Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Almost Summer--What Do We Do with the Kids?

Summer is just around the corner and for many families that means family vacations, summer camp and helping the older kids find summer jobs. Here are a variety of articles centered around those topics that may help you in your family's search for creative (and economical) ways to keep the kids busy this summer!

10 Fun and Free Things to Do in San Diego
San Diego is an excellent place for a family vacation, with its' miles of beautiful beaches, warm climate and easily accessible outdoor recreation venues. Not only is it home to world-famous attractions, it's also a great area to enjoy even on a limited budget.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Using Your Creative Talents to Make Money

One of the positive things about the current economic situation is that it has given many talented individuals the "kick in the pants" do actually do something with their creative talents... from jewelry making and crafts to photography and baking, home-based creative businesses have been on the rise.  Are you a budding photographer, baker or artisan that's looking to supplement your income?  Here's some of my favorite ways to use your creative talents to make money:

  1. Sell your wares on Etsy.  Etsy is one of the most popular spots online for selling handmade arts & crafts as well as vintage items. 
  2. Become a vendor at a craft show or festival.  You can search the database at to find upcoming venues across the U.S. and Canada.
  3. Post a listing on any of the free sites online., and (formerly are just of the few.  Don't forget to post pictures!
  4. Have an in-home party for family and friends. Use a service such as to manage invitations and responses. You may want to collaborate with other artisans or crafters so you can offer a wider variety of items (and have a larger database of contacts to invite).
  5. Teach a class at your local YMCA or community center.  If you are an expert or advanced user who enjoys teaching others, you may find your niche (as well as an ongoing source of income) from people in your community that are interested in learning everything from cake decorating, digital photography and jewelry design, to sewing, crocheting and woodcraft.  Be prepared with a class syllabus and an estimate of class costs, before pitching your class ideas to administration.
  6. Create a website and sell your products online. There are a variety of low-cost or free web hosting companies that offer everything from simple templates to shopping carts as well as integration with payment options such as Paypal.  Check out for free sites with easy drag-n-drop features.
  7. Are you a baker or candy maker? The Holiday Season can be especially lucrative for a home-based business, and friends or family members that are willing to take your items to work or school can be extremely helpful in the marketing department!  A former babysitter of mine made $2-3k every holiday season making and selling candy, with many of her daycare families offering to take baskets or boxes of her homemade goodies to work with them to sell on her behalf.  It was a win-win for everyone, as she usually gave a discount on babysitting services to those that had helped out.
  8. Talk to local shop owners about selling your items in their stores on consignment. Often boutiques or hair salons are willing to showcase accessories and jewelry, restaurants are willing to showcase paintings or framed prints, and so on.