Best Family Summer Vacation Tips

How to Make This Summer One of the Best for Your Family 



The reality of life is that unless you have access to mass funds, you have to work for a living. This means that when you have a family, you’ve got to become a master at balancing work and life. For several families, this means making the most of summer vacations as this is when the kids get the most time off school. As a parent, you may wonder how you can ensure that your children feel your presence and enjoy being at home full-time during summer vacation. Here, you’ll find some tips on how you can make this summer one of the best yet for your family. 


Best Family Travel Vacation Tips



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Tips to Have the Best Summer Vacation



Be Present 

The first summer vacation tip for making this summer memorable for your family is to be fully present. This is hard to do in a digital age where people are constantly glued to their phones, tablets, and any other device they can find. Parenting meditation, which is when you focus on hearing, seeing, and understanding your kids can help you stay in each moment with your family and drown out the background noise. 

It also helps when you put your gadgets away while spending time with your kids. Remember, it’s all about them for that moment, so if possible, let everything else wait until later. 

Have Allocated Quality Time 

The next vacation tip is to focus on quality over quantity. It has often been said that it’s less about how much time you spend with your kids and more about the quality of the time that you spend. So ensure you allocate time that will be spent with your family and try to stick with it.

To spend more quality time with the kids, make the most of your everyday routine. This means inviting them to cook with you, making cleaning up fun and taking walks instead of the car. Also, making a conscious effort to eat at least one meal a day together could make a world of difference too. 

Go on Vacation 

If you can afford it, why not take your family on vacation this summer? Going on an adventure to a new place is one way to create unforgettable memories. Believe it or not, an affordable destination that everyone in your family may enjoy is Indonesia. It’s home to the famous Bali, and there are more than enough activities for you to do there as a family. They also have family-friendly villas in Seminyak that you should consider when you’re looking for accommodations. 

Plan Activities 

Instead of guessing your way through each day, why not plan your activities instead? Think about one or two fun things you can do with the kids every week so that you all have something to look forward to. It could be as simple as having a small family BBQ or planning a family and friends game’s night. 

This is also your chance to explore your city and go to museums, festivals or anything else you may find interesting. Think about creating something tangible with your kids, whether it’s a family tree, scrapbook, or painting. This will give you  memory to look back and smile about once it’s time to head back to school.



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Best Software for Small Business

Need Virtual Assistant Software Tools?


In today's world, if you're a small business owner and you don't have a virtual assistant, you probably should. More than likely, you also have marketable skills you can use to work remotely from home as an online virtual assistant. As a small business owner or independent contract worker, the only thing holding you back, is your knowledge of the many tools available to make the work easier. So, what is the best software for small business? Keep scrolling for our favorite picks for tools to use with a virtual assistant. 

Tip: Use these tools to teach your homeschooler and they'll have the skills necessary to set up shop at UpWork, an online site for freelance work. If you're tech savvy, you may already be using some of these online software options.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Best Software for Small Business


5 Best Online Sites or Apps for Software for Small Businesses


  • Google Docs Google Docs does everything Microsoft Word does and then some. In the brick and mortar world, Word is king. Most businesses expect their employees to know how to use it. They probably bought it years ago and keep paying for upgrades. However, Google Docs offers many features that make it stand out from similar publishing software programs.

It's all in the cloud. Your documents live in the cloud. When you're working with people who require Microsoft Word Docs, simply convert the Google Docs with a click of a button. You can also save your documents as ePublications, PDFs, and RTF files.

Another great feature of Google Docs, is that you can leave comments and other markup on the    document. If you're working with someone on the other side of the world, they can check in at their convenience, read your notes, and make changes or suggestions any time of the day or night. If you're in the same time zone, schedule a time to work together and you can do a live text chat right inside the document. This feature is also nice when your homeschooler is writing a paper and needs some incentive or a little collaborative help with editing.




  • Thermostat -  If you want to create professional User/Customer Surveys, thermostat is your new best friend. You can create one survey per month with their free option, but if you really need to collect data for your small business, upgrade to the paid version. These surveys will help your engagement and marketing teams (ha, you- if you're a really small business) understand how your customers interact with your online products or gather any type of data you may need to collect.

  • PicMonkey -  If you're somewhat technically challenged and need to do simple graphic design or overlay your logo or other watermarks onto your image, PicMonkey is your best friend. The free options is more than enough for a casual user, but if you regularly do images for social media, you'll want to upgrade to the paid version which is under $10 per month. There are similar options out there, but they have a bigger learning curve. PicMonkey is extremely user friendly. This online graphic software also works for homeschool digital art projects.

  • TeacherSherpa - Continuing with the graphic design theme, if you're a teacher, a retired teacher, a soon to be teacher, or a homeschool parent who creates lesson plans, TeacherSherpa offers an online software tool to help you create lesson plans to sell online. The creation tool feature is free to everyone and includes fun, education related clipart. The best part? You can create lesson plans with TeacherSherpa's online editing software and upload them to sell on their site or similar sites that sell teacher resources. If you were thinking about a small online business to sell lesson plans or similar items, this software is what you want.

  • MailChimp - You've got your word documents, your customer surveys, and your digital graphic software, now you're ready to create an email newsletter campaign. There are many subscription newsletter options out there, some are very inexpensive, some are free, and some are way too complicated for the Average Joe to use with out getting frustrated. As a small business owner,  you're an Average Joe. Unless your mailing list has thousands of subscribers, use MailChimp's free option. With MailChimp, you can easily create professionally looking newsletters with their free templates. Add in the graphics that you created with the best free digital design software mentioned above, and no one will ever know that you're tech challenged. Now you can even create free landing pages with their templates.

Hopefully, these recommendations for the best software for small business have motivated you to get started. Don't fear the tech in the cloud; embrace it! You'll be surprised how easy it is to become a virtual assistant or to work with a virtual assistant, once you take a little time to learn some new software.



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Best Things to Do in LA with Kids

What are the Best Things to Do in LA with Kids?


The City of Angels is best known for being a glamorous and glitzy destination where the world’s rich and famous live and work. It’s not necessarily advertised as family-friendly, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. LA has a vast range of attractions and activities which will delight both kids and adults of all ages. From entertainment and adventure to education and relaxation, this Los Angeles has everything a family could want from a vacation. If you are heading to LA with kids this year, check out this helpful guide for the best things to do in LA with kids.  

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

The Best Things to Do in LA with Kids


List of Best Things to do in Los Angeles with Kids:


Universal Studios Hollywood
A family vacation in LA has to include a visit to the Universal Studios theme park and working studio in Hollywood. There are incredible rides with special effects from some of the world’s best-loved movie franchises, including the Harry Potter series, Transformers, Jurassic Park, Shrek, The Mummy and Despicable Me. 



LEGOLAND California
Your kids can see their favorite LEGO toys and characters in real life at California’s LEGOLAND theme park. The 50 rides and attractions are aimed at children, but adults will love the Miniland USA, which is a LEGO re-creation of 7 areas in the USA. There are many things to do including screenings of exclusive LEGO movies and a special area devoted to the hugely popular LEGO Ninjago



Watch an LA Rams Football Game 
If your kids like a bit of excitement at a sports game, then make sure you plan in some time to see the LA Rams play American Football at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Join in the chants and the electric atmosphere with good food and drink as you cheer the team to victory as a family. Find tickets for a game here at www.ticketsales.com.

Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood
You may see some Hollywood stars while you’re out and about in LA, but the next best thing to do is take a trip to Madame Tussaud’s in Hollywood. Take pictures with realistic waxwork figures  Hollywood actors and characters from movies and comics including the Marvel superheroes. 

California Science Center & IMAX Theater
For a bit of learning as well as fun thing to do with the family, head to the California Science Center and IMAX Theater. Kids can learn about the most fascinating aspects of our world and science with exhibits which tie education to popular movies and other pop culture. It’s a hands-on experience with plenty of demonstrations, 7-story IMAX Theater and the opportunity to see and stand inside the Space Shuttle Endeavor. 



K1 Speed Indoor Karting
The K1 Speed Indoor Karting track gives you the chance to race your family in safe, zero-emissions electric karts. Let your competitive sides shine through with an hour or 2 of racing followed by some tasty snacks and drinks at the Pit CafĂ©. 



Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
From eels and fish to sharks and octopi, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is home to over 100 species of sea creatures. As one of the best things to do in LA, it offers its visitors an interactive experience including being able to touch sea stars, urchins, anemones and much more. 



Los Angeles Zoo
If you’re a family of animal lovers, you can’t miss the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens. There are over 1,000 animals from all over the world, and the gardens have over 7,000 plant species. This is a big family favorite, and it can take a whole day to get the most from your visit to LA Zoo.




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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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