Friday, October 30, 2009 order, arrived safe and sound!

I thought I'd do a quick update about my order. As advertised, it arrived safe and sound within three business days! The bottles were all taped shut, to prevent leakage in transit, and everything was as advertised. I'm really pleased with my experience, everything was at a bargain price, and they list a lot of dry goods groceries and household items. I will definitely be a returning customer!

If you sign up with this link, you will receive $10 off your first order of $50. It's like taking an additional 20% off your stuff! With already low prices, and fast and free shipping, you just can't beat it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saving money and time with

Well I made my first order with today, and felt I made out with quite a deal! applies manufacturer coupons automatically, no more clipping! Plus if you have a minimum order of six items, the shipping is free. They estimate two to three business days, so hopefully by Wednesday I'll be updating again. Yay!

My order consisted of Degree men's deodorant, Kashi granola bars with coconut and dark chocolate, Suave coconut shampoo and conditioner, Dove's women's deodorant, Bic disposable razors, and Softsoap moisturizing hand soap. Total before coupons was $14.76. There were coupons on all but the hand soap, and total after coupons was $10.08. So I saved $5.25 total, plus free shipping! Yippee!

One thing I've noticed with is that their selection is improving, and you can sort your view with lowest price first, or best value first, which helps bargain hunting tremendously. The prices before coupons are pretty reasonable, as well. Plus, if you sign up through this link when you accumulate $50 in orders, you automatically save $10, too. 

All in all, I'm pretty impressed with I've heard other people say the shipping is super quick, so I'm looking forward to that, too. I think this website will be invaluable to stay at home moms trying to save a little money! 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another CloudCrowd update

So I have managed to find a tiny bit of work on CloudCrowd so far, but it's been few and far between. I have read on several forums they're working the bugs out and new work should be available in the near future. I've checked back several times, sometimes work is listed for just a couple minutes at a time. BUT. It does show up, and it is paid the next day.

I think CloudCrowd will be a great addition to my stay at home mom work routine. I like that they seem to be listening to worker feedback so far. CloudCrowd workers have been active on many message boards working with workers to ensure bugs are being worked out, as well as communicating issues they are working on.

Although the work has been spotty, it is there. Little bits at a time. It all adds up in the long run. And it's great to KNOW they truly pay for work completed. Rumor has it on message boards we'll be seeing much more work posted next week. I would think when it is, it will go fast.

To sign up with CloudCrowd, follow this link. It does require a Facebook account, and will ask for access to your profile. I have found NO issues with granting this. I was really skeptical at first, but many Facebook apps ask for the same thing. So far, my experience with them has been a positive one!

Starting with Castingwords on MTurk

After much debate and research, I finally accepted and completed my first HIT with Castingwords on MTurk. Whew! 

I had downloaded the Express Scribe software, but was having tons of trouble figuring out how to actually download the MP3 file to work on it. I finally figured out to right click the link, click "Save As," saved it to My Documents, and then I could easily load it into the Express Scribe software to transcribe it. Originally, when I clicked the link, it would open in a separate page in QuickTime, and it would not have been easy to transcribe it that way!

It was relatively painless once I figured that part out! I did a transcription that was a little over two and a half minutes, and it did take me a while to do it. Most of the transcription work on Castingwords is in small snippets like that, so I purposely found a short one to get my feet wet. 

The transcription software has hot keys to make it easier to transcribe, and once I get a real feel for it I feel I can zip through this work MUCH faster than I did today. I do like the whole idea of Castingwords, and I already love MTurk! I think once I learn the ropes a little more I'll be ready to dig into the bigger, and much better paying, jobs Castingwords has to offer. Who knows? It might even lead to bigger and better stay at home mom work!

All in all, I'd say my first experience with Castingwords was a good one. It took about 45 minutes, but again, I was checking and rechecking the style guide to ensure my first submission was excellent quality. 

I'm definitely a fan of the Express Scribe software. You can slow down the speed of playback, which made it incredibly easy to understand when the speaker was talking too fast, or to decipher hard to understand words. I only marked one place with a question mark, I could figure out the rest.

I will keep updating my experiences with Castingwords. This is a great opportunity for stay at home moms to earn a little extra money. Anybody can sign up and give it a shot!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ladybug invasion!

Since housework takes up much of the day of the typical stay at home mom, I've been digging in today as much as humanly possible. And because it's a beautiful Autumn day, we've been invaded by ladybugs. Egads, they're everywhere!

This is my preferred method of avoiding and getting rid of those pesky little buggers. And lady luck must be shining on me today, Gracie actually let me vacuum without too much of a fit. It was like the heavens opened and the angels sang!

I haven't had the chance to take lice or bug spray around to discourage ladybugs from entering just yet. Spraying down will be my next step. I just had to get those smelly ladybugs out of here before doing anything else. Those things are just plain disgusting!

With my efforts of vacuuming them up today, I have about a half a shop vac full of ladybugs. One other tip I've heard was to take a half cup or so of rubbing alcohol and when you find them, drop them right in. No muss, no fuss. That's probably what I will do with the ladybugs I find throughout the evening. 

  It figures. Mother Nature gives us a beautiful fall day, the sun is shining, the temperature just right. And in flies a ginormous swarm of ladybugs. Ick, ick, ick! Hopefully spraying down all the windows and doors will do the trick and they'll be nothing more than an unpleasant memory!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Taking a Leap of Faith

Yesterday, I had enough. I couldn't balance working outside the home and all the work in the home any longer. I turned in my two week notice! It's a giant leap of faith, I would have rather paid down my bills a little more before becoming a stay at home mom. But no more talking, it's time to just do it.

This will force me to start treating working at home as a real job. A "work" schedule will become very necessary in this quest. I think it is within reach, I just have to get off my tooshie and make it happen!

The plan for now is to work 10am to 2pm, about half of that time Gracie naps. The rest she's winding down for her nap and it should be easy enough to work from home during that time. Housework can come afterward. Then once Gracie is in bed at night, I can probably crank out another hour or two. Doing this five days a week should give about 15 hours per week.

The first month I will need to step up the residual income work, mostly eHow and Infobarrel. I still don't have my first article up at IB yet, but there's no time like the present! I need to clean up the two I wrote for my Suite 101 application and submit them. I hope to write more during the day, and use MTurk and CloudCrowd at night.

It's a huge relief to quit that job. HUGE!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

CloudCrowd update

So one day into CloudCrowd my work, all three jobs, was approved and paid. Yay! I checked into the work available section several times throughout the day and night, and work was spotty. Keeping in mind, they DID say work would be light as they were rolling out new features and guidelines. So I wasn't too disappointed, but would have rather had more opportunity to earn from home.

I think as CloudCrowd grows a little more, there will be more work available. I do know now, from first hand experience, that they DO pay, they do NOT spam your Facebook profile, and the work is easy to do from home. These are always my biggest three concerns for work from home jobs. 

I was a little busy yesterday, so I probably didn't check the CloudCrowd site as much as I'd have liked, but there was bits of work here and there. To be fair, about three quarters of the time I looked, there was no work available. You did have the option of clicking the type of work and seeing if it is something that would interest you or not, and the instructions on how to do that type of job. I liked having the option of a sneak preview of the work, so to speak. On MTurk, you don't necessarily have the option unless the job is actively open.

All in all, I think CloudCrowd will be a great tool to use in the journey to become a stay at home mom.  I especially like that you can work on it as you please, for as long as you like, when you like. When chasing a busy toddler around the house, having the option of stopping work when needed is extremely important! 

Each task can be completed fairly quickly, and is easy work. As far as I could tell, there was no time limit for the jobs. On MTurk, each task is alloted a certain amount of time after you accept the job, and if not completed by that limit it counts as an abandoned hit, which hurts your score. Some jobs have to have a certain approval rating, often very high, and that could hinder future work. There is a rating system at CloudCrowd along the same premise, but without time limits, it shouldn't be hard to keep the rating high. I've had to abandon a few hits on MTurk because of a sick baby, boo-boos, or phone calls.

To sign up for CloudCrowd, follow this link and sign up in my crowd. I'm looking forward to hearing any and all success stories or complaints about CC, so feel free to let me know what you think so far! 

Monday, October 12, 2009


So I finally did my first two tasks at CloudCrowd, finding Chinese websites whose English could use some polishing. I only did two so far, to get a feel for what to expect. It was fairly easy, and I am awaiting approval. One tip for this I picked up on a forum was to go through and click the country of origin. You then have to go to the company's website from their profile on Alibaba, and check out if their English needs improved. Then you submit the site's URL, and a contact e-mail address. It only took a few minutes and pays 16 cents apiece at the moment.

The work is pretty scarce today as they implement some changes. It seems CloudCrowd exploded with growth and they are having some growing pains. I was encouraged to see some work listed today, but running short on time to do more work. I wanted to get a feel for the site before spending a lot of time, plus I want to see exactly how quickly they do approve and pay. I have heard from several CloudCrowd users that I know and trust that they have been approved very quickly and paid the next day. 

They do have a message on the work available page, with only the one listed as open, that there will be more projects listed in the near future. I think CloudCrowd is going to help me quite a bit in my journey to become a stay at home mom. If it pans out, this could add a lot of income from home. 

I can't wait to compare this with what I make from MTurk. It would be nice to have both to draw on, when one is slow I could do the other. I'm hearing over and over people making on average $10 to $15 per hour on CloudCrowd. This is encouraging! Plus the page load time is much less than MTurk, so I can see once I'm more familiar with this how I can zip through and get a lot more work done. 

I'll update again when I get a little more experience with them, and approved or denied for my work done, and most importantly, paid! If you are interested in signing up, you can use my referral link here. So far, so good. I'll keep everyone posted as soon as possible!

New way to make money at home!

I've been reading about a new site similar to MTurk, so I thought I'd check it out myself. CloudCrowd operates on Facebook, so I was a little hesitant to sign up for this at first. I have read in the eHow forums several people who worked as recently as last week, and almost all were paid the NEXT DAY, straight into their PayPal accounts! Woot!

Being a new and rapidly expanding website, CloudCrowd is going through some growing pains. This week work will be very limited, as they implement measures to weed out scammers. I have followed a few forum threads on both eHow and TurkerNation, the latter of which had two employees of CloudCrowd answering question and addressing problems. 

It seems the issues are being worked out, there were several forum posters who had claimed their work was rejected unfairly, and the company looked into it and not only approved their work, but promptly paid. Hence the need to tweak the app, too many were getting good work rejected by scammers.

This seems a lot like the work I do on MTurk, a lot of editing or reviewing work. It seems the work they had posted last week was focusing on Chinese websites which were originally poorly translated to English. Some work was finding such sites, some work was editing the translation, other work was grading work that was done.

The rates of pay seem to fluctuate a tad here and there, but overall, many people report making anywhere from $6 per hour to over $12. Several worked just a few hours and were paid above $30 per day. Some were reporting around $80 per day! Not bad for an aspiring stay at home mom!

So, I can't give an honest conclusion about CloudCrowd just yet, but I do know people who have been paid. There is a referral system, so I would be thrilled if you used this link to sign up. I will update throughout the week letting you know how this is working for me. So far, it looks good. Especially if they get the bugs worked out of the system and start posting work this week!

One last, and very important thing. I was hesitant to grant access to CloudCrowd on my Facebook. I took the leap of faith, and nothing showed up on my wall, or was sent to my friends. There is an option to send an invite to your friends, but it is definitely not necessary. I was afraid of appearing spammy to my friends, or bugging them with info they were not interested in. I'm happy to say, it's been kept private on my profile. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Updating eHow articles to make more money

Now that I've really gotten my feet good and wet writing for eHow, I like to take a little time now and then to update articles. How so, you may ask? After giving a new article a couple months, I check in on them with page views and earnings. To do this, I go to my list of articles and click the views tab once. This will sort them, starting with the lowest views at the top. 

These are the articles that need attention. Perhaps I chose a keyword with too much competition, or not enough search traffic. I will pull each up, studying the keywords used, and use the Google Keyword Tool to find similar, but better, keywords. 

I try to shoot for 2 or 3 keywords per article, any more than that seems to water them down and give strange ads. By playing around with these, I've seen dud articles suddenly take off and add an increase to my residual income. I haven't added any new articles in a few months now, but I have seen my income rise each month using this process. 

Also, I focus on articles with low views but decent earnings considering. I try not to veer off the keywords too much on these, because something is right. It's just the page rank that is suffering. Promotion of those articles, via social book marks, seem to help with that. Anything to get those articles out there!

eHow is a fantastic tool for my journey to become a stay at home mom. The residual income comes in super handy each month. The sky is the limit, the more you put into eHow, the more you will get out of it. 

Writing more articles is key to making more money, but at times it's best to take a step back, and fix the ones that aren't doing so well. A few minutes work doing this can reap huge rewards in the long run.

eHow Sweeps

eHow has been a godsend for me for extra money. Any US citizen can sign up, write articles, and generate residual income. Simple, right? Well, not necessarily so. I've been a member since July 08, and I've only lost a few eHow articles in sweeps. And honestly, those should have went. They came across as spammy, didn't meet the how-to criteria, or were poorly written. All we can do is learn from our mistakes.

There are several guides available to help somebody become a better eHow writer, to increase income, and to avoid getting articles deleted. This guide, by one of eHow's top earners, WriterGig, can help get the most money from each article. It has proven invaluable to my own time on eHow, what a fantastic investment!

This free guide, written by a well known presence in the eHow forums, shows how to not only write a good eHow article, but to make sure it is in the proper format to avoid deletion in eHow sweeps. I strongly suggest reading both to get the most out of your time on eHow.

So what is proper format, you may ask? It's actually fairly simple. It has to be a straight forward how-to article. The writing doesn't have to be fantabulous, but of course that helps! Each step should be in a logical, chronological order, and show a specific action. Many suggest starting each step with a verb.

Proper spelling and grammar are also of utmost importance. Using spell check should be done on every article. Once published, you should take another look and read aloud, to ensure grammar is used properly. You can go back and edit if necessary.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Using good keywords is also important for the value of your articles. There's several different theories on the best way to go about this, but using Google's Keyword Tool and clicking CPC (cost per click) can show you the best paying keywords. Really, anything above a dollar can be good. Plus the Google Keyword Tool will show the amount of searches per keyword. Going for keywords that are heavily searched, say above 10,000 searches per month, will probably have stiff competition. So a good approach is to go for keywords with less competition, to ensure you get a fair amount of traffic.

eHow can provide a nice little residual income in time, but it takes a while to build up a library to achieve success. Working at it a little bit every day will have big rewards in the end. If you lose some eHow articles in the sweeps, don't let it get you down or turn you off to eHow. It happens to some of the best authors. Learn from the mistakes and keep writing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

MTurk General Transcription

I've been looking for ways to increase work at home opportunities with MTurk and stumbled upon their transcription work. It's general transcription, which is great for a newbie like myself. I did take some Medical Transcription classes a few years back, but never stuck with the program. I actually have the hardware and software necessary, but it's packed away somewhere at the moment. So, needing work in the general area of this field is important.

Castingwords has loads of general transcription work on MTurk at any given time. They have a nice style guide available, which can train anybody on how to do this work. Some of the jobs are longer, some shorter, and they offer nice bonuses for excellent work. I've read through many WAHM forums that give rave reviews of the company, they're legit, give bonus pay fairly, and pay quickly.

It seems this would be a great company to learn the ropes with. They do have a qualification testing process, which would make me feel more at ease, or at least more confident in getting started. I plan to download the Express Scribe software this afternoon, which is the easiest way to do transcription from what I've read. Once qualified, they also offer jobs grading transcription work that has already been turned in with them.

I always keep my eyes open for companies on MTurk I would like to do work often with. The ones who pay well and quickly, and post content often, are at the top of the list. I think Castingwords is looking like a great bet for working on becoming a stay at home mom. It seems steady enough to rely on, unlike some of my other favorites that post jobs sporadically. One that I work for often pays well, but it seems like it takes 2 weeks to get jobs approved and paid. I guess that's okay if there's nothing else available, but I like having that money in my account rather quickly in case I need it.

I'm really excited about this opportunity. This feels right, like it will help make the transition to stay at home mom quicker. Getting into a routine before quitting my job will be an important first step. I'm not positive I have enough self control to be a full on work at home mom, but by golly I'll give it my best shot!