Ways to Make Extra Money at Home

Need a Side Job?


Whether you're self-employed, under-employed, or just always looking for more cash, there are many legitimate ways to make money at home. As a self-employed entrepreneur, I've tried many different side gigs. I've always got a bunch of irons in the fire trying to find one that is the best return on my time invested. Some things pay well, but are tedious and stressful. When that happens, it causes a shift in my mood. I'd rather do something that took less time and caused less stress. I mean who wouldn't? If you're looking for ways to make extra money at home read on for a list of things you can do as a side job online.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Ways to Make Extra Money at Home
Need a side gig?

Ways to Make Money Online

When working online, you never have to leave your home. Let's get real, you never even have to leave your bed! Unfortunately, you do have to have some marketable online skills. However, there are a range of activities for the amateur to the professional online entrepreneur. So, if you're hoping to become self-employed or to add a little extra cash to your monthly bottom line, it might be worth it to brush up on some English grammar lessons, Microsoft skills, and understand how social media is beneficial to your bank account.

  • If you're a teacher of any sort, including a homeschooling teacher/parent, you can make money by selling your printable lessons online. #worksheets People don't have time to create these and they appreciate the work being done for them by a professional.  Some great sites to start selling your teacher resources are TeacherSherpa.com and TeachersPayTeachers.com  Each website is reputable, and as an added bonus, you can sell the same items on each site. They work sightly differently, so go for it and see which one works best for you! If you're a serial entrepreneur like me, you'll continue to do both.

  • Do you have some random skill? Something you're an expert at and can do quite well in a very short amount of time? Maybe you're a freelance writer, a musician who does jingles, you were born with a great voice for voice overs, you're an amazing cartoonist, skilled at graphic design, or perhaps you can write a kick*** cover letter and resume. Whatever your marketable skill, you can promote it on fiverr.com. Just offer something for $5 and you can add additional fees or add-on work. I haven't sold anything over there, but I have used the service many, many times!

  • My first venture into the making money online came via UpWork. Back in the day, it was known as Elance. With UpWork, you can charge whatever you want. The more skilled you are, the more you can make. I started out low-balling bids on jobs until I gained confidence in a particular subject. Now, I work as a consultant and bid a much higher wage.  I work as a freelance writer, SEO specialist, and social media marketer. However, you can find jobs for draftsmen, architects, interior designers, product testers, reviewers, and virtual assistants. Sometimes, you can even find work offline.

  • If you're a blogger or anyone with a large online following, you can do a search for sponsored social media posts. You've heard of celebrities getting paid to post on their Twitter and Instagram? You can do it too! This is my favorite side gig. It only takes a few minutes to complete and the pay out can be just as good as a sponsored blog post. You decided what pay you want. Your stats, engagement, and follower count play into it. Anyone can do it and earn $1 to over $1000 for a short post.


  • Write a how to manual, a comic book, or a full-fledged novel! Using Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing tools, you can create book covers, upload content, and sell your book on Amazon. I've done this several times now. The key is quality. This is a pretty hefty time commitment. However, once you've done one book and created a template, it becomes easier. This is not for the faint of heart, the easily stressed, or the perfectionist. If you're any of those things, do the book, but pay someone to set it up for you. Here's one of my best selling Amazon books: Circle Time Activities. Tip: I also have versions of this book available on TeacherSherpa and TeachersPayTeachers.

Now, once you've created your own ways to make money online, you'll need to promote your business. You can do this yourself through boosting Facebook posts, running ads in Google AdWords, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram,  or enlisting a digital marketer to help. Pick me, pick me!

Still looking for more ways to make extra money online? Check out this article from the PennyHoarder.


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Need a Side Job?




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What are the Benefits of Outdoor Play?

Playing Outside Improves Mood


This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Have you noticed a change in your children when they're playing outside? Sure, they may complain that they're tired or that it's too hot or even that they're bored. However, outdoor play benefits kids in many ways. Once children have built the coping and social skills needed to interact in an outside play environment, the benefits of outdoor play far outweigh their complaints! What are the benefits to outdoor play? Keep reading to learn some tips on how to keep your kids happy outdoors.


What are the Benefits of Outdoor Play?
What are the benefits of outdoor play?


Be Prepared. 

When you take your kids to an outdoor play space or local park, be sure to be prepared. Bring a cooler with bottles of water for hydration, cool, healthy snacks like carrots and cucumbers, and go ahead and throw in a treat for when they've depleted all of their energy. 

You may also want to bring a change of clothes, a non-toxic bug repellent, a blanket for resting, hats or sunglasses to shade them from the sun, and a first aid kit. Whatever you can do to insure the happiness of your children and counteract any excuses they may have for not wanting to play, only increases your chances for success.

If you're forgetful and always seem to forget the essentials, keep a park preparedness kit in your car. We never leave the house without folding chairs, a vinyl table cloth, and an umbrella packed in the trunk. If you leave a mini cooler in the trunk, it's always waiting there to be filled. You can simply stop at any convenience or grocery store along the way.


Benefits of Playing Outside


Best Places for Outdoor Play

No matter where you choose to incorporate outdoor play, it's beneficial to your child. Simply being outdoors in the sunshine can boost your child's immune system because the sun gives us vitamin D which is essential to health and happiness. Dr. Clare McCarthy shares some benefits of outdoor play over at Harvard Health. Even if you have a tiny yard, be sure to create a space for your child to get in some daily outdoor play. If they like to color or finger paint, set up a table for crafting outdoors.


Water is the most fun element of sensory play.

A well designed play structure will keep your kids busy for an hour or two. You may not be familiar with the brand name Landscape Structures, but I'll bet you've seen one or two. These playground structures aren't just for swinging and sliding, they're set up with all kinds of ways to get kids moving and to encourage sensory play.





When you give children the freedom to play and discover on their own, they build self-confidence to explore more things on their own. They want to see what else they can discover without mom or dad. So, sit back and relax while the kids explore the outdoor environment and find new ways to have fun.


Hello, over there! This megaphone encourages interaction with others.


Landscape Structures playgrounds are designed to welcome children of all ages and abilities. This play equipment has all kinds of sensory elements and play activities that encourage kids to work together making it easier for them to socialize with others. These playgrounds also encourage exercise, but don't worry, your kids will have so much fun playing on the equipment they won't even know they're exercising!


Sneaky playground equipment encourages exercise.

Sensory play aids in the learning process. Children who play outdoors have more access to sensory elements as the five senses are involved in nearly every aspect of outdoor play. They hear other children laughing, birds chirping, and bugs buzzing. They feel the wind on their face and the grass on their feet. They can even taste the outdoors when berry picking or licking their salty lips.


Practicing on the bars builds upper body strength and self-confidence. 

These poles encourage learning to balance.

What will you do when it's raining? Rain is the best sensory activity! Grab an umbrella and some rain boots and slosh through some puddles with your kiddos! Reach up to the sky and savor the raindrops as they splash on your face. Show your children that rain is fun, don't discourage it. Rain even smells good! These days, most parks use rubber mulch. If storms do force you to stay inside for awhile, don't worry about the playground being wet. Be a good parent and take the first trip down the slide to dry it off for those finicky little ones.

Encourage social interaction with other kids, but don't force it. Kids are smart, they know what you're trying to do. If they're moody, they'll fight you every step of the way. Also, simply knowing that you want them to interact with other kids can make the feel self-conscious. They may feel too shy to talk to another child when they know that you're anxious for it to happen. Pretend to keep busy reading a book or returning a text. Don't get too caught up though, those little eyes are always watching you. Sometimes, they want you to watch them and know that you're proud of them. Always be ready with a thumb's up!

A simple way to encourage socialization is to point out a favorite character on another child's clothing. "Hey, look he's wearing a dinosaur shirt. Don't you love it!" Your child may not respond, that's okay. Don't push them. You've given them something to talk about. You've made a connection with another child. Sit back and watch what happens. Socializing may start out awkward. If you have a backward child, trying to force it will certainly backfire. Learn to be happy with a nod or a smile. The rest will come with time.


Playing Outside Improves Mood
Outdoor play improves mood.


Some benefits of outdoor play.
Sleepy kids!


As an exhausted parent, one of the best benefits of getting in a lot of outdoor play time with the kids is that you'll get to enjoy some down time when the kids take naps. Even if they are past nap taking, they'll probably stay quiet for the car ride home! Be careful not to let little ones get too over tired. Often, an over tied preschooler will have trouble sleeping through the night. They need just enough exertion for a good night's sleep. And no one wants an over tired toddler...


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How do you Keep Kids Happy on Rainy Days?

A Guide to Keeping Your Kids Happy on Rainy Days


For adults and teens rainy days are great: you have the perfect excuse to stay inside, curl up on the couch and catch up with your favorite TV show or video game. Yet for little ones, rainy days force them to face the prospect of one more dreaded day stuck inside the house. When you use this guide to keeping your kids happy on rainy days for tips and tricks, rainy days don’t have to equal boredom for the kiddos!


This post contains Amazon affiliate links.



How do you Keep Kids Happy on Rainy Days?  Cowboy Costume Dress Up
Howdy Partner! Mayhem in a Cowboy Costume.


Boredom Busters for Rainy Days

Click through the links below for fun activities on how to keep kids happy on rainy days.

Get Creative with Painting
Painting doesn’t have to be just painting anymore; try some fun ideas, like painting with spaghetti, or paint rocks to look like ladybugs (on a drier day before the rain started, of course) or try finger painting in a fun new way. If you're up for it, let the kids try face painting with you as their model!
Maybe you have a designated kids' playroom and you want to get creative with a spare bit of white wall that's just begging for a splash of bright color. You can always paint your wall like a chalkboard and let the kids go wild!
If you're organized, you can prep for rainy day activities during the summer by collecting interesting seashells at the beach or walnuts in the yard, and saving them for a rainy day when you and the kids can paint the shells all kinds of creative ways!

Entertain All of Their Senses
As you know, younger kids are receptive to nearly anything entertaining, so don’t underestimate the power of visual and aural stimulation. Whether it’s a colorful cartoon on the TV or sound waves making the floor vibrate with their favorite childhood tunes, you can use this stimulation as a spin off for a drawing activity like this cartoon anime lesson.
Oh, how times have changed!
Also, you may want to consider investing a little more in home tech equipment for a true all-round experience; for example, thewireszone.com has a great range of audio and video equipment, including amplifiers to really fill up the house on those gloomy weather days. With all those beats pumping though the house, you'll be up dancing on the ceiling! Seriously though, dancing with your kids is the best rainy day boredom buster ever!!

Use the Furniture to Your Advantage
If you have a large living space with plenty of couches and chairs, consider building a lion's den or a makeshift maze for the kids. You can move the furniture around and even drape the furniture in towels and bed sheets to create a cozy tent or tepee area for the kids to crawl into and stay quiet for a while. Ask Alexa to read a story while you catch up on some chores.

decorate with fairy lights on Amazon
Decorate with Fairy Lights. Photo Credit: Amazon

Add a sensory element by placing toys and books inside the blankets and light it up with funky fairy lights to make it a space the kiddos will never want to leave (until the sun comes out, of course.)

Catch up with Chores
It doesn't sound like the most fun thing to do, but if you have a whole bunch of household tasks you need to catch up with – and a rainy day just so happens to present an opportunity to do just that – then make the kids pitch in and get all those chores done together.
Need some motivation? Here are some printable chore charts for kids to help you keep track of their progress and work toward rewards!
Turn ‘matching up odd socks’ into a fun game with a prize, or maybe get creative in the kitchen if you have food that needs prepped, and let the kids help whisk up dinner!
You can also turn chores into competitions! Promise a special treat for the winner of ‘who can tidy the front room the fastest!’
How cool is that? Using chores as rainy day boredom busters is a great way to teach kids that helping around the house can be fun!

Play Dress Up in Costumes
You don't need a trunk full of costumes to play dress up with kids and keep them happy on a rainy day. No Ma'am, just raid your closets for old clothes, ties, and bandannas. In the picture above, we raided Grandma and Grandpa's closets for an old vest from the 70's, a gun holster, and an Australian Outback hat. Voila! Instant cowgirl costume.
Making costumes can keep kids busy for at least an hour on a rainy day. Once the costumes are complete, it's time for some good old fashioned pretend play!



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Maximize Family Time on Holiday

A Guide: Getting More out of Your Family Vacations

Are you tired of going on the same old vacation year in, year out? Sure, the pools, the hotels, and the sun are always nice at the time, but do you ever feel yourself longing for something a bit different? Maybe you just want your kids to experience some different things, rather than just the run-of-the-mill package beach vacation to California or Hawaii? If so, you may want to maximize family time to get more out of your family vacations. How can you make your vacation more of a bonding experience?

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.


Ways to Maximize Family Vacation Time



Keep scrolling to find ideas on how you can enjoy holiday vacations and make lasting memories with your family.

Buy a Boat


Been there done that. Boy, do we recommend doing it if you can. There truly is nothing quite like being out on the open water, especially when you’re with your partner and your kids. For one, being able to get away from the hustle and bustle of people back on land for a few days is a great way to detach yourself from the stresses back home. It’s also a great way to get your kids to see that there’s more to the world than just buildings and technology. If you’re willing to go all out to better your family vacations, then, you should seriously consider buying a boat.

You can ski behind a boat, pull the kids on a tube or a body board, work on your tan, hunt for turtles, and go fishing. It's a great way to bond with the kids and maximize family together time!

You should know, however, that this is never going to be a cheap venture to take. Generally, boats tend to cost a lot of money — new pontoon boats, for example, can fetch anything from $18,000 to $60,000. Fear not, though, as there are specific loans that you can take out to cover this kind of expense — there are even lenders that offer bad credit boat loans, meaning you need not worry even if you have a bad credit history. The point is, if you’re serious about buying yourself a boat and vacationing on it for years to come, you need not necessarily let your finances stop you. The bills will always be there, but the family won't. Kids grow up and move away. Boat together while they're still young!

Draw up a Holiday Schedule Before you Leave Home


If you’re really on the ball, you should consider drawing up a holiday schedule before you head out on a family vacation. By doing so, you'll save yourself from wasting precious vacation moments deliberating how you'll be spending your day, as your schedule will already be laid out for you. This means less time deciding and more time getting more out of your family vacation. It also gives everyone something to look forward to. You may want to check out these tips for traveling with kids.

Don’t Get Stuck in One Place


Face it, in the past, you’ve probably been guilty of plonking yourself down in your hotel and barely venturing away from it for the whole two weeks straight. There’s nothing wrong with this! Of course, you deserve a relaxing break. However, if you really want to get more out of your family vacation, you'll have to venture away from the resort. Don’t get stuck in one place, no matter how tempting is - get out there and see more of the destination that you came to see! And when you do, don’t forget to bring your camera along.

You may also want to wear some cool t-shirts to help keep track of everyone while you're out on excursions.

If you want to maximize family time and get more out of your next family vacation, follow our Pinterest board for more family travel tips and check out the links recommended below.


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Summer Homeschool Projects to Get Your Kids Outdoors


Outside Projects for Homeschoolers


When the days are warmer and longer, the beautiful sunny weather makes homeschool lessons more and more difficult to do indoors. Why sit inside and stare at textbooks when you can teach your kids some lessons in the great outdoors? We've got summer homeschool projects to get your kids outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. Read on for homeschool activities you can do outside with the kids!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summer Homeschool Projects to Get Your Kids Outdoors




Whether you’re teaching homeschool science, math, or life skills, we’ve compiled a list of some homeschool projects to get your kids outside and learning at the same time!

Grow a Kid-Friendly Garden

Gardening with kids is educational and a good mental and physical workout. Not to mention, digging around in the dirt and planting some flowers with your kids is just good old fashion fun! The internet is full of all sorts of different gardening lesson plans, and you can make this homeschool project as simple or complex as you want.




However, sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to get your kids engaged in a project. Start by building a raised garden bed that is all theirs. If they’re old enough, have them help you put the bed together. This gives them the opportunity to explore their carpentry skills! Next, plant some easy-to-grow vegetable seeds or starts such as beets, potatoes, tomatoes, green onions, beans, and kale.


When the time comes to harvest your plants, you’ll be able to teach your kids a bit about the food industry, and they’ll make the connection that all the vegetables and fruits they eat have to be grown from seed before they make it to their plate!

Education-Based Nature Hike

Hikes are one of the best parts of summer. They get your heart pumping, work up a good sweat and the view at the top of the mountain is always breathtaking. While hiking will definitely fulfill your kids’ PE requirement, it’s also a great time to explore your area’s local climate! Depending on where you live and where you choose to hike, there will be a few different homeschool lessons you can teach. Check out this list of ideas to get started!

Do a Beach Treasure Hunt

As a kid, you probably remember going on a field trip or two to the beach to look for seashells and hermit crabs. The beautiful weather is a great excuse to go do a little hands-on marine biology lesson!




Create your own treasure hunt and have your kids explore the area to find everything on the list. Not only will they learn more about your local environment, but they’ll burn off all that energy by running around trying to collect all their items!

Outdoor Art Projects

Your kids love art projects. They’ll love them, even more, when they get to do them outside! There are a variety of different art projects that utilize plant material to create something beautiful. Some tried and true classics include painting rocks, sun prints, and nature sculptures.

Visit Some Local Historical Landmarks

Who says history lessons have to be taught out of a textbook? Take your kids on a trip to some local landmarks to teach them a little bit about your town’s unique history.




Get in touch with your local museum to see what programs they have going on for kids during the summer. Or, take a day trip to your state’s capital or nearby national or state parks.

Tried and True Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano

Sometimes the classics are hard to beat. Kids love watching stuff explode, but having to clean up the ensuing mess may be a turn-off. Take the mess outside and teach them a little bit about chemical reactions with a baking soda and vinegar volcano. There are hundreds of tutorials on the internet, and this project can be as simple as using a 2L bottle or as complex and crafting a paper mache volcano to go along with the experiment!

Build a Compost Bin

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when we built a compost bin in my 7th-grade science class, I learned so much about building healthy soil and the benefits of compost! Not only will building a compost bin give your kids some experience with woodworking, but they’ll have the first-hand experience of watching kitchen and yard waste turn into a valuable soil additive.




Finish off the lesson by having your kids add your homegrown compost to the garden and observe how the plants respond. Have them predict ahead of time what they think will happen and then help them keep a log of the plant growth and changes.

Bird Watching and Identification

During lunch, take the opportunity to sit outside and do a bit of bird watching! Install a few bird feeders around your yard and you’ll be surprised to see how many of them flock to the seeds. If you can get close enough, you can even make a project out of identifying them. Find a local bird guidebook and have them check off all the different species they find. Or, get out of the house and visit a bird sanctuary.

Take Your Regular Lessons Outdoors

Sometimes getting out and enjoying the outdoors is as easy as taking your regularly scheduled lesson plan outdoors! Establish an outdoor area that your kids can study at without baking in the sun. Consider installing a hardtop gazebo and building a high-quality outdoor table that your kids can comfortably study at.


And when the school day is over, that same gazebo and table can offer your guests a place to hang out on those long summer nights. In the rainy season, you can still use that outdoor space to complete messy projects that you don’t want to do indoors.


What projects are you planning for your kids this upcoming summer? Let us know in the comments below!


Bio: Leigha Staffenhagen is the managing editor of Insteading.com, a homesteading and sustainability site focusing on everything from gardening and raising chickens to tiny homes and off-grid living.







Traveling with Children

Tips for the Perfect Family Vacation


Traveling with children can either be great fun or really hard work, so a bit of advanced planning goes a long way to making sure the trip is stress-free. How do you successfully plan the perfect family vacation? Keep scrolling to see our tips on traveling with kids.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Tips for the Perfect Family Vacation when Traveling with Children


What Makes a Good Family Holiday
The answer to what makes a good family vacation depends on what kind of family you are as a whole and the ages of your children. If you’re a family that loves being outdoors and at one with nature, then tent camping and mobile home getaways could be perfect for your family. However, if the thought of anything outdoorsy as a family fills you with fear, then something like an all-inclusive family deal in Florida could be ideal.
The age range of the family is also vital when considering where to take your next vacation as two younger children around the same age are going to be easier to entertain on beach vacations. Having older children can  mean activity holidays or trips where they have clubs to entertain the children while you do a bit of sunbathing.
What you don’t want to do is try and mix too many things together on one trip, such as, trying to incorporate a safari trip with a sightseeing outing when the children are very young, as they are going to lose interest and it will make for a highly stressful trip. Believe me, been there done that!

Stress-Free Travel
The options on how to get to your travel destination all need to be carefully considered because, with children, you need to think about whether they are old enough to travel long distance without having to stop every few hours if you drive, or if they can withstand a 24-hour flight.
The benefits of flying are that the journey can be broken up into sections such as a car trip to the airport, hanging around the departures lounge for a while, spending time on the plane, and then renting a car from Advantage Car Rental to finish the journey at your destination.
Taking a boat or a ferry is always great with kids as the excitement of floating across the water keeps them entertained while you get ready for your vacation to start.
A train is also another great option as you can travel at high speeds across country while not having the expense of plane tickets or the worry of bus timetables (if you decide to go down that route.)

Plan the Food
A significant consideration when planning the perfect vacation is what food choices you'll provide for your children. There are a variety of food plans when on vacation, some harder than others. If you are taking a trip where all-inclusive food and drink is on offer, be sure to thoroughly research if the food offered is child-friendly and if they abide by dietary requirements and food intolerance rules. Many theme parks offer these type of meal plans.
Whether you decide to drive your car or choose a car rental, taking all of your own food and snacks is a great and cost-effective option. It means you know exactly what snacks the children will eat and that they will actually eat it, plus you save money as you only buy and take what you need. However, this is only available to you if you have enough car space and if carrying around all those food selections is not too inconvenient.
If you plan to eat out, make sure that you research all of the available restaurants nearby before you book your trip, as there’s nothing worse than getting to your accommodation after a long journey and finding there is nowhere to eat.
Family vacations are where many amazing memories are made, and with a little forward planning, you can design the perfect trip to fit around you and your children's needs. For more fun family vacation ideas follow us on Instagram.


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