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How to Make Back to School Fun

Summer is flying by, and before you know it, it will be time for the kids to go back to school. With this in mind, try to do a few things to prepare now so you can save time, money and reduce stress later on. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Do as much as possible in advance.
Check with the school to find out what your child will need for the next year and make a list. Then, keep your eyes open at garage sales and sales at local stores for things on that list.

2. Set up a schedule and go over it with your children before the school year begins.
A new school year can be fun, but it can also be stressful, so the more a child knows what to expect, the better. Put up a calendar showing sport practices, piano lessons and other scheduled activities so your kids know which days they have certain activities and which days they have free.

3. Plan some fun activities the kids can look forward to enjoying.
Don’t have your children associate summer with fun and the school year with work. Instead, try to plan fun activities each month. Here’s an idea. Throughout the entire year, have your kids write down ten of their favorite activities (such as a trip to the zoo, going to a movie, or even choosing what you’ll have for dinner). Then, put the ten choices in a bag and schedule a day each month when your child can reach in and pull out a choice for a treat that month. It’s a fun way to make your child feel special and spend some quality time together.

Back-to-school doesn’t need to be a stressful time and abrupt end to fun. Instead, take a little time to prepare now, and both you and your children may look forward to the cooler months ahead.

Do you need help selling your self-published books and being a Mom entrepreneur? Please let me know here or at I’d love to hear from you!

3 Tips to Survive Tough Economic Times as a Writer

If you are having trouble selling your self-published books right now and simply surviving as a writer, don’t lose hope. Take action! Here are three things you can do now to enhance your writing career and prepare for better times ahead.

1. Consider teaching a class.
Think of something you’re good at and then check with local, adult-education programs or community colleges. Sometimes you can design an entire program yourself teaching something you specialize in… whether it’s writing, cooking, knitting, photography, or another area of expertise.

2. Do Internet searches to find places to sell your self-published books.
There are a number of magazines and newsletters that pay for submissions, but also consider those that don’t pay because your writing will still get exposure.

3. Don’t stop writing even though times are tough.
It can be easy to give up when things aren’t going well, but do what you can to keep your spirits up. Surround yourself with helpful friends who will encourage you. Keep writing. Then, when the economy picks up, you’ll be ready for success!

Do you have questions about selling your self-published book, comic, romance, fiction, or non-fiction work? Please let me know here or visit I’d love to help you market and sell your self-published books!

Three Ways a Mom Entrepreneur Can Get Time to Herself

During the summer months, things can get crazy if you are taking care of your children and running a business. In fact, it may seem like it’s impossible to get any time to yourself. However, it is possible with a little planning.

Here are my three, quick tips to find some extra, personal time to refresh and re-energize.

1. Always work ahead whenever possible.
As you run around taking care of your business and all of your work priorities, you never know what’s going to pop up. By completing projects and errands in advance, you’ll be prepared for unexpected issues.

If everything goes smoothly, you’ll have some extra time in case you need a break. And when this happens, try to do something for yourself – paint your nails, read your favorite book, talk to a friend, or take a nap.

2. Plan activities for your kids that get them out of the house.
There are many ways your children can have fun, learn, meet new friends, and give you a few minutes to yourself at the same time. To start, check with your local library. They often offer craft programs, movies, reading events, and more free for participants.

And during the summer, many cities offer drop-in programs at local parks where the kids have supervised play. Conduct a little research. You may find that your gym or spa has child-activity centers. Another option is to work with friends to develop joint, play dates. This way, each Mom can get a break on a regular basis.

3. Change your hours.
Try to get up an hour early to get work done while everyone is asleep. If you’re not an early bird, stay up an extra hour at night. You’d be surprised how much extra time you have to accomplish things when the phone isn’t ringing and your children are not making requests.

And note that you don’t have to do this every day. Rather, you might try this just a couple days a week and find that it gives you all the extra time you need.

These are just a few tips from one busy Mom entrepreneur to another. For more help, check out, and

Do you have questions about being a busy Mom entrepreneur or selling your self-published book? Please let me know here or at I’d love to hear from you!

Formalities of Germany

Howdy from Germany! I’m very happy to have this opportunity to tell you what it’s like to live and work as a foreigner in this beautiful country. I thought I should start off with the formalities, which are actually different here than in the U.S. This is a country where formalities are taken seriously, starting from a very young age.

It could come from the fact that German is one of those languages that has more than one version of “you.” The informal “du” which you use with your family and close friends is the English version of “thee” – so we have an equivalent, we just don’t use it anymore. There is also the formal “Sie” which is for everyone other than “du” and it’s also the plural version of “you.” As a foreigner, I am somewhat excused from following this strictly. If for example I mistakenly use the informal “du” when talking with my son’s teacher, she would just think it was a grammar mistake because German isn’t my first language. It becomes tricky for my Austrian husband though. When we meet other parents at school functions, my husband will whisper “do we ‘du’ or ‘Sie’ them?” and I’ll answer with me it’s about 50-50 what I will call them, so he should do what he would do without me.

Another formality here is that I am virtually always called “Frau Exler” (Mrs. Exler), even by women I consider good friends and have known for years. If someone knows that I have a doctorate, they might call me “Frau Doctor.” Because my husband also has a doctorate, I am also “Frau Doctor” by virtue of marrying someone with a doctorate. This can be handy if you forget someone’s last name, but remember their profession – it’s perfectly acceptable to say “Hello Mrs Butcher” to the butcher’s wife if you pass her on the street.

Before my son was born, I taught English in Frankfurt and the school where I worked encouraged us to have our students call us by our first names. One man refused to call me Jill, and insisted I call him by his last name as well. He told me, “If we didn’t play in the sandbox together and we don’t have the same last name, we should not use first names when we speak together.”

My son is growing up learning these formalities, and he not only shakes hands with his teachers, he shakes hands with his fellow classmates as well. If he’s invited to play with friends after school, he knows to shake hands with his friends as well as their parents, and his friends all shake hands with me when they play at our house. My son was called by his nickname Ali for his first two years of elementary school, and he used “du” with his teachers. In third grade, school in Germany becomes more formal (more on that in another blog), and he is now called Alexander, and uses “Sie” with his teachers.

So as an American, I am happy to introduce myself to you as Jill, but if you do not feel we are close enough to speak so informally yet, you may call me Mrs. Exler.


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