When my husband and I were discussing the possibility of me leaving the workforce to become a single income family, it was very scary, financially. My income was an important contribution to our family’s finances, but after the birth of our third child I really wanted to spend time home with the kids.
Little did I know at that time, I’d find a number of ways to add to the family’s income, beyond the contribution a stay at home mom makes in the day to day work she does for her own family.
Today I’m going to show you how I earn $500 per month in my spare time and how I hope to triple that in 2017. I plan to revisit these strategies later this year to update readers on my progress so you can use these for yourself.
This summer is the first summer I’ll be at home most days with the kids since I started my freelance adventure last fall. My 6 and 4 year old are bright, exuberant kids and I knew I’d have to add structure their days if I wanted any sanity. However, with my freelance work I don’t have the ability to be there every moment to guide their day (and who would want to?). It’s also great for fostering their independence as well.
I went to work trying to find chore charts, but none of them were quite right. My 4 year old can’t read the text chore charts, and many of the picture charts were geared toward very little children, or had unattractive graphics.
After doing some research I landed on four requirements:
I wanted a photo chart that my four year old could understand and interact with on her own;
I didn’t want to spend much money;
I wanted the flexibility to change their days up, but I also didn’t want to have to print a new one each week; and
I needed something I could mount to the fridge somehow – I didn’t want a chart that required wall space.
I landed on the concept of a magnetic chart with two categories: “Doing” and “Done.” I saw a few examples that I liked and got to work emulating those based on my needs. However, I needed clip art. It was SO hard to find cute clip art that would work for this! That’s when I stumbled upon Audrey Schilaty‘s blog. She had the exact chart I wanted – for free! Really, it’s the nicest free resource I’ve found. She offers both personal care and chore images, and I used a small combination of both (sad but true: I forget to have my children brush their teeth all to often).
I made it my own with a few modifications:
I drafted my own simple “Doing” and “Done” text document and used just the images I needed from her selection, so it would all print on one page, saving me money.
I printed it on a glossy sheet of photo paper that I had on hand, and then just placed it on an 8.5×11 sheet of adhesive magnet. You can buy packages of adhesive magnet sheets at office supply stores, but I found the most inexpensive option for heavy sheets – I got mine for just $3.59. I cut the small pieces to size, added them to the fridge, and voila – a clean, easy and inexpensive chart.
The kids woke up the first day and had moved two magnets over before I had a chance to remind them about it! So far, it’s been a great success.
I encourage everyone to check out Audrey’s great blog. And, if you’d like a copy of the 1-page version of the printable I used to create my chart using her images, just click the image below!
There you have it – a chore chart for just $3.59. What are your tips for keeping the kids structured in the summer? Let me know in the comments below.
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My final post in the Star Wars birthday party series is to share the custom invitations and thank you cards I designed.
Each year, I’ve been lucky that my children have chosen Halloween costumes that match their birthday party themes for the following year. Dub chose to be Darth Vader, so I used his Halloween costume for the front of the invitation. I created a simple background in PhotoShop, and used the free Star Jedi font.
I used the same background on the back, added the party details, and created a Darth Vader silhouette.
During the birthday party, I made sure to get one shot of all of the kids in the photo booth, wearing their jedi robes and using photo booth props. I used this image for a custom thank you postcard. On the back, I created a simple template that Dub could fill in himself. I love the idea of the postcard because it helps him learn the proper etiquette of showing thankfulness. Sincere, personal, and to the point! And, it’s a little less expensive to mail 🙂
Finally, just to prove how much I utilize those Halloween photos, I also used it for Dub’s Valentine’s card. I wonder if he’ll be sick of Darth Vader by this Halloween?
My baby girl just turned one and because her birthday is exactly a week after Dub’s, I’ll admit I ran out of steam on the party planning. However, I wanted to do something special and celebrate as a family, and was able to put together a cute Bow Birthday theme really inexpensively.
To keep birthday party planning expenses manageable, we buy a few essentials that we reuse year after year.
My Special Day chair covers that we reuse for birthdays, first days of school, and any day we want to recognize and celebrate each child individually.
Additionally, we always save leftover party supplies such as napkins, plates and plastic cutlery and every few years we find we don’t have to buy these supplies at all because of that stash. That was the case for baby ‘Belle’s party.
For the cupcakes, I whipped up a batch of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and frosted them in pink and white buttercream frosting. I wanted them to carry out the bow theme, but because I’m lacking in fondant skills I purchased these toppers. You can find similar fondant bows here and here.
We served homemade vanilla ice cream and a simple punch using 7-Up and raspberry sherbet.
With just two inexpensive plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, I made this impressive table centerpiece by using one tablecloth as usual, and using the other as a decorative sash by draping it across the front and simply pinching it in the middle. I actually unfolded some of the party napkins and fashioned a bow out of them – one napkin for each side of the bow, and two for the tails. Surprisingly beautiful, easy and inexpensive!
Next, I made bow napkin rings – I love how these turned out! I bought rectangle shaped napkins, but you could also do this by folding traditional napkins in half. Simply pinch them in the middle, place them on top of your cutlery and wrap a small band of paper around the bow, secured with tape.
As I mentioned earlier, I used leftover napkins to make the bow you see on the front of the table to carry the theme through.
I took a little photo shoot of baby ‘Belle sporting her birthday bow. I’d say the cupcakes were a hit!
Like the ideas you see here? Be sure to follow my birthday party inspiration board and subscribe below to keep partying with me!
Looking for more inspiration? You might like these parties: