m challenge: Tips & Benefits of “Slow Blogging” with Tiffany King

May 18th, 2015

Note: With May as our M Challenge Focus on Technology, I was really excited when Tiffany King, from Eat At Home, offered to share her expertise about growing your blog slowly – and why that can be a good thing. It’s been a privilege to see her blog grow and I know if you are a blogger you will learn so much from her tips! 

Tips and Benefits to Grow Your Blog Slowly with Tiffany King

There has been a lot of talk around the internet over the last six months or so of bloggers feeling burned out. That has prompted conversations on slow blogging.

Going slow with a blog is nothing new to me.  My site, Eat at Home, has grown very slowly but steadily over the last six and a half years.  Yes, there have been plateaus and challenges.  Many times it’s been frustrating to watch other sites grow faster.  But looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Like many of you who are also blogging, I have several kids and other obligations as well.  I don’t have the hours to devote full-time work to my blog.  Instead, I’ve applied slow and steady work and the blog has grown and matured. Just like when you put food in a slow cooker – it will eventually come to a boil and cook.  It will take longer than if you use the stove-top or oven, but it will cook.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years about how to grow a site without putting in long hours, or working until 2 am or neglecting time with family.  I don’t want to come across like I have this all figured out.  Far from it!  But I do know that it’s possible to work reasonable hours and still have a successful site. These are things that have worked for me.  Maybe some of them will work in your situation too!

Time and Patience

If you’re planning to grow your site without putting in long hours all at once, you will have to give it time.  It does take a lot of work to build a successful site.  You don’t have to put all those hours in over a small amount of time.  What others have done in six months, it’s taken me years. But I’ve been able to work the hours that fit my family’s schedule.  Yes, it’s frustrating at times to not see quicker growth.  But the growth does come if you just keep at it.

Focus on Your Goal

– Do you want or need to earn an income?

– Are you trying to build a platform so you can get a book published?

– Do you want to build a community of people who can support each other or do good in the world?

Knowing what your main objective is will help you determine where to spend your time.  If you want to build a community of bloggers, it would be helpful to attend quite a few conferences so you can meet people face to face.  If you want to earn an income, you’ll need to focus on activities that will make a profit.

Work the path that makes the most sense for you and your goals.

Focus on Your Readers

Getting super clear on who your readers are and what they want is really important in growing a site.  Figure out what their pain points are.  Then create content and products that solve those problems for them.  This isn’t new info, but it is important enough to mention again.

Maximize Your Momentum Points

A momentum point is any event, blog post, product, affiliate relationship etc that brings you more results than you normally get.

You are probably familiar with the 80/20 Principle.  Also called the “Law of the Vital Few”, this principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. This means that 80% of your traffic is coming from 20% of your blog posts.  80% of your revenue is coming from 20% of your work.  80% of your social media traffic is most likely coming from one outlet.

This 20% of the effort in any area is a momentum point that you can capitalize on.

Here are a few examples of things that could be momentum points:

• A post that gets linked to by a large blog, sending lots of traffic your way.

• A post that goes viral on a social media site.

• A product you create and sell that earns a good profit.

• A series you write that readers love and share.

• A sponsored post you write that the brand loves.

All of these things, and many more, can be momentum points. But to really make them work, you have to push harder on those places.  Take advantage of the movement that has been created and keep it building.

Here’s an example from my blog:

100 Days of Summer Slow Cooker via Eat At Home

A few summers ago I had a post to do with very little time.  I threw up a list of summer slow cooker recipes that I have on my site.  I think there were 15-20 links.  I didn’t include photos. It was a very basic post that I viewed as quick filler. But that post did really well, sending lots of traffic and pins.  It was a momentum point.

So the next summer I promoted that old post, but also created a summer-long series of 75 days of summer slow cooker recipes.  I linked to other bloggers and to my own recipes, as well as put out some new recipes for the series.  I posted every day that summer. The Summer Slow Cooker Series did really well.  It was good for me, because a lot of them were very easy posts.  And good for traffic because readers loved them.

So the next summer I increased the series to 100 days and hired my VA to do a lot of the work for it. She even did some ghost writing of the posts (the only time I’ve ever done that).  I was able to step away from the blog to enjoy summer and work more on creating and promoting my products.

Using that original Summer Slow Cooker post to create momentum, I was able to leap the blog forward.  And eventually, it afforded me time for pushing other types of work forward as well.

What is one momentum point that you could push forward on your blog right now?

Momentum points can happen by some outside force (large site linking to you), by accident (writing a post that takes off unexpectedly) or by creating it.  Creating momentum points is trial and error, but as you study things that have worked in your business, you’ll begin to see trends that you can use for creating more momentum.

Skip the Friction Points

A few friction points that are common to all of us are:

• Comparison

• Jealousy

• Tracking down stolen content

All of this is a waste of time and a huge energy drain.  They’re also easy traps to fall into.  But effort spent on any of these things will never pay off.

Other possible friction points:

• Doing work you hate, instead of finding someone else to do it or skipping it all together (if possible).

• Trying to perfect things that are already good enough and working.  (Site designs, photos, About pages, old posts, SEO…)

• Spending a lot of time working on something that is not part of the 20% that gets you 80% of the results.  (Writing long tutorial posts on a topic that doesn’t answer the problems your readers have.)

Consistent, Focused Work + Time = Results

We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently.  ~Gretchen Rubin

It is possible to grow a successful site by working slowly and consistently.  It will take longer.  It will require patience and focus. It will also pay off with more time to spend with family, a healthier and balanced life and a successful site.

 

It’s the 3 Little Things (With Meagan): King, Cuffs & Coffee

May 15th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Well, hello, Friday! Nice to see you again! The Clark family has hobbled through another week and this will be our last 3 little things for this month as the blog will be on hiatus from May 20th-June 1st. My husband and I are celebrating our 15 year anniversary and got our very first passports to take a trip to Italy to celebrate. We are touring Florence, Rome, & Venice on our trip and I am so excited and so very nervous. Grandma retired last year and has generously agreed to step into our place and take over for nine days with my children. She is a saint!

I want everything to be spectacular for her so I am filling the freezer, organizing a fraction of the unorganized spaces, list-making, and tackling the Mt. Everest of laundry piles. It will all be worth it though and we are so thankful we leave our kids in far more competent hands than my own.

 

Passport Application

Say some prayers for grandma and, if you have a few to spare, throw up a few for us since we are nervous travelers!  We have been saving a long time for this. Actually, since we got married. I started a secret fund and auto-transferred $25 in it each month for a vacation for our ten year anniversary. We were broke, but we never felt the pinch in those early years of marriage. Ten years passed and our kids felt too small to leave them, but now at 12 and 9… the timing finally feels right.

Today we have Meagan Church  joining us to share her happy list! Meagan Church is a writer, children’s book author and the brainpower behind www.Unexpectant.com, which explores the story of modern motherhood. She lives in the Midwest with her high school sweetheart, three children and a few animals. Connect with her on Twitter, on Instagram, or visit her website www.MeaganChurch.com.

Meagan and I are local friends that have wrote for some of the same publications and she is as genuine as they come. You are in for a real treat today so please give her a warm welcome! If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to amy@momadvice.comand I will share them in the upcoming weeks! 

Meagan Church

 

It’s a spring Friday in Northern Indiana, so what better time to take a few minutes and consider a couple simple, yet beautiful moments of recent? Of course I must take pause to celebrate the return of birds, tree buds and running season, but there are other things that have had my heart and attention as of recent, including a book, a bracelet and a brewer.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

 

“11/22/63” by Stephen King

I don’t typically read Stephen King books. While I am an avid reader, the overwhelming size of most King books intimidates me, not to mention the fact that some of his stories that I heard years ago still haunt my nightmares today. While re-reading his incredibly inspiring book “On Writing,” I felt the urge to dive into one of his newer novels. I had heard good things about “11/22/63,” so I downloaded a digital copy from the library, and, not being very good at converting digital pages to print pages, I had no idea just how long it was. I wasn’t able to finish the digital copy before it had to be returned, so I headed to the library to get a print copy and an intimidating surprise. I pulled the book off the shelf, suddenly thankful for each and every Insanity workout I had endured that had made it possible for me to actually lift the behemoth of a book. But, I told myself that size didn’t matter. What mattered was that I finished a story that had engaged and engrossed me from the start. Soon this book crept into many of my conversations and even a few of my dreams. Even with three little ones, writing deadlines and typical every-day commitments, I read the book in record time. While I have always had respect for King’s writing, reading this book put me in awe of his masterful storytelling. Though I finished it a few weeks ago, the story is still on my mind, along with wondering if the upcoming Hulu mini-series will do the story justice.

Personalized Cuff Bracelets

Personalized Cuff Bracelets

I have always been a sucker for a good quote. And, I’ve always tried to find ways to surround myself with encouraging and inspiring words. Over the past few years, I have had quotes and verses that have served as mantras for me, including the reminder to “be still” and the scripture Philippians 4:13 (which helped me get through three natural child births). When I attended the Storyline Conference in Chicago last fall, writer Shauna Niequist spoke these words that I instantly knew would be my mantra for 2015, “Do your thing with great love right now.” Wanting a constant reminder of these phrases, I fell in love with personalized cuff bracelets. Thanks to the awesomeness that is Etsy, I can have my reminder right at hand (or, rather wrist) whenever needed.

Thermal French Press

 

French Press

I love coffee though I’m no connoisseur by any means. I just love a nice cup of black coffee, hold the frills. I have had a devoted single-cup coffee maker for a decade-and-a-half. Sure, there have been fancier products on the market, but it served me well. Until recently. When I knew the end was near, I started researching and asking around about a replacement. Soon enough I came across a French press. The reviews, along with the fact that no wasted filters (or K-cups) are required, I decided to give it a try. I settled on a stainless steel option, fearing I would break a glass one and not trusting piping hot water in a plastic carafe. So far, it has not disappointed. Sure, it takes a few minutes longer to brew (four minutes after the water is heated) than the automatic drip did, but the rich taste, bold flavor and lack of wasteful filters have won me over and make me feel like a kitchen barista.

Whole Foods Pretzel Bread

Okay, okay! I just couldn’t leave this one out. A few months ago a friend asked me a question that changed my life: have you tried Whole Foods pretzel bread? Maybe that was a bit dramatic, but let’s just say that ever since she asked that question, we have either had a loaf on the counter or in the freezer…or both. These fresh-baked bites of heaven have saved more than one meal for me, partly because I’m not the best meal planner and also because when the kids hear pretzel bread is on the menu, they stop moaning about the part of the meal they don’t like and instead give thanks for the mouth-watering deliciousness that will soon be broken, shared and devoured.

How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Meagan, for generously sharing the happy today!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Freebie Friday May 15, 2015

May 15th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I was finally able to share about my fun interview with Molly Ringwald all about her book, When It Happens To You, for our Sundays with Writers. Totally fan-moment for me! For our Focus on Technology M Challenge, I updated two of my favorite articles that really helped us get our kid tech-time under control: printable tech & chore tickets, and ways we try and make face time a priority. Mary Carver is also sharing some great tips about using technology to make the most of your summer!

See who’s guest-posting on this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things & get your weekly dose of happy,  find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to take a look at all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: May 16 – May 22
16th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring Ballet Cat, 11 am
16th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Hot Air Balloon, 11 am – 3 pm

 

Pin It

Making Face Time a Family Priority

May 14th, 2015

Tips to Manage Kids Tech Time by Making Fact Time a Priority

When my children were small, it seemed that all they wanted to do was play with me, draw with me, and read with me. As they get older, it seems that all they want to do is play on the computer, play on the DS, and play on the Wii… and not with me?

What a change in priorities it has been to be so low on the activities totem pole!

I say this tongue in cheek, of course, because I am just as guilty as my kids of making screen time more of a priority than it should be. I could spend hours on my phone checking all of my social networks and being disconnected from the three people that love me most in my life.

One evening I looked around and saw each of us in our respective corners with our screens and I knew that something had to change. I want my children to have their downtime after school, but I also want us spending time together as a family.  I wanted to share with you our solutions for making family time a priority again.

Declare Face Time

When my kids get home from school it is time for snacks and homework. After that, they are free to do screen time alone until 5PM. At 5PM, I declare it, “FACE TIME!” Face time is not FaceTime on the iPhone, instead it means that we will have time together as a family until bedtime.  It means having a family meal together with great family conversation, reading books together, playing a board game, or spending an evening playing outside together.

I thought Face Time was a genius idea, but the first night my husband looked at me and said, “So we are ALL supposed to not be on the computer?” Yes, admittedly, I had to flip my phone upside down because each time the screen popped up; I was dying to know what was happening in the world. The two people that had the hardest time were the two of us and the kids took the change in routine surprisingly well.

Do Screen Time Together

If we use screen time during our Face Time it must be all done together.  Some evenings we spend an evening Wii bowling together and other evenings it is a night of wild dancing on our Just Dance game. I will admit that I often request a rousing round of Band Hero so I can sing with my very own Partridge Family.

We recently added a new screen time feature to our family that we are all absolutely loving. For about seven years now, I have made homemade pizza every Friday night for our evening meal and we have watched a family movie. In the last few months we have changed our pizza night to a, “Docu-Pizza,” night that we have all come to look forward to together. The evening consists of 1 pizza, 1 documentary, and 1 great family conversation afterwards. We have exposed the kids to lots of different cultures and watched documentaries about everything from the art of origami to puppetry to a senior citizen dance crew. It has led to amazing discussions and allowed us to use our screen time in a way that benefits our whole family.

If you are looking for some fun documentaries to add to your family viewing, be sure to follow my Reality Bites Pinterest Board for some fun movie suggestions to incorporate into your very own Docu-Pizza Night.

Screen time done together connects us and the kids are learning to include us in the gaming fun instead of doing the games on their own.

Use a Screen Time Monitoring System

I find it is much easier to monitor screen time hours during the school year since the kids are in school during the day. In the summer months is when screen time can really get out of control.  I wanted a way to monitor their screen time so we decided to create a printable ticket that could be used for just this occasion.

These tech tickets have made us all more aware of how much screen time we are using and have been a great way for us to monitor the amount they are getting. Each child gets one chore ticket and two tech tickets for the week in our house. The chore ticket must be punched before they can start with their first hour of screen time.

Tech tickets grant the child one hour of computer or video game time. We do not count television time as tech time in our house. Kids can watch 2 shows daily on Netflix. We no longer have cable television so that has really helped us do a better job of not zoning out on the television. A timer is set and once it dings, the card is punched for that hour.  It is as simple as that!

We made an agreement that if the child wants to save computer/video game time that they can save and transfer the hours to another day. They can not, however, cash in on an advance on their ticket.

My husband and I keep shaking our heads as we see the kids getting back to the root of playing together again. Without the screen distractions, they are playing more outside, playing more together, reading, and creating more. It makes my heart happy to see them getting back to this again and embracing imaginative play.

This is what being a child is about and this is what being a family is about. I am glad we are rediscovering these simple pleasures again.

How do you make Face Time a family priority in your house?

 


 

Pin It

Amy’s Notebook 05.13.15

May 13th, 2015

The Makerista Spring House Tour Ferns Outside Planters Pots Cement

Source: The Makerista

 

I want to freshen up my front step like this.

5 curling wand tutorials – no more burned fingers.

World’s best empathy cards.

I want to trick out my bicycle basket!

Swooning over this colorful midcentury modern home.

The truth about beauty that we must teach our daughters.

DIY cardboard box lap tray – brilliant!

DIY Leather-Chain Necklace via Small Friendly

Source: Small Friendly

 

DIY leather and chain jewelry- I must make this!

Organized nursery closet -LOVE this.

How to make a great drink on a plane.

I just started watching this and I’m loving it!

5 great travel pieces.

Someone slightly more obsessed than me with this show.

Treat yo self. I’m learning this too. Who wants to be secret pals for Mother’s Day next year? SERIOUSLY!!

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

Pin It

Using Technology to Make the Most of Summer

May 12th, 2015

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Boy using laptop outdoor

I’m not sure if you’ll see this as good news or bad news, but friends, summer break is almost here. Yes, it’s true. Those little people who eat so much food and make even bigger messes? They are going to be home for a solid 10 to 12 weeks, and they are going to need something to keep them occupied.

My almost-second-grader is a girl after my own heart these days and totally into books. That means our schedule is filling up with library events, reading programs and make-your-own bookmark craft projects. But eventually she’ll need a break from books (gasp! why?! I KNOW.), and then it’s time to figure out other ways to spend our summer days.

Now, obviously our summer and yours will involve lots of outdoor play, pool time, baseball games and the like. Even if – like me – you’re a little indoorsy, sunshine and swing sets and sandboxes and sweat seem to be required summer ingredients. Even if the siren call of our friends Netflix and Kindle is loud. Right?

So the question becomes: How can we balance our use of technology during summer break?

Great ideas, advice & tips on using technology during the summertime with your family from Mary Carver via MomAdvice.com

I’ve found that we use technology in four ways during family time (or Mama-is-working-so-find-something-quiet-to-do time).

Watching. Obviously this is the most passive of uses for the wonderful world of technology. From episodes of Kitchen Crashers saved on the DVR (my daughter’s latest obsession) to silly, G-rated clips on YouTube, it’s nearly impossible to run out of things to watch online. That’s why I work hard to keep track of her screen time (and mine) so we don’t overdo it and turn into Screen Zombies!

TIP: PBS, Disney, Nickelodeon and Sprout have free apps that show full episodes of your kids’ favorite shows.

Playing. Are your kids into Minecraft? If so, you can probably skip this one, because you are covered. My daughter hasn’t discovered Minecraft yet, though, so we have to look hard for appropriate games. Games that don’t require spending money to get to level three. Most the games we’ve found require just about as much brainpower as watching an episode of The Odd Squad on our PBS app, so I count games with her other screen time.

TIP: Don’t forget to adjust your settings so purchases require a password.

Learning. Now, learning games? THOSE I can get behind. (Even for myself, not that it’s a real hardship to “force” myself to play Trivia Crack instead of Candy Swipe…) My daughter knows the way to convince me to allow a little more time with the Kindle is to play an educational game, but she doesn’t mind the compromise anymore than I do. Tons of games that really do teach kids are out there – and many of them are free. One I plan to encourage her to play this summer is from PBS Kids, and it has several ways to teach her how to count money (something she hasn’t mastered just yet).

TIP: Your kids’ school is a great resource for educational websites, especially ones that they’re already familiar with. My daughter begs to play ABC Ya or read with Raz Kids, and we log on through her school’s website or with her teacher’s username and password. So find out about your options before school’s out!

Researching. When I was a kid and had a question about something my parents didn’t know (or wanted me to learn on my own), they always said the same thing: “Look it up.” Back then, that meant going to our shelf of World Book Encyclopedias. Not so much these days! Today if I tell my daughter we need to look up some information (she’s still a little young to do it herself, although she’ll be on her own soon), she knows we’re heading to Google, Wikipedia, Pinterest or another website.

TIP: In addition to looking up facts about whales, recipes for popsicles and the history of LEGOs, you and your kids can also look up community events or reserve books at the library.

Child playing video game with father

A Few More Tips & Ideas:

For older kids, technology is certainly going to be used for keeping in touch with friends. But even the youngest kids can Skype with grandparents or help you send a thank-you email after a play date.

One way to make sure your whole family is getting enough activity is with a device that measures your steps. Set a daily goal for each family member or even launch a friendly competition throughout the summer! Whether you use an app, a Fitbit, or a pedometer from the discount store, the point is to be more mindful of how much you – and your kids – move, and to encourage each other to do a little more.

And, of course, family night doesn’t always have to revolve around a movie or board game (those are the go-to activities at our house). Break out that Wii Fit, LeapTV or XBox Kinect – and break a sweat together!

Last but not least, summer is a great time to start discussions about safety. Remind your kids that not everything on the internet is healthy for them, and help them learn a few family rules about what you share online and what you do not. And as you tug the Gameboy (or whatever is cool these days…I CAN’T KEEP UP!) out of their hands and point them toward the backyard or the baseball field, use that opportunity to make talk about balance (and not turning into that Screen Zombie!) part of your regular conversations.

How do you plan to use technology during summer break?

 

Pin It

Apron Full of Giveaways 05.12.15

May 12th, 2015

Blue Check Half Apron via Etsy

Source: Ten Fifteen Bucks,  $10.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

Pin It

Free Printable Chore & Tech Time Tickets

May 11th, 2015

Tech-Chore Tickets Free Printable Note: Originally published in 2012, these tickets have continued to be a wonderful way to monitor both screen time and chores with our kids in a sort of “hands-off” way (meaning, it’s not up to me to keep reminding!). With our focus on technology m challenge, it seemed perfect to share again for those of you who are looking for a better way to manage screen time and make sure chores actually get done.

My husband created this great printable for summertime chores and monitoring computer time with the kids that I’m excited to share with you- free printable chore and tech time tickets. The tech hours punch-tickets in particular have helped both us and the kids know how much time they’re spending on technology. They can be printed and used with a simple hole punch to signify if the child has used their tech time or has completed their chores.

I really wanted to spend quality time with my kids this summer and I find that screen-time really distracts them from our time together. These tech tickets have made us all more aware of how much screen time we are using and have been a great way for us to monitor the amount they are getting. And they work hand-in-hand since the tech time can’t be redeemed until the chores are completed, so it’s a win-win.

How We Use The Tickets

– Each child gets one chore ticket and two tech tickets for the week in our house.

– The chore ticket must be punched before they can start with their first hour of screen time.

– Punch the ticket itself at the end of the day, BUT morning chores have to be completed to redeem the first hour of time, then evening chores are completed and the second hour can be used.

As an example, this is what our list of chore activities to be completed looked like when my children were 10 and 6(alter as needed for your kids and needs):

6 Year Old Chore List- Get dressed, tidy room, make bed, sweep (with a quick vac) under the table after each meal, meal helper every other night, (help prepare and set the table for dinner), 15 minute tidy at the end of the day, and assist mom with laundry sorting.

10 Year Old Chore List- Get dressed, tidy room, make bed, wipe down both bathrooms, meal helper every other night (help prepare and set the table for dinner), 15 minute tidy at the end of the day, and assist mom with loading and unloading of laundry.

Reward- $5 weekly

Tech tickets grant the child one hour of computer or video game time. We do not count television time as tech time in our house. Kids can watch 2 shows daily on Netflix. We no longer have cable television so that has really helped us do a better job of not zoning out on the television.

A timer is set and once it dings, the card is punched for that hour.  It is as simple as that!

We made an agreement that if the child wants to save computer/video game time that they can save and transfer the hours to another day. They can not, however, cash in on an advance on their ticket.

I will not lie, the first day was ROUGH. Two hours does go by quickly for everyone. That said, after the initial two days, we have really been enjoying our time together. We keep busy with fun outings and tackling our summer bucket list together. I find that breaking the day up with an outing seems to make the day go by faster and takes the focus off of the lack of screen time.

Today my son said, “Wow, that hour was really long!”  It was funny how he was whining about the hour being too short the first day. I think we were all losing track of how much time we were spending on our respective screens.

Everyone parents differently. This parenting strategy works for us and I hope it will help someone else out there too!

I didn’t want to waste anytime getting these printables out to you though because they are quickly becoming a valuable part of our summer time together and I think they could be valuable to you too!

Grab your Printable Chore Tickets.

Grab your Printable Tech Tickets.

 

Notes on the printable- There are three tickets per sheet. These are color tickets, but you can switch your printer settings to black-and-white or draft mode to save on ink.

 

How do you monitor screen time in your house? What does a typical chore list look like for you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Pin It

Sundays With Writers: When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

May 10th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

Happy Mother’s Day to all my favorite mama readers out there. I hope you are having a fantastic day today! I have such a special interview for you today as I got the chance to spend some time with Molly Ringwald last weekend. Yup, THE Molly Ringwald!  Molly served as the keynote speaker at Mom 2.0 this year on behalf of Dove and they asked if I would like to spend some time interviewing her for my site. I am, of course, a huge fan of her movies, but did you know that she is also a very accomplished writer? Well, she is, and I got the chance to interview her about Dove and they asked if I would like to spend some time interviewing her for my site. I am, of course, a huge fan of her movies, but did you know that she is also a very accomplished writer? Well, she is, and I got the chance to interview her about When It Happens to You and what she has in store for us next.

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

Tales of love, loss, and betrayal are at the heart of When It Happens to You. A Hollywood icon, Ringwald brings the compelling candour she displayed in her film roles to the unforgettable characters she has created in this series of intertwined and linked stories about the particular challenges, joys and disappointments of adult relationships. Her characters grapple with infertility and infidelity, fame and familial discord in this fantastic debut novel.

when-it-happens-to-you

I started this beautiful book this week and am absolutely enjoying it and plan to spend this rainy day with it today. Short story books are not something I typically gravitate towards, but if you are looking for one to try, I really recommend this one as a great launching pad into short story format. Although each chapter is a story, the stories are intertwined in some way that the reader can discover as she reads from chapter to chapter, building upon the initial themes in the previous chapters.

One thing I hear a lot from moms is their struggles to dive into books because their time is so limited that they struggle with finishing books. Short stories are a magnificent way to get in your reading time and feel accomplished. As Molly states in this interview, it is also a great way to trick your brain into writing a novel. By approaching it in a short story format, she was able to break up the writing in a way that felt more manageable as a busy mom.

For those that have asked, Molly was as warm and personable as a girl could hope. She was complimentary and went way over my allotted interview time talking about great authors. I wish I could have chatted with her all day about writing and great books.  She also wasn’t just chatting about herself, her genuine enthusiasm for other writers and her own writing was contagious.

Grab your coffee and let’s chat with Molly Ringwald about When It Happens to You

When It Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

You decided to segue from acting into writing. Is this something you have always wanted to do?

I have always been interested in writing, it’s always been something I have done in my spare time and then it was just something I decided to put out there professionally once I turned forty. I think when you are younger, or at least when I was younger, I always felt like I had to focus on one thing and I think that multi-hyphenates were not really honored in the same way and celebrated as much. I felt like, in a way, that no one would take me seriously as a writer when I was younger, but then you get older and you don’t care as much about what other people think.

Were you surprised by how well your books were received?

Yes, I wrote two books,  (Getting the Pretty Back and When It Happens to You) and they were both on the national bestsellers list. I am particularly proud of my fiction collection though!

When tackling When It Happens to You, why did you decide to write in short story format? Is it because you like the smaller story explorations?

I have always just loved short stories and I was a really a big fan of Raymond Carver’s short story collections, although he is certainly more minimalist and starker than I am..and maybe a little more depressing. I think, really, it was just a format that I understood since most of the fiction that I had done was short. I think that may have been because I was busy doing a lot of other stuff too. Also for me, it was tricking my brain into writing a novel because, as it says, it’s really a novel in stories. And it really is. They all resonate off of each other and it is all structured in that way. I just think writing a novel was a little too daunting for me so this was a way to kind of do that through short stories. That said, they are pretty long stories and the only really truly short story in there is the title story.

Are you thinking about adapting this one into film?

Yes, I have been thinking about it. I’m still thinking about it, but I’d also really like to write another book too.

If you could tell anyone to read one book right now (other than your own) what would that book be?

Oh, that’s a hard one! Um…what do you think that would be? (she asks her husband, Panio Gianopoulos, author of A Familiar Beast).

Panio: Light Years?

Molly: Yes, that probably would be true. Light Years by James Salter. Yeah..I think that might be it.

Panio: I mean, when you finished it, you immediately started to reread it.

Molly: It’s true.

Okay, if you are rereading it then it has to be a favorite. If you reread,  you know that it is special!

It’s just one of those books that I keep picking up again and again. There is not a lot of fiction that I read while writing because I don’t want to be overly influenced. His writing is somebody, of course I write differently, but I just feel like he is a master. I also love, and we were recently talking about Desperate Characters by Paula Fox is a really wonderful book and Jonathan Franzen wrote the forward on it!

A huge thank you to Dove for the incredible opportunity to interview Molly about her stories as well as their sponsorship for me to attend Mom 2.0 this year. It was an experience that I will never forget.  Dove is encouraging everyone to share their #BeautyStory and shared this beautiful story of 4 generations of women in one family that all share the same beauty secret in this beautifully shot campaign. Do you have a beauty story to share? Head to the

Dove is encouraging everyone to share their #BeautyStory and shared this beautiful story of 4 generations of women in one family that all share the same beauty secret in this beautifully shot campaign. Do you have a beauty story to share? Head to the Dove Beauty Bar and share your secrets! Thank you, Dove!!

You can connect with Molly Ringwald on GoodReads or through her website! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!
Pin It

It’s the 3 Little Things (With Felicia): Beach Waves, Summer Lips, & Attention-Getting Watches

May 8th, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy to be closing in on the finish line of this week. Holy moly! Do you feel like this too? I mean, SO TIRED. All just good and amazing things, just so many things in one week, you know?

Since my brain is tired today, I’m thrilled to have Felicia from Go Grow Go! joining us to share her happy list with us. She’s been a longtime blog pal of mine and I am so thrilled to introduce you all to her. Please give her a warm welcome! If you are interested in being a guest poster on the 3 little things, send over a list of your 3 favorites and why to amy@momadvice.com and I will share them in the upcoming weeks! 

Let’s peek at Felicia’s list! 

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Hair Cream

Beachy Waves For Days!

Who else is thankful that sunnier days are upon us?  I, for one, am so excited to pull out the spring clothes and dust off my sandals.  I am also loving a brand new hair product that does not break the bank, holds texture for beachy waves and smells like vanilla!  It’s the Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray.  Every day I receive compliments on how my hair smells and the wave is holding all day (sometimes even to day 2).  You can pick it up for under $10 on Amazon or you may even find it for less at Target!
Looking for quick and easy waves?  Check out this video tutorial for How to Create Natural Waves in Under 10 Minutes!
Looking for hair that radiates?  Check out my favorite hair conditioner for shine!
Girl About Town Mac Lipstick

The Perfect Spring/Summer Shade of Lipstick

Have you been introduced to Girl About Town from MAC Cosmetics yet?  Of course you have because every other girl in Western North Carolina buys this stuff out!  I actually have to order it online (which is great because shipping is free and the cost is the same).  I love this color because it is bright and fun, but can easily be toned down.  Besides, who doesn’t love the name?  It makes you want to get out and explore!

JORD Wood Watch

A Watch that Gets Attention

There is one thing I will not leave home without these days.  It is my JORD Wood Watch.  It is so simple, yet stylish and it receives compliments every single day!  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have given out the website address for this watch to both guys and girls.  I love it because it is elegant and matches everything.  I can easily dress this one up or down as well.  Make sure to check out the website because there are so many colors and styles to choose from.  Simple just seems to suit me.

How fun was that list this week? I am so excited to share more great ideas from you all in the weeks to come! Thank you, Felicia, for generously sharing the happy today!

In my world…

Flourish Boutique

Flourish Boutique

Thank you to Flourish Boutique for making me feel like a princess while I was at Mom 2.0 this past week and thank you to Kelly, from Redefined Mom, for being the best roomie ever and incredible fashion photographer. So incredible, in fact, that my husband and parents asked for this picture on the patio in a printed photo and lemme tell you, nothing feels more narcissistic than blowing up photos of yourself and picking them up at the photo center.  AWKWARD.

dance-mom

ballerina-3

ballerina-2

ballerina-1

Speaking of the GLAM, it’s ballet performance week. I am so excited to see her take the stage in the Conservatory of Dance performance at Bethel on Saturday. If you have a budding ballerina on your hands, get some tickets and support these incredible dancers.

We love it so much we are going to the first performance to watch and then staying to perform in the second performance.  It’s a great way to show your kids all of the different kinds of dance classes out there and see which one grabs their attention. I hope it is ALL THE DANCES. Being a dance mom? This is totally my thing.

xoxoxo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?