Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Basket Cupcakes

I hope everyone had a great spring break and Easter!  We had a fun Easter complete with egg hunts, dyeing eggs, and visiting with family. 

These Easter Basket cupcakes are fun and easy to make.  They were a big hit, and even though I left some cupcakes plain (just icing) in case people didn't like coconut, the Easter Basket cupcakes were the first to go!

Easter Basket Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can white frosting
1 cup shredded coconut
green food coloring
  1. Bake cupcakes and frost according to directions.
  2. Put coconut into large Ziploc bag and add 4 drops of food coloring.
  3. Seal bag and shake until coconut turns green.
  4. Sprinkle coconut on top of frosted cupcakes.
  5. Decorate with jellybeans or other egg-shaped candies.

Here is the rest of our Easter fun this year:

This is the only way to dye Easter eggs with a toddler--using a rubber whisk. Those metal egg holders that come with the egg-dyeing kits are pretty worthless.   This is mess-free and fun for little ones.

The finished product!  DD had no interest in adding stickers or designs.  Just colorful eggs for her, thank you very much!

A bunnies and chicks craft kit from Michaels.  I was planning to make some bunnies from paper plates, but these turned out pretty cute, too.

My mom and daughter made this cute centerpiece.  I have to admit I don't like peeps, so this is the best use I've seen for them.  (Actually the peeps dioramas on the Washington Post's website are pretty cool, too!) 

Happy Easter, Peeps!  (I couldn't resist.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writing Wednesday: Working from Home


I saw this article today about the 20 Most Common Work-From-Home Job Titles and was not at all surprised that writer is #1 on the list!

Of all the people I know who work from home, the majority are writers.  Some write part-time while their kids are in school (or at night when their kids are sleeping) and some have made a full-time career of it.  Some are freelancers, some authors, some have found steady contract work, and others are bloggers.

I posted last fall about finding time to write.  It's both harder and easier now that my daughter is in preschool.  She doesn't nap anymore, so there goes that set chunk of time every day.  But she is in school some mornings, which frees up time I didn't previously have early in the day.  It's a balancing act that is changing all the time.

In fact just this very minute she walked into my office, frowned, and said, "Still working."  (As in mommy is still working!)  Even carving out a chunk of time to write is no guarantee you won't be interrupted by a cute kid.

Although I worked full-time in an office before my daughter was born, I've now had a few years of WAHM life. 

What are the keys to working from home as a writer?

Schedule time for writing.
This is pretty straightforward.  If you're a part-time WAHM like me, find the hours that work best for you and your family.  Do you prefer to get up early?  Write late into the night?  Maybe your little ones nap or your bigger ones are in school.  Carve out the time wherever you can and stick to that schedule.

Designate a work area.
I am lucky enough to have a home office and prefer to do most of my writing there.  Although I have been known to bring my laptop down to the kitchen table and format Word documents while my preschooler is in the other room, this isn't my preference.  And if you don't have a separate work area, there's always the library.  Or the coffee shop.  Find a place that you can go and devote time to strictly writing.

Let the other household tasks go (for now).
During your scheduled writing time, don't throw in a load of laundry, make a couple of phone calls, and pick up the toys scattered around your family room.  Your time will be eaten away before you know it.

Be flexible.
This is probably the most important thing to remember when you're working from home.  Maybe you're juggling multiple clients or maybe you're juggling multiple kids.  Maybe you're rewriting the book you just finished.  Things can change all the time--both deadlines and your own schedule. Sometimes you just need to go with the flow in order to meet your goals.

What are your tips for successfully finding time to write from home?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Splurge vs. Steal: Striped Totes

I've been wanting to do a Splurge vs. Steal post for a while.  I love a great deal.  While it's fun finding things I love on sale, it's awesome to find a look for less.

The bag on the left is Michael Kors and the one on the right is from Walmart!  While I love Michael Kors and do own one of their bowler bags, I'm not about to go buy every Michael Kors bag that I love.

Check out this gorgeous Michael Kors black and white jet set travel striped tote.  It retails for $298 and is real leather, so of course it will be more expensive than a non-leather bag.  I would never use it often enough to make it worth the cost to me, but I absolutely love the look of it.
Michael Kors Jet Set Tote

Imagine my surprise when I found this similar look in a tote from Walmart!  It's the perfect size when you need to tote a lot (I do have a toddler after all) but isn't real leather so I won't worry about it getting ruined if I'm stashing snacks and sippy cups inside.  Grand total?  $18.96. 

Saffiano Tote Bag

Which one would you choose?  My pick is definitely the steal!