimalist at heart who loves clean lines with no mess.


With this card from Kuva Design, you have no doubt what business is represented. Love the lens on the front and back of the card.

A clear card from Shayna Made looks futuristic. This would be an excellent choice for the techie or architect. 

A business card will last long after the networking meeting. Give them something to remember you by.

Happy Networking,

Amanda

Say Goodbye to the Pacifier For Good!

Thankfully none of my children have been thumb suckers. Weaning from a pacifier is much easier than the thumb. After all, you can't exactly cut the child's thumb off.


If it's time to say goodbye to the pacifier once in for all, use one of these tips for making the transition smooth. 

1. Give the Pacifier a Trim
Take scissors and cut the very tip off the pacifier. After a couple of days cut more off the pacifier. Continue cutting more and more every couple of days until your child no longer wants the pacifier. Toddlers don't want a pacifier that doesn't work. 

2. Restrict Pacifier Time
I used this method with my middle child and it worked wonderfully. When you are ready to wean, explain that the pacifier is to stay in the crib or toddler bed only. If the child cries for the pacifier then put him back in bed. When the child wants out of the bed then leave the pacifier in the bed. It took a few days of explaining that the pacifier now only lived in the bed. My son soon figured out that if he wanted to play, he had to leave the pacifier in bed. After a couple of months he didn't want it anymore, and it disappeared. 

3. The Lost Pacifier 
If you chose to use this method, start early. Every time your child loses a pacifier it's gone for good. Explain to the child that once he loses the pacifier it will not come back. The child will quickly learn to hold on to the pacifiers, and you may have to get creative with the binkie disappearing act. When your child no longer asks for it, then throw away the last pacifier. You may want to throw a goodbye party for the last pacifier before it goes to binkie heaven. 

No matter which method you use, make sure your child is ready to be weaned. Don't wean from the pacifier when the child is sick or teething. Also, I wouldn't recommend weaning around the holidays.

A good age to start weaning is 13-18 months. My goal is to have my children completely weaned no later than 18 months. 

Do you have a pacifier weaning method that worked for you? I would love to hear it. I have one more baby to wean before we are completely done with pacifiers. 

You can do it,

Amanda

6 Tips For Working From Home While Raising a Family

Working from home with children under foot takes serious contemplation. Weighing the pros and cons of starting your own business or excepting a position where you work from home must include the kids. If you are having a hard time deciding whether to accept the job or follow your entrepreneurial passion, take these tips into consideration.


1. Set Hours
When you are running a household and a business, you must set business hours. My business allows me the flexibility to set my own hours. I work during nap time and in the evenings after the children are in bed. Setting business hours will keep the work and the family time separate.  When you give yourself a time frame it helps you focus on the work, and not constantly think about the laundry sitting on the couch waiting to be folded.

If your business requires that you be "in the office" from eight to five, see #2.

2. Baby Sitter
One of the alluring reasons I chose writing as a profession was the flexibility. I wanted to be at home with my children and have a career. The only problem is that there are not enough hours in the day to do both. When work piles up or you have a deadline that needs to be met, then consider a baby sitter or mother's day out. Asking for help doesn't make you less of a super mom and business mogul. It keeps sane.

3.  Swap Time
Time seems to be the theme for parents running a business. We need more of it. Is there a friend or family member that runs an at-home-business? See if you can swap baby sitting time with them. Two days a week your friend watches the kiddos, and then you watch them for two days. Arrange this however suites your schedule, save baby sitting costs, and get more done. Your kids will have fun play dates, and you will accomplish more work.

4. A Separate Work Space
I love our home office. My husband works from home also, and we looked for a home with a separate office space. The office is above the garage with a separate entrance. The kids can be as loud as they want (or I will allow), and my husband has the quiet and space he needs to work.

If you don't have a dedicated space for your office, then find one. Put a secretary's desk in the kitchen or a roll away desk in the bedroom. Carve out a space where you work and only do work in that area. Organize it and make it your own. Having a designated space for work will help you keep business hours. When you are at your desk, everyone knows not to bother you. You are at work.

5. Take Breaks
When working at an office outside your home, you have the opportunity to talk with coworkers and move around the building. Do the same when you work from home. Take breaks and walk around the house or neighborhood. Stepping away from the desk will give you a fresh perspective and give you a bit of exercise. Do not take breaks to do house chores. The breaks are to relieve stress not go from one job to another.

6. Take Care of You
Working from home can lead to neglecting yourself if you aren't careful. Fit in exercise and shop for healthy snacks to keep at your desk. Drink plenty of water and do something each day that releases stress. You will be a more productive and a better parent when you take care of you.

What words of advice would you give to parents who work from home?

Amanda

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