September 29th, 2009

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  • BusinessWeek – Startup Jump Starters
  • Entrepreneur – Mompreneur defined
  • StartUpNation – The 8 Things You Need to Make a Home-Based Business Work!
  • Wall Street Journal – Freedom, Not Money, Drives Start Ups
  • Entrepreneur – Top Resources for Mompreneurs
  • Entrepreneur – It’s a Mom’s World
  • – Becoming a Mompreneur
  • Central Valley Business Times – Working mothers have it all
  • Parents – Home Office Essentials
  • – So You Want to Work from Home?
  • iVillage Live TV Show
  • Entrepreneur – The New June Cleavers
  • Nashville Parent – Shhh Mom’s Got to Work
  • Working Mother – Working Mother Group Directory
  • OC Metro – Home-Based Business Scams
  • Entrepreneur – Wanna Be a Mompreneur?
  • CBS News
  • – Working at Home: Tips for Success
  • CSM - Mom’s New Ballgame: Career at Home
  • Also featured in Forbes, USA Today, Home Office Computing, Parenting, Business Start-Ups, Baby Magazine, Family PC, Mothering, American Baby and many others!

For Articles for Reprint by HBWM Founder Lesley Spencer Pyle please Contact Us

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January 5th, 2018

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When it comes to technology, small businesses often lag behind the curve. Forty-five percent of small businesses didn’t have a website in 2017, a CNBC survey says. Only 36 percent use a website to communicate news to prospects and customers. Nearly one out of five businesses are still doing their bookkeeping manually, according to Viewpost research. Half of business owners say their top tech challenge is staying ahead of technology trends, a Microsoft study reveals.

But even if your company isn’t keeping up with technology, your competitors are, which puts you at a disadvantage. It’s in your best interest to keep up with technology trends that can help you gain a competitive advantage. Here are three top technology trends that can empower your business you should consider embracing.

work at home

Business Intelligence Analytics

Business intelligence (BI) analytics is a key technology for competing in today’s market. BI analytics tools allow you to make data-based, objective decisions instead of relying on intuition and guesswork. You can use BI analytics to gather vital information about marketing and sales trends, identifying what products and services your customers prefer, who your hottest customers are, and what their buying habits are. You can also use BI to study your internal business operations so you can improve your efficiency. If you have a physical location, you can use analytics to study data collected from security cameras in your store so you can see which aisles get the most foot traffic, which products are most popular and where you should place items to get more attention.

Strategic deployment of business intelligence tools can yield a return on investment as high as 1,300 percent, a Nucleus Research study says.

Cloud-Based Accounting Apps

Cloud-based accounting software is another important technology tool that can give your company a competitive edge. Using a cloud-based accounting app enables you to reduce your bookkeeping load by automating the flow of data between your sales transactions, invoicing, expense reporting, payroll, inventory, accounting books, and tax forms. Cloud-based accounting tools also enable you to reduce the amount you spend on bookkeeping services. They can further provide you with real-time business intelligence insights into your financial data. For instance, if your revenue projections are falling short this month or your expenses are running ahead of your estimates, you’ll know sooner so you don’t run into a surprise cash-flow problem suddenly at the end of the month.

Cloud-based accounting apps deliver over twice the ROI of their on-premise counterparts, Nucleus Research shows.

CRM Apps

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is another technology tool you should have in your arsenal. CRM apps make it easy for you to digitally store information about your prospects and customers. They also enable you to analyze your customer data so that you can identify which prospects are most ready to buy, analyze individual buying habits, and determine which products and services will most appeal to individual customers. If you have a sales force, CRM apps also help you deploy your force more efficiently, identifying your best sales reps and helping you pair up your available reps with your hottest prospects.

Strategically implementing CRM can boost your revenue by an average of 37 percent, according to leading CRM provider Salesforce.

Business intelligence analytics, cloud-based accounting solutions and CRM apps are three technology tools that can increase the efficiency of your operations and boost your profit margins. Deploying these tools can help you gain an edge on your competition, cut your costs, increase your revenue, and grow your business.

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December 3rd, 2017

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Decorating a kid’s room can be a fun endeavor for you and your child, but it’s a task that presents a unique set of challenges. While kids’ bedrooms allow for a creative and daring design, they also have more functional requirements than other rooms in the home. You want the room to be a place to play, hangout and learn, but also a peaceful and relaxing oasis when it’s time to sleep. And of course, all your kid wants is for the room to be cool. Having a junior co-designer will give the whole project tons of more laughs (and possibly some tears), and allowing your child to have real input along the way will guarantee a space you will both love. Here are five steps to decorating a cool kid’s room that is fun, functional, and on trend.

Kid room designs

Choose a theme

The possibilities for kids’ rooms are endless. Both you and your child will probably have lots of ideas (read: too many ideas) about the overall design. Focus those thoughts by choosing a theme. Take inspiration from your child’s interests, keeping in mind that the theme is just a starting point and the end result doesn’t have to be a literal representation of that theme. Also remember that kids’ likes/dislikes can change fairly quickly and you want the room to be something that will grow with them.

Avoid choosing a television show or character theme — your three-year-old may love “Paw Patrol” now, but in a year will be on to something new. Instead, think about the theme more broadly; instead of “Paw Patrol,” take your inspiration from dogs and cats. For little kids, adventure themes are the current trend, from outer space to the jungle to ocean exploration. For older kids, the theme could be less particular interests and more design style — Scandinavian design, with clean lines and whimsical patterns, and geometric flair, a throw-back to the 80s, are both on trend this year.

Choose a color scheme

Choosing a theme should naturally lead to picking a color palette, which will help guide your subsequent design decisions. If you’re having trouble choosing colors, soft neutrals, particularly gray tones, are popping up as a base color in more and more children’s rooms. Grays are soothing and soft, and can be paired with bursts of brighter colors or metallic.

Pick out furniture

Furniture is the foundation that you’ll build the room around. These pieces will probably last through several décor changes, so you’ll want to spend time thinking about what you’ll need (a bed, clothing storage, seating, toy storage, writing desk, vanity, etc.) and what is right for the room size. The most important piece in the bedroom is obviously the bed. Start with a good quality mattress. Sleep is so important for kids of all ages, and this is one thing you want to get right. Next, choose furniture that coordinates with your theme. Current trends in furniture include beds with built-in storage and lofted spaces. You want larger pieces that are fairly neutral, making a statement with something smaller, like a retro egg chair, pouf or hammock, says Modernize.


Pick layers like window treatments, bed linens, wall hangings, throw pillows and rugs. As long as you stay within your color scheme, you can layer as many different patterns and textures as you wish. Your theme and color scheme should guide these choices. Decided on a camping motif? Choose a cozy white faux bearskin rug, mountain throw pillows, prints of national parks and linens with a subtle evergreen pattern.

Finish With flair

Finish the room by picking one feature that will make the room truly unique and fun for your child. Bold trends include wallpaper in a busy pattern on one wall, stripes on the walls or ceiling, chandeliers and personalized neon signs, Elle Decor says.

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November 30th, 2017

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As a work-at-home mom, you likely spend your days juggling numerous work and family responsibilities. From finishing a phone interview with a client before your kids wake up for school to burning the midnight oil to tackle a huge project, you are literally busy from morning until night.


That’s simply the life you lead as a WAHM mom. Still, in order to stay on tops of things and be as efficient as possible, it’s important to utilize a number of business tools when working from the comfort of home. Here are four useful business tools that are essential for your at-home business to succeed and thrive:

1. Protection From Ransomware

Your computer — and everything work-related that’s stored inside — is likely your most invaluable investment and everyday useful tool. As such, the last thing you need to deal with is a ransomware attack, which targets vulnerable systems in order to gain access to important documents and files often through email or a social networking site.

To protect your computer or smart device from this sort of malicious attack, consider investing in a ransomware protection plan from a reputable company like Mozy. By keeping up to a year’s worth of previous versions of files, Mozy allows you to restore your files from any point in time prior to an attack.

2. Tools to Manage Your To-Do List

Whether you just landed your first freelance writing client or have been a WAHM for some time running a successful Etsy business, it is important to adopt and maintain a task management system that keeps track of your projects and invoices.

As Twins Mommy notes, Google Drive can be a lifesaver for a busy WAHM. In fact, the user-friendly project management system gives you a clear picture of your day-to-day tasks and what you need to accomplish. Use Google Drive to maintain a record of your clients, a list of projects and due dates, payment information and more.

3. A Calendar or Planner

You may pride yourself on your amazing memory. But if you don’t use any sort of calendar or planner to better organize your home-based business and family life, eventually something is bound to fall through the cracks. Of course. you definitely don’t want to miss an important deadline because it fell off your radar.

As The Ecommerce Mom notes, the best calendar or reminder system is the one you actually plan to use. Some WAHMs love a paper calendar or huge whiteboard in their home office, where they can jot down any looming work deadlines as well as family-related appointment reminders or planned vacations.

If you prefer a digital calendar you can access from your smartphone. The free and handy app, a three-time Mom’s Choice Award Winner, allows you to keep everyone’s appointments and activities in one place, create and share lists, note deadlines and more.

4. Email Marketing Tools

When you first launch your business, emailing a small group of customers may not feel like a big deal or cumbersome process. But as your email list grows to 100 or more people, it can quickly become overwhelming. Subscribing to an email marketing tool like Constant Contact will help you to better manage your list of contacts. In fact, this popular customer relationship management tool can be set up to automatically:

  • Add new prospects who visit your website and fill out a form
  • Send newsletters to clients on certain days
  • Manage your profit and loss statements

Your Time is Valuable, and These Tools Can Help.

By utilizing these four business tools, you’ll likely feel more comfortable and organized as a WAHM. And by staying on top of your many duties, you may be able to take on more clients and projects and help your at-home business to be even more successful.

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November 8th, 2017

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Juggling the responsibilities of career and family life can feel like working two full-time jobs at once. For moms who work at home, the lines between home and the office can disappear completely, making it hard to escape work mode. Is there a woman in your life who deserves a reward for all the hard work she does? Instead of buying her new clothes or a book she doesn’t have time to read, consider treating her to an experience and some time away from the daily grind.

Whether it’s a night of stand-up comedy, great seats to see her favorite team play or tickets to a big show, give the lady in your life a break from her routine, and a reminder that you appreciate her every single day. Consult our roadmap below to gift the work-at-home mom in your life with a little time to relax and have fun.

1)    Pick your location: Destination or nearby? Depending on your budget and schedule, you may want to whisk her away for a weekend in the big city. If you’re going all out, it doesn’t get any better than dinner followed by a Broadway show and a stay in a downtown hotel. And if the babysitter can’t cover a quick night to NYC to see an acclaimed musical, there are Broadway productions all across the country. Check out local venues to see shows, artists and acts that will be coming to town.

2)    Set the tone: Calm and relaxed or time to party? A night of ballet or theater would be the perfect escape from a busy life for some women. Others want to dance the night away at a rock concert. Fortunately, there’s an event for every taste. If you’re not sure what she’d like, ask her a few questions about what she’d do with a night off (and be prepared for her to tell you she’d like to sleep). You won’t ruin the surprise, and you’ll feel confident knowing you’re picking something she will truly enjoy.

3)    Choose the guest list. Will this be a romantic evening for two, a girls’ night out, or a mother-daughter bonding date? She might enjoy seeing her friends, but it would be special to see the show as a couple. Coordinate with her pals to meet up for drinks afterward and she’ll have twice the surprise.

4)    Don’t make it seem like more work for her. This one is huge. Work around her busiest work days, arrange for babysitters, and figure out a way to help her take a night off without falling behind or feeling stressed. Don’t hesitate to reach out to her friends or close family members to help you pull it off. They will be glad to pitch in and share the surprise.

5)    Consider leaving her at home alone. That’s right—for some busy working moms, a quiet, child-free night at home with a good book and a cup of tea might just be the perfect escape. If that’s the case, think about taking the kids to an event yourself while letting mom have the house to herself for a few hours.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect event for the hard-working mom in your life, consider how to surprise her with the news. Here are a few simple, creative ways to let her know she’s in for a treat:

  • Leave the tickets somewhere she’ll find them unexpectedly, like in her favorite coffee mug, next to her toothbrush, or on her car windshield.
  • Get the kids involved. Maybe a kiddo can bring home a “note from the teacher” that really details the plans for the big day.
  • Heading to see her favorite band play live? Buy her their newest album, and tuck the tickets inside.
  • Feeling bold? Find a sitter and invent an errand to run with her, then let her know that you’re actually going out to dinner and a show.

She’s passionate about her job and her kids, but every mom needs a break sometimes. No matter what event you choose, the lady in your life will be grateful for such a thoughtful gift. It’s the perfect way to show her you care, whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary or “just because.” Give a mom you love the gift of a little free time and a few great memories.


About the Author

Adam Young, the founder and CEO of Event Tickets Center, often surprises his loved ones with event tickets—and he doesn’t mind being on the receiving end of this thoughtful gift, either.

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October 3rd, 2017

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You’ve embarked on family road trips before, so you have the basics of planning down, but now you have a new X factor: a teenager. The very mention of a road trip with the family is enough to make most teenagers plug in their headphones and drown you out with angsty music. You know if you could just get their buy-in, your teen could not just tolerate, but really get into a family adventure.


One of the easiest ways to get a teenager excited about a trip is to have some really unique and exciting activities planned beforehand. Here are three activities to include in your next road trip that will have your teen racing to get into the car, rather than pulling the covers over their head.

1. Visit an Escape Room

There is a reason escape rooms are popping up all around the country; everyone from grandmas to grumpy teens loves them. On a road trip, an escape room is a great chance to be active, and interact with each other away from the stress of the road. Of course, not all escape rooms are created equal. If you’re passing through Kansas City on your trip, check out Tick Tock Escape Games. The completely immersive rooms use sound, video and other technology to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie. You can spend an hour in Uncle Beasley’s den, solving elaborate puzzles for a chance to win a portion of his estate in the Beasley’s Billions’ game, or get locked in an Egyptian tomb where you’ll need to decode clues and puzzles before the tomb door is sealed forever in Pyramid Paradox. Either way, this will be an experience both you and your teen won’t soon forget.

2. Go Wherever the App Takes You

One of the best parts of a road trip are those spontaneous stops, where you pull over just because something struck your fancy. Of course, technology has made finding those hidden gems much easier. Set aside a day where any and all stops are on the table.

Download the free Roadtrippers app and let it guide you to places like the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, Arizona, which is the only place where you can get close to a Titan II ICBM, a missile that could launch a nuclear warhead. Or Gene Cockrell’s yard art in Canadian, Texas, where you can see the impressively weird collection of concrete statues (from dinosaurs and aliens to Jesus) made by Gene himself. Make a rule that you’ll stop for anything that sounds interesting, no debate. Your teen will love the spontaneity and freedom (and, of course, the Instagram-worthy shots).

3. Go Wild

You can’t truly get to see the country unless you get out into it. Have your teen help you find a few natural wonders along the way and stop as often as possible to smell the roses (and take in the view). Even a kid who isn’t outdoorsy can’t help but be impressed by the overlook on the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine, or Salt Creek Falls in the Cascades in Oregon, both of which can be reached by car.

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September 27th, 2017

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Understanding the ins and outs of on-demand software can be daunting for those just starting a home-based business or solopreneur venture. In fact, there are hundreds of tools at your disposal, and knowing which ones are essential can initially be difficult to identify. However, do know you’ll wind up paying for a handful of essential subscription-based services within a few months of building your business.


Because some of these software as a service platforms will be the lifeblood of your business, you’ll no doubt access them every day and become completely fluent with this technology. Meantime, your other SaaS-based apps will die a slow death: You’ll forget your login, dislike the interface, and get hassled by support reps when you try to cancel your subscription.

While these scenarios may be impossible to avoid, your best bet is to focus on the tools that will help support and leverage various aspects of your business. Here are some of the best SaaS solutions that moms who work from home can utilize to achieve better productivity, automation and financial success.

Productivity and Automation

  1. Pomodoro Technique apps: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into more productive time intervals, typically 25 minutes at a time. Despite its intuitive benefits, using the Pomodoro Technique isn’t a common practice in most workplaces. But there are plenty of apps to get you started, including:
    • Focus Booster – This simple timer app is easy to use and customize for any work-related task.
    • PomoDonePomoDone – This popular app can connect with other tools like Trello, Asana and Slack.
    • Pomodoro Keeper – This app features a useful mobile timer option for iPhone users.
    • Marinara Timer – This app provides a unique URL after each use, creating more seamless workflows.
  2. IFTT: You’re likely familiar with the concept, “If this, then that.” Similarly, this free, web-based service allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets, which are triggered by the actions you take on other websites, including Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. By using this service on the following platforms, you can
    • LinkedIn – Automatically send welcome messages and meeting invitations to any new connection request
    • Twitter – Automatically send thank you tweets to those who retweet or mention you
    • Facebook – Automatically share Facebook posts on other social networks, or “like” content that meets certain requirements
  3. Zapier: If you master IFTT and want to create a more customized connection, Zapier is your go-to tool. This tool connects you with more than 750 apps, allowing you to create an easy customized workflow, as opposed to IFTT which has a limited bank of apps from which to choose. The tasks that take up the most time, but have the least financial value, should be automated whenever possible.
  4. Use case: If you use software to take calls via a cloud contact center, you can create what’s referred to as a “zap” that can transcribe your voicemails. That’s particularly useful when important and/or sensitive information is shared via voicemail and you don’t have the time or resources to jot it down.
  5. Email marketing – Your desire to have a better sense of your customers’ needs and wants can be achieved through this type of customized messaging. Whether your email marketing strategy has you sending two or more emails per week or simply the occasional newsletter, the ball is truly in your court regarding the frequency of your messaging. Of course, there are dozens of platforms from which to choose. Your best bet might be conducting a Google search or asking fellow work-from-home professionals about their experiences.

Financial Management

All the productivity and focus in the world won’t mean anything if you’re not managing your finances correctly. There are two main components of financial management for small and home businesses.

Accounting and Taxes - Software tools like Quickbooks, Freshbooks and Xero have exploded during the past decade, thanks in large part to the fact that more people are working for themselves. As such, they need basic accounting software to remain in business. Similar to email marketing, there are a core set of features — in addition to price and support — to keep in mind.

  • Reporting and analysis - All accounting software has its own spin on why it has the best reporting features. Make sure you understand the “how” and “why” behind the reporting and that there are visual breakdowns of everything.
  • Customization - Again, all accounting tools will offer customization, but making sure you understand how these features will apply to your business is the more critical element in all this.
  • Automation - The elimination of paperwork and human error is the basis for investing in new accounting software, so make sure to adopt a SaaS tool that requires very little in the way of manual entry.
  • Integrations - For successful automation, your software will need to integrate with your business tool set, such as tracking or calendar features.
  • Scalability and expandability - Switching software is tedious, so make sure your accounting system is ready to grow and scale with your business.
  • Security - Whenever financial data is involved, security is vital. With that in mind, look for certifications from the TRUSTe Privacy Program and VeriSign.
  • Invoicing and payment processing - Depending on your business, this category may require a separate tool. For instance, Stripe and Recurly are SaaS apps meant for business owners who offer a recurring payment option. There’s also a full market of invoicing tools depending on the complexity needed.

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September 11th, 2017

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Feel like you can’t start your own business with loans and investors? It might take less money than you think. According to a survey by Intuit, most small businesses start with $10,000 or less. That’s good news for small business owners who think they need hundreds of thousands to get their company up and running. But $10,000 is still a big chunk of change. You can bootstrap your business paycheck by paycheck while still making your startup seem bigger than it really is. Here’s how.

Working woman

Restrategize your website

Your website is often a customer’s first impression of your business. But before you spend several thousand dollars in a website redesign, look at tools you can use on your own to make your business seem ultra professional.

WordPress and Squarespace are relatively easy to learn and come with plenty of free templates and resources. Opt for a clean, responsive layout that features a professional business phone number, your photo and About page. You can even snag a dedicated phone number from Google Voice for free.

Upgrade your telecommunications

At some point, your smartphone or dedicated Google voice business phone number won’t be enough to make your startup seem bigger than it really is. Set up a virtual office and pay only for the extra telecommunications features and services you need.

For example, 8×8 offers VoIP business phone services can create a virtual office desktop to integrate a business softphone with visual voicemail, a corporate directory, instant messaging and video calling among other professional features like web conferencing and social media. When you combine these features with exemplary customer service, your customers feel like you’ve got it together and are running a thriving business.

Send professional proposals

Clients expect a professional-looking proposal to review your offering, price and more about your company. But it’s more than putting a slick logo on a Word document with a price breakdown and sending it to a client.

There are plenty of low-cost tools on the market that can do most of the tedious work for you. PandaDoc offers straight-forward and easy-to-customize templates and collaboration tools. Pick and choose from a library, add your own content and images, share with your team and send off to clients. It’s also a quick way to get them to say yes and digitally sign on the spot instead of waiting around for a response.

Hire a virtual assistant

Outsourcing time-consuming tasks like data entry can free up more time to focus on your business. A virtual assistant can take care of the little details of running your business without needing to hire full-time help.

Sites like empower business owners to find the help they need that meets their budget. Whether you need someone part time or full time, you can find highly skilled professionals that only focus on the type of work and during the hours you need.

Get legal advice

You can get the right legal advice about your business entity and any other issues without retaining a private lawyer. Instead, get advice by asking lawyers just a few questions, learning how to incorporate your business or creating legal documents. Rocket Lawyer helps manage legal needs online by connecting people with reputable lawyers and only paying for services they need.

Temporarily upgrade your office space

There’s nothing wrong with running your startup out of your home, but at some point, you’ll need to hold meetings with clients or investors, run a workshop and meet with team members face to face. While co-working spaces have long been have for freelancers looking for more space, you can now rent entire conference rooms.

Companies like Desks Near Me can connect you with single desks or entire conference rooms near you.

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September 5th, 2017

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Do you remember how nervous you were on the day of your driving test? If you do, then you can imagine how your teen might feel as their own test day is approaching. As an experienced adult driver, it’s easy to dismiss your teen’s anxiety. But it’s not your license that is at stake here: it’s theirs.


Your experience also has a positive side: you can use it to help your teen feel more relaxed and prepared for their test. Encouragement, support and help go a long toward making your teen feel confident and ready. Here are five things you can do to help lower test day anxiety.

Give Your Teen Lots of Resources

One way to learn and retain new information and develop new skills is to receive information and practice in lots of different contexts. Begin by making sure your teen understands the driver’s license process, from the first knowledge test to the final road exam.Â

Many resources can be found online. Your teen may have a preference for written content, or videos showing practical skills and scenarios. Find content from reputable sources, and share them with your teenager. Make yourself available to answer their questions along the way.

Reproduce the Driving Test Conditions

One way to effectively prepare your teen for the road test is to practice beforehand. This means acting as if you were a DMV examiner and testing all the different skills that the DMV does. Road test guides should have all the information regarding which skills are tested, including the dreaded parallel park!

As test day draws near, practice this road exam scenario several times. This will help your teen be familiar with the test conditions, which will lower their anxiety on test day. Ideally, practice with the same car and on the same roads.Â

Remember to practice in different weather conditions as well: who knows whether it’ll rain or shine on test day!

Teach Relaxation Techniques

If your teen tends to be nervous, it’s a good idea to teach them a few relaxation techniques. This will help them keep their nerves in check on test day.

Some relaxation techniques include:

  • Taking ten deep breaths through the nose can help you relax and calm down your nervous system.
  • Learning a few yoga stretches you can do quickly before the test.
  • Visualizing the different skills tested, focusing on the more challenging ones.
  • Use aromatherapy and take advantage of relaxing scents, like lavender.

Encourage Them Regularly

Noting the ways your teen can improve is important, but so is encouraging them and reinforcing their self-confidence. This means noticing when they do things right, and acknowledging their progress along the way. Positive reinforcement in the form of small rewards at every step of the licensing process is also an excellent way to encourage them to work hard to succeed.

Support Them On Test Day

There are many ways you can support your teen on test day. Encourage them to eat a nutritious meal (no skipping breakfast!) and to avoid caffeine. Plan ahead and get to the test center at least 15 minutes before the appointment.

Prepare a bag with everything they need: learner’s permit and other documents, ID, sunglasses, a bottle of water. Stress can make people forgetful! If you can, tell them to leave their phone with you so they won’t be distracted by potential phone calls or texts.

Most importantly, remind them that they are perfectly capable of passing the test. They are probably worried about all the ways they can fail; telling them that they are already good drivers can help dissipate some of the anxiety.

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July 28th, 2017

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Noah waited 100 years for God to send rain, the first rain the earth had ever seen.  In a society where it seems everything is fast paced and wireless technology can preoccupy us every second of every day, patiently waiting has become a lost virtue.  In the life of a believer, one of the most difficult things to do at times can be waiting on God. When it comes to answering our prayers, I have come to learn that God is rarely if ever early, never late, but seemingly right on time — His time.

I remember a difficult period in my life when it seemed God was so far away and the pain and uncertainty seemed to have no end in sight.  Instead of focusing on my troubles and having a pity party, I chose to keep my eyes on Christ and trust God’s plan and not force my own.  As I waited, I actively spent quality time daily in God’s word.  I wanted to know His will for my life and thought knowing Him through His word was the best place to begin!  My prayer life grew tremendously and at first I admit I offered up many prayers asking God to intercede and make my situation all better.  After I while though I realize my prayers were selfishly all about me. What if I did like Job and offered up prayers for others.  The Bible says, “Job’s circumstances changed” when “he prayed for his friends.”  What would happen if my prayers where more about aligning myself with God and His will?  What if it was more about His Kingdom come?  As I began praying more like Jesus did, for OTHERS, I found my prayers didn’t necessarily change my circumstances, my prayers began to change ME.

Amazingly I began to see God working all around and it was not my ability that matter, but my AVAILABILITY.  I used this “unanswered prayer” for 3 years to focus my activity on aligning with God and what He was already doing and then simply joining Him.  This grew me and prepared my heart for the blessing that most certainly would come.  My investment in a closer relationship with God ensured me that when God did speak and answer my prayer, I would surely hear Him correctly.  And when your prayer involves who God wants you to spend the rest of your life with, you don’t want to hear wrong on that one!  Just as God restored Job many times over what he allowed Satan to take away, God also did the same for me!  It has literally been UNBELIEVABLE! Keep trusting as you actively wait on God.

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July 20th, 2017

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As a mom, you enjoy spending time with your kids and taking them to have some fun away from the house. At the same time, you do not have an endless supply of money, so you cannot always spring for an afternoon at the movies complete with popcorn and boxes of Goobers or trips to the zoo or local theme park.

Fortunately, there are plenty of budget-friendly things that are fun to do with the whole family, some of which won’t cost you a dime. Here are a few your family might like.

Yard sale in an american weekend on the lawn

Ask for a tour

If your kids crave donuts and bagels or are fascinated with money, you might be able to arrange a behind-the-scenes tour of a local business. Call the bagel bakery, bank or pet grooming shop and ask to speak with a manager, explaining that your kids are obsessed with their shop and would like to take them in for a tour. You might find yourselves seeing what the bank vault looks like or watching fresh donuts go from fried to frosted.

Check out the interesting things happening around you

If you have a toddler who is enchanted with bulldozers, cranes and backhoes, watch around your neighborhood for signs of new construction and take her there to watch the action from the safety of your car. Everyday attractions are great ways to get out of the house and enjoy some time with your kids, while also learning something in the process. If a guy is on scaffolding painting a tall building, that might be worthy of a stop and watch moment, so is parking near train tracks to watch the locomotives chug by or heading to the airport to see the jets taking off and landing.

Go see a play

While you might think that “live theatre” and “frugal” are not words that go together, with some last-minute planning they definitely can. Families who live in or near New York City can score some insane deals on tickets to plays and musicals. Browse online ticket sales websites for their selections of discounted theater tickets, many of which go on sale close to showtime. If you don’t mind going to the theatre on the fly and don’t need a lot of time to prepare, this can be a terrific way to get some culture in while saving money.

Go yard sale shopping

Yard sales can be fun and budget-friendly for kids in a variety of ways. Your children may get into the thrill of the hunt that often comes with scouring peoples’ discarded treasures at garage sales — maybe they will find that old LEGO set they always wanted or a gently used book or doll they will love. You can also make it into a game and challenge them to find the goofiest or most colorful item with a certain price limit; just remind them not to crow about how hideous the ceramic cow wearing a sombrero is so they don’t offend the people holding the sale.

Outlet shopping for a set price

If your kids need some new duds, head to the outlet mall and have a little contest to see which kiddo can pick out the coolest outfit for less than a set amount of money. Set your max budget ahead of time and let them choose as much of a complete outfit as possible including socks and accessories.

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