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

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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.

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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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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.

Yard Sale Groups to Save for Your Vacation #savingsunday

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Week 3 of our ways to save for Family Vacation Savings is about utilizing the online yard sale groups, sites and apps. These groups and sites are a great way to clean out your house of items you don’t use while making extra cash in the process!

My go to when selling off unused stuff in my house is my local Facebook groups because I can meet people when and where it is convenient for my schedule. Facebook has made it easier to upload through their Marketplace. Since Facebook has created the Marketplace, you can upload an item to sell through there and then have it inserted into groups that you are part of, up to 10 groups. In the past, I would have to upload the item to one group and then copy/paste to each of the other groups. It was time-consuming to say the least!

My only complaint about the Facebook Marketplace is that people do not read the description to see that I will only meet people a specific locations and I will not ship the item. At least 2-3 times a week, people will message me asking me to ship the item to me but I don’t have the time to go to the Post Office at the holidays to ship a $5 item.

My most popular items that sell the fastest are kids clothes, accessories and toys. With the price of buying something new so inflated, especially kids and home items, more and more people are buying them used. On average, I bring in an extra $500 a month by selling off items I no longer need or items that people will give me that I don’t need but can use to make the extra money. Some months are a little slower with bringing a few hundred dollars but in August and November/December I can bring in $1000 because people are looking for back to school items and then items that they can re-gift for someone especially when they are still new and I just let the item sit there.

There are other ways to sell your unwanted stuff online like Craigslist and Ebay. I have used both in the past but honestly Craigslist kinda scares me. Ebay has become a long process and has moved into another world from where it started that is focused on reselling new items for more money.

Then you have the apps, which there are plenty, that you can list items for sale. Similar to the Facebook Marketplace, you list your items and then choose when and where to meet someone for the sale. With these apps, I have had the same dealings with people wanting me to ship a $5 item. My other experience has been people who set up meets and then cancel at the last-minute. Very rarely do I deal with that on Facebook. You can check out the apps I can used: Letgo, OfferUp, 5miles and Listia. There are a ton of apps for different phones but those are the most popular.

How many of you have used yard sale groups, sites and apps to save some money?

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Our weekly update: Having Thanksgiving and a ton of doctors appointments this week, the week was kind of a bust with trying to save any money. I did some essentials grocery shopping (milk, bread, etc) and save $15. The apps helped me save an extra $12 (free eggs and free bananas coupons for Walmart from coupons.com) to put into my savings apps accounts. We did a little Black Friday shopping but that goes into my separate Christmas funds to be able to continue to pick up gifts as the weeks get closer to Christmas. I didn’t have any yard sale meet ups so no money for that section either. I did receive a few more handmade sales which half goes into our vacation fund so that brought in an extra $35. Total for this week: $50 and overall savings: $259. Slowly but surely getting there!

 

34 Weeks and on Strict Bed Rest

Tips to be Impeccably Groomed

The past week has been an eventful week between getting a cold, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping and my OB appointment. Thankfully, my mom does the cooking for Thanksgiving so there wasn’t much I needed to do besides help her.

We had our Thanksgiving night shopping planned out but most of the big items, I ended up waiting until the sales went live to order them online so all we needed to get were the small things. We love Black Friday shopping to stock up on winter pajamas and household items. This year I made sure to get a new bath mat since Max began to eat ours up (memory foam yummy!) and towels with wash clothes that match. I even picked up a new bathrobe to pack in my hospital bag for the baby for only $10!

Problem with being in my third trimester and Black Friday is that I could barely walk around by the time we were done with each store. Surprisingly, Walmart was the store that had the least stress but Target had the rudest people who I just wanted to ram with a shopping cart. Our family tradition was to get disco fries (fries smothered with cheese and gravy) from our local diner but they were closed this year along with every other fast food place except McDonalds. So we got our fries but they were smothered with salt and ketchup. Then it was off to bed for me which was about 10 pm.

Through the day, before we started shopping I really wasn’t feeling well and had on and off contractions but the sleep seemed to help ease them. Since it was Black Friday, Doug had to work at 5am so I had to go to my OB appointment by myself. I figured it was going to by the typical tell the OB what was going on the past 2 weeks, he would check my cervix and I would be on my way. In and out in 15 minutes….

Well that wasn’t the case. We went over my contractions and other symptoms so he decided to do a FFN culture and some other tests that I am not sure about to check whether my body could possibly go into labor in the next 2 weeks. I am measuring about 3 weeks ahead of schedule which could mean that little miss is gaining lots of weight and could be bigger then a watermelon at full-term. (My girl parts are hurting thinking about it).

Then, he decided to run a non stress test for the baby which monitors how the baby’s heart reacts to her movements and my contractions. The nurse kept saying she as doing well especially with my strong contractions but the doctor wanted further reassurance and sent me to another location for an ultrasound. I love getting to see my baby girl with ultrasounds but scary to see her in position to be born. She is head down, face towards my back and low. Everything else including her breathing looked good and the tech sent me on my way. 3 hours later and I was heading home!

The doctor told be he would call me with my FFN results that night and to stay on strict bed rest, meaning staying in bed unless I need to go to the bathroom or get a drink, until I heard from him. As long as I was awake, the contractions were continuing and were intense but when I would fall asleep I would barely feel them. This could mean my body needs the relaxation or that I can handle the pain while I slept which is how I dealt with most of my labor with Danyella. The doctor never called and the lab haven’t posted my results on my account so I am hoping that this is good news.

Since I have been up the past couple of hours (currently 6am EST), I have had some contractions that were intense so I will be continuing my bed rest and hoping I get my results sometime today since our blood lab works 7 days a week. Now to deal with the boredom, oh wait I have homework to do and crochet orders to work on…. never any boredom time in my life! On a bright note, I am bingeing on Hallmark Christmas movies while I am in bed.

 

Using Savings Apps to Save for Vacation #savingsunday

Week 2 of our saving for your family vacation series is about utilizing the savings apps to your vacation’s advantage. I have posted about using the Ibotta app to save for gift cards but this post is going to feature 4 different apps to help you save for your family vacation.

Some of these apps are completely new to me so I am still learning how to use them but they have definitely added to my family vacation fund. The 4 apps are Shopkick, SavingStar, Checkout 51 and Ibotta (of course hehe).

Starting with Shopkick, this app is one that I have had for a while but never really opened it on a consistent basis until recently. With Shopkick, you have earn “kicks” or points by walking into specific stores, for scanning specific products at these stores and for making purchases (this is where you earn the most kicks). This is basically free money for your vacation just for walking around a store that you are already shopping at! Shopkick pays out through gift cards. They have many different cards to choose from but what will be most beneficial for our family is redeeming for Walmart gift cards and then using the Walmart gift cards to purchase Disney gift cards which can be used all over Disney World or redeemed to go towards our balance for the trip. You can do the same thing for your own vacation for restaurants or stores you may visit on your vacation. The only thing you cannot use a Walmart gift card to purchase is a the prepaid debit cards. Use code SAVE627743 or download http://getsk.co/save627743

The next savings app I have started using is SavingStar. This app is handy if you shop at stores that have loyalty cards because you can upload the rebates to card so they will automatically show up in your SavingStar account after you purchase the item and scan your card. For stores like Target and Walmart, you can scan your receipts for the rebates. Once you hit $5 in rebates, you can transfer your savings into a bank account, PayPal account or onto various gift cards.

The third app that I use is Checkout 51. Similar to SavingStar, you can upload rebates to a loyalty card or receipts for other stores. What I like about this app is that not all rebates are brand specific so just buying veggies or meat can save you money. Once you hit $20 then you can request a cash out which means they will send you a check. Be sure to allow enough time to cash out and deposit into your account for your vacation.

Last on the list is my favorite Ibotta! If you read my previous post about Ibotta, I detail how to use them and how great they are. With the holidays approaching they are offering even more stores both online and in person plus bonuses. Do you know how much you can save with Ibotta? So much money in rebates which can be cashed out to your PayPal or venemo account or redeemed for gift cards. This is always my go to app for rebates because I get the biggest payout. Use my referral code, hytctkm, and you can get a $10 welcome bonus. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/hytctkm

Our weekly update: This week I used ShopRite from Home to use the $10 off code to pay for the service fee and have less headache trying to walk around the store in my current condition. My budget was $175 which with my paper coupons and digital coupons plus some bonus purchase saving bonuses, I brought our bill down to $130! That is $45 for our vacation fund. Plus another $50 in rebates between all my apps (I am waiting to redeem them until it is closer to time I will use them). I had a few FB yard sale group sales so half of the money was $20. Lastly, I had a couple of handmade orders so half of that money totaled $40. Total for the week is $155! Adding that to last week’s savings and we are at $209 so far which is pretty good considering I had a rough week with my pregnancy and school.

33 Weeks and My Surprise Baby Shower

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7 weeks to go or less! It is hard to believe that this time has come already because over the Summer it still felt like it was so far away. Now, we are getting so close and she is getting so big that it is a wonder there is any room left for her to move or for me to grow!

Last Sunday, I was shocked and surprised with a Baby Shower hosted by my mom and mother in law. I was told that the girls in the family (minus our tag-a-long Danyella) were going to have a lunch at my work that Sunday. It struck me odd that my Mom had already talked to Doug about keeping Danyella while we had lunch because why not talk to me first?! Well, that night I woke up from a dead sleep with the gut instinct that this was a Baby Shower. I have been anti-shower because of the stress it is for the person or people planning it and I didn’t want to put the burden on someone. For the next few days, I tried to get out of going to this lunch. Even the morning of this “outing”, I told my mom I didn’t feel good and didn’t want to drive and a bunch of other excuses.

So, my sister picked me up to take me to this “lunch” which stupid me didn’t realize the one section at work was closed down. I walk in and look at the chart to see who was working and where I wanted to sit in the restaurant. All of a sudden my mom tells me to look up…. my friends from work, dance and life were there because it was my Baby Shower. I wanted to cry at first, especially since I had no makeup on and wore crappy clothes in case it wasn’t a shower and my instinct was wrong… no such luck!

I was so surprised to see everyone there including my dance moms and their girls. It was a great time and I am so blessed with all the gifts we got for the baby. I opened so many gifts and she is going to be dressed in the cutest clothes! I enjoyed a nice Virgin Strawberry Daquari and nachos after opening my gifts. Then, I got to go around and chat with everyone which is always nice to catch up. My husband was there and forced to play in some of the games which was funny  but he enjoyed it.

The baby shower really got me into nesting mode with washing all of the new items and getting them ready for this little girl who will be here in a blink of the eye!

 

Thankful for my Professor #thankfulthursday

The past couple of weeks I have struggled with my Thankful Thursday posts because what I am thankful for didn’t seem genuine. Yes there are material items and lots of people that I thabkful for but how do I write about these things without feeling either materialistic or generic? I was struggling big time.

I went into my speech class one day last week, which I enjoy because my professor always makes class interesting. He started the class out by talking about having passion in life and passion in what you do. I will admit that I lost some of my passion for art lately which turned into frustration and procrastination to get my projects done or even attend my studio classes. This lesson that my speech professor was giving on passion was the wake up call I needed to make a change in my college major and career.

I love art and love being an artist which means it should never be something I dread and I needed to get back to myself. I love my handmade business and have wanted to learn how to really work my business because that is my passion. So, I sat down with my professor who is the academic advisor for the business department and discussed the change I wanted to make.

After reviewing my transcripts and classes, we made a game plan to change my major to business and focus on learning the ins and outs of business. This will allow my to enjoy my art on my time and in my way. I love my art but losing my passion for it is something that’s just not acceptable to me. It has made me wonder if artists shouldn’t be art professor because pushing their own style and agenda isn’t cultivating a budding artist but instead hindering them to reach their full potential.

I am thankful for my professor that woke me up to the fact that my passion is exactly that… my passion and not someone else’s so be happy with my decisions or change them. Life lessons are taught at any age including a 35 year old adult student!

What are you thankful for today?