Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Meet The New MomAdvice Contributors

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Contributor Collage

I am so excited to announce that we now have an amazing team of contributors for the MomAdvice website. As I shared with you last week, it is time for me to loosen those reigns on the site and allow some new voices in that can really showcase what MomAdvice is all about… empowering you and giving you the tools you need to live a great life on a budget.

We had over two hundred applicants and I really prayed hard about really bringing you what you might need as a mom. With that in mind, we now have contributors to assist you in food preparation, money management, and advice on parenting & motherhood.

MomAdvice Contributor Team

Money: Kelly Whalen (The Centsible Life)

DIY/Craft: Sarah Milne (Daffodil Design & Sarah M Style)

Marriage/Parenting: Mary Carver (Giving Up on Perfect)

Food: Shaina Olmanson (Food For My Family)

Food: Diana Bauman (My Humble Kitchen)

Managing Editor/ My Right Arm: Jami Boys (An Oregon Cottage)

Our contributor’s posts will be going live starting in the month of February! I can’t wait to share their words and ideas with you- I have no doubt that they will be awesome.
Thank you all for weathering the changes this week as we redesigned the site. My husband and I have looked like two zombies for the last week and with the snow storms blowing through here, I am enjoying a week to get back on my feet again.
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Speaking of weather…holy snowfall! We are snowed in over in Indiana! I am hoping that I can resume a normal work schedule (if my kids ever return to school!)
In the meantime, one more big announcement coming your way on Monday! Did you know it is my birthday week (yes, that is a thing!)? We are giving myself a big birthday gift for our ten year MomAdvice birthday and my 21st birthday…
A girl can dream.
In all seriousness, I can’t wait to share that with you! In the meantime, be sure to browse our new contributor’s sites! They are AWESOME!
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Welcome to the NEW MomAdvice.com.

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

10yearcelebration Happy New Year, friends! This is a big year for us as we celebrate the site’s tenth birthday. My husband and I have both been working behind-the-scenes on a brand new website for you.

Well…he’s been working and I have been nagging.

I digress.

As you can see, we are still a website under construction, but our foundation has been laid for all the new things to come… and there are oh-so-many great things to come!

Bear with us as we get settled into our new home. It has been no easy task for my husband to create all of this while maintaining his own full-time design job. We are still working out some kinks and will be adding on more layers as we get settled. For now, I hope you can browse and click around to see the site in all of it’s beauty. I may be biased, but I think it is pretty incredible.

Along with these design changes, in the upcoming weeks we will be announcing a fresh list of contributors who will be blogging along with me on all of the topics you care about- family, marriage, parenting, recipes, DIY, and personal finance. We had almost 160 applicants for these four positions and I have a feeling you are going to love the talent that we unleash on here. It will be just what you might expect from me, but even better because each one of these contributors is an expert in their topic. I can’t wait to blog along with them and to allow myself to finally let go a bit of all the creative control.

I am looking forward to what they will bring, what this new site will bring, and how we will grow with this new foundation in place. I am looking forward to celebrating MomAdvice.com’s 10th birthday with you on January 12th. The year of surprises is not over! Thank you for your love and support over the years- this would have never been possible without you! amy_signature

My Top 20 Posts of 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Thank you all for another fabulous year of sharing on MomAdvice. I am so happy to share with you our annual round-up of the most visited posts on our site. If you would have told me I would be spray painting furniture, making wreaths out of Peeps, knitting up boot cuffs, making flowers out of book pages, grating soap in my food processor for laundry detergent….all while sipping Peep Martinis…well, I would have told you that you must be crazy.

And I need an intervention.

I mean, seriously. That’s too much drinking.

Thank you all for your continued love and support! Many good things are coming this year, I can just feel it! I am thankful for each of you and that I get to call this my job.

How to Spray Paint Furniture

1. How to Spray Paint Furniture

How to Teach Your Child to Tie Shoes

2. A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes

Sashay Boutique Yarn Knitted Ruffled Scarf

3. Easy Knitted Ruffled Scarf with Sashay Yarn

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4. The Best iPhone Apps to Organize Your Family

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5. What Do You Do All Day? The Real Story Behind My Niche Blog

100dayssummer13

6. Our Annual 100 Days of Summer

Rosette Bib Necklace

7. DIY Rosette Bib Necklace Tutorial

Knitted Boot Cuffs

8. Knitted Boot Cuffs

Peep Martinis

9. Peep Martinis

Chicken Ceasar Pasta Salad

10. Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

11. Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

9 Baked Donuts MomAdvice

12. 9 Awesome Baked Donut Recipes

Peanut Ginger Chicken Noodles

13. Peanut Ginger Chicken Noodles

Fabulous Fall Drinks MomAdvice.com

14. Fabulous Fall Drinks Round-Up

Make Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

15. Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe

Book Page Flowers

16. Book Page Posies

DIY Peep Wreath With Rolled Rosette

17. Peep Wreath With Rolled Ribbon Rosette

Snowflake Tutorial

18. Tips for Making Paper Snowflakes With Kids

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

19. How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

20. Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

Did you try something this year from our site? Feel free to share something you found helpful this year! We look forward to bringing you oh-so-much-more in 2014!

Sharing My Heart With You Today

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Sharing My Heart With You Today from MomAdvice.com

I don’t dive into my personal life too often on here, but I think it is important to keep you in the loop on a few things. For the last year, I have been a very sick girl. Almost every day this year I have felt like I have been under a fog, have no energy, and have been sick to my stomach. My weight dropped dramatically and the stress of managing this site and publishing my first book seemed to contribute towards my stomach issues. I have felt like I have been on a downward health spiral.

I went to see doctors, a food allergist, and two dieticians and the general consensus was that I had IBS. I felt like it was more than that though and continued to look for answers to resolve my health issues. I didn’t want to take medications and the nutritional advice offered didn’t seem to help me at all.

After seeing a dietician who had a focus on whole foods, she suggested that I try a diet to heal my intestines, but over the holidays to try a Paleo approach towards eating.  The very first day, I felt miraculously better and am continuing to feel better each and every day since. A removal of gluten from my diet has made me feel like a brand new person. A family history of celiac disease (despite testing negative on my blood work and still needing to go in for an endoscopy for a truly solid answer) leads me to believe that gluten has been the culprit all along.

Of course, giving up dairy and giving up gluten is really hard, especially around the holidays. I almost caved when I saw my grandmother’s chocolate cream pie and my mother-in-law’s world famous sugar cookies. I didn’t though because I am determined to heal and to be a healthy mom.

This may change the focus of some of our recipes, but it will not be a blog devoted towards dairy-free & gluten-free eating. The rest of my family still happily fills their bellies with the things I can’t, but I do think we will be able to offer more recipes that may cater to families who face the same issues as me.

MomAdvice- Coming Soon!

As for work, it has been the best year of my career yet. I have truly found the projects that I do to be so rewarding and I am so grateful for every project that has come my way. We are excited to be revealing a brand new design on the website that my husband has been working sporadically on the last six years on to create and I am so excited to continue offering the content you crave to keep you on budget and thinking creatively in your home & kitchen.

That being said, as we celebrate our tenth anniversary, I feel my heart is pulling me in a different direction. Perhaps because of the health issues, I am feeling creatively tapped out and I feel God has called me to do something bigger this year.

As you may have seen, I am hiring contributors for our website to assist with covering the topics that I know you want to see, but I can’t cover alone. I have done this for ten years alone with no one contributing, and I think it is time to give you more than that. After all, how many new things can I say after all this time?

We already have almost eighty applicants and I am reading every single blog and trying to pick the absolute best fit for our site and what you have come to expect from me. They will cover topics like parenting, craft, food, and home/decor, money, and health. These are all so essential to our site, but I just can’t do it alone anymore.

There Will Be Miracles

I will still be running our brand new book club and sharing crafts & the dishes you have come to expect from me. I will also be handling the sponsored content that pays my bills. Just as you see in a magazine with the advertisements, these sponsorships allow me to run this website. They pay for the web hosting, an assistant, contributors, an accountant to manage all the craziness, and everything else that we are able to offer for free to our readers. I am very honest about all of this over in this post.

Don’t just think of those sponsorships as my bill-paying opportunities though. I can’t wait to show you what I am able to do with the money from one of those sponsored posts I did last year. I was able to buy a birthday gift for myself that will bless 1,000 people. Although we can’t do that with all of our sponsored content, our family consistently uses the money from these projects to bless others and we have a commitment to continue doing that as long as our site affords us that luxury.

As for feeling a higher calling, all of that will unfold the week of January 12th. The site will be celebrating it’s tenth birthday and we want to do something big for a community in need. We will be calling upon you to help. Everything we have done here, has been free and we would love to celebrate our birthday with you by blessing others.

Sharing My Heart With You Today from MomAdvice.com

I will also be crafting nonstop, but not for my own financial gain this year. As we reveal this all on January 12th, I will be working to stock an Etsy shop called, “A Well of Hope,” filled with knitted hats, scarves, gloves, and coffee/tea cozies to sell to dig wells in Africa. 100% of my profits will go towards this passion project in giving children & mothers clean water. I feel like God gave me these skills for a reason and it is time to bless others with them. 

Right now I am in the beginning stages of getting permissions on patterns (to sell my wares), shopping for supplies, and pattern-testing. I’m so excited about sharing this with all of you once I get everything up and going. I hope you will think of my shop when selecting your holiday gifts for next year.

I felt it was time to confess to you what is on my heart and where I am at right now. I hope you will stick around to see it all unfold and ask that you pray for us as we take these big leaps with our business. It is scary to give up the creative control that I have had for so long, but it will give me time to focus on the bigger things.

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Hiring Contributors for MomAdvice.com

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

now_hiring

I am looking for four new contributors to add to our team in anticipation of the relaunch of our site next month. I am interested in expanding our audience and would love to add some fresh voices to our site. Some of the topics that we are interested in covering are Food, DIY/Home Decor, Fashion/Lifestyle, Craft/Sewing, & Parenting.

I will pay $50 per post and am looking for an individual who could contribute once monthly a unique post for our site. Upon publishing your post on our site, you could publish the content on your own site, we just ask that you wait three months to republish it!

If you are interested in writing for my new team, please fill out this survey and I will be in touch with you. Please note, the application will be closed on Friday! Thank you so much for considering this!

$500 Cash Giveaway

Friday, December 6th, 2013

500_Dollar_Cash_Giveaway

I am so excited to be offering up a very special surprise giveaway opportunity to one lucky reader. Today we are sharing a $500 cash giveaway (made in the form of a Visa Gift Card) to help with all of those holiday gifts you might be shopping for.

Here are all of the fantastic bloggers that are sponsoring this special giveaway: 

A Cowboy’s Wife

A Family Feast

Barbara Bakes

Bless This Mess

Crumbs and Chaos

Eat at Home Cooks

Frugal Upstate

Hoosier Homemade

Let’s Dish

Kitchen Meets Girl

Mom Advice (that’s me!)

Pocket Change Gourmet

Roxana’s Home Baking

Sophistishe

Sweet Sugarbelle

Sweet Treats and More

The Pennington Point

Unsophisticook

Wholesome Mommy

Your Homebased Mom

 

Below is the Rafflecopter widget where you can enter to win this $500 cash giveaway. You will have the opportunity to check out all the fun ways you can enter for additional entries! This giveaway will end on 12/13 (Friday) so be sure to get your entries in today!

Good luck and Happiest of Holidays!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Site Sponsor Feature: Happy Birthday, Flourish Boutique!

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

flourish_boutique_gallery

Today I just wanted to say thank you to one of our advertising sponsors that has been so good to me over the years. Flourish Boutique is known for not only helping women find outfits and accessories to make them feel special, but also for being a unique but affordable places to shop.

Flourish is celebrating their 5th birthday and I will be traveling to the Savvy Blogging Summit instead of getting to participate in all of the festivities this year, which really is quite a bummer for a loyal shopper like me!

Here are just a few events that are happening in the upcoming weeks on their social calendar! 

June 20, 2013 (Thursday)

Flourish Boutique welcomes you to their 5th Birthday Celebration with an open house from 4-8pm at the boutique. A runway fashion show will be held at 6:30. Enjoy sips and snacks, and the first 150 guests will get free swag bags too! 30% off Storewide Sale. Giveaways. Free Admission.

June 21-30, 2013

Flourish Boutique will keep the party going for the next week, celebrating five years of business. Expect surprise flash sales, tons of giveaways and deals, special new inventory and much more!  Don’t forget to give them a Like on their Facebook page to follow those sales!

July 26-28, 2013

Our most popular sale, Overstock, is back and better than ever. We will slash prices with items starting at just $1 and all markdowns 60-90% off. Doors open at 10 am on Friday July 26th for this special and anticipated sale event.

 

flourish_boutique_gallery_2 Mother's Day Shoot_ Amy & Emily I with info

Emily and I recently had the best time posing for a beautiful campaign they shot for Mother’s Day. I had a hard time getting Emily out of those heels and beautiful accessories when it was time to go!  Who am I fooling? I didn’t want to give up my heels, accessories, or dress either!  (Photo credit: Julia Schwartz of Schwartz Photography)

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If you are unsure of what the latest trends are and what types of items you should be stocking up on for the season, Flourish Boutique has a great blog that showcases the do’s and don’ts for the latest fashions and how to achieve that look you have been dying for on your Pinterest boards. You can do it for less by visiting their awesome Sales page or head upstairs in their shop for their clearance items. You just might spy me there!

The store offers online shopping so if you don’t live around here, you can still partake of all of the amazing deals and steals that the store offers on their website. MomAdvice customers receive a 25% discount code. Just enter WEB25 when you checkout!

Thank you again to Flourish for being a valued supporter of MomAdvice and, “Happy Birthday!”

 

100 Days of Summer Pinterest Board- 2013 Edition!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

100 Days of Summer 2013

Summer is just around the corner and I am so excited to share with you that I have gathered another 100 Days of Summer activities for you to do with your kids in the summer months. These are 100 activities that are all low to no cost, screen-free, and a fun way to build truly memorable moments with your kids in the summer months.

I had the best time creating our very first 100 days of summer activities board for our family to do and share with you and then last year’s 100 Days of Summer was another huge hit. It was so huge that I just knew I had to repeat it all again this year for you.

100 Days of Summer 2013

I am looking forward to tackling our own summer list and will be documenting our projects through mobile pictures.You can catch me on Instagram, where I am documenting our summer. Just search for the username momadvice and you will find me there. Just as a side note, I try to always answer all the comments on my pictures if I can. If you have questions about projects we are doing or just want to say hello, I will do my best to respond!

If you are on Instagram, you can join in on the fun by taking pictures and sharing all of your summer adventures through there. Let’s use the hashtag #100summerdays again like we did last year.

By tagging your photos, it will make it easy to find each other in the group and share the projects we are tackling together. You can add the tags to your caption or you can add them as a comment later. In either scenario, the tag will pull it into our summer group.

I still will be sharing our apron full of giveaways and our notebook of inspiration each week. I will also have fresh content through my freelance writing jobs this summer with Kenmore, Goodwill, Jack’s Pizza, & Walmart that will keep our site fully loaded with great ideas for your summer.

For the rest of my entries, I will be sharing what we are working on from our summer list through mobile pictures and quick notes on what fun activities we are doing at our house. I am hoping it will be an inspiration to you to get out and enjoy the summer with your children. I can’t say we will tackle a hundred activities, but I will be awfully proud if we do one cool activity a week.

100 Days of Summer 2013

This year’s list is AMAZING and my favorite so far from making chevron friendship bracelets, to building race tracks, to painting techniques on rain days, to creating popsicle light sabers. There really is something for EVERY age group this year.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for inspiration for your meal planning, home, reading, wardrobe and more! I am one happy little pinner!

Happy summer to each of you!

xo,
Amy

 

Pin It

Welcome, Type-A Philly Attendees!

Friday, April 19th, 2013

image credit: Nancy Lary Studios

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the wonderful Type-A Philly Attendees this weekend to my site! I am so honored and excited to be sharing with you my tips for driving and making the most of Pinterest traffic on your blogs, along with my fabulous friend Jo-Lynne Shane at Musings of a Housewife.

You may not know this about me, but I am a Pinterest addict! I absolutely love pinning great bloggers and showcasing everything from home organization to recipes to activities to keep your kids busy. To get to share my passion for Pinterest and how to grow your business is a true honor for me.

You are only meeting half of the MomAdvice team in our house. I tend to get all the glory, while my husband graciously does all of the hard coding, programming, and back-breaking work of our site. Without his mad skills and his willingness to give me the chance to travel and share, we just wouldn’t have the site that we have today. We have been a team for a long time. Thirteen years of wedded bliss and high school sweethearts before we could even drive. That is a lot of team work, friends!

My name is Amy and I am the Founder of MomAdvice.com and author of, “The Good Life for Less.” I am a busy mom of two and live in the beautiful Midwest with my web designing husband and our two children. I love to cook, knit, drink coffee, take pictures, and am a total bookworm. I am dedicated to anything that will help make my life simpler, keep me on my budget, and that promotes family time! If you want to take a look at a snapshot of my day, I offer the real story this week on the life of a niche blogger.

We started this site over nine years ago as a platform to share about all of those topics that I had been searching for when I became homemaker. How do I cook? How do I clean this house? How do I keep my children entertained without breaking the bank? How do I manage a daily routine? Most of all though…how do I do all of this on a limited income?

I love staying connected with my readers so you can find me on Facebook,Twitter, GoodReads, and Ravelry…just to name a few! Chances are, if you search for someone named momadvice, you will likely find me there!

Are you on Facebook? Please be sure to Fan our MomAdvice.com Page. We would love to continue to share and interact with you! If you are on Twitter, you can find me there too sharing about our daily life and what is happening on our site. There are so many ways to connect regularly with the site and I would love to interact with you daily!

Here are some links to articles and plugins that will be highlighted in this discussion:

How to Be a Pinterest Superstar

Pin It On Pinterest Plugin (great for tracking what is being pinned and setting up how you want your pins to display)

How to Add a “Pin It,” Mouseover Button (I used this tutorial from Kevin & Amanda to add our mouseover button and I love it!)

Food Photography 101

10 Photo Taking Tips to Make Your Photos Pin Worthy

Protect Your Work. How to Watermark Your Photos

Pinterest Newbie? Pinterest for Bloggers

How and Why to Verify Your Website on Pinterest

 

Here are some other great reads that I encourage you to look at for creating a community, generating revenue, and a balanced blogger life:

What Do You Do All Day? The Real Behind My Niche Blog!

I Did It My Way: Long-Term Blogging Success Tips

7 Tips for Leading a Balanced Blogger Life

The Player Scores and Silence

Five Commandments for Blogging

Gaining a Readership the Frugal Way

Simplifying Your To-Do List

How Do I Become a Product Review Blogger

How Do I Track My Traffic

How Do I Work From Home

What in the World is Twitter?

10 Useful Tools for Twitter Users

Selling Yourself

Achieving Balance When Working From Home

If you are attending the conference this week, PLEASE say hello to me! I am looking forward to learning, networking, and loving you! I am an open book of information because it has been hard to find people who were an open book to me. I will tell you anything you want to know about blogging and if I don’t know it, I can help you network with the people who can offer you the information you need. I have had GREAT mentors in my life who have shaped who I am and family & friends that keep me grounded and living an authentic life on MomAdvice.

If you would like, I would love to have you subscribe to my blog! I look forward to connecting with you!

 

Pin It

What Do You Do All Day? The Real Story Behind My Niche Blog!

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

One of the biggest questions that I get asked is, “What exactly is your job?” It is one of those things that people are often curious about, and admittedly are confused about,  since my job is so difficult to explain. Today I wanted to offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it is like to run a niche blog.

I have been blogging for 9 1/2 years now which makes me a dinosaur in this business! The blog that you see today is very different than the blog I started out with. The site has grown a lot over the years and many  of you have been through all of its growing pains. For those of you that have been following our journey, I wanted to share with you what my business has evolved into.

What is a Typical Day Like For You?

I am a busy mom of two kiddos so my day-to-life is probably a lot like yours. I handle the day-to-day routines and schedules of my kids. I take my kids to their extra curricular activities, I volunteer weekly at my kid’s school helping with kids that are struggling with reading, we go to worship once a week, and I do my best to workout at the gym three days a week.

Every pocket of time that I have beyond that though is spent working on projects for one of the many freelance clients I write for. I am either shopping for my clients, creating tutorials for craft/diy/food, photographing projects, or writing for them. Since many of my clients are running on magazine calendar deadlines, you will often find me shopping for Easter supplies in the dead of winter or working on Christmas crafts in the Fall.

Even my free time is often accounted for because I share it with you. I try to read four books a month for our reviews and you will rarely find me sitting still when I am watching television because I am usually working on a craft project at the same time for the blog.

Much like you, I am sure, I am pretty beat at the end of the day! By the time the kids go to bed, I am ready for bed myself. I usually head to bed pretty early so I can start the whole routine again!

Who Works With You?

I think one of the things that people have found most surprising about our site is that I was the only writer & contributor on my site for over nine years alone. My husband did all of the coding and design of our site and I managed all the content.

When our site experienced a lot of growth from Pinterest, I realized that there was no way that I could manage all of this on my own. My email inbox had over 50,000 unopened emails, my taxes and paperwork for my business were a mess, and I had been treating my work like a hobby rather than a business.

This last month I hired a virtual assistant to help  me with some of the things my readers had come to expect here, but didn’t really showcase my personality- the weekly freebie list, our weekly notebook, and our giveaway link list. She got my inbox down to zero within two months and I finally felt like I could breathe a little bit. She is, in one word, amazing, and has brought back a quality of life that I felt like I had been lacking.

We also hired an accountant to handle our taxes this year, something that had burdened us greatly over the years, and I also started using FreshBooks (affiliate) to help me keep track of my accounting better (a recommendation made by my amazing friend over at Dine & Dish). Invoicing, following up on payments with clients, and paperwork for them takes up a good portion of my day so any people/products I can use to make my day go smoother really helps me.

embroidery thread egg for Kenmore

 

Why Do You Work For So Many Brands?

I write a lot of content for brands because, frankly, it helps pay the bills. I write professionally for five to six clients monthly and those projects help our family financially, but much of the earnings go towards keeping my site up and running.

When our site was smaller, we had an inexpensive web host and I was able to do everything on my own. Our site grew by 100,000 users this year alone, which is incredible and awesome, but our web host couldn’t handle the traffic! It was time to invest in the business and move to Liquid Web (affiliate), who can handle anything we throw at them. We currently spend about a thousand dollars a month to pay for web hosting, photography props/equipment, our accountant, and my assistant. Many of my projects that I write for just go towards keeping the business afloat and paying my self-employment taxes.

No, I Was Asking How Much You Make?

Yup, I get asked that all the time although I have NEVER asked anyone what their salary is. It is such a weird job that people are always dying to know how much you make. I make a full-time income thanks to the companies I work for as a content writer/creator, ambassador, and spokesperson for. If I was living on our ad revenue alone, we could pay for our web host and maybe a bill or two. In all honesty though,  my income fluctuates a lot because it depends on what jobs come through for me for the year. This past year all my time was devoted towards my book which was a rewarding experience, but also prevented me from taking on a lot of paying jobs.

How Do You Do It All?

I don’t think I do more than many of the other working parents that I know, but people constantly ask me this. I think the main reason is because when people do these types of projects around their house they aren’t pointing a bunch of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram traffic over to it like,

“LOOK AT ME! I MAKE THINGS! LOOK HOW AWESOME I AM!”

Here is an example of a typical month of projects  for my clients.

I knitted a scarf for a new yarn line that Walmart was carrying.

I painted vases with my kids for Kenmore.

I took my kids over to the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit at Brookfield Zoo to write a review for a local magazine I write for.

I gathered up ideas for things to do with old books for Goodwill.

I made homemade laundry detergent for Walmart.

I made a cookbook with my kids for Kenmore (post coming soon!)

I made whole wheat toasted tarts with Walmart.

There are several other projects, but this gives you an idea of what I am up to. If I look at it as a whole, I am completely overwhelmed. On any given week I could have anywhere between two to four projects for clients. Since I do all of  the shopping, crafting/cooking and then my own writing & photography for these projects, each project is very time-consuming.

I also am maintaining the writing that I do here on  my blog like sharing yummy recipes for pecan-crusted chicken fingers, whipping up Peep-tinis, & sharing all those fun book reviews and making sure we have plenty of content for the rest of the week. All of that, and I haven’t even touched on the social media side of things which is just as consuming now that my readers can connect with me through every available social media channel!

Usually the most surprising amount of time I spend is on the shopping and the staging for photos. I will get a brilliant idea for a client and then get to the store and find out that the items I need aren’t sold there or that I have to completely rethink a project. What’s worse is if I spend a whole day on a recipe and it flops.

Although it appears I take every opportunity given to me, I take about half or less of the projects offered. If you look at the projects above, you might be surprised they were even for companies because they are just the types of projects I would want to share with you anyway. Since the companies supply a budget for supplies, it helps to offset some of the costs to crank out this many projects monthly.

Time management is a tricky terrain with a juggle like this. I have learned that is better to tackle a few recipes in one day and then edit & write the content the other days. Many days it looks like a bomb exploded in my house because I am in some stage of creation for someone. It doesn’t make my Type-A heart very happy, but it is one of those things that comes with the job. I try to look at it the way I see my kids LEGO’s all over the floor or all their art supplies out, I am just proud they are creative and they are making something. I want to always be surrounded by creativity.

Basically, I take it all day by day.

How Does Your Job Impact Your Family Life?

I am so thankful for my job because it usually has a positive impact on our family life. My kids and I see these projects as opportunities to spend time together and the recipes that I create in our kitchen are enjoyed by all at our family dinners. How many people get to craft all day long and call it work? Not many! It almost sounds too good to be true sometimes.

I have gotten to travel to places that I thought I would only read about in books, I got to fulfill a life goal to write a book, my kids have gotten to go to places we couldn’t have afforded, and I’ve met a lot of truly amazing men & women who blog that my life would have never crossed paths with.

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Let me be honest though, there are positive and negative aspects about my work. For example, since our holiday content is written months in advance, I am usually not sitting around making rainbow cakes with my kids on St. Patrick’s Day or being a super creative parent like I want to be. By the time the holidays roll around, they are usually lucky if I dye their milk green because we have already done those projects together ages ago and I am on to the next holiday.

Traveling can be hard especially when my jobs end up interfering with family events. One year I had to travel on my daughter’s birthday and I cried a lot over that. It didn’t matter that I had thrown three parties for her, I was not there on the actual day. Inevitably, some kid gets sick or they have a fancy holiday show and I am off promoting the latest product for a company or have a speaking engagement for my work that has been planned months in advance. I am thankful for Skype on days like those so that I can see their faces and feel like I am there. I am sure every working parent feels that way sometimes.

Operating at a frantic pace each week can also have negative impacts on me and my health. I was two years overdue for a lot of routine check-ups for myself this year, my stomach issues have increased, and there are times where I feel completely overwhelmed or just don’t want to do all of this. It is hard to escape your work when it is always there!

We are not celebrities by any stretch of the imagination, but our family does not have an anonymous life. Some of us thrive better than others with this and there are days where we miss that.

There are times where I want to be political or snarky, but I worry how that might reflect to my readers so it definitely censors me in my social media life.I am sure this is a good thing in the long run.

All in all, the positives have outweighed the negatives though. If it starts to turn the other direction, we will have to make a decision to continue or not as a family. We operate under the, “All for one, one for all,” family motto. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Have a question for me? Feel free to ask it!

 

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