Why Branding is Vital to Earning Income with your Blog

Why Branding is Vital to Earning Income with your Blog

The naming of blogs is a difficult matter. Blogs are like cats, you see. Sometimes in their lifespan, they may have three different names. Alright, enough of this theater geek moment and let’s get serious. And if you know the reference, we can be besties. Why I Rebranded my Blog in the first place I rebranded my blog at the beginning of the year from a cutesy and maybe whimsical name I selected back in 2004. Over time the name ended up being associated with, well, not family-friendly things when Googled, and so it had to go. I needed to get serious with my blog. I wanted this blog to be more than just a silly personal blog of a silly girl – since I was no longer that silly girl. It was time for my blog to become professional in name and behavior, time to embark on a rebranding journey. My new brand represents the content I was already writing. Yes, I had this blog since 2004 and had kept my history of posting through college and my early years of marriage and my career. Those posts were sporadic and of a more personal, rambly nature. Those posts are now private so they don’t get in the way of my blog’s current purpose. Then I became serious in my blogging and saw I could make a difference, an impact, and turn my blog into something more than just a “web log” of rambles. This seriousness came about shortly after I got pregnant and completely shifted the blogging I was doing. I started following other blogs run by moms and saw potential in my blog that I never saw before. How I Rebranded my Blog It wasn’t until I returned to work from maternity leave that it clicked, and I realized I was […]

Posted July 22, 2016 by Julie in Website and Blogging / 6 Comments
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140 Simple and Amazing Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

140 Simple and Amazing Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

As a busy working mom, I just don’t have the time to come up with intricate and exciting learning activities for my toddler. It is one of my sources of mom guilt, but there is just not enough time in the day, nor do I have the energy left by the time the weekend rolls around. Many stay at home moms take their sweet babies to children’s museums and playgrounds and libraries for toddler time to get their learning on and have the toddlers practice fine motor skills. Us working moms, though, we just do the best we can on weekends – when most of these fun toddler-friendly activities are not going on. So what do we do? We search Pinterest or read blogs and find fun ideas for things we can try at home. We pin, bookmark, and have every intention of doing all the fun stuff we scroll through on our phone in between meetings, but in reality, we just don’t get around to it. Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers That’s why this specific book (DISCOVER + PLAY + ENGAGE + LEARN) caught my attention. It grabbed me so hard I actually bought it.   I so rarely actually buy stuff, because I don’t want them to just sit around in my virtual folders and never get used. But this one? I printed it out. And we’ve started doing some of these activities! The DISCOVER + PLAY + ENGAGE + LEARN eBooks have a combined 20 weeks of activities that are perfect for the early years. Fun ways to get kids moving, work on fine motor, do arts and craft projects and have fun as a family! Each weekly plan includes a handy supply list and activities broken down to know exactly what to do in a simple sentence or two. This right […]

Posted July 18, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, TopPosts / 35 Comments
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Save Your Floor From Pets [Infographic]

Save Your Floor From Pets [Infographic]

I have two dogs and a cat – so my house takes a beating! One of my dogs is even nicknamed house eater (couches, baseboards, and window sills). And the cat? Well, she destroys carpets. We had to replace the carpet in our old house when we listed it for sale, partially because she clawed bald spots in the stairs. I thought this infographic was on point and wanted to share it. Save your floor from your pet infographic by The Rug Seller

Posted July 15, 2016 by Julie in Pets / 0 Comments
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15-Minute Family Favorite Dinner: Salsafied Chicken and Rice

15-Minute Family Favorite Dinner: Salsafied Chicken and Rice

I was hired by The Women Bloggers/Megaphone Influence on behalf of Riceland Foods to participate in this #ProntoPerfectRice campaign. Opinions are mine. Your stomach growls and you can almost taste a yummy meal as you drive home after a long day at the office. Dinner is definitely on your mind as you sit in traffic. The end of the day means hungry mouths to feed, including your own, and patience for cooking a complicated meal is just nonexistent. You check the fridge for leftovers, but then remember you packed those for your lunches. What do you do now? This is when having some quick and tasty family favorite meals in your recipe toolbelt is vital. Rice is a staple at our house – we love it and use it in most meals. I love to add it to my tacos or burritos, and I love even more to use it as a bed for a delicious meat dish. One of my toolbelt family favorite meals is salsafied chicken and rice (a perfect meal for a Texan). Rice and chicken, as well as salsa, are the backbones, but we can tweak any other ingredients as we wish to make a fun spin on one of our classics. A huge reason why I love the “salsafied chicken and rice” dish is the time it takes to prepare it. How long does it take? Very little time at all! This busy working mom doesn’t have the ability to create complicated dishes that take forever to prepare – I go for the quick win and make easy meals for us to enjoy. Plus, my toddler loves rice dishes, and I know this is something he will actually eat (as opposed to, you know, tossing it on the floor). That is why I love the Riceland Boil-in-Bag Rice. It […]

Posted July 11, 2016 by Julie in Food, Influencer, TopPosts / 40 Comments
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Diaper Bag Contents: differences between infant and toddler needs

Diaper Bag Contents: differences between infant and toddler needs

You see her, purse slung over one shoulder and an overstuffed tote slung over another. A squirming child in her arms. Then you realize: you’re seeing a reflection of yourself. Why does the new title of Mom seem to be synonymous with “bag lady” these days?  Babies require a lot of stuff just to get out of the house for a quick grocery run or (if you’re brave) restaurant meal. Juggling a teeny tiny baby and car seat and stroller and bags is an interesting initiation into parenthood. And really, why do we even call it a diaper bag? It is more like a suitcase of essential emergency preparedness supplies in case zombies attack, or babies poop. We should just refer to it as a mom bag, am I right? We ended up with two “diaper bags”, mainly because my husband refused to use the “monkey bag” that was gifted to me by his own mother! So he used a instead – which ended up being the main diaper bag because seriously, keeping two bags stocked at all times got old. Since hubby had Fridays off and was taking Baby H to his weekly physical therapy and DOC Band appointments while I didn’t have any time off after returning to work, he won the diaper bag debate. Newborn Diaper Bag Itty bitty babies require so much stuff! Here’s a list of the type of things I carried around with me when Baby H was a newborn/infant. Several diapers. And extra diapers. Wipes. Little for diaper disposal. Changing pad. Bibs. Extra baby clothes. Lots of extra clothes. What is it about spit up or poonamies? Extra clothes for me, too, since the poonamies typically happen on me. Formula, pre-measured in the . Baby bottles. Water bottles. For making formula but also for […]

Posted July 6, 2016 by Julie in Parenting / 32 Comments
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Gratitude and Goals July 1, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Gratitude and Goals July 1, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Gratitude and Goals My Gratitude last month: My child is nearly 20 months old, and I am amazed at all the skills he has learned and everything he can do at such a tiny little age. I enjoyed our first beach adventure! The little guy had a good time and only had a few fits, so that’s kind of a win for us. I’ve been very happy with the growth I’m seeing with this blog 🙂 Progress in the right direction is wonderful. I’m seeing great progress on my health goals and weight loss as well. Now I just need to work on the fit part of it. Hubby and I have been married 9 years, wow. Maybe next year we’ll get to celebrate together haha. Looking ahead to one gratitude item, I’m gonna enjoy spending time with lots of family this 4th of July weekend. My Goals for the upcoming month: Continue my progress with the Nutrisystem diet. 26 pounds down!!! Get back into walking several times a week. Weather permitting – the joys of living in Texas. Continue to drink a lot of water. A gallon a day is a good goal. I’m doing this also by drinking Zeal. Keep working on my blog content calendar. Stop biting my nails! Go to bed before midnight! I’m always so tired and that isn’t helping me get over this bug that keeps coming back. Read, physically, not just audiobooks. I’m failing this since I spend all my free time blogging until midnight. Continue to work with Baby H on his fits and be consistent in correcting him. Survive an airplane ride by myself with a Toddler. Wish me luck. What are you thankful for this month? What are your goals for the month ahead? Share your posts with us! Welcome […]

Posted July 1, 2016 by Julie in Gratitude Goals Linky / 11 Comments
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Goals for 2016 – mid-year check-up

Goals for 2016 – mid-year check-up

Just when you thought you were getting used to writing 2016 on things, you blink and half of the year has gone by. I suppose it is time to check in with our 2016 goals, though I admit I’m nervous to look at my original goals I set at the beginning of 2016. So much has changed, and my plans have gotten derailed by life, so I know I’m not where I wanted to be in my goals. But let’s do a check-in anyway and see where changes need to be made. My Goals for 2016 Life Maintain Balance and live in the moment. Here is what I wanted to get done: I will play with my child and find ways to include him in my hobbies now that he is mobile and interacting with the world around him. I will keep positive and not allow myself to get too overwhelmed with my responsibilities and endless to-do lists. Most importantly, I will maintain sanity while my husband is away for his training. I survived a full deployment on my own; I should be able to handle a few months with a toddler. June Update: Well, I do play with my son, and I’ve taken him to parks and play dates when they happened on weekends or days that I had off. I do my best to keep positive, but it sure is hard! I have so many responsibilities while solo parenting and working full time and blogging and everything else. I don’t know how I function sometimes, and there are times when I just don’t want to adult anymore. I find it interesting how I mentioned the full deployment since this training turned into a full mobilization for an additional year once the training was up. I’m handling it, not always very gracefully, […]

Posted June 30, 2016 by Julie in Family, Health, Parenting / 18 Comments
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15+ Recipes that Boost Lactation for Breastfeeding Moms

15+ Recipes that Boost Lactation for Breastfeeding Moms

Breastfeeding your baby is very rewarding, but can be difficult. Despite our struggles, I look back fondly at my breastfeeding relationship with Baby H. Since we plan on having another child eventually, I know I will try to breastfeed again. While I breastfed, I made sure to add breastfeeding-friendly foods to my diet (such as steel cut oats, , drink , add or cook with , and take a ) to help my supply.  Since my post about my overnight oatmeal for lactation continues to be such a hit, I thought I would find other wonderful recipe ideas for foods that help boost breastmilk supply. This roundup will help me in the future, and can help some of my readers now. Enjoy! Recipes that boost lactation to help increase breastmilk supply Desserts and snacks that boost lactation Make these yummy looking fenugreek lactation bites to help increase your milk supply. From Handmade in the Heartland. I love the idea of a baby shower gift of lactation cookie mix in a jar.  Bake when ready. From One Part Sunshine. You can even make lactation brownies. Yum! From Rio Grande Valley Moms Blog. But you really can’t go wrong with homemade chocolate chip lactation cookies, can you? From Third Stop on the Right. Drink to a boost in milk supply Try the ultimate lactation smoothie, because smoothies are always awesome. From Feed Me Mama. There’s also another boosting breastmilk smoothie recipe. From Cassadiva. Have you heard of leaky lactation lemonade? When life hands you lemons, right? From The Leaky Boob. Check out this banana and cinnamon lactation smoothie. From Sarah Lampley. How about a lactation boosting milkshake? From We’re Parents. Alright, one more smoothie feature. Smoothies sure are popular. From Purely Diligent. While you’re at it, make sure you’re consuming your green veggies in this green smoothie. From Much Most Darling. Start your day […]

Posted June 27, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, TopPosts / 12 Comments
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A Children’s Activity Book about Healthy Eating + Giveaway

A Children’s Activity Book about Healthy Eating + Giveaway

Getting children to eat healthy is certainly a challenge. I struggle with feeding my toddler on a daily basis and I know many Moms are in the same situation. Sometimes kids just need an extra fun push in the right directions to eat fun and colorful foods. I remember how much I loved activity books as a younger version of myself, and combining the idea of activity books with the concept of healthy, mindful eating results in a fun book and teachable experience. I received a copy of this lovely book called If It Does Not Grow, Say No to check it out and share it with you. This book is full of flow charts, activities, and checklists to engage kids in thinking and talking about food as they experience it and try something new. There are so many fun pages in this book with talking points and questions to get kids thinking about food in a positive way. While my 19 month old is a bit young to really have a conversation about food, other than pointing, I’m going to enjoy introducing some of the activities in this book to him when he’s ready. Fruits and veggies are a beautiful and delicious part of eating, and I want him to enjoy them as well. You can even visit the website and download some activity challenges for fruits testing, veggie testing, and there’s even a dessert challenge. If It Does Not Grow –  Say No Eatable Activities for Kids was created for children of all ages to discover how much fun they can have with fruits and vegetables. They will be entertained for hours as they: draw and write about their favorite foods, learn why fruits and vegetables are so awesome, try easy recipes for fun foods, see how brave they are about trying new […]

Posted June 25, 2016 by Julie in Giveaways, Reviews / 5 Comments
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Gratitude and Goals June 24, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Gratitude and Goals June 24, 2016 #GratitudeGoals

Weekly Gratitude and Goals My Gratitude for this week: This past weekend we went on our first beach adventure, Baby H and I! Well, we went with the other family that my nanny works for (and they brought their extended family, but let us tag along). It was quite the adventure but we had fun and only had a few fits, so I guess that’s a win with a toddler. I did great bringing him the right snacks to keep him sitting in one spot for a while. I got my new washing machine so I can finally do laundry again! Well, Lowes only delivered it, basically dropped it off in my garage and that was that. They were not “allowed” to unhook the old one or replace the new one. So I had to get a handyman to come do the rest of the job. But then I did a load of toddler clothes and the world was right again. Not doing laundry for 2+ weeks isn’t awful, but I certainly didn’t want to go much longer. Hope everyone had a good Father’s day!  I sent cards to my dad and my husband and got to talk to them on the phone, so that was my holiday weekend heh. Really looking forward to our 4th of July trip ,though! A bit (ok, a lot) nervous bout flying with the Toddler, but I’m sure there will be a blog post about that soon after. My blog has been growing wonderfully, though! I keep logging into Google Analytics and finding magic numbers. Well, magic for me. I tripled my views in the past 2 months – they’re still not huge like the big shot bloggers, but they’re showing great growth and potential for more, right? I also had a few influencer campaigns go up this […]

Posted June 24, 2016 by Julie in Gratitude Goals Linky / 9 Comments
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