Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Week of Thanks: Morning Snuggles

I look forward to snuggling with my kids every morning. For the past few years, my oldest and I have snuggled in bed every morning while he watches one cartoon and drinks his morning milk. If his brother is awake, I bring him to bed with us too. On days we have to hurry of a morning, I miss this bonding time. It is one of the few slow times of the day and I get to just soak in my kids and enjoy them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Week of Thanks: Modern Conveniences

All too often, we take for granted the modern conveniences we have today. I can't image trying to do laundry by hand while keeping up with two active kids. Or have to kill or grow all the food we eat. I also appreciate my internet. If I have a question, need a recipe, or just want to talk to a friend, I can do it in seconds. Take a moment today to appreciate what you have.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Week of Thanks: Jobs

Although not the ideal situation, in light of today's economy, I am thankful for the jobs my husband and I have. After going close to two years with only a very part time job, he is now working two part time jobs - one with not so ideal hours. Even on the days we feel exhausted from the crazy hours, we are thankful for the full time income. Some day down the road he can hopefully work one job and not feel pulled in multiple directions but something is definitely better than nothing.

I miss the daily interaction with my co-workers from my part time job, but I'm loving working for Tupperware. It is a great company to work for and my local team is wonderful. This month I even promoted to manager so that is exciting.

What are you thankful for today? Feel free to leave a comment or a link.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Week of Thanks: Healthy Family

Too often we take our family and our health for granted. This summer, when I went into labor exactly one month before my due date, I was scared of everything that could go wrong. Our youngest came out healthy though. This situation gave me a new appreciation for life and my healthy family. Take time today to give your family an extra hug.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Week of Thanks

Join me this week as I host the annual Week of Thanks here at Living on Less. Starting Monday, I will post at least one thing each day I am thankful for. Feel free to link up or leave a comment telling what you are thankful for too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pancake Mix

Try as I might, Food Friday just didn't happen this week. This is the recipe I was planning to post though and I figured it was better late than never. This is an easy pancake mix to make ahead and have on hand. It makes several batches of pancakes. I sometimes will make a few batches at a time and freeze them so that I have a quick breakfast on hand. We made this as a MOPS craft this week and it seemed to go over well. Sorry MOPS moms who were looking for a new and exciting recipe this week but I thought the rest of the blog world would enjoy this recipe too.

Pancake Mix

5 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal 1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

Measure the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a large food processor. Process for 15 to 30 seconds or until thoroughly mixed. (Alternatively, stir the ingredients together in a bowl.) Spoon the mix into a 2-quart jar.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix, 2 eggs, and 1 1/4 cups of milk in a mixing bowl until smooth. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Body After Baby: Week 8


This is the last week of the Body After Baby challenge at Mama Notes. I did very well last week with the water challenge but not so hot with the exercise. I did manage to get two days of exercise in though. Overall, I have lost 5 pounds during this challenge. As I've said before, I am a very slow loser while breastfeeding so I feel pretty good having lost five pounds. My challenge now is to keep those 5 lbs off during the holiday season. Congratulations to everyone on the challenge as I've seen some great results from many of you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Food Friday: Butter Frosting

I was making sugar cookies with my oldest last week when I suddenly realized I was out of canned frosting. I had promised him he could decorate his cookies and I usually keep some cans on hand just for this purpose. I quickly grabbed my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book and looked for an icing recipe. I found this super easy butter frosting recipe. It was delicious and turned out much better than other frosting recipes I have tried before. I liked that it didn't have a strong powdered sugar taste like some recipes do.

Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter or margarine
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
food coloring (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl beat butter till fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in the 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

2. Slowing beat in remaining powdered sugar. Beat in additional milk, if needed, to reach spreading consistency. If desired, tint with food coloring. This frosts tops and sides of two 8- or 9- inch layers.

Light Posting Schedule

As you may have noticed, I haven't been around much this week. I'm finding it very hard to get computer time these days since my husband is currently taking 3 classes and working 2 jobs. I'm going to lighten my load a bit and post when I can for the next few weeks but many of my usual posts (organizations, direct selling, etc) will not run on a set schedule. I hope to resume regular posting as his classes finish up so hang tight as I have a huge list of ideas I want to write about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This is week 7 of the Body After Baby challenge at Mama Notes. Once again, I forgot to weigh this morning but I feel I did pretty good this week. My clothes are still feeling loose so that is a good sign.

Our challenge this past week was to get 8 hours of sleep. I was in bed by 9:30 every night but it was another rough week with the baby and my husband was called in to work several times in the night so 8 hours of sleep did not happen. I at least tried and that was the point of the challenge. We did get one night that was pretty good and the baby only woke up 3 times.

This week we are supposed to exercise for 30 minutes at a time and drink our water. I know water won't be an issue, I'm not too sure about exercise though. I did get some in today as I worked in the yard while my son played in the leaves. It was a beautiful day here and we played so hard outside we were exhausted this afternoon. I'm hoping for a few more nice days as I've enjoyed being outside lately.

Tightwad Tuesday: Christmas Shopping

Retailers know that this is going to be a slim Christmas season so they are throwing sale after sale at us early this year. It is very tempting to give in to so many sales since items are at rock bottom prices. My suggestion is to make a list of everyone you need to buy a gift for, write down what you hope to buy each person, and set a dollar amount for each person. When the temptation strikes, consult your list.

I've already seen some items practically free and it is tempting to go overboard with buying them but in reality, my family does not need more toys and items in our house. My strategy for those items that are just too good to pass up (I'm talking free or just a few dollars) is to buy them and donate to those less fortunate. Here is an example of a wonderful deal on games that I plan on purchasing. I was wanting to buy Candy Land for my son's birthday anyway so this is an easy way to take advantage of a sale and bless others also.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Direct Selling: Taxes

One of the first questions everyone asks me about direct selling is "do I have to pay taxes?". The short answer is yes. The long answer has to do with talking to your CPA, saving all your receipts, etc. I am the daughter of two CPA's but I am not an actual CPA so please contact your CPA for futher details, but here are a few hints for tax time.

Keep good records. It is a pain to have to go back throughout the year to look at all of your sales to figure out taxes. Start from the beginning with tracking sales. I keep track of everything with a very simple Excel spreadsheet that I created.

Bonuses are taxed. If your company offers bonuses, free products, etc. they will be taxed at the end of the year. They should send you a form with all of these listed but once again, keep good records so you will know what to expect.

Mileage adds up. I keep a mileage book in my car so I can write down everywhere I go relating to my business. The ultimate log is in an Excel file on my computer but this allows me to write it down before I forget. Going to and from meetings, parties, buying supplies, deliveries, etc all count towards your mileage and this can add up quickly so please keep track of it.

Keep receipts.
Think of any and every aspect of your business where money comes out of your pocket and keep those reciepts. Here are just a few of those: food (both to demo and food bought at a meeting, etc.), ink, paper, catalogs/flyers, conference fees, etc.

Some people will also be able to deduct items such as computers, cell phone, and a home office. You will need to talk to your CPA to see what you qualify for.

Taxes may seem a little overwhelming at first but if you keep good records, it is not as bad as it seems. Many people find that if they keep track of all expenses, they do not owe or owe very little at the end of the year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pay it Forward: Coupons

Ever have a great coupon for an item on sale but as you look at it on the shelf realize you do not really need it? If so, put the coupon on that item for the next person to find. I heard of someone doing this years ago and I've tried to pay it forward with my coupons every since. It can really bless someone else without costing you any money or time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Body After Baby: Week 6


Today starts week 6 of Mama Notes Body After Baby Challenge. I forgot to weigh this morning so I'm not sure how I did weight wise but my clothes are starting to fit a bit better so I'm thinking all the Halloween candy didn't cause too much damage.

I had to laugh at this week's challenge - get 8 hours of sleep. She says it is ok to get up to take care of the baby. Apparently she hasn't met my baby. For about 3 weeks now, our little guy has been up about 6 times a night and 4 of them are to feed. He was only up 1-2 times a night before he hit a growth spurt, then entered the 4 month wakeful period, then learned to roll over and practiced it all night, etc. I'm starting to feel like the zombie I was with our oldest. He was up 7 times a night for the first year of his life. So, I will do my best to get sleep this week by going to bed a bit earlier but I can't guarantee it will be quality sleep.

Good luck to everyone else in the challenge. It is hard to believe we are on the downhill stretch already.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Direct Selling: Getting Started

In case you missed part 1, choosing a company, click here.

Once you pick a company to sell for, you may be a bit overwhelmed. My best advice is to jump in and get your feet wet. The more you sell, the more you will find your style and what works best for you.

I suggest you tell anyone and everyone you know about your new adventure and ask them if they would like to host a party. I sent out one email to my entire address book and booked a few parties off that email fairly quickly. Months later, I booked a few more from that first email. Friends and family knew they wanted to have a party some time but timing was not right when I first told them I was selling Tupperware. You never know when a contact now might turn into an opportunity later.

Another great way to get your feet wet is to host your first party. Invite over a good mix of family and friends and introduce them to your company. You will probably have several book parties from you after seeing the product in action. Also, family and friends are much more forgiving so it is a great way to get practice in. I suggest scheduling this open house soon after you order your kit so that you have a good start on your first month in business.

Make sure not everyone is from the same social circle though when inviting friends. You want to be able to eventually branch out to other people outside of your circle and it will be hard if everyone already knows each other.

Also, once you decide to take the leap of faith, ask another consultant in the area if you can attend one of their parties for training. It helps to see what others are doing. My first party was very similar to the training party I went to but shortly afterward I started finding other ways to make my parties my own. It really helped my nerves though to have an example to follow.

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