Memorial Day – We Humbly Thank You

For many the last Monday in May presents the perfect opportunity to gather the family and kick off summer with a picnic, maybe even catch a great sale. We know however, the purpose of Memorial Day is much greater. This day is one where we remember and honor our fallen soldiers for their ultimate sacrifice in the fight for our freedom.

Happy Memorial Day

So on today, this Memorial Day, we humbly thank you for your service, dedication, and sacrifice.

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Football Fundraising Ideas

As part of my Football Mom duties, I’ve been trying to come up with some ideas for fundraising for the year. For my older son we’ve done a couple of quite successful fundraisers in the last few years, so I’m hoping we can gain that same momentum with the younger guys. Below are a few of the fundraising ideas I’ve come up with so far, and a little about how each will work.

  • Football Wreaths – Here are a few I found on Pinterest that I really liked. Stay tuned in the coming week, I will be showing you how to make each of these!!

From top left – Deco Mesh with ribbon from Etsy / Top Middle – Rag Wreath from Etsy / Top Right – Tulle on foam form (Link no longer available) / Bottom Left – Tulle and Ribbon from Etsy / Bottom Right – Rag Wreath

With the wreath fundraiser we would target parents / grandparents / aunts / etc of our team asking them to purchase wreaths to support the team.

  • Paint and Wine night – Seriously LOVE the idea of a Paint and Wine night. With this event we have the opportunity to reach beyond our regular team supporters into the community.
    • I’ve been eyeing canvases at our local craft supply store this past week they had them buy one get one free!! They also have the awesome acrylic paints on sale from time to time.
    • I have a few personal friends who are able to lead the classes, so a small donation for their time, and we’re able to use the rest of the funds for the team.If you aren’t lucky enough to have someone you can leverage, you can also google different options, many come with step-by-step instructions for completing a designs.
    • It’s important to have snacks available.
    • Guests should bring their own bottles of wine. (Feel free to pick up some glasses at Dollar Tree, or you could of course use plastic ones.)
  • Sonic – Our local Sonic restaurants offer us the opportunity to pick up a stack of $5.00 cards for FREE and sell. They have items like $.99 Route 44 drinks, cheap value combos, and more. We did great with this during our kindergarten season, so we’ll definitely do this one again!
  • T-Shirts – T-Shirts are a pretty staple fundraiser. Here is another opportunity to tap our supporters with themed shirts. This year we’re looking at a couple of unique designs. I was walking through one of our local malls a couple of weeks ago and saw a guy airbrushing shirts, and it hit me, that we would have shirts airbrushed this year. It’s a little less standard, but I LOOOOVED the look. (We’ll probably also get a few hats made) Here’s what I’m envisioning

This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for us. There are lots of other options we can throw in there. What types of fundraisers will your team do this year?

Football Mom Duties – Getting Organized

I can’t believe I’m already talking about football this year. Our season doesn’t start for another couple of months, but believe it or not, we’re already under way in many other aspects. This year I’ve been appointed team mom for my youngest son’s team, so there is lots of work to do. I will be learning along the way, so I want to share what I learn with you!!

Sports Mom Duties Getting Organized

First in my plan is trying to figure out how to get organized. We’ll have copious amounts of information to keep track of once the season starts so it’s better to figure out that system early. Generally speaking I HATE paper, but for all of the information I have, I anticipate needing to have it available. Maybe at games, practices, and other special events.

First on my list is the player information worksheet. Here’s what I’ve captured on the sheet.

Seahawks Player Information Sheet

You can download a blank copy here. Customize with your team name, and you’re off and running! I will also be responsible for the T-Shirt, and Uniform orders. Just the thought of it makes my head spin really! Thankfully our vendor will provide us with a detailed order form, so I don’t have to mess with it. We will be adding on an additional option of Air Brushed hats and shirts for parents and players, so we will need a sign-up sheet for that. I haven’t created one yet, but I’m thinking something similar to what is noted above should help.

For our vendor shirt (sweatshirt, hat, blanket, etc) we will also put together a “look book” with each individual design, and separate sections for Men’s, Women’s, and Youth looks. This is done in PowerPoint, if you ask REALLY nicely your shirt vendor may provide this to you, along with the SKU’s and matching excel order form. This really helped last year so everyone knew exactly what they were ordering. It was especially helpful as I like my t-shirts fitted a specific way, so I knew which was which!

Speaking of shirt orders I learned a valuable lesson last year, have each family fill out their OWN order form, whether via email, or a physical copy that they return to you. This way you have something to reference when the shirts come in. If there is any mistakes, you will know where it was made. We had a mom who ordered a sweatshirt, but really wanted hoodies. We were able to go back and look at the forms she completed, and it was marked in the wrong column. Save yourself the headache from the beginning.

Seahawks Preview

One additional tip, and this one has been quite successful for our team for 2 years. Start a Facebook Group, Blog, email group, and any other communication channel you can think of. Our coach doesn’t use Facebook, so I knew having an alternative this season would be important. For that reason, I started a blog. Most of the posts will be duplicate (though likely MUCH shorter on Facebook.) This will also give me a place to share pictures taken at the game, communicate about our Season Kick Off BBQ, discuss fundraisers and more. I’ve already started encouraging parents to sign up for the blog, and will send out a link again after our picnic when I’ve gathered everyone’s email address.

I’ll be back soon with some additional information on how I plan to stay organized for this upcoming season, and look forward to learning some of your tips and tricks along the way!

More Side Hustles for Diversifying

Last week I talked about ways to diversify your income. Everyday I check the Internet for ideas that fit in those main categories. I came across this great post via Pinterest, and just knew I needed to share.

65 More ways to diversify your income

Compiled here are 65 side hustles you can have while still working a full-time job. Talk about PERFECT!!! The whole idea of diversifying isn’t giving up your day job, but supplementing it.

Check it out here, and tell me what you think! What are some other side hustles you can think of?

Most recently I added Independent Travel Consultant to my resume. What’s better than getting paid to travel, and helping others along the way? Something you might be interested in? Send me a message and we’ll chat about it.

Saving to Vacation

In 2017 my husband and I plan to renew our wedding vows on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Unlike our previous getaways, we’re planning to take the kiddos along. I can tell you right now, that’s EXPENSIVE. I don’t know about you, but we don’t have mountains of of cash just laying around.

The way we are going to make this vacation affordable for us, is to save our way there. I wish I would have thought this same way when we went to Disney World back in 2012. We just bit the bullet, and paid that full trip right up front. Boy did that hurt.

Part of saving up for the trip is cutting costs, while the other part is looking for ways to increase our income. I’m probably not going to blow your mind with any of what I post here. I’m sharing here 1) So I can hold myself accountable, and 2) I can help identify tactics that maybe you’ve dismissed, or at first glance you don’t feel are viable.

Grand Palladium

 

Up first, I want to share with you the resort we will stay at. My husband and I stayed here over the summer for my cousin’s wedding. The resort is all inclusive and family friendly. Part of the appeal of this resort is they have a kids’ club where our three boys can spend their days when they don’t want to hang with us. There they have lots of activities including time in the pool, a game room with Ping Pong, Pool, and the latest gaming system. For when they ARE hanging out with us, there are multiple beaches at the resort, though one is more suitable for swimming, than the others. This resort also houses what is considered the largest pool in Jamaica, and the kiddos are big enough to stand up in all of it!

In addition to the awesome kids’ club, there are restaurants galore on property, several amazing bars, and let’s not forget the incredible beaches. My kids’ are already planning all of the trips they’re going to make down for snorkeling, and paddle boating. I think I need to go take a nap to just keep up with all they have planned.

Over the next several months I’ll be sharing what my husband and I are doing to build the vacation piggy bank. Some of that will encompass leveraging information I shared in my 10 Ways to Diversify your Income post earlier this week. If you haven’t already, read that one over! I can’t wait to see the vacation balance increase, and hear about how yours is doing the same! Happy Saving!

10 Ways to Diversify your Income

You may have heard a few times never to place all of your eggs in one basket. While this can apply to many aspects of life, today I’m going to apply it from the sense of finances. Specifically income.

I can tell you from personal experience, not having all of those eggs in that seemingly solid, but holy basket, is smart! After almost 10 years in my corporate position I was faced with being laid off. Now I can tell you, the writing was on the wall, and I knew my time was coming. It didn’t make that final day any easier though.

I remember on the drive home, after I dried my tears, wondering how my husband and I would make things work. With a host of bills, and three mouths to feed, the panic set in a little bit. Thankfully I was provided a decent severance package, and because we were anticipating it happening sooner or later (though we hoped for later) we’d saved a bit too. I wish I could say that we were REALLY savvy savers, and had the recommended 3-6 months of income saved, but we didn’t.

I knew from that day moving forward that we couldn’t rely on one income source to ensure our family’s financial security. Instead, I began looking at ways that we could create addition income streams so that if that seemingly solid basket failed us again, we’d be ok.

Diversify Income

After some extensive research I want to share my top 10 ideas on adding additional income streams. I’m REALLY picky about the types of activities I choose to become involved in, so you can feel confident with these!

1.     Become an Independent Consultant This applies to both in-home party driven businesses, as well as those which rely more heavily on catalog and online ordering.

  1. Pure Romance
  2. Thirty One
  3. Avon
  4. It Works
  5. The list goes on!

One of my awesome girlfriends sells for Pure Romance. One of the things that has led to her success, she’s not selling. By that I mean she doesn’t host her parties with the feel that she’s trying to make a sale.  Is making a sale the point? Of course! Nobody is doing it for free giggles. What she IS doing, is engaging her party goers. She’s having fun conversation, demonstrating products, and educating her potential clients. This has in turn, led to some pretty incredible sales!

2.     Start a Blog – like most of these options this can be as simple, or involved as you make it. How do you make money blogging? There are a few different ways you can make money. You can make money through selling ads (these usually are placed in the right sidebar). Additionally you can do sponsored posts. This is, reviewing someone’s product or service for a fee, and providing an honest opinion for doing so. Another, and maybe one of the most popular ways to make money blogging, is affiliate links. This is basically earning a referral fee (probably overly simplified it, but you get the point). You sign up with companies you know and trust and direct people to their products or services. Be sure to check the rules and regulations for the blogging platform you’re using to ensure you are in compliance with how you use affiliate links.

As an example of how to use affiliate links, recently I started using Ibotta. This is a grocery savings service, where the list products each week/month for discounts. You simply go grocery shopping like you would normally, you purchase the selected items (identified using the app prior to the shopping trip), and scan your receipt when you’re all done. The app calculates your savings, and holds the amount in an account to be deposited once you’ve reached a certain threshold. If I was using this business as an affiliate, I could get my referral link and hyperlink it to the business name above, directing you to the site to sign up, gaining me $5 for each user that signs up and uses the service.

3.     Become a Travel Agent – This is one that has intrigued me quite a bit lately. I LOVE to travel, like I would do it full time if I could. I also know that travel is one of the largest industries in the world. There are many options in the area, you can be specialized in one travel type, such as destination weddings, Disney travel, cruise travel, company travel the list goes on. Be sure to do your homework in this area, many companies make it sound like you’ll be getting into travel, but really they just want you to sell their product (the travel idea) to others, and you won’t actually be working with anything travel related. (Probably confusing, but you’ll know it the first time you come across it.)

4.     Become a Consultant – Do you have some really awesome knowledge that others could use? Now is your time to shine. A few of the things I can think of (because they pertain to me) are; Small business branding, small business marketing, recruiting practices, higher education – financial aid, higher education – minimizing debt. You could do one on one coaching, or provide short seminars. Can you work with a local church, place ads on Craigslist or use Freelancer.com to find business.

5.     TutorAre you really good in math or science, English or a language? If you said yes, your services are likely in high demand. In my area of town there are several tutoring centers where I could go to work (I still might). There are also online options for you to check out.

These next few can have a pretty similar feel, but all really serve a different purpose (if you want them to)

6.     Ebay – There are a few ways to make money selling on Ebay. The first, and probably the easiest is getting rid of stuff you have on hand. I’ve done this a few times. When I was in the wedding planning business I acquired quite a bit of inventory. Stuff for invitations, stuff for centerpieces and supplies for favors. You name it, and it was probably cluttering up my basement storage and work room. So that’s one way. Take a few good pictures, different angles. Use a non cluttered backdrop (a white, or solid color sheet is perfect).

The next way is to sell items you’ve purchased somewhere else. This could be a garage sale, thrift shop, or somewhere similar. You could also buy items in bulk maybe in another Ebay auction, or similar online site. This is a pretty popular method and can be quite lucrative if you’re good at spotting a solid deal.

7.     Amazon – this outlet this can be very lucrative. I’ve looked into it a few times already. I’m now in the phase of deciding what I want to sell. They have a newer handmade market, similar to Etsy (see below), the opportunity to sell your used items, similar to Ebay (see above), and the opportunity to sell new items you’ve sourced from various locations, also similar to Ebay.

8.     Etsy – There’s something for mostly everyone over at Etsy. Whether you are business to consumer focused, or business to business focused, if you are creative at all, the audience is there! Handmade, or vintage. These days, it seems like even commercially produced items are acceptable over there, so you should definitely check it out.

9.     Drive for Uber – I’ve not personally driven for Uber before, but my husband has a few employees who do it on the weekend, and they’ve reported significant success.

10.   Start a business of your own! For the full 10 years I ran the wedding business, I worked full time. I had a dedicated website, paid for client leads, and worked my tail off!! So owning your own business can be similar to being a consultant, or owning a shop on one of the venues noted above, but it can be a diverse as baking on the side, doing airbrush, or putting your Silhouette to work. Maybe you’re a fantastic designer, or a painter. Do you love interior design, or don’t mind walking pets? How about mowing lawns, or babysitting. That’s right, I put those oldies but goodies on the list!

Now know that in many cases, the effort you put in, is the reward you get out. Keep this in mind when thinking about getting into any of these options. There are only 24 hours in any day, though many days I could use a few more. You’ll need sleep, and likely you’re still working you’re full-time job, so consider your available time each day/week. Also take into consideration your other obligations, church, kids’ activities, social organizations, etc. Don’t over commit, that is the fastest way to burn out, and a sure fire way to fail. Take your time, consider all of your options, and get to work diversifying your income.

I’d love to hear some other ways you’ve thought of to help you diversify your income stream.

 

 

 

Welcome to Mom of EC3

Welcome to my new blogging home. I’ve blogged for years about various topics including weddings, and writing professionally, so I thought I would turn my passion of writing towards sharing my adventures with my husband and three handsome young men. Truly every day is something different, and the smallest of activities can be such a great time around here. There’s plenty of stress too! Boys are rough, hard headed, funny, full of drama, and so much more.

IMG_4234

The boys are 11, 9, and 6, so we’re always involved in a variety of activities, including sports and other school sponsored things; choir, game night, and end of year carnival, just to name a few. If your household is anything like ours, there’s always a struggle to find the balance between getting meals on the table, and spending time as a family, along with all of the other balls we keep in the air. Hopefully along the way I can share a bit of what we do around here, and we’ll all make sense of it together!

Don’t worry, I won’t just be talking about my boys though. I also plan to share plenty of projects I’m working on, as well as some others I’d love to do down the line. I don’t plan events professionally any longer, but I can’t put the planner in me to rest either. I see some fun parties for the boys coming down the line. Take just a moment to subscribe to the blog so you won’t miss a post!