Posts Tagged ‘MomAdvice News’

Our Top 11 Posts of 2011

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

What a wonderful year 2011 was for our site and our family. I am so happy that our readership continues to grow and this year I wanted to highlight our top 11 posts from 2011.  Thanks to a little thing called Pinterest, I am finding recipes and projects are being shared in a really big way and that makes my heart so happy.

Thank you for sharing our site with others.

Thank you for your continued support.

Thank you for your comments.

I can’t tell you what they mean to me.

Here are the top 11 posts that happened on MomAdvice this year:

 

1. Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha Latte

There was a latte of latte loving this year as I tried to recreate every possible coffee creation that I loved from Starbucks. Apparently, you all were looking for a few homemade creations of your own. This is some yummy stuff and lots of helpful comments on this entry to customize your Salted Caramel Mocha Latte to your own level of latte perfection.

 

2. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

The latte loving all began with this drink and recreating my favorite pumpkin treat at Starbucks. I can happily say that I rarely ordered one of these this fall thanks to this handy little recipe. It’s nice to know when Starbucks pulls a drink off of their menu, I can still get my midday fix.

3. DIY Tissue Paper Pom Poms

I love homemade decorations for my parties and these tissue paper pom poms were a big hit at our parties this year. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t show you how to do it yourself? These are unbelievably easy and so inexpensive to create. Visit our picture-by-picture tutorial for the scoop.

 

4. 36 Handmade Gift Ideas

I am pretty proud of the assortment of inexpensive and beautiful gifts we create over here.  This round-up of just 36 of my favorites was a hit this holiday season as everyone was hunting for unique gifts to give this year.  I am excited to add many more handmade gift options to our site in 2012. For now, I hope you can create a few of these for upcoming gift exchanges.

5. A Yarn Wreath For All Seasons

This year I started working with Walmart working on their DIY channel and sharing projects you can create from their store. I have always wanted a yarn wreath you could enjoy all year long and this was my brainchild for homes with small storage (like mine!). I can’t wait to gussy her up for Valentine’s Day and share how you can continue to accessorize this wreath for your door. For now, find out how to make one of these easy creations for your home!

6. The Perfect Pink Barbie Cake Tutorial

This past year was the year of the Barbie at our house. I won’t lie. I was pretty pumped about this party. Before she was a twinkle in my eye, I wanted to do a Barbie cake and I finally got my chance. This tutorial documents how to create a really fun pink Barbie birthday cake for a special little girl in your life.

PS- This picture is still one of my absolute favorites of all time of her. Isn’t she the cutest?

7. Homemade Gingerbread Latte

I really thought this was going to be the year of the donuts on the site, but you proved me wrong.  This Homemade Gingerbread Latte was a big hit for the holiday season and just think about how much money you save every time you make one of these at home. The best part was sipping this and never getting out of my pajamas. You can’t beat that!

8. Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Truth be told, the Peppermint Mocha is still one of my all-time favorite drinks at Starbucks…but… once I started making these at home,  I am not loving the Starbucks version as much as my homemade version. This post offers a recipe for a simple peppermint syrup that you can add to your drinks and keep on hand in your fridge whenever the Peppermint Mocha Latte urge hits you.  These are so delicious and one of my favorite recipes on our site.

9. Grilled Ground Beef Gyros

All I have to say to this is that you have some very good taste. These grilled ground beef gyros are as good as my favorite gyro joint and I even share a few secrets for making those pitas in your bread machine. I am thrilled to see that these made the top eleven posts on our site.

10. Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Brownies

I am excited to see that I am not the only one enjoying the sweet and salty combinations that are trending in the food world this year. These dark chocolate & sea salt brownies may have made me famous in some small circles. These are absolutely heavenly and are one of my favorite creations I made in the kitchen this year.

11. 100 Days of Summer

I was inspired to share with you 100 activities you could do with your children over the summer break this year. The response to this board was overwhelming and it was so fun to see everyone gaining summer inspiration through this board. We actually used the board ourselves and documented our summer through Instagram.

I was excited to do this for me, but also for my kids. It was a fun way to share with you our summer in a more informal manner. I am so glad you loved this one as much as we did!

(First Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios)

 

What would you like to see happen on MomAdvice in 2012? I look to you for my inspiration!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Holiday!

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Merry Christmas from our little family to yours. God has blessed us in incredible ways this year and one of those blessings happens to be you. Thank you for supporting our family, for reading my ideas, for taking a chance in the kitchen with a recipe you saw here, for firing up your glue guns from the projects I have crafted, for hitting your library with my reading list, for incorporating our family traditions into your family traditions, to simply affirming my work here with your sweet comments. I am so thankful for you!

Our family is on a holiday this week and we hope you enjoy the holiday with those you love. We are excited for gingerbread waffle eating, cocoa sipping, tackling a few holiday puzzles, singing lots of carols, and just being together. I have a stack of library books, a pile of yarn, and a coffee cup with my name on it this week.

Happy Holidays with lots of love from our family to yours!

 

xoxo,

Amy

 

(All images taken by Nancy Lary Studios)

Giveaway Results: One Year’s Supply of Minute Maid Pure Squeezed Orange Juice

Thursday, October 20th, 2011
(mobile upload from my shoot with Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice set)

Sorry this giveaway is now closed. We would like to congratulate Brandy B. (Comment #23) on winning Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice for an entire year. You can imagine my happiness for her! Thank you all for your entries and please check back soon for more great giveaways with Minute Maid Pure Squeezed.

Over the last few months I have had the incredible luck to work as the spokesperson for Minute Maid Pure Squeezed which has been a fun and exciting opportunity for our entire family. This week I am traveling to New York for a media day to share more about the latest addition to the Minute Maid portfolio of delicious beverages. In conjunction with my media day, we wanted to share a giveaway with all of you for a year’s supply of Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice.

With Halloween quickly approaching, I have gathered a few fun tips for how you can celebrate the festivities by throwing an orange-themed Halloween party with your family and friends.

Eat-

Serve fun, orange foods like a cheese ball covered in shredded cheddar cheese with a celery stick for the stem, baked pumpkin donuts, orange punch, and caramel apples rolled in bright orange sprinkles.

Hollow out pumpkins to serve dips in or use a hallowed pumpkin as an ice bucket for your drinks.

For those guests (and hosts!) looking for lighter options, offer delicious, festively-hued food and beverage items, including the all-new, great tasting Minute Maid Pure Squeezed Light Orange Juice Beverage with Calcium and Vitamin D which has just 50 calories per 8 fluid ounce serving, cantaloupe in Halloween shapes (use pumpkin or witch hat-shaped cookie cutters to cut), and carrot sticks or orange pepper strips with hummus.

Decorate-

Light a pathway to your party with tin can Jack-o’-Lanterns. Spray paint old Folgers coffee cans orange and use a nail and hammer to punch in the faces on these tin can pumpkins. Place votive candles in each tin to guide guests up to the door.

Decorate your party table with helium-filled orange balloons. Add Jack-O-Lantern faces on the balloons and tie them to cellophane bags filled with orange candy like M&M’s. At the end of the party, these can be given to each party guest when they leave as a thank you for coming to the party.

Games-

Fill a clear container with candy corns and have guests guess how many candy corns are in the jar. The winner gets to take the jar of candy corn home with them.

Tie pumpkin donuts (recipe below) on a string for a fun game. Tie a long string around a donut and fasten the other end of the string to a very sturdy ceiling hook or fixture (or you can use a tree branch if outside). The donut needs to be just above the contestant’s head. The object is for the player to eat the donut using his or her teeth only (no hands). The player must jump for the donut.

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Syrup Frosting

Recipe credit: Amy Clark

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 tablespoons milk

1 cup pumpkin purée

For the Maple Syrup Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’  sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/8 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease two doughnut pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In another medium bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla extract, milk, and pumpkin puree. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Fill each doughnut mold 3/4’s full with batter. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Remove from the pan and cool completely.

For the maple syrup glaze: In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup and milk; stir well. Add additional milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over donuts.

I don’t want to just talk about how much you will love the new Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice, I actually want to give it to you and save you that expense for an entire year! Minute Maid has graciously offered to give one of our lucky readers a year’s supply of Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice. I am so excited for you!

Today we are offering one lucky reader a year’s supply of Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice. Leave one comment for each item that you complete to enter:

  • First Entry: Leave a comment and let us know which variety of Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice you are interested in trying for your family- No Pulp 100% Orange Juice, No Pulp 100% Orange Juice with Calcium and Vitamin D, Some Pulp 100% Orange Juice, or Light Orange Juice Beverage with Calcium and Vitamin D with 50 calories per 8 fl. oz. serving.
  • Additional Entry: Let us know you are a fan of Minute Maid and join the Minute Maid Facebook Page.
  • Additional Entry: Follow me on Twitter and get an early scoop on what I am up to and future giveaway opportunities with Minute Maid!

One winner, chosen at random, will receive a year’s supply of Minute Maid Pure Squeezed Orange Juice (52 coupons). Please submit your entries by Thursday (10/27) at 8PM EST.  Our winner will be drawn at random. Good luck, everyone!

I am a spokesperson for Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice and have a relationship with the company. Want to know more about how things are handled here at MomAdvice? Be sure to read our Disclaimer which clearly states how things work and know that we will always offer only the best reviews to our readers. In full disclosure, the email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner(s), and will never be sold or given to anyone. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Entries that do not follow the above criterion will automatically be disqualified. This giveaway will close Thursday, October 27 at 8PM (EST). I’ll announce the first name of the winner(s) that will be added to the top of this current giveaway post and contact the winner(s) by email. I will draw the names of the winner(s) by using the random number generator at Random.org from the eligible entries received. If a winner does not contact me within 72 hours by email, I will draw a new winner. The winner(s) will receive their prize from the PR agency responsible for this giveaway.

BIG Announcement & Freebie Friday- October 14, 2011

Friday, October 14th, 2011

We have had such an exciting week this week. For those that aren’t on our Facebook Page, I just wanted to share with you that I secured a book deal with Penguin Books this week and I am over the moon with excitement. I can’t wait to share more about this project with you all, but I wanted you to be among the first to know this big news for our family. Many prayers were answered this week and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us.  None of this would be possible without all of you. Thank you for reading and sharing about my site with others. I could not do this without you and I look forward to sharing more as the details develop!

As always, your weekly dose of freebies are here! We would like to thank  Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week. You will find a great article this week on 11 Free Ways to Get More Coupons.   Be sure to swing by the site to get the scoop on loads of deals, freebies, and coupons happening in your area and check out Stephanie’s ideas for ways to score even more coupons!

This week on MomAdvice you can find a delicious recipe for Italian Sausage with Tortellini, a recipe for Slow Cooked Pumpkin Butter, an easy idea for decoupaging pumpkins with cocktail napkins, our notebook filled with DIY food and craft projects, a great giveaway for two Windex prize packs, and over 115 giveaways you can enter to win in!

Health & Beauty

Playtex Samples
Yummi Bear Sugar Free Gummy Vitamins Sample use code KK
Kleenex Samples when you share with a friend
Lacoste Fragrance Sample
Escada Perfume Sample

Entertainment

38 Best Soup and Stews Recipe eBook
Educational Apps Download
Thriving Family Magazine Subscription
Printable ABC Scripture Memory Cards
Gooseberry Patch Thanksgiving Cookbook Kindle Edition
American Baby Magazine Subscription

Pet

Coupon for Free Pro Plan Cat Food

This Week’s Freebie Events
October 15 – 21

15 - Lakeshore Learning: Decorate Eye-Spy Binoculars, 11 am – 3 pm.

MomAdvice Is on the Move: Slow Cooked Pumpkin Butter, Organizing the Garage, Date Nights, & More

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

I hope you all are enjoying all of the bounties that fall brings! I have been busy writing a few other fun places that I wanted to share with you for your reading pleasure.

  • You may not realize that Goodwill experiences a dip in donations around this time of year, but it does! When summer winds down people often do not donate as much and this creates a shortage of product for Goodwill. That is why I think it is the perfect time of year to discuss cleaning out your garage and making room for your cars before the winter season approaches, while creating donations that will help Goodwill thrive during this time of year. I am making my third haul from our garage and basement this week and wanted to share how you can reclaim your garage over at the Goodwill Tips blog.
  • Over at the Kenmore Genius Blog,  I am disclosing just how much of a cheap date that I am. About seven years ago, we stopped being able to run out and have dinner out whenever we wanted to. My husband lost his job and it got to a point where we just didn’t have the funds to enjoy a night out on the town. As I became more acquainted with the kitchen, though, we soon realized that dinners out lacked the pizazz that we could easily get at home. In my kitchen, the food was a bit better, the atmosphere was comfortable, and we could spend a whole heck of a lot less and get a whole heck of a lot more out of an evening. Find out how you can have a great date night in on a budget too with my easy and elegant recipes.
  • Also at the Kenmore Genius Blog, we are discussing healthy snacking all school year long. Now that our family is finally into the groove of school, I am really trying to challenge myself to be more innovative with our snacking in our lunches and for after school. Be sure to snag these recipes and share your favorite smart snacking strategies.

I am participating in a fun Crockstar Confessions campaign with Walmart & Rival this month. Each day of the month, you can view a video blog and enter to win $2,500.  Be sure to join their Facebook Page to jump in on all the fun.

You can watch my video below to learn how to make my Slow Cooked Pumpkin Butter and hear my own confessions about slow cooking in my home!

Social Media Masters Blogger Brand Chat

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

This Thursday I will be participating in my first Twitter party and I am looking forward to sharing and learning with you in the first Social Media Masters Blogger Brand Chat along with some other amazing panelists that I greatly admire and have learned from myself.  Did I mention that there will be prizes too?

Join us for the first Social Media Masters Blogger Brand Chat on 10/6 from 7-9pm CST

This party is sponsored by the Social Media Masters Summit in Chicago which will be on October 25-26th.  Chicago is a hot spot for big national brands interested in working with mom bloggers. And they will be there. These are the kind of brands that are more likely to pay bloggers for their work. Are you interested in spending time with fellow bloggers and brands that you can potentially work with in the future? Want to find out what makes a quality pitch and how to work effectively with brands in social media? Join us for the first Social Media Masters Blogger Brand Chat AND/OR come join us in Chicago for the Social Media Masters Summit. Get to know new bloggers and brands and keep up with the ones you know.

When: Thursday, October 6th

Time: 7-9pm CST

Hashtag: #SMMS


What the heck is a twitter party? Click here for that information.

Giveaways:

1. Round trip ticket on SouthWest Airlines PLUS VIP Ticket to 3rd Annual Social Media Masters Summit (1 winner, $800 value)
2. VIP Ticket to the 3rd Annual Social Media Masters Summit (2 winners)
3. $50 Jockey gift cards (2 winners)
3. FuelTank Uno Charger (1 winner, $49 value)
4. Kenmore Model Stand Mixer (1 winner, deets to come)

(more to come…)

Panelists:

1. @bookieboo–Hostess with the Mostess
2. @MommyPR–Co-host
3. @windycitysocial–Sponsor
4. @kimmoldofsky–Blogger & Consultant
5. @daniellesmithtv–Blogger
6. @momadvice–Blogger
7. @SamuelMonnie, Marketing Director at Kenmore
8. @MarcyMassura–Digital Community Manager, Weber Shandwick
9. @Jockey_Ryan–Ryan Belcher, Social Media Specialist with Jockey International

How to Enter: (Remember to leave a comment HERE for EACH entry)

1. Tweet this message (1 entry per tweet, max 30 tweets)

Wanna Work w/PR? @Bookieboo hosting Blogger Brand Chat w/Social Media Masters Summit, 10/6 frm 7-9pm CST, http://bit.ly/mP1W8O #SMMS

2. Register for Social Media Masters Summit bloggers only pay $99 w/ special code (30 entries) (special code: bloggersrock)
3. Register to be an Influencer of Digital Megaphone (5 entries)
4. Follow @windycitysocial (1 entry)
5. Comment on the Mamavation Facebook wall (1 entry)
6. Join Bookieboo (5 entries)
7. Hit up Leah Segedie on Facebook and say hi! (1 entry)
8. Add @Bookieboo to one of your lists on twitter (1 entry per list)

RSVP at: http://www.mamavation.com/2011/09/social-media-masters-blogger-brand-chat.html

MomAdvice is On the Move: Switching to Cloth, Close to My Heart Pin Love, & a Free Download

Friday, August 5th, 2011

This week you will find me sharing over at Kenmore our family’s commitment to making the switch to reusable items in our home and I want to share with you some simple and easy strategies that have made this transition such a success in our house. Please head on over and share how you have implemented green living items into your daily life! I would love hear your ideas!

Mommies of little girls everywhere are making our Close to My Heart barrettes & pins for their little girls that are heading off to school. Reader, Bridee, submitted this adorable photo of her two girls sporting their new fabric flower barrettes and I may have shed a few tears thinking that we could be a part of your back-to-school traditions this year.

We have created a folder on our MomAdvice Facebook Community page where you can now add photos of things you are doing from the site and share your experience with things that have been featured here. This photo folder is just for our readers to share what has inspired them from MomAdvice.com. Whether you are tackling one of our recipes, crafting it up with one of our craft ideas, trying a project from our weekly notebook, winning something from our giveaways, or anything else… we want to hear about it! Post your pictures here and share what you have learned today from MomAdvice.com!

If you haven’t joined our MomAdvice Facebook Community, you are missing out on some really fun discussions on frugality, simple living, recipe sharing, and library reading!  This week’s hot discussion was discussing if you have a land line and what phone options you have found work for your family. Over 7,100 fans strong and growing, this is the perfect spot to start a conversation and talk about simple living with people who care!

Keynote Speaker Amy Clark of MomAdvice.com

Finally, for those of you that had requested it, I just wanted to let you know that my Keynote speech is now available for listening to for free from the Savvy Blogging Summit Recordings from this past month’s conference.  In this speech, I share our family’s entire story of where we began our journey into simple living and the site, until this point now. If you are curious about how I got started in this job or just would like to know more about how I have been able to do this for eight years, this is where you can get the scoop on that!

The Keynote is available for free and my Brand-Blogger Relations class is available for purchase for $9.

I hope you get a chance to listen to these and that our story will touch your heart as much as it touched mine to share it for the first time with these attendees.

(photo credit: Short and Hat)

MomAdvice is On the Move: Wedding Gifts, Outdooor Entertaining, Goodwill Savings, & FB Fun

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

This week on Kenmore, I am sharing a few of my favorite wedding gifts to give that are both budget-friendly and are gifts that will be long remembered.  I hope these ideas can add a little inspiration to your end-of-season shopping for just a few items to tuck in your gift closet for any weddings you might be attending. Head over to this post to chime in on your favorite gifts to give (or that you received).

Fit & Function: Go Go Shopper

Goodwill shopping is one of my favorite types of shopping to do, but I still don’t love to do it by paying full price. This week I am sharing over at the Goodwill Tips blog a few ideas for how you can save at your Goodwill store. Our store offers so many ways that you can save and I am sharing a few of my shopping strategies for getting the best bang for my buck! Chime in with your shopping strategies and way you save at your store!  (photo credit: lululemon athletica)

If there is one thing that I know how to do well it is to throw a great backyard barbecue. This month on Snackpicks I am sharing some quick and easy tips for succeeding at outdoor entertaining. You are going to love these ideas for keeping guests entertained, inexpensive ways to decorate your outdoor table, and how to make the clean-up process go smoothly.

This week we hit 7,000 fans on our MomAdvice Facebook Community page and I just wanted to say thank you all so much for joining in on the MomAdvice community. If you haven’t joined our page, you are missing out on some really fun discussions on frugality, simple living, recipe sharing, and library reading!  This week’s hot discussion was discussing what you were going to do about those Netflix subscriptions and what you do to keep your family entertained on a budget. Head on over to our page and give us a Like to grow and share more on simple living topics!

Keynote Speaker Amy Clark of MomAdvice.com

Savvy Blogging Summit 2011

Not only was my content on the move this week, but I just returned from the Savvy Blogging Summit after delivering a Keynote and sharing our Brand-Blogger relations with the attendees.

To say that this experience was life-changing would be putting it mildly. I have carried around our story in my heart for almost eight years and for the first time I shared it with the attendees of what life experiences lead us to the website and how we were able to run this site as long as we have. I promise to share the audio recording of the Keynote when it becomes available. I was so proud to be there  and how gracious and attentive everyone was when I shared our story.

The Brand-Blogger relations panel turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to discuss rates, how to begin working with brands, and how to write authentically awesome content that is sure to land you a job or two. I hope to take that show on the road and hit a few other conferences with this discussion since the majority of our income comes from working with other brands and writing content/doing spokesperson work for them. Audio recordings will also be available soon for purchase and I will be sure to let you know when they are!

I made so many new friends at the SB Summit. Lifelong friends.  Everyone wanted to help everyone and there was not a moment of anyone not sharing their knowledge. We shared into the wee hours of the morning and I know I walked away with so much valuable information on how to continue to grow my own business. It is a conference I would recommend to a newbie blogger or a seasoned pro that has been doing it for years!

(photo credit: Short and Hat)

Welcome, Savvy Blogging Summit Attendees

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the wonderful Savvy Blogging Summit attendees. My heart beats a little fast as I am preparing to head to the beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado to not only share about brand-blogger relations, but also serving as the Keynote Speaker for the event.  What an honor to share about my true passion of building your community authentically, transparently, and in the most balanced way that a mother can!

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.  Eleven 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. 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!

We started this site seven 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,TwitterGoodReads, 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!

My site is powered by McD’s Diet Coke, coffee, and cute shoes.  I am going to put my heart on my sleeve today at this conference in a way that I have never been brave enough to do. I hope you brought a few tissues because it is about to get real at the Keynote.  On the flip side, it is also going to be very real in my Brand-Blogger relationships discussion. I am going to tell you how to score those jobs, a good range on what to expect for the jobs you are doing, and how to put your best foot forward when doing business. I hope there will be lots of discussion and I promise to be as open of a book as I can be about how to grow your blog into a money tree for your family.

Pretty much, everything I have learned over these seven years is in this post right here- I Did It My Way: Long-Term Blogging Success Tips. Read it. It is exactly what I would tell you if we could have coffee and if you asked my advice on how to get your business off of the ground.

For those of you not there, here are a few tips for growing that blog in a big way

Immediately Engage Your Readers- If you are featured in any noteworthy publication, site, radio show or television show, or speaking at an event create a Welcome page to those readers. Include some of your favorite posts from the archives, a bio about who you are and why you started your blog, and information on how to subscribe to your site. Imagine that someone is reading your site for the first time and gather everything they will need to navigate and find that great information.

This week I am speaking at Savvy Blogging Summit so I have created this page so you can see a little piece of what I work so hard on every single day.  Are you at the event too? Get a page up so when people are flipping through their business cards they will be able to discover what you represent and how to interact with your site immediately!

Live Authentically- My blog is like another extension of myself and because I write about my family and how we manage the day-to-day tasks of life,  I have to share about these situations authentically with my readers. I try to share the triumphs of my life and also the things that have totally bombed in our family authentically! This means sharing pictures of what is created in the kitchen, created during my craft time, the disorganized mess and then the freshly organized space, and glimpses of me as a mother and my family.

More importantly though, I am LIVING. I try to not sit at my computer all day because then I am not living an authentic life that I can share with you. I can’t share about crafts I create with my kids unless I actually did those crafts with them. You need to live your beautiful life to create an authentic blog life. The more living you are doing, the more inspiring your blog will be. THAT is what creates readers, not just sitting mind-numbingly at a computer for hours and hours on end.

Living authentically also means only taking opportunities that fit with your site and who you are. Our site promotes family, getting your family around the dinner table,  organizing solutions, and inexpensive living. Those are the opportunities that I should be seeking and sharing about. This means I turn down roughly five to ten opportunities a week. Sometimes it REALLY stinks to say no, but I know that I have to live AUTHENTICALLY to keep my readers engaged. If it doesn’t offer value to my community and if it takes me away from my #1 goal to be the best mom I can be, then I have to say no.  Don’t sacrifice your reputation for free stuff and that will give you the staying power to outlast other blogs. Believe me!

Today Transparency is Key to Your Community- The fastest way to lose your community is to not be transparent about what is happening behind the scenes. Get that Disclaimer up, make sure that product reviews fit with your site or that you are doing your best to offer those items back to your readers, and add an extra Disclaimer at the bottom of your reviews to make everyone feel right at home. For example, this is what I put at the bottom of EVERY review post.

This product was received as a review sample. The thoughts and opinions expressed will always be honest and heartfelt and no reflection on receiving a sample copy.  We promise to always do our best to also give away each of these products to our readers because it is always better to give than to receive!  Want to know more about how things are handled here at MomAdvice? Be sure to read our Disclaimer which clearly states how things work and know that we will always offer only the best reviews to our readers.

Reward Your Referrers- Without great referrals; you won’t be able to gain new readers. At the beginning of each month, thank the people that made your site great that month and what was most popular for the month on your site. I am able to see my top referrers through my web host so that is where I gather my information for compiling our top ten list at the start of the month. Here is an example of what my monthly recaps look like.

Highlight Others- Create a post weekly or monthly that will showcase others that read your site and to keep them engaged on your site.  I try to highlight weekly a round-up of great blogs that offer information that our readers will find helpful . I also try ideas that are highlighted in this round-up to further add the spotlight on these great blogs. In fact, Amy’s Notebook and our Notebook Experiments are some of the most visited and favorite posts of our reader’s week! I try to mix in people that have made our site a success (often those that are highlighted as referrers each month) because no one deserves to be highlighted more than someone who has created our community!

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

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 T0-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 are shy, as so many of us are, know that I am a sweaty mess at conferences too.

I want everyone to like me.

I don’t want to eat alone.

I don’t like to sit by myself.

Won’t you sit with me? Won’t you be my neighbor?

I want this experience to end with tears just like my church camp days where my poor father would stand there for hours waiting for me to say goodbye a million times to the same people over and over again.

Just one more hug.

Just one more picture.

Just one more hour, please.

I can’t wait for us to all be lifelong friends.

Just to prove how intimidating I am, here I am dressed as a pirate for my kid’s VBS program. Yes.  This is your Keynote Speaker.  I hope you will say hi to me now. I can’t wait to meet you all!

Don’t forget, you can subscribe to my feeds and never miss another thing on our site again! We have a landing page where it makes it easy to subscribe to our blogs and you can even subscribe to my article feed. Everything is right at your fingertips and we want the site to be a daily destination for you and your family

100 Days of Summer: Inspiration for Your Summer Break

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

There will be no cries of boredom in our house this summer because I am prepared this year. I have come up with 100 activities to do this summer and I am sharing my list of 100 activities to do with you through Pinterest. We have everything from hot air balloon making, to Netflix origami, to breakfast in bed, to making individual pizzas on the grill, to making the world’s largest bubbles, to creating your very own water park. The possibilities are endless and the majority of the activities cost next to nothing to create.

I am not a crafty parent. I can be crafty on my own, but not always the craftiest with my kids. I really, really try, but I find that crafting with my kids is a challenge. I want to overcome that challenge this summer and be the cool mom for once. Many times I find myself at my computer typing these ideas for others, but not trying any ideas myself.

This summer is going to be different.

Instead of just coming up with ideas for our readers, I am looking forward to actually tackling our summer list.  I still will be sharing a weekly recipe, our apron full of giveaways, and our notebook of inspiration. I won’t ever quit you, MomAdvice friends!

On Tuesdays though, 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. You can catch me on Instagram, fellow iPhone users, where I am documenting our summer with my new phone. My name is momadvice.

I hope you will enjoy our laid-back inspiration this summer!  I want to enjoy every moment I have with these two kids- my time with them feels fleeting and precious.

Next school year, I will have whole days to type away.

This summer, I am loving my mom job all day with them.

What are your favorite summer activities? How do you get inspired for summer fun? And, hey, what do you think of our summer list?