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28 07, 2022

GUEST BLOGGER – Jenna Sherman

By |2022-07-26T14:55:35-05:00July 28th, 2022|Guest blogger|1 Comment

6 Tips for Balancing a New Baby and New Business

A blog by Guest Blogger Jenna Sherman


A new baby alone brings plenty of life changes. But when you add a new business into the mix, you might feel overwhelmed.

Fortunately, if you’re a new parent and a new business owner, these tips can help you establish a healthy work-life balance while your baby and business grow.

1. Establish Your Routine

A flexible routine is a must when you’re balancing a new baby and a new business. Find the routine that works for you. With a newborn or infant, you might choose to work around your baby’s schedule, ensuring you’re available when the baby is awake and hungry and working when the baby sleeps. Keep in mind that your baby’s schedule will change as they grow, so you’ll have to adapt your routine every few months.

2. Explore Child Care Options

Consider full- or part-time childcare to help you focus on your business during working hours. You might choose an in-home care option, such as a nanny, when your baby is young. Having a nanny scheduled allows you to establish dedicated work hours to focus on the launch of your business. When choosing a  childcare option, consider the price, schedule, and location, among other factors.

3. Write a Business Plan

A business plan is a document that outlines the key components of your business, including your business model, product or service, target market, growth strategy, and financial projections. It is an essential tool for any startup or small business, as it can help you to secure funding, attract investors, and get your business off the ground. To learn more about writing a business plan and starting your own company, refer to this ZenBusiness page on starting a new business.

4. Network With Other Professionals

As a business owner, it’s wise to connect with other local businesses to help yours grow. Plus, connecting with these businesses may allow you to outsource some of your work, freeing up time as you try to balance life with a new baby. For example, if you don’t have the time to build your business’ website or lack the experience, try connecting with a local web designer (or trade services) to lighten your load during this busy time.

5. Create a Multifunctional Space

Whether you’re working remotely full time or simply working behind the scenes from home as your business launches, you need a dedicated space to work. However, you also want this space to be flexible and inclusive, so your baby can join as needed. Consider adding a bassinet, mini-crib, or baby swing to the space to keep your baby close by when you’re working. Baskets or shelves filled with baby gear can allow you to multitask in your home office.

6. Tap Into Smart Business Resources to Market Your Business

Discover resources that help your business grow and save you time, so you can spend plenty of quality time with your baby. Marketing your new business is essential to increasing your visibility and building a customer base.

Having a well-designed logo for your business builds brand awareness, makes a solid first impression, and allows your business to stand out from the competition. If you’re on a tight budget, you can use an online logo maker for logo design made easy. Create a professional-quality logo featuring an icon, text, and colors that align with your business. You can also find programs that help you build email marketing campaigns and even develop a website without any HTML knowledge.

Both Your Baby and Business Can Thrive

By networking, outsourcing work, and maintaining flexibility, you can balance life with a new baby while marketing and forming a new business.

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     Jenna Sherman is a mom of three (two girls and a boy). She hopes to help other parents acquire the skills they need to raise future leaders by providing a collection of valuable, up-to-date, authoritative resources.

     She created parent-leaders.com as an avenue for parents who want to make sure their children grow up to be strong, independent, successful adults.

Take a minute to visit her blog for other great tips for home and parenting.

25 07, 2022

It’s Finnegan’s Birthday

By |2022-07-24T12:25:26-05:00July 25th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|2 Comments

Somewhere back in time, I fell in love with Old English sheepdogs. We adopted a mixed-breed puppy (part OES and part New Foundland). He and his litter had been found abandoned in the snow. The puppies were raised in the science lab at our daughter’s high school in Connecticut.

Azariah was big, black, and kinda scary. He didn’t much care to be told what to do and had bitten several people. When we moved to Texas, he didn’t.

Because I loved Connecticut and wasn’t happy about moving back to heat and humidity, hubby-dear promised another real OES puppy and a swimming pool. That made the idea of a move far more attractive.

Obadiah arrived. He too was big, but not scary. He loved to play hide and seek with the children. He even let our daughter dress him in her softball shirt.

Obie’s face always greeted me in the front window whenever I came home from my teaching day. The dog could tell time! Obie was a terrific dog and he instilled an even stronger love for the breed. Sadly, an OES lifespan is 10-12 years and we lost Obie.

Things were sad around our house that holiday season until my Christmas present arrived-you guessed it, an AKC Old English puppy-we named Micah Bear. He was another great dog. Our nest was emptying and he filled the space as only an OES can.

He was joined by Bernie a terrier mix and Rhinestone, a rescue OES. Our walks with the three dogs stopped traffic. We lost Rhinestone and Bernie and then Micah Bear, and decided we’d go dogless.

That did not last.

Tobias Bear flew in from Florida to join our family. He was a love with all the fun traits of OES in abundance. He was intelligent, playful, sociable, bubbly, loving, and adaptable. When we added a Maltese brother, he loved him too.

 

We lost Toby before our return to Texas and decided Buster the Maltese was pet enough. After a couple of months, all three of us were so depressed without our Toby that we started looking for another OES.

Micah Bear had come from Bugaboo Kennel in Colorado Springs so we hopped in the car and drove four hours from our mountain home to meet another puppy who would be our next OES, Finnegan MacCool.

He was a hairy bundle of joy who loved being held from the first moment we saw him. That was charming when he was a puppy.

Now full grown and ninety-four pounds it can get trickly fitting on laps.

He’s my writing buddy, always laying nearby in front of a fan because we’re back in Texas.

Time is moving far too fast.  Finn will be six on July 27.

Happy Birthday, Finn.

22 07, 2022

Popcorn

By |2022-07-20T19:55:19-05:00July 22nd, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


This was our first year to plant a plot in the community garden.  It was not a good year.  The extremely hot and dry weather prevented many things from growing.

The popcorn, however, was a success. We planted two different varieties which both came up.

We harvested the ears and set them out to dry.  I tried putting them outside to use the natural heat but the squirrels found them.  So, I put them in the oven to keep them from taking so much valuable counter space.

I put a sign on the oven that said “Corn.”  It was not a clearly communicated message and while I was out of town, the oven was used to make pizza and the corn got “preheated.”

It didn’t seem to hurt the ears and, after a few weeks, we were able to remove the kernels.

The next step was to actually pop the corn which we did use a microwave popper for speed and ease of clean up.

It was wonderful!

We also grew dent corn which is meant to be ground into cornmeal.  That is our next project.  Brian ordered a corn sheller to help remove the kernels.  The whole process seems a little labor intensive but I am excited to see how it turns out!  Perhaps I was born in the wrong century…

18 07, 2022

Guest Book Tradition

By |2022-07-17T07:01:29-05:00July 18th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|0 Comments

When you read the blog title, bet you thought about a guest book at a wedding or funeral or the cute welcome books at bed and breakfast inns or Airbnbs. There are those, but that’s not our guest book tradition.

We welcome guests to our home with our guest book and a cead mile failte plaque, which is the Irish greeting that means “A hundred thousand welcomes.”

Asking our guests to sign our guest book is a tradition we started when we were first married, a long time ago. As we moved around the country and world, we’ve always had a guest book. Guests who come for dinner or stay longer have filled more than one.

When we lived in Colorado, every summer our home overflowed with guests escaping the heat of their hometowns. Now that we are back in hot, humid Texas the guest book pages aren’t filling near as fast.

We have other guest books. The one from our wedding, and all the guest books listing those who paid their condolences at family funerals. We rarely look at those, but I’m so glad we have kept our home guest books.

We have signatures of family and friends from far and near. We even have Earl Campbell’s signature from his days as the Houston Oilers’ star running back. It’s fun to skim through the names and remember the occasion. We smile every time from fond memories with our guests.

If you don’t use a guest book in your home, and you’re interested in starting to use one, there are some great ideas on Pinterest. A lot are for wedding guest books but are easily adapted for home guest books.

This is a cute blog about a young couple and their guest book. They share their reasons for having a guest book and how they chose from all the options.

15 07, 2022

More Lessons from Jigsaw Puzzles

By |2022-07-12T10:54:19-05:00July 15th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


One way I “water” my soul in the summer is by working jigsaw puzzles. We used to spend a couple of weeks in Colorado each summer and I would do a puzzle a day.

I miss those days – especially the cooler weather.

I even blogged about the lessons I learned while doing jigsaw puzzles.

  1. Consider results carefully before making a decision.
  2. Sometimes the only way to know if something works is to try it.
  3. Keep trying until you find what works.
  4. When things aren’t going right, it may mean backing up to see where things went wrong to begin with. Then make it right and move ahead.

A piano student recently gave me a couple of jigsaw puzzles, and I dedicated an entire weekend to complete one of them. It was a chicken puzzle of 1000 pieces and was quite a challenge as I am out of practice.

As I was working, I thought of some different things to learn about life from jigsaw puzzles.

  • Sometimes you have to focus on one section at a time. The whole picture is overwhelming but each chicken is more doable. So is one day at a time.
  • It helps to walk away and come back with a fresh perspective. (That works a lot better than dumping the whole thing over in frustration.)
  • Life doesn’t have to be perfect. If you look closely, you will see that there are two pieces missing. At one point I would have considered the puzzle worthless and thrown it away. Now I can look at the whole picture and see the beautiful chickens without getting hijacked by the missing pieces.

Perhaps these insights come from two years of earth-shattering events. What might be considered catastrophes have taught me some valuable lessons. It just took sitting still at a jigsaw puzzle to see them.

11 07, 2022

Ginny has arrived!

By |2022-07-10T15:27:53-05:00July 11th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|2 Comments

Nope, not a person. Ginny is our generator.

She may seem like an extravagance. Unless you live in an area with powerlines above the ground in the heart of Gulf coast hurricane land, you don’t fully understand how very, very dependent you are on power.

We have recurring days and weeks without electricity. We’ve weathered multiple hurricanes, some mild and others wild like Harvey, and plus the Great Texas Snow Apocalypse with its lengthy power outage.

Our area has power lines above the ground on old poles. The lines crash from overgrown vegetation and blow transformers with just about every puff of wind and even on a perfectly clear day.

In summer you add blackout/brownouts that mean no power for hours. We’ve had excessive heat index alerts like the one to the left every day since May.

All the above are reasons we bought Ginny.

Yes, we’ve had other power outages other places we lived, but not as often or for as long. Here we lose power far too much.

We saved our money, ready to purchase. Then COVID hit and too many people needed their own generators. Supplies dwindled and generators weren’t available or there was a two-year wait. That’s like birthing an elephant!

But we placed our order and finally, the installation process began after fourteen weeks, much earlier than promised.

Our anticipation grew as first the concrete pad was poured then the gas line dug. Next came upgrading the gas meter. The process took weeks before Ginny was tested and put online.

Come on hurricanes and ice storms and blackouts. We’re ready now. No more scrambling for candles and flashlights in the middle of the night. Or, resetting all the digital clocks when the power comes back on.

Thing is, now we probably won’t lose power as much and that’s okay too.

8 07, 2022

Greetings

By |2022-07-07T09:41:48-05:00July 8th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|1 Comment

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The custodian at my school has a special greeting for the students. It started as a handshake but transitioned into fist bumps with extra motions. The students always run to greet him when he walks through the class.

It is disruptive but I will sacrifice a few minutes of class time to encourage proper interactions with adults. Relationship skills are as important as singing skills in my mind.

Our grandson, Alex, has special greetings for us. Most of our interactions are on video calls. For Brian, Pawpaw, Alex likes to head bump, which is putting his forehead to the phone while Pawpaw does the same. We’re not sure where that started but it is now a part of every conversation.

For Grandma, it is a burp. This greeting has a story.

Alex is fascinated by trash trucks. This seems to be common among small boys. On one trip to the library, we read a book about a trash truck. After the truck collects all the garbage, it burps.

Of course, as I read the book, I had to demonstrate. Alex echoed back.

This has become our greeting.

I was meeting with a new piano student last week when Brian walked into the room with his phone. I heard “Grandma, Grandma!”  I took the phone and was greeted with “burp” to which I responded “burp.”

At one point in my life, I would have worried about the impression this made on my student. As I have gotten older, I have decided I am what I am and if seems strange to some, they can choose not to join my circle. It will be their loss. We have lots of fun.

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