December Blog Goals

December Blog Goals

I spent most of November focusing on my pregnancy and getting through each day so I blogged as much as I could but my work reflected my lack of attention. My blog numbers went down but my Pinterest views have been increasing since joining some group boards. For the rest of my social media, some numbers went up a few and a some went down a few. I really enjoyed my vacation savings series and starting the DIY gift series which seems to be a hit with my readers.

Here is how my numbers compared from October to November

Blog Stats:

October Page views: 3.3K                             November Page views: 2.7K

October Visitors: 2.1K                                  November Visitors: 1.8K

October Likes: 41                                          November Likes: 41

October Comments: 164                              November Comments: 83

October Most Popular Post: Setting & Keeping A Vacation Budget

November Most Popular Post: Hungarian Walnut Kiffle Cookie Recipe with Printable #feedmefriday

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Social Media Numbers

October Instagram Followers: 825                            November Instagram Followers: 838

October Facebook Likes: 896                                      November Facebook Likes: 894

October Pinterest Followers: 642                               November Pinterest Followers: 648

October Pinterest Daily Viewers: 1322                     Nov. Pinterest Daily Viewers: 2208

October Twitter Followers: 2400                                November Twitter Followers: 2404

October Google Plus: 22                                               November Google Plus: 20

October Stumbleupon: 55                                      November Stumbleupon: 55

money-saving

Blog Income: WordAds continues to be my only income so far with each month increasing by a few dollars but not enough to cash out yet.

december

Here are my goals for December :

Blog Goals:

Mondays will continue to be my day off  until the baby arrives which then will turn into Mom Mondays and Saturday Baby Day will go away. Tuesdays will be Holiday DIY gifts for kids and adults. (Who doesn’t love homemade gifts??) Wednesdays (besides today) will continue to feature gifts from my online Boutique. Thursdays will continue to be Thankful Thursdays and ways or things to be thankful for in our lives. Fridays will continue to be Feed Me Fridays. Saturdays will continue to update everyone on my Pregnancy and maternity life, until Evelynne arrives at least. Sundays will continue with ways to save for a family vacation but will focus on Disney World savings.

My goal for December is basically to get through the month until the baby comes which could be any day now.

Social Media Goals: 

I am working on increasing my Instagram followers, likes and comments through a few different groups and pods. I need to gain back some of the followers that I lost on Facebook and increase my other followers as well. I really don’t know how much I will get accomplished between the holidays and the baby coming.

Income Goals: 

I have joined a few affiliate and influencer sites to help with my attempt to gain sponsorship. I do have my first Influencer box on its way which is unpaid but the products will be great to review. I am really hoping that I will get to start reviewing baby products when she makes her arrival!

I know that this is the season to create gift guides but instead of featuring those gifts on my blog, I am featuring them on my Facebook Page through my Amazon affiliates account. I am hoping to grab my first AA sale soon.

I am still finding ways to increase my income and I am so thankful for the guidance of the Mom Bloggers Tribe because I would be so lost without their help and support. Each day is a growing experience and I can’t wait to grow with all of you!

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Easy DIY Handmade Candle Gifts

DIY Candle Gift

Originally, when I purchased this candle making hit from Hobby Lobby, all I wanted it for was the pot to melt my lotion pops and lip balms. The kit was $23 regular price but of course I brought out the 40% coupon and got the kit for $14. Me being me, I saved the candle making contents for another day to experiment. As the holidays are fast approaching and my budget getting smaller, I pulled the candle making contents out to check out what I had to work with. The contents included palm wax, a color/fragrance wax bar, thermometer, 9 wicks and 3 little tins to make the candles. Well how do you include 9 wicks and 3 tins?

I headed to my favorite cheap crafting solution store… The Dollar Store! I found a set of 3 little plastic dishes that look like cupcake wrappers. I bought 3 sets of 3 to go with the 9 wicks. Now my total was $17 for 9 gifts minus the wrapping or bags they will go in.

Now the kit did originally come with instructions which of course I couldn’t find because I was looking for them. So I just kinda winged this part as a learning process….

First, I warmed the water in my pot and placed the pot from the kit in the water to create a  double boiler. While the water and pots were warming, I placed the wicks inside the containers.

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Second, I placed about half of the bag of wax into the pot and let it melt down. I did stir occasionally using a silicone spatula that I use for the body products. You can use a spoon that you don’t mind not using for food again.

Photo Dec 05, 8 01 43 PM

Third, I added half of the color/fragrance bar and allowed it to melt down. Continue to stir once in a while to get an even coloring. My coloring was a dark green and the fragrance was a sweet floral scent which I really do like. While that was melting I placed chopsticks (pencils would work as well) next to the wicks to help keep them in place when I go to pour.

Fourth, after allowing the wax to cool for a few minutes (Not to long or it will begin to solidify), I poured the wax into the containers. I did this slowly so that the wicks would get shifted and the wax was even. I didn’t realize that one of the containers had a crack in the side so a little wax did come out until the wax started to solidify.

Photo Dec 05, 8 26 17 PM

It took about an hour for the candles to cool down but I think they are very cute and easy to make for a gift. Now to figure out what to wrap them in??

Here is a link the kit on Amazon which is more expensive than the Hobby Lobby price but still a great way to save some money by making multiple gifts to give at one time.

Candle Making Kit

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Turning Your Hobby into Vacation Savings #savingsunday

Photo Dec 03, 9 37 51 AM

Many of us have hobbies that we don’t even realize are hobbies. I an artist that loves to create to which I made my hobby of crocheting and sewing into a part-time business. Some people love to make woodwork items. Some people love to draw or paint. Some people love to write (another hobby that I love and why I started this blog). Some people love numbers and balancing them. There are so many different hobbies that people might not recognize in themselves.

These hobbies can make you a little extra cash for that family vacation that you are saving for. For example with a creative hobby, you can sell some of your creations. With a writing hobby, you can start a blog and make some extra money by advertising or doing sponsored posts for companies. For a numbers lover, you can offer your services to others like balancing their finances or helping others create a household budget. You can’t believe the ways you can make money by helping others.

When selling your creations, you can share those creations on your social media for friends and family to see and purchase. Also, you can use my post from last week and list your creations for sale on different local groups where you can meet up with the person to sell your creation in person. There are handmade websites like Etsy or Artfire to sell your creations but you will need to ship the items so you will have to determine your shipping prices. Last, you can look for local craft and vendor shows that have people come to you to sell your creations. These are all great and easy ways to make some extra money off of your hobby!

Update on our Vacation Savings: We didn’t do much shopping this week but a lot of selling. Shopping savings was only $25 because we really didn’t need to buy anything besides dog food which at petco we saved $15 between a coupon and our petco rewards. Plus, I had a few coupons that I used to get the few things we needed. As for the apps, nothing this week. Next week, Christmas shopping will get underway so this will hopefully change. As for selling, it was a big week on the yard sale groups for me. Most of what I sold was Danyella’s old clothes now that I have more of them organized to list. This brought in an extra $60 for the vacation savings and $60 for Christmas spending. Lastly, I sold more of my handmade creations and brought in an extra $30 for vacation and $30 for Christmas. Total for vacation savings for this week: $130 and overall $389! We are still off track for what we need to hit for goals but we are getting there. I can’t complain considering I am on bed rest with my pregnancy and getting this all worked out!

keep going

 

35 Weeks with a Hospital Tour

35 Weeksbaby is the Size of a Mini-Lop Bunny

I can’t even believe that we have 5 weeks or less to go until Evelynne is here! According to the Ovia app, at 35 weeks the baby is the size of a mini lop bunny rabbit. It is funny because that is the type of bunny we adopted for Danyella over the summer. So the baby is as big as the bunny… just not as furry!

This past week we got to go on the hospital tour of the where we are giving birth. This hospital was so beautiful and pristine and clean! I loved it from the moment we walked in and saw a Starbucks cafe in the lobby. Yes, I will be sending Doug down to get me Starbucks after I give birth because I love my Starbucks!

We began with learning about their security system which I am not a fan of anyone being able to register to come up to the floor as long as they have an ID. I like the system that my previous hospitals had where there was a list of people allowed. No offense but I don’t want everything thinking they can come visit when I want that time alone with the baby before I go home.

The next stop on our tour was the sibling daycare they provide for free. It is open Monday-Friday during the day for when the siblings visit and get to antsy to sit there while the adults are holding or looking at the baby. You know young kids, they don’t want to sit still and Mom can’t really deal with caring for the older kids after just popping out a watermelon. I love this feature because even Danyella would enjoy it with the tvs and video games they have for activities. Only downfall is that if I have the baby on a Friday, I will be out by Sunday so Danyella wouldn’t be able to use it.

Now we get to the fun part….. Labor and Delivery floor! In the past, I was in a room that was labor, delivery and postpartum but this hospital has L&D on one floor and Baby and Mom on the next floor above. This floor has a triage to make sure that labor is active or to determine if the mom needs to be admitted for other reasons. There is one hallway for Perinatal moms that need to stay in the hospital for numerous complications like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes that need to be monitored.

The L&D room is so big and spacious and just lovely. There were so many things that I can’t wait to enjoy while I give labor like the shower with a seat in it. They offer birthing balls to help with labor which I didn’t know was a thing until this pregnancy. They encourage the use of aromatherapy or any other things to aid in keeping mom calm. The TVs are smart TVs so I can play my relaxation music through that and not have to worry about using my phone and ear buds. Another cool feature is the charging station with preset charging ends so if I forget to throw my cord in my bag they will have one.

The nurse that was guiding the tour asked if we had birth plans ready for our deliveries. Of course I said yes because I have been revising mine for weeks. Doug looked at me shocked that I have one ready. Then I told him that it says in the first section “do not listen to my husband about a C-Section” because he supports a C-Section whereas I am opposed to one. (More about my Birth Plan next week!) Also, the nurse went on to explain that they encourage women to labor as much as possible at home which was concerning for me. At my appointment on Wednesday, I spoke to my OB about this and we both agreed that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me because I labor quickly especially with Danyella where I went from 3 cm dilated to my water breaking and her head crowning in very little time. As the OB said , he doesn’t want to hear about me having a home birth or giving birth in a car. Glad we are on the same page then.

Last on the tour was the Baby and Mommy floor. The rooms were just as nice with same great features except the amazing shower. This floor just has a small shower without a seat. Dad or the birthing partner gets a couch that folds down to a bed which was pretty comfy to sit on. I was really impressed with their menu selection for moms for meals. I heard a couple of people say that the food was really good there and it’s not just crappy sandwiches or anything. The hospital encourages that baby stays with mom as much as possible which is a change for me because I am used to preemies in the NICU or Danyella had to be monitored in the nursery because of my Gestational Diabetes. Honestly, I was looking forward to getting some sleep before we take her home. The hospital does require to watch one parenting class a day that are featured on their hospital network. I am good with that because we all could use refresher on parenting a newborn.

Overall, the tour was reassuring and made me feel more prepared for the birthing experience. At the same time, I am scared as H*** about giving birth again and the unknown that each labor and delivery experience brings to a mom. My hope is to have Evelynne before Christmas so that we can enjoy Christmas as a family and not have to worry about going into labor and missing Christmas with my family.

delivery room

 

Thankful for My Baby Mom Group

When I first became pregnant with this baby, I found different baby apps to chart my symptoms in case I had another miscarriage. One of the apps (can’t remember which one) had a forum with a group just for moms due in January 2018. There were a TON of moms and some of the topics were a little off the wall and crazy. A couple of moms talked about creating a Facebook secret group for some of us to chat and weed out the craziness of the app forum group. I was all about joining this Facebook group!

The group was created when I was about 6 weeks pregnant and as the weeks went on the group grew. Since most of us that started in the group were due in the beginning of January, we began to welcome those that were due at the end of the month. As we became closer as a group, the decision was made to cap the group off at 200 moms which seems to be working for us because we all come from different states or countries (England, France, Canada and Sweden!), from different backgrounds and different experiences. Some of us are older moms, some have more than one child, some are first time moms but we all help and chat with each other. We started to become a family!

We had one incident of drama (which is awesome considering its a group full of hormonal pregnant women!) when some of the moms that were medical professionals (nurses mostly) went crazy over discussions about vaccinations. Instead of listening to what the others were trying to say or having an adult discussion, they basically threw a 2-year-old temper tantrum and started their own group which was supposed to be a medical fact based group. Since they left, we all grew so much closer.

We had a set of twins born first because it was medically necessary for their survival. We have had 2 other babies born prematurely. All 4 baby boys are getting the medical attention they need are fighting hard to push through each day a little stronger. We love seeing the updates the moms give us. We cherish the Ultrasound pictures we all share, the updates, the questions and discussions. We even started a Fairy Godmother exchange to give a little gift to each other for our babies. I can’t wait for my mom to get the custom outfit I had made for her little one!

As we all get another day closer to our babies coming, we talk everyday and sometimes all day. Being on bed rest, they have become my go to peeps to talk to throughout the day or when I need to vent about my pregnancy, husband or life. Some of the moms are scheduled to be induced or have c-sections in the next couple of weeks which makes all of this so real that our babies are coming and for some of us so soon.

This group of moms is a group that will keep going long after our babies are born because we have bonded over the past 8 months. I can’t wait to share my experiences with them of raising this little girl and watch all of our babies grow up.

Messy Bun Hats

Photo Nov 29, 7 31 28 PM

It is that time of year again…. Winter! Which means you need to keep warm while staying stylish and the Messy Bun Hat is your answer to this winter weather problem.

I create the Messy Bun Hats from a super soft and think acrylic yarn because I just am not a fan of how itchy wool can be on your head and skin. It brings back nightmares as a kid where I would want to just keep scratching my head after wearing a wool hat which just made my hair super static-y.

When you have long hair, hats can be difficult to wear because you end up with a big lump on the top of your head and it stretches the hat out of proportion. The Messy Bun Hat is created with an elastic hair tie which allows the hair to be free and stretches over different thickness of hair which is a great thing for the winter.

I offer the Messy Bun Hat in child small, child large, teen/adult small and adult large. There is an assorted variety of colors to choose from plus I always welcome custom requests for different colors and sizes.

The Messy Bun Hat makes a wonderful gift for yourself or others! You can find the Messy Bun Hat in my Kaella Boutique shop by following any of the links or clicking the photo.

DIY Dollar Store Advent Calendar

see & explore

I grew up enjoying the chocolate filled advent calendars which my kids and have adopted the advent calendar tradition. These advent calendars are hot commodities in my area and sell out very quickly so we have learned to be on the hunt for them. Last week, Danyella and I went into Hobby Lobby and found the calendars…

They wanted $8 for an advent calendar that was smaller than the ones we have bought in the past. No way was I going to pay $8 for cheap chocolate in a cardboard box! That is just absurd inflation when I could make a better one for the same price or cheaper.

So, I headed to my favorite place for cheap crafts…. The Dollar Store! I purchased snowflake printed zip bags, small bags of Danyella’s favorite candies, a pair of socks (she loves penguins), lipsmackers, holiday bracelets and holiday erasers. Plus I had some holiday kisses to use as well. All of these would be fun treats for her to open once a day and better than the overpriced advent calendar. I already had leftover wrapping paper, tape and a cardboard box to cut up and I printed the numbers through my Google Docs account. So I spent a total of $7 plus tax for our DIY advent calendar!

Materials:

wrapping paper

cardboard box (cut into the size/shape you desire)

tape (I preferred double-sided but you can use regular clear tape)

printed numbers 1-24

fun goodies for 24 days

zip lock baggies

Directions:

  1. Create 1-24 and cut each number out than tape them to the bags
  2. Fill the bags with your goodies
  3. Wrap the piece of cardboard with the wrapping paper
  4. Create row with the tape to stick the bags (I created 3 rows starting with 24 at the top and ending with 1)
  5. Press the baggies onto the tape for the kids to peel off each day
  6. Place your advent calendar on display and start on December 1st