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Laureen Miles Brunelli

Laureen's Work-at-Home Moms Blog

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Making the Most of the Rest of the School Year

Wednesday April 23, 2014

nullSpring break is over (at least for us), and work-at-home moms may be anxious to get back to work, but kids, on the other hand, aren't.

Whenever there's an extended school holiday, like Christmas or winter break, it takes some adjusting to get everyone back into the school routine. But after spring break, it is even more difficult to get muster enthusiasm for school.

Spring fever is even more contagious than all those colds and coughs the kids were catching all winter! But there are still around two to three months left, so don't let the kids slide into summer.

Go back to school after spring break as if it were "back-to-school" time. Look at it as another fresh start. The last months of school are often filled with fun events like field trips or field day, so talk them up can get kids excited for school.

Get your school morning routine back on track. Have the kids clean out their backpacks and buy them new school supplies if needed. Be sure the school clothes still fit. (I know it's annoying to buy new clothes now when they may not fit again in September but not as annoying as it is for kids to wear shoes that are too small!)

In our household, the TV and electronics rules pretty much went out the window during spring break, and the kids were getting way too much screen time. Even before break, homework procrastination was rampant, and no one was making their own lunch anymore.

So, yesterday day the kids came home to a rules refresher that puts the brakes on screen time and discourages excess procrastination (I hope).  Because it was such a beautiful spring day, we took a walk in the park before homework in a little Mom-sanctioned procrastination.  And, well, it was pretty tough for them to muster up many complaints about the new routine in the warm spring sunshine.

Getty/Rebecca Emery

4 Freelance Careers for Moms

Friday April 18, 2014

woman working on laptop at homeSo you've got an entrepreneurial spirit, and you're thinking you can forgo the grind of the 9-to-5 office life (possibly along with its perks of medical benefits and a regular pay check) to work for yourself and spend more time with the kids. And perhaps you're not quite ready to invest your life savings in a home business venture. What are some careers where you can use the experience and expertise to build a career freelancing freelance from home?

These four WAH occupations can be traditional employment, but when done from home they tend to done by typically independent contractors or freelancers.

Laureen Miles Brunelli

10 Major Companies That Take Telecommuting Seriously

Thursday April 17, 2014

Work at Home

Search the Internet for telecommuting companies, and you'll get lots of results. But few of those results really shed much light on what makes a telecommuting company. So I wanted to make a list that would.

It wasn't easy because companies don't always like to advertise their telecommuting policies. Perhaps, this is to avoid a flood of resumes, or maybe it's because telecommuting is allowed in some positions and not others or maybe companies are supportive of jobs but not hiring. (Appearing on the list does not mean that these companies are necessarily hiring at this time. The list has links to the companies' jobs databases; carefully search them to find positions that match your skills before contacting a company.)

I already have a list of more than 200 companies with work-at-home opportunities, but many of the companies on this list only have jobs in specific divisions. However, the major corporations I highlight are more than just "telecommute friendly." They have a proven track record of using a remote workforce across multiple divisions within the company.

See who is on my list of telecommuting companies.

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Planning for Summer Vacation

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Summer Fun - Sidewalk Chalk

Summer vacation lasts only three months or less, but  parents can spend more than that amount of time planning for their kids' summer vacation.

Setting up summer child care  is always tricky because you are likely planning around a schedule that is full of vacation dates and deadlines--all while hoping to add some summer fun into your kids' days. For work-at-home moms, you'll need a full repertoire of everyday summer activities too.

More on Planning for Summer:

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Finding Bilingual Jobs From Home

Tuesday April 15, 2014

GettyDavidMadisonTranslation.jpgWhen trying to find work-at-home jobs, one of the most important steps when getting started is to take stock of your skills.  What skill do you have that a  potential employer might be seeking? And can that skill be translated to a home setting? If you are bilingual, this is a great place to start!

However, bilingual jobs require a multitude of other skills, outside of language.

  • Teaching (or tutoring in) a language and translation jobs require good writing skills  in both languages.
  • Interpretation, which is not as likely to be a work-at-home job, takes a high level of fluency in both languages and the ability to think on your feet.
  • Bilingual call center jobs don't require quite the same level of fluency in the spoken language as interpretation, but you must be able to speak absolutely clearly in both English and your other language for a bilingual call center job.

If you're considering a bilingual job and want to work at home, consider what skills you have and then check out these resources.

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Don't Forget About Your Quarterly Estimated Taxes

Saturday April 12, 2014

MSFTTaxforms.JPG

If you are just one of those folks who takes care of filing taxes well before the April deadline, and you're feeling all relaxed as the rest of us scramble to get our taxes done, don't forget that April 15 is also the deadline for sending in your quarterly estimated taxes. So you may still have a little tax paperwork to do yet.

However if you're employed and a not an independent contractor, you probably don't have to worry about it. Typically it's those of us with self-employment income that have to send in payments every quarter.

More:

 

Get Your Taxes Done This Weekend!

Friday April 11, 2014

TaxesLet's go all you tax procrastinators! Get it done this weekend because you don't want to be doing in on the very last day--Tuesday, April, 15.

Tax Resources for WAHMs:

Poll: Do Your Kids Go to Summer Camp?

Wednesday April 9, 2014

Bored kids on spring break often remind work-at-home parents of what  summer can be like if you don't have a plan to keep them busy. Of course we should have started our summer planning sooner--and probably most of us have--but around now is when reality really sets in. Many summer camps maybe booked solid by now, but not all. So, if you're still thinking about summer camp as a form of summer childcare, no more procrastinating!

Spring Break Strategies

Wednesday April 9, 2014

Spring in my neighborhood With Easter coming up soon, that means for many spring break is here or nearly here! (Yes, I know for many spring break is a mere memory now.) With a school vacation in the works and holiday prep, it can be tough to get stuff done!

We actually have two spring breaks coming up. My youngest is off next week, and my two older kids are off next. So we're not really planning much travel but instead a little recovery time for the kids. With the break being so late this year, they are frazzled with school work and activities.

So I do want the kids to have some fun and recharge during their time off. When they were younger the Easter egg hunt could morph into a week of scavenger or treasure hunts that could keep them busy for hours. These days probably a treasure hunt could only entertain my youngest. But I'm still game!

What's your strategy for spring break? If your still working on that, let these activity ideas help:

Laureen Miles Brunelli

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IRS "Simplifies" Home Office Deduction This Year

Thursday April 3, 2014

msftTax.JPGYes, you read that right! Something with your taxes just got simpler...at least as the IRS sees it. I'm not entirely convinced that adding an additional way to calculate the home office deduction actually makes things easier, but I do think it has the potential to save some people money.

For tax year 2013 (which you file in 2014), the IRS has introduced an alternate method to calculate the home office deduction, using a standard deduction of $5 per square foot of office space. However, since you still have the choice of using the old method to calculate the deduction based on your actual expenses for your home office, any sensible taxpayer would run through both methods just to see which is more beneficial. Hence, this is actually more complicated for the taxpayer.

However, very few of us sit down with paper forms, a pencil and a calculator to do our taxes but opt for tax preparation software or a professional to do our taxes. And so it's probably not all that difficult to calculate both and pick the one that save you the most money.

What to Know About the Simplified Home Office Deduction

First off, one of the most important things to understand about this new tax rule is that it doesn't affect your eligibility for a home office deduction. All the same IRS rules for who can take a home office deduction apply. However, what does change--in addition to how you calculate the deduction--is how you file for it. Also it can become trickier if you change methods for calculating it from year to year.

To get the details about this new tax law, read the article Simplified Home Office Deduction and decide for yourself how simple it is.

More Tax Resources:

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