Busy Bee Meets Boss Babes Part 3. With Amanda Kusterer

Happy Friday everyone! I'm so excited to have my third guest on my blog series- Busy Bee Meets Boss Babes! I hope this blog post has given you some productivity tips, inspiration and an insight look into some of these amazing women who are living a productive, happy lifestyle!

Amanda and I met last Fall because we are both UVA graduate students! Amanda is someone who always surprises me- I learn more about her every time we  are together! I always admired her in our graduate work together, knowing that she was also a wife and mom! But I was truly blown away when she brought in cupcakes one day and told us about her baking business called The Painted Pig! I can vouch for how delicious they are and I'm so excited to dive into how Amanda manages it all! Lets get to it!

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Let's get started! Meet Amanda: 


One of the reasons that I decided to become a full-time SAHM, instead of part-time, is so that I can work on my Masters in Reading Education.
I am also an accredited Leader for the Richmond Area La Leche League which helps mothers and their babies reach their nursing goals through mother to mother support. All of this work is strictly volunteer on my part and costs nothing for the mothers.
I also volunteer as a Room Mother for my daughter’s pre-school - it’s a lovely community and I am happy to give back.
I am also on the Advisory Board for Behavior Analysis on the Board of Medicine; this helps me to stay grounded in my former professional life as a Behavior Analyst and Teacher of Children with Autism even though I don’t have any clients at the moment.
In addition to these fulfilling parts of my life, I started an in-home bakery about two and a half years ago called The Painted Pig Bakery. Baking and art have always been passions of mine and I found that by opening the bakery I could get paid for doing something I love and use this as a creative outlet that I craved.

escribe some of your biggest resonsibilities.

One of the biggest responsibilities with the bakery is finding enough time in between other life events to fill orders and work on promoting the bakery.
Often times I am up late after everyone else has gone to bed to finish an order the night before its pick-up. This often leads to a sleepy wake up the next morning but it is also nourishing to fill special orders for my clients. In many cases, the cake is the center of the party or decorations, so getting it just right is essential.
I have struggled with promoting the bakery.
I was raised to the modest and humble, so it felt awkward at first to call attention to myself and sing my own praises.
As my experience and bakery has grown, I have realized that people really do think that my baking and design work is excellent and that I need to get the word out if I want to succeed.
Right now The Painted Pig has a FaceBook page, but eventually I would like for it to also have a website.

The biggest responsibilities that I have at home are my two daughters. I am the one who makes sure that they are ready for school, get to school, have all their meals, and get to all of their extra-curricular activities. My husband is a huge help when he is home, but his work schedule is very busy so often the brunt of this task falls to me, but I wouldn’t trade it for a minute!

Tell us about your routines and how you stay productive throughout the day! 

I have a pretty scheduled day; this varies from day to day but I find that having a set routine helps me to allot the time that I need for each task.
During the school year, our morning routine would be pretty standard, followed by getting the girls off to school. Once everyone is settled in kindergarten and pre-school I focus on my school work at a local library. Pick-up for pre-school is at 12:30, so then we would head home for lunch. After lunch we would read of play for a bit and then I would get in a quick 4.5 miles on the elliptical that we have at home. I found that when we had a gym membership I didn’t go, but if it’s at home there’s no excuse!
Getting in the run keeps me going for the rest of the day - and an afternoon cup of coffee.
Then it is pickup from kindergarten and extra curricular or play time. All of this is followed by dinner, clean up, tub, and bedtime routine.
After the girls are down and the house is quiet, I can focus on the bakery. Sometimes, I am able to make a quick dozen or two cupcakes around lunchtime and then all that’s left is the frosting.
It’s always a full day, but I think that’s what keeps me moving. If I sat down for too long I’d stay sitting!

What keeps you motivated when things get hard? 

I am and have always been reinforced by praise. I love hearing the positive feedback about cake favors and completed cakes. At home my hubby and girls are quick to thank me for many household things, but getting the praise and FB posts from clients that aren’t family and friends makes it exciting and makes me want to do even more.

What tools, apps, or planners do you use to stay organized?

I would be lost without our family calendar. I am old school. We have a paper calendar hanging in the kitchen, but I like that I can see the whole month at a glance and know how the week is going to go.
We write down everyone’s activities on this calendar - school, ballet, gymnastics, my husband’s schedule, appointments, and cake orders.

What do you say to people who look at you and think, "I just don't know how she does it all!" 
How do you maintain a positive work/life balance?!

I say that I don’t like to sit still, which is very true.
I like to be busy and I find that I am the happiest when I have a lot to do.
Of course, there is such a thing as too much, but I like to stay busy - just not overwhelmed.

I have learned to say no when our week is looking too busy or to ask for help.
It’s hard to turn away business but it’s not worth my sanity or the girls’ happiness.

Wow! Amanda you are rockstar! You inspire and motivate me, and your family is so lucky to have you!

I think we can all learn from Amanda that it's important to have priorities and say no when necessary. Like she said, it's not ever worth your happiness or sanity! I love that she also uses an old school calendar to keep track of her family's activities. 

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What productivity tips did you get from reading this blog? We would love to hear from you! Comment below!