My Favorite New Bath Time Tool

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LatherMitts are so awesome for bath time!

 

*** G I V E A W A Y Alert! >>> We are giving away one pair of LatherMitts by LatherUp.co!  You can enter HERE or through the widget at the bottom of the post between 09/15/2016 ~ 09/30/2016!  Please let me know if you have any questions at all!  Enter now…you will LOVE them!  Read below to see why! ***

How do you feel about bath time? Do you love it? Do you hate it? I’ve had sort of a love-hate relationship with bath time over the past seven years. It had become somewhat of a nightmare with my oldest because he has this beautiful kinky-curly hair that takes a ton of work. He screams and cries when it comes time to comb through the knots & tangles! And then those early baths with our new little guy did not do much to change that perception, as he screamed bloody murder every time he came into contact with the water. Luckily we seem to have turned a corner with little Baby Guy, he’s now entered the giggly, kicky, splashy stage! But bath time always presents challenges at our house, so I’ve always got my eyes out for things that will make bath time easier.

New Bath Gadget

One of the fun perks of being a blogger is the opportunity to try out and review awesome new products! And you may have noticed that I’m also a huge lover and advocate of small businesses! So I was super excited at the opportunity to try out a super cool new bath time tool for babies and kids (not that it wouldn’t be great for adults too)! LatherMitts by LatherUp are the upgrade to bath time that you didn’t know you needed!

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The School Uniform Reinvented

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A new take on the stuffy old school uniforms for #BTS!

  1. Nautica Boys’ Double Breasted Shawl Collar Cardigan in Coal Heather  2. Boys’ Polo Shirt – Cat & Jack™ in Red 3. Boys’ Woven Cord Belt in Navy  4. Herschel Supply Co. Settlement Backpack in Woodland Camo/Navy/Red 5. Boys’ Pull-On Pant Cat & Jack™ in Blue 6. Stride Rite Made 2 Play Gannon Boot in Brown

School Clothes Planning

I am a planner.  I plan everything.  Right down to the most minute detail…it’s actually kind of OCD ridiculous!  In my planning process, I also research and try to create themes, etc.  So about a year and a half before my eldest started Kindergarten, I started planning.  I asked myself questions like “Am I going to red-shirt him since his birthday is so close to the cutoff?” and “Are we going to settle for the school by our house or are we going to appeal for a spot in a ‘better’ school?” and “What is he going to wear?”  Seriously.

As I researched the local schools, it quickly came to my attention that “uniforms” are common in this area.  I am not used to that at all because where I grew up we were able to wear whatever we wanted as long as it wasn’t provocative or otherwise deemed inappropriate.  In fact, I have very fond memories of expressing my individuality through the style of clothes I chose to wear.  So imagine my dismay upon learning of the uniform requirements that my own child would face.  That was one of the factors that led me to initially attempt an out of district transfer request.  That did not pan out, but I will save that story for another day.  Ultimately we resigned ourselves to being relegated to the ranks of those that wear uniforms.  And not the cute hoity-toity custom private school uniforms.  No, the dress code is polo shirts and solid khaki and/or navy slacks.  Uck.

Challenge Accepted!

I decided to make the uniform situation work for us by thinking outside the box.  Sure, we could have simply ordered the standard outfits from the catalog the school provides or gone the easy route with French Toast everything.  But no, that is not our style. Oh, and did I mention how I detest pique polo shirts?  I think they are the worst, particularly as part of a sloppily put together school uniform.  God forbid the pique polo and standard issue slacks are ill fitting…I just cannot bear the thought!  But what’s the alternative?  Think J.Crew, Mini Boden, Hanna Andersson, Tea Collection, etc.  However, our budget doesn’t support that kind of shopping for the everyday essentials.  We’re more the Gymboree, Kohls & Old Navy set.  But really we pretty much shop at Target and Amazon for just about everything these days!  So that is where this shopping trip will take us today!

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August Goals & {Nonexistent} July Income Report

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It's cool to see a post like this from someone just starting out before they are actually making anything! I love to watch the progression!

 

Life & Goals

Wow, life has been CHAOTIC lately!  In general, things have been crazy since MR* and I both work full time, I am a full-time MBA student, have a home to run, a wild six-year-old to wrangle and a wily infant to nurture.  Now I’ve added this blog to the mix and I think I need about 8 extra hours each day to manage everything properly!  Then add in a 3-week visit from my sister & her hubby from Russia.  The visit ended with a bang as much of the family ended up with a wicked case of stomach flu…yikes!  All while I was working on my first brand ambassadorship for one of my all time favorite brands!  Needless to say, I am super behind in school and my house looks like a tornado just blew through!  So I realize that I need to sit myself down and focus!

How am I going to do that?  Goal setting!  I recently stumbled across a 5-year plan that I prepared almost exactly five years before I found it again.  I had truly not looked at it since I wrote it up because my life is one wild and crazy time after another.  I had prepared it while at my former job and emailed it to myself on my personal email and that is where it sat.  Anyway, once I found it again I was amazed that I had literally done (or almost completed) every single thing on the list and they were not small feats.  I realized that the simple act of putting it down did something to my brain or to the quantum physics of my life that kept me on my desired path.  So I will be posting that soon along with my new 5-year plan and I challenge you to write one up yourself.  Feel free to share!

That being said, I realize that there is something useful about goal setting and maintaining a focus.  So I will be preparing monthly goals to go along with my five-year plan.  These goals will include professional, personal and blog related goals and you guys will hold me accountable…thanks in advance!

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5 Must Have Nursery Textiles for Baby

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5 Must Have Nursery Textiles for Baby

Nursery Time

One of my favorite things to do is getting ready for a new baby!  I love everything about it like the planning, registering, shopping, and organizing!  And when it comes time to shop I love discovering new shops and online stores that I’ve never visited before!  Of course when it comes to baby stuff we all know the old stand-bys like Babies’R’Us, Target, Buy Buy Baby, and Amazon, but I recently became aware of Kensho Home.  No, they won’t be able to help you with your diaper, stroller or baby monitor needs, but they do have lovely swaddling blankets, bedding, and towels!

Baby textiles are some of my favorite items to buy because they are so plush and soft, some are colorful while others are more subtle!  I always wish they made adult sized baby blankets for that very reason!  Anyway, below you will find a curation of some of Kensho Home’s most darling baby items.  And they continue to add to their impressive selection! Everything is machine washable, and to top it all off, shipping is FREE!  I hope you find something great for your new little one!

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15 Minute Quick Start Guide to Create A Blog

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Nice & simple...just like I like things! I think I'm finally going to get around to starting my blog!

 

Want to Work from Home?

Did you know that you can turn your hobby for blogging into a full-time work from home job?  That’s why is is PERFECT for stay at home moms and any gal that wants to kick the 9-to-5 gring to the curb and enjoy life more!

You can’t get too far beyond the brainstorming phase without setting up your actual blog site, but how do you actually do that? I know, it seemed super complicated, daunting, scary, etc. to me too! However, you will be happy to hear that it is easy as pie! And this brief tutorial will hold your hand and walk you right through it!

First of all, I am making the assumption that you are choosing to create what’s called a self-hosted site, which simply means it will be thecoolestblogever.com as opposed to thecoolestblogever.wordpress.com. That’s what I recommend, both for aesthetics and relevance! I am also making the assumption that you are down with WordPress as opposed to Blogger. Boy, am I making a lot of assumptions, but bear with me! Again, I do recommend WordPress. Not 0nly is it the gold standard, but it’s just so easy to use! Plus you will be using a ton of plugins and WordPress has plugin functionality down to an easy to use science! Ok, are you ready? Let’s do this!
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A Tasty Treat for Lunch: Ezell’s Famous Chicken

Totally gonna try this fried chicken place next time I'm in Seattle!

I moved to Seattle, Washington almost 10 years ago and one of the first recommendations I overheard was that Ezell’s Chicken was the best.  You may have heard of Ezell’s by way of Oprah, as it is said to be her very favorite chicken which she would even have flown out to her in Chicago! You can also find photo’s of Ezell with Guy Fieri from the Packers vs. Seahawks episode of the Food Network’s “Tailgate Warriors with Guy Fieri” special episode TQ0201H on the Ezell’s Facebook page.  In other football news, Ezell’s was invited to cater to the fans in Detroit, MI (my home state) for the Super Bowl XL game between my lovely Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 {the year I moved from MI to WA}.  And finally, Esquire Magazine named Ezell’s “The Most Life Changing Fried Chicken in America” in 2012!  Some impressive stats!

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What I Want for My Sons: My Privilege

Sons Deserve Privilege

I’m at a loss.  I am at a loss for what to say, what to do, how to feel.  And I do…feel this loss, in a way that is unique to me.  These lost lives, lost innocence, a lost sense of how I would like to believe the world & society to be.  I so desperately WANT to believe that people are intrinsically good…at least deep down at their core.  That we’ve reached a collective “good place” where most people can happily coexist and thrive.

And I am wrong.  I’ve been shown over and over again that I am wrong.  Each time something like this happens my gut tells me to mourn this crazy exception to the rule, the outlier…this thing that is wildly out of the ordinary.  But I’ve slowly come to the realization that these tragedies are far from exceptional, far from atypical, far from isolated.  The only thing that’s “different” is the intensity of the light that’s beginning to shine.  Social media now acts as a global bullhorn drawing our attention to a few select incidents that cannot go unnoticed.  And then there are those that do not draw the same attention.  But they are there…occurring each and every day right before our very eyes, under our noses, in our backyards and all around us.  Yet we don’t even see it.

Privilege

What is that “we” really?  It’s me, people…like me, people unlike me, but with the same level of privilege.  The privilege that allows us to believe that things are on the right track, so much better than they were in our parent’s day.  The privilege that allows us to walk around in the world and not give thought or concern to where we may be going, how we may be perceived, or how a seemingly benign encounter may quickly escalate into a life threatening incident.

Ignorance is bliss, isn’t that what they say?  I can say that is true.  I’ve spent the majority of my 36 years blissfully walking along on my cloud thinking that all is right with the world.  I subscribed to all the old adages like “it will all work out”, “right always wins”, “good will triumph over evil”, etc.  I could go on and on.  And I did, I believed all of that.    It’s easy to believe when all of your needs are met as well as many, many of your wants.  When safety has never been a concern, when the police only represented protection, when your biggest concerns are true “first world problems.”

Please don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for every opportunity that I have been afforded and hope that I’ve done my best to take little of it for granted.  I do feel so very lucky & blessed.  Yes, all very easy to say, but what does it mean?  Probably not much of anything if it weren’t for one thing.  I am a mother. (more…)

{FREE} Nanny Daily Sheet Printable

Free Nanny Day Sheet Printable

 

I created this printable Nanny Daily Sheet as a way to communicate daily details with our nanny.  I use it to document specifics on school, work, and lunch.  I also use it to leave notes on things I don’t want to forget to mention.  This works really well for us because the school schedule is so inconsistent.  As are our work obligations.

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My Path to Motherhood: A Love Story

Path To Motherhood

 

My path to motherhood, though not unlike some women, was not exactly what I would call typical.  I was never a huge “kid person”.  Some people grow up around younger siblings, cousins, and neighbors, so care giving becomes second nature to them.  In my case, my sister and I were only 19 months apart. We didn’t really have any little neighbors or cousins running around either.  So kids were always kind of foreign to me.

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#SharkWeek Themed Boys Swimwear

Shark Week Boys Swimwear

  1. Colorful Sunglasses (Item #140155183) 2. Shark Sun Hat (Item #140155755) 3. Shark Rashguard (Item #140153385) 4.  Shark Board Shorts (Item #140153376) 5.  Shark Swim Sandals (Item #140151134)

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10 Binge Worthy Shows for Your Maternity Leave Playlist

Maternity Playlist

Good Evening Mama!  It’s quite possible that it is 1 AM right now, you are sleep deprived, delirious and maybe feeling a little cranky or even helpless right now.  So I am going to ask you to take a deep breath, re-center yourself and exhale.  And change your mindset.  Stop thinking of this crazy newborn period as something to trudge through and embrace it, savor it, relish in it, drink it in!  It is such a short blip on the radar of life and it truly is such a special time when you & baby are 100% devoted to each other.  It really is lovely, even when it’s impossible.  When I changed my mindset about this with my second child everything changed.  I am working on a post specifically about embracing this time, but for now I give you this:

10 Binge Worthy Shows for Your Maternity Leave Playlist

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Last Day of Kindergarten

Last Day of K

 

My first born on his way to school for the last day of Kindergarten.  I’m handling this considerably better than the last day of preschool last year & Kindergarten Graduation on Monday (I was a mess).  I’m working on my end of year/Kindergarten graduation piece, so stay tuned!  Have a great summer kiddos!!

 

 

$5.00 off ONE Culturelle Kids Formula Product          $4.00 off TWO PULLUPS Training Pants or Goodnites

5-Ingredient Tomato & Cucumber Summer Salad

 

5-Ingredient Tomato & Cucumber Summer Salad

2-3 Whole – Roma Tomatoes

2 Whole – English Cucumbers

1/4 Cup – Miracle Whip

1/4 Tsp – Salt

1/8 Tsp – Pepper

 

  1. Cube tomatoes and cucumber and add to medium sized mixing bowl
  2. Slowly add Miracle Whip and stir until coated, use more or less to taste
  3. Sprinkle salt & pepper and stir, again using more or less to taste
  4. Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy at your next BBQ!!

Tip:  This week save 20% on cucumbers with Savingstar!

My Mom used to make this ah-mazing cucumber & tomato salad every summer when we were growing up.  It’s super simple with only 5 ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand!  Throw this together for a quick weekday side or make it this weekend for one of your first BBQ’s of the season!!

 

 

 

 

Baby Logi Babbles “Da-Da”!

In preparation for Father’s Day my little baby guy had just clearly babbled “Da-Da” and we quickly tried to capture it on video.  The moment passed, but he got in some good practice here!  He’s just gaining skills left & right…I can’t keep up…I’m not ready!

Birth Plan of a First Time Mom

hospital-840135_1920
Birth Plan of a First Time Mom

This was the birth plan that we used when we were about to become first time parents. Now I read this and laugh! I can only imagine what the nurses thought of us when they read this! Probably “puh-leeze” {eye roll}!! What can I say? I was about to be a brand new mom and this was all completely foreign to me! I didn’t grow up around kids, babies or people who were having babies. This was the total unknown for me and I was bewildered! So I researched and identified all of the variables that I could possibly include on a birth plan and laid it out meticulously here. I really thought that the providers would read it and adhere to my wishes. I was so naïve! They don’t have time for all of this! Not to mention that a lot of the items I addressed were outdated and no longer common practice (at least not around here!) That being said, I think this gave me enough of an illusion of control that it gave me comfort. If you need that right now please feel free to take this template and modify it for your needs! I will share both the ridiculous things we did at the hospital that first time AND my updated, pared down birth plan that I prepared 6 years later…stay tuned if this one wasn’t quite the right fit!

***

Our Birth Plan: Baby Boy {Baby’s Last Name}

Mother-to-be: {Mother’s Name}    Father-to-be (COACH): {Partner’s Name}

Additional Support People: {Relationship #1}, {Name #1} & {Relationship #2}, {Name #2}

Due Date: {EDD}

Doctor’s Name: {DR/Midwife Name}    Hospital Name: {Hospital/Birth Center}

Objective: I, {Mother’s Name}, and my coach, {Partner’s Name}, are creating this birth plan prior to our labor in order to express our wishes clearly to our doctor & nurses at the hospital where I am delivering. This is our “best case scenario” plan and these are the items that we consider important in the birth of our unborn baby. We would like them to be followed as closely as possible whenever able. Deviations from this plan are welcome in the event that the safety of the baby and/or mother is at risk. We will be flexible, although we ask to be kept informed ahead of time during every aspect of our labor. We reserve the right to change our mind at any time. We also request the opportunity to discuss important decisions & changes privately if time allows. Thank you for your assistance in this process.

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Hey Good Lookin’…

How is your Wednesday going?  Here is how mine is going:

Double coffee kinda day...
Double coffee kinda day…

 

 

 

 

 

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Girlfriend’s Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag:

Hospital Bag

The 45 Best Things I Took To The Hospital

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How I Increased My Milk Supply Overnight

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Increased Milk Supply

So many moms struggle with supply issues, particularly after going back to work.  It was the same for me.  I found myself “Google-ing” things like “Increase milk supply fast” or “Increased milk supply overnight” and ultimately came across a Pinterest post that caught my eye.  What I read changed the success of my pumping, and really our nursing, relationship for good.

I just gave birth to my beautiful boy, Logan, in December.  I am now the mother of two incredible boys!  And, of course, I wanted to give my little man the best start I could possibly give him.  Among other things, breastfeeding was a priority for me.

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{Recipe} Quick & Easy Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

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Week of 07/27/14 ~ 08/02/14 Brags

Rite Aid Freebies
Safeway 91% Savings
Target Paid less than $4 [There were 4 Bagel Bites, but I didn’t get the photo taken in time to prevent the immediate consumption of one of the boxes! 😉 ]

Last Chance! My Target Coupon Brag 07.25.2014

Target shopping trip 07/25/2014 bought $74. 71 worth of items and paid $22.35 OOP


Buy 5 Hunt’s Snack Pack Pudding, 4 pk $1.02, regular price
Buy Four Get One Free through 8/2
Final Price: $0.58 each, when you buy 5


Right Guard Xtreme Deodorant, 2.6 oz $3.34, regular price

Use $1.50/1 – Right Guard Xtreme Clear or Clinical Clear Product from RP 7/13
Final Price: Free


Buy 2 Tampax Radiant Tampons, 16 ct $3.99, regular price
Buy 1 Speed Stick Gear Deodorant, 2.6 oz $3.99, regular price
Buy 1 Right Guard Xtreme Deodorant, 2.6 oz $3.34, regular price

Use one $5.00/1 – Personal Care Purchase, $15.00 or more, Body Wash & Bar Soap, Deodorant, Hand & Body Lotion, Shave, Feminine Care, Oral Care, Target Coupon – (target.com)
And use one $2.00/1 – Speed Stick Gear Deodorant, Antiperspirant or Body Spray (coupons.com)
And use two $2.00/1  Tampax Pearl or Radiant Tampon, 16 ct or larger from PG 7/6
And use one $1.50/1  Right Guard Xtreme Clear or Clinical Clear Product from RP 7/13
And use one $1.00/1 – Target Store: Men’s Personal Care Products, Target Coupon (target.com)
And use one $2.00/1  Right Guard Antiperspirant, Deodorant or Body Wash, Target Coupon(target.com)
Final Price: Free, when you buy all 4

Buy 2 Purina Beyond dry cat food item at 9.99, Reg. Price
Buy 15 Purina Beyond wet cat food items at 5/$5 ($1 EA)
Buy 2 Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter at 7.99, Reg Price
Subtotal of $50.96
$15 Off Dog/Cat Purchase $50+ In-Ad Target Coupon or text PETS to 827438 (valid 7/20 – 7/26)
Coupon Valid on Food, Litter & Treats (excluding Rawhide)
You can also use this coupon online with the code PETS15 (valid 7/20 – 7/26)
2 – $2 off Purina Beyond dry dog or cat food item Target Coupon x8/9
-10% Off Purina Beyond Dry Cat Food Target Cartwheel x8/2 AND
2 – .75¢ off with purchase of six Purina Beyond wet cat food cans Target Coupon x8/9
-10% Off Purina Beyond Dry Cat Food Target Cartwheel x8/2
2 – $1 off Arm & Hammer cat litter Target Coupon x8/30 AND
2 – $3 off Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter Printable Coupon
Final Price: $20.63
Other Coupons you can use if you don’t have access to the others:
(Or $2/1 Purina Beyond Dry Dog or Cat Food 3 lb+ Target Coupon 7-13-14 SS x8/23)

(Or -$1/1 Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter 14 lb 6-1-14 SS x8/31)
(Or -$2/1 Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Cat Litter 19 lb+ 6-1-14 SS x8/31)

Final Note: Pay with Target card for an additional 10% off! ($1.18 on this one)

How I Made My 1st $250+ as a Newbie Blogger

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How I Made My 1st $250+ as a Newbie Blogger

 

Background

I am a new blogger with a handful of fun posts, a few subscribers, and growing pageviews.  My blog is small & new, but isn’t that where we all start?  This is a quick note, to those of you who are just starting out, with info on how I got started and how I started making money with my blog very early on.  I am going to begin with a bit of background on how I started my blogging journey, but please feel free to jump to the bottom for the good stuff…I won’t be offended!  

What Is A Blog

I just recently started reading and following blogs about four years ago. Before that, I thought of blogs as mainly glorified diaries. And for many people that is precisely what they are and that is great. However, it was only about four years ago that I realized that blogs also existed as a resource. My first experiences with blogs as a resource began with couponing and deal websites like CouponPro Blog, Krazy Coupon Lady and Southern Savers when I decided to dive head on into “extreme couponing”!

I quickly realized what a wealth of information was out there from other “real people” expressing information, tips, tricks and recommendations from their respective areas of expertise. One thing I noticed right away was the unique perspective found on each blog and the conversational tone with which the information was delivered. It’s relatable and feels genuine, in fact, a good blogger can draw you in and make you feel like an old friend. That’s typically what I look for when deciding on my new favorite blogs.

Pinterest

One other place that I spend a great deal of time {probably too much time} is Pinterest. I’ve been obsessed with Pinterest since the very beginning when I heard a story about it on the news a few years back. I remember thinking that the concept was purely genius! It was the perfect solution to the clutter I keep of magazines, recipes, and other inspiration! Now this was back when you still needed an invitation, which I kind of loved…hello exclusivity! Anyway, I was hooked from the get-go and have been in dire need of a Pintervention ever since! One thing that I never realized until recently is that the majority of Pinterest is simply a curation of images and links to individual blog posts! So if you love Pinterest, then you love blogs!

So I began paying much closer attention to blogs and referring to them regularly for the solutions to my common problems. I use Pinterest anytime I need to know how long and at what temperature to cook something, I use it for many of my breastfeeding questions, style inspiration, blue day quotes, and on and on. And when it came time to move out of my apartment, a couple years ago, I completed my move-out deep clean exclusively using fancy DIY homemade cleaning tips & tricks from a laundry list of blogs that I identified on Pinterest.

I Could Start My Own Blog

Then one day it occurred to me that I have tons of my own tips, tricks, and recommendations for a bunch of random parenting, budgeting, and family living topics.  And I had forgotten how much I love to write. I could totally create my own blog! But how? I didn’t know the answer to that question. I was stuck. Until Pinterest came to the rescue again! I came across a blog post that explained how insanely simple it is to get started. You just need a platform and hosting…yes, I know…sounds complicated! But it’s SO not! You can literally get started in 15 minutes or less if you want to. If you want more guidance, I have a tutorial {HERE} that breaks it down to super simple, easy steps that you literally cannot mess up!

The Secret

I jumped at the chance and got started right then and there! And, as with everything, I began my intensive research on the best way to create and build my blog the “right way” from the foundation up. I dabbled for a while on my own and got everything looking OK, but quickly realized that I might need a bit more help. Just as I was coming to this realization I received one of those timely, life-altering emails from one of those lovely bloggers that I can’t get enough of, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner founder of Making Sense of Cents.

Number one, I think she is such an awesome person…so kind, open and helpful. And number two, she is wildly successful {that is if you consider earning over $110,000, in July alone, successful}! So I figured that if anyone knows the best way to get started blogging it would be Michelle!  Anyway, her email was about an e-course training that she was launching about something called “Affiliate Marketing”…a term which I knew nothing about.  But I was intrigued and the more I looked into it the cooler it sounded.  So I was like, “OK, I’ll bite!”  The course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, helped me with many basic blogging questions I had and introduced me to the concept of allowing your blog to blossom into a business.  How about them apples?

What A Difference

The course was super easy to follow, was broken down into easy to implement steps and provided actionable tips & tricks to helps you get started monetizing your blog using affiliate marketing.  I started the class in July, read all the way through it and implemented just a few of the suggestions right off the bat {I have no patience}.  Those changes alone resulted in affiliate earnings of $259.86 for August…on my 3rd month with my small little blog!  Now I’m going back through the course and slowly and intentionally working my way through the material and making changes as I go.  We’ll see how September turns out!

One other random bonus from taking this course is that I’ve also come to know other newbie bloggers with all the same questions as me plus some SUPERSTAR successful, established bloggers who seem to know it all!  There is an exclusive Facebook group that is part of the course so you can brainstorm with everyone!

One thing I realized in the few short months since I started this journey is how many awesome resources there are.  Resources to assist new bloggers get started, build relationships, build traffic and even make money doing what they love.  It is clear that lifetime learning will be a big part of my blogging life!  I will share some of what I’ve learned in a later post, so stay tuned!

I recommend taking the course and getting starting with affiliate marketing sooner rather than later.  Please know that some affiliate networks can be picky and require that you have met certain benchmarks before they will approve you, but one that seems to be quite easy to get approved under is Escalate Network.  They work with quite a few companies and they also have deal & coupon offers!  Go get ’em and report back!

 

3 Things You Need To Do BEFORE Date Night as a New Mom

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Date Night New Mom

Preparing for Date Night

First of all Mama, if you are a first-time mom or recently gave birth, you need to ask yourself if you are really ready to be away from your baby for an extended period of time. One thing you will learn about me is that I am adamant about a woman’s need to follow her instincts when it comes to mothering and her baby. If you don’t feel ready, then there is nothing wrong with waiting a few more weeks, months, or even years until you are comfortable before your first date night after baby. Hopefully, your partner will be understanding and supportive when you express your feelings. That doesn’t mean you can’t go out, but it just means that baby will need to go with you! Yay family time!

If you think that you are ready for a night out with your partner (or with the girls) then I have some tips on things that you can do before you go! This advice is meant to help things go smoothly for you & the kids while you are away!

Childcare

Making a decision on childcare is probably the most important thing you will do. I recommend making a decision on this at least two weeks in advance. Will you leave the kids with a family member? Or a close friend? Or will you be hiring a babysitter? If you do not have family or friends waiting on deck to watch your kids at all times then I recommend identifying a “go-to” sitter (or two) for your family. Finding someone you trust that will know how you do things, where things are in your home & build a relationship with your kids is so very valuable. About a month before your event, if you have the time, try posting a position on either Care.com, UrbanSitter, or a similar site for a “PT On-Call Steady ‘Go-To’ Babysitter”. Then conduct interviews 2-3 weeks before hand so you have sufficient time to consider your options and ensure that you make it onto their dance card for the right date. {I will be working on a post on how to select the perfect babysitter soon!} And do a brief trial dry run where you invite them into your home to meet everyone, take a tour, familiarize them with where things are and let them watch the kids for an hour or so while you are dyeing your hair or doing a project around the house.  That way they are no longer a complete stranger!

Transportation

More than likely you will be partaking in an adult beverage or two {or more} when you are out on the town. You go girl…get your drink on! If both of you will be drinking, no matter how much, then you need to consider the safest transportation option. The variety of options you have will depend on where you live. If the train or bus is convenient near you then that would probably be best. Otherwise, a ride share, like Uber or Lyft, or a taxi might be right for you. Make your decision in advance so you can download whatever apps you need to download, create your account, and get a feel for how it works so you’re not fumbling with it while you’re inebriated! One of my girlfriends told me that she & her hubby usually take a Smart Car to their venue and an Uber on the way home.  If you haven’t used Uber before and want to try it out, you can get a free ride up to $20 with this promo code:  20NEWRIDEUBER

Important Details

You also need to plan in advance for the details of the night. Depending on the age of your kids, you will need to plan for meals & snacks. I really like to turn it into kind of a party for my kids too, so we normally plan for pizza delivery and movies. So I make sure that the babysitter knows how the TV works, how to access our Amazon Fire Stick and the password for ordering a movie {or two}! I work out with the sitter in advance whether she prefers to have me order the pizza for them in advance or if she can just take care of it herself. Make sure to stop at the ATM to grab any cash you might need to pay the sitter, to leave for pizza, and/or for tip(s). Be sure to leave detailed instructions on your kid’s routine, emergency instructions, and anything else she may need to know. It’s also a good idea to notify a local friend or family member of your plans and provide the sitter with their number “just in case”.  And  prepare some kind of reminder for yourself to pay the sitter when you get home late after a long night of partying!

Extra Notes for Nursing Moms

Leaving Milk for Your Baby

A night on the town presents additional challenges for nursing moms. I didn’t realize how complicated it would be when I agreed to go out the first time after my second was born. He was going to be eight-months-old and I thought it would be just fine. It was more difficult on everyone than I had anticipated. First I had to ensure that I had enough pumped milk saved up to make it through the night. You will want to leave two to three extra bottles because your baby may want to eat for comfort, this isn’t the end of the world if it’s a rare occasion. Your partner or other caregiver can feed baby anything that’s left over the next 24+ hours. If your baby does not regularly drink your milk out of a bottle then you may have a rude awakening trying to either introduce or remind your baby how to take a bottle. DO NOT wait until the last minute for this if you want to avoid having to rush home to feed an inconsolable bottle-refusing baby. If you don’t already have a freezer stash, start pumping & freezing about a month in advance to reduce the pressure on yourself

Managing Engorgement

Make sure that you save the last 20 – 30 minutes before you leave for a full nursing session just before you walk out the door. Also, if you guys are driving yourselves then you may be able to pump in the car while your partner drives to & from the venue. Then you could just leave your pump in the trunk when you go in. If you are going to do this just make sure that you either have an in-car power adapter or enough batteries to power your pump. If this will not be an option for you, then you may want to get yourself a hand-held manual pump for inside the restaurant, bar, and/or venue. You may want this even if you are able to use your regular pump in the car. This just depends on how long you will be gone. If you are going to a concert and/or sporting event just make sure that you research the venue in advance to determine what you can and cannot take into the venue, if they make any accommodations for nursing mothers and whether or not they have a mother’s room. DO NOT forget breast pads!

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