• How to Do Content Marketing as a Mom Blogger
    Mom Blogger Resources

    How to Use Content Marketing as a Mom Blogger

    Content marketing is one of the MAJOR players in the marketing world. It is the #1 way to attract new readers to your blog + then convert these visitors into money for your blog.

    What is content marketing?

    Content marketing is sharing information with the audience of people that you are trying to attract. When you share information, think of it like talking with your best gal or guy pal over a cup of coffee. When you give readers the info they seek, they start to build a relationship with you + your  blog.

    As you build trust + credibility with them, you increase your chances that they end up hiring you instead of Susie Q, who didn’t share her expertise — didn’t build a relationship — with them…at all.

    If you’re not providing a product or service through your blog, but instead are using ads or affiliate marketing, this still holds true. Content marketing, sharing information with readers through content is the #1 way to get them to click on your links + ads.

    8 Reasons to Use Content Marketing

    I love how WebProfits lays out many of these reasons you should be using content marketing in this infographic.

    Content Marketing Stats Infographic

    Here are at least 8 reasons you should be using content marketing for your mom blog.

    #1 Content Marketing Has a Conversion Rate 6x Higher

    Blogs, businesses + websites using content marketing convert six times more visitors than businesses that do not use content.

    #2 Content Marketing Has a Higher Closing Rate

    Organic search leads (those that come from conducting online searches) that bring people a blog post have a higher closing rate than other types of marketing.

    Think back to the mom frantically searching for everything she needs to know about returning to work as a pumping mom. Your blog — content marketing — provided her with all the answers to her burning questions.

    Content marketing closing rates are 14.6%, while outbound leads (like sales calls or cold emails) only close in the neighborhood of 1.7%.

    Moral of the Story: When you use content marketing, search engines, like Google, pick it up. The people searching for the information you’re providing find it in their searches. When they read your content, they hire you, buy from you, click on your affiliate links + ads. The best part is that content marketing doesn’t cost you a dime but it does mean that you have to have your SEO on point.

    #3 Content Marketing Delivers More Leads

    Content marketing bring 54% more leads than outbound marketing efforts. That’s more than double the leads, my Mama friend. That’s more than double the chance to convert visitors to your blog into money!

    #4 Your Peeps Love Content

    Ninety percent (that’s almost 100%) of consumers say that they find custom content USEFUL. If your peeps find that you are providing useful content, information, tips + advice, it is reasonable to conclude that they are going to see you an expert, as a source of information + maybe even hire you, buy from you or start clicking on affiliate links + ads that make you money.

    #5 It Shows Peeps You Care

    Seventy-eight percent of online searchers say that bloggers sharing custom content (content that is USEFUL + relevant to them) want to build good relationships with them.

    #6 Your Peeps are Looking for Content

    Online searchers admit to spending half of their time online (53%) searching for content—searching for information. When you give them the content they seek, you’re putting your company in a position to do blog/business with them. Think about that!

    #7 Content Marketing Drives Sales

    More than half, 60%, of consumers that read content about a specific product or service make a purchase or hire the service provider. This is HUGE.

    More than half of the people that are reading content use this as a jumping off point for hiring a service provider or for buying a product that relates to the content topic.

    #8 Desire Info over Advertising

    People crave information. Content that you write + share with them provides people with information. The stats prove this because 70% say they would rather get to know a blogger/business/professional by reading their content than by reading their advertisements. People are not dumb. They know when they are being marketed to with an ad.

    Content that contains links to useful + relevant products or services is viewed as helpful + useful rather than sleezy sales tactics. (Of course, it is the law to tell readers that it is an affiliate link they are about to click on but since you’ve built a relationship with them by providing them information, they don’t mind making that click.)

    These facts + figures can quickly reveal why content should be part of your marketing plan. Use marketing content to attract more visitors + make more money.

    Here is Content Marketing at Work

    Let’s say you have a blog about pumping. You share information on everything a mom needs to know about pumping.

    A mom who is getting ready to go back to work after maternity leave is frantically searching online about everything she needs to know about returning to work as a pumping mom.

    She’s looking for the best pump bags, how to store her pumped milk, a pumping schedule, ways to convince her baby to take a bottle (+ the list just goes on + on).

    She comes across your site + starts to browse your blog posts — your content. During the browsing process, she comes across your blog that shares a sample pumping schedule for working moms + tips + advice about pumping while working.

    She devours this article, subscribes to + downloads the printable pumping schedule + then clicks on your article about the 10 Best Pump Bags for Working Mothers. She falls in love with one of these bags, adds it to her cart + places the order. It’s going to arrive just before she heads back to her job.

    As an affiliate for the pump bag company, you’ve just made a commission.

    Next up, your article on the easiest ways to convince a nursing baby to drink breast milk from a bottle. She weeps with joy.

    You’ve just become this mom’s SHE-ro! She bookmarks your blog + subscribes to get blog updates. She is never going to forget your name or the name of your blog + the next time she needs an information, tips or advice, guess whose blog she’s going to hit up first?

    Yup, yours.

    This is all content marketing at work. In this particular example, it is one type of content marketing at work — blog posts. I’ll talk more later about other types of content marketing + how to do content marketing for a mom blog.

    Types of Content Marketing

    As a mommy blogger, you’re probably already using at least one form of content marketing on your blog — blog posts. Content isn’t just text. Content goes beyond blog posts.

    Types of Content MarketingContent you can share online these days is all about:

    • Blog posts
    • Infographics
    • Teaser graphics/text (for Pinterest, Instagram, FB, etc.)
    • Videos
    • eBooks
    • Case studies
    • Audio files
    • Webinars
    • PDFs
    • Printables
    • Checklists
    • Templates
    • Email marketing

    (To name but a few.)

    Today, I’m going to share with you some resources to create all types of content marketing for your blog.

    How to Create Graphic Content for Content Marketing

    Adding photos to your blog content is like adding milk to your cereal. (Technically, photos are content too, so this might be an obvious one.)

    Your posts are OK without visuals, but they are yummier with photos! Sooooooooooo many free + low-cost photo sites exist that you truly have no excuse for not adding at least one visually appealing photo to every post on your blog.

    Here are a few of my faves:

    SC Stockshop offers beautifully styled stock photos with all different color options, layouts + topics. I use these styled stock photos all the time to add to my blog posts, create Pinterest pins + more. You can get 20 FREE styled stock images right now.

    Oh Tilly: Gorgeous stock photos are so hard to find! I Oh Tilly is a great resource, with fab photos + it’s free. Register on the site + she delivers FREE + FAB stock photos to you on a pretty regular basis. Sock away those photos + when you need one for something, start looking at the pics you have on hand.

    Download the ones you need, when you need them. She also has a paid plan. Grab 15 FREE photos today!

    You can also use these photos to create graphics for social media such as Instagram + Pinterest with a tool like Canva (also free or low-cost options).

    Canva has some free pro layouts for various types of promos. Some are blog posts, Instagram posts, PDF docs, FB cover photos, Twitter profile backgrounds + more. It offers some free layouts + some are paid (I think they are like $1 for each one you use). Awesome way to create professional looking content of all types for content marketing.

    PicMonkey is another option. I love this monkey! (Maybe I just like monkeys in general because I’m a MailChimp fan too.) I use PicMonkey to create my own “teaser” photos, banners, blog post graphics + more.

    You can edit a photo online, add text + add other embellishments. Again, you don’t have to be a design genius to figure this stuff out, but it can help you look like a genius when it comes to content marketing your mom blog.

    How to Promote A Blog Using Content Marketing

    Here are five ways that you can use content marketing like a pro to BOOK MORE WEDDINGS.

    #1 Make Memorable Videos

    Video marketing is supposed to be ALL. THE. RAGE. Using videos as part of your content marketing strategy is not just about producing videos, though.

    No.

    It’s about producing memorable videos—videos that are going to attract, engage + entertain.

    Check out this example form the Dollar Shave Club.

    #2 Pin it to Win it to Use Content Marketing

    Pinterest is all the rage. Essentially, it’s an electronic bulletin board (or a series of boards) but, hey, it’s addictive (+ moms are addicted to it). In reality, though, Pinterest is a BIG ‘OLE search engine so you should use it as such.

    ModCloth tapped into the addiction + SO CAN YOU!

    modcloth-contest-resized-600

    The nitty gritty of the contest doesn’t matter because you can run any kind of contest that requires brides + grooms to pin their ideas from Pinterest.

    Brides + grooms planning their weddings are soooooooo using Pinterest already. ModCloth’s campaign is genius because they are using the content on Pinterest to attract BRIDES + GROOMS that are already using the site anyway.

    But…that’s not all.

    ModCloth is an evil genius because contestants also had to “tag” their pins with the hashtags #weddings and #modcloth. This makes them evil geniuses because these hashtags help the entries to get in front of other BRIDES + GROOMS who are planning their wedding.

    #3 How You Use Our Wedding Product/Service Submissions

    Invite the users of your product/service, just like Sharpie did, to submit blog posts (with pics) on how they use your product or service.

    Sharpie took submissions (+ FILLED THEIR BLOG) with all of the different ways people use Sharpie pens.

    Everything from wall art to clothing, decorated coolers + more popped up on the blog.

    This is genius because they filled their blog with content they did NOT even have to create.

    You can accomplish the same thing with a service-based biz. Have brides + grooms submit ways they used your service.

    #4 Instagram It to Use Content Marketing

    Take a pic. Post it. Caption it. That’s what Instagram is all about.

    You’re a mommy blogger. You’re writing a sponsored post for a brand  toddler snacks. You snap a shot of your toddler sitting in her booster seat munching on the snacks.

    You post it on Instagram with a caption that reads, “It’s not just another toddler snack — even though it’s her 100th snack today :).” Check out my thoughts on some of the best toddler snacks up on the blog today. Link in profile.”

    Link to the blog post in your profile.

    A plug for the sponsor + a way to drive traffic to the content on your blog. That’s CONTENT MARKETING, my Mama friend.

    You can do the same with a page from your notebook or a page from your calendar. Blur it out a bit so people cannot read the EXACT details. Caption it with “All of the things on my grocery so that my toddler has healthy snack options. Find out what I think about the healthy snacks that XYZ Company offers up on the blog today. Link in profile.”

    #5 Irresistible Free Offer

    If you’re looking to build your mailing list, IFOs (irresistible free offers) are the WAY. TO. GO. You can promote it in soooooooo many ways to drive traffic to your blog + get them to sign up for your list.

    A free offer can be as simple as a checklist or a bit more complex, such as “7 Ways to Pump at Work.”

    The point of content marketing is to share your knowledge with those most likely to buy your services or products or click on the affiliate links + ads that make you money from your blog.

    While your own blog is an ideal spot for your content, you also have to spread the word that your useful + relevant content exists.

    Social Media for Content Marketing

    One of the biggest ways to get the word out that your blog post exists is to share it on social media. While Pinterest is not really social media (remember, it works like a search engine), one of the best ways to pin on Pinterest is to use the scheduler Tailwind.

    I use it + love it. If you use my link, you get your first month of Tailwind for FREE. As a blogger, if you’re not using Pinterest, start using it now. Moms are all over Pinterest + Pinterest is the second largest search engine (second only to Google).

    For other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter + Instagram, I am in L-O-V-E with Recurpost. It is a social media management tool like no other.

    Not only can you schedule your social media updates, but it puts your social media updates on autopilot (autopilot on steroids). You see, Recurpost stores your content in categories that create.

    You can create a schedule of your categories. Recurpost chooses content from your content library to share from the appropriate category (So you upload content one time + Recurpost re-posts it over + over again).

    You can also schedule updates for one-time use. Recurpost is my crush.

    Hootsuite is another option for automating your social media posts. When you want to send out an update, you can type it one time + it updates all of the social media accounts you have connected to Hootsuite.

    Buffer is another social media scheduling tool. You can add your social media accounts, create an update one time + send it out into the social media universe.

    The main difference between Buffer + Hootsuite is that Buffer does not allow you to monitor other people’s updates from your social media accounts (Hootsuite does).

    (HINT: If you’re solely looking for a tool to push updates out, then I like Buffer better. If you’re looking for something to schedule updates + monitor your social media accounts simultaneously, then Hootsuite is the better option.)

    Loomly is a social media scheduler that helps you put your posting on autopilot. It also provides advanced analytics so you can measure how your posts are performing. You can try Loomly for 15 days FREE, no credit card, no obligation.

    Email Content Marketing

    The very first thing I do with new content (after posting it to my blog) is to turn it into an email campaign to the appropriate list. I don’t always email it out right away. Instead, I schedule it to go out.

    (HINT: This often allows me to have my email content marketing done + my email campaigns scheduled well into the future, so I’m not creating these things by the seat of my pants.)

    Email campaigns get your content in front of the people you know want to hear what you have to say. Include share options (forward to a friend + social media icons in your email campaigns) to make it easy for them to share the content, so you can grow your list.

    Share the love (the content) with your list. These are your raving fans so make sure they have an insider’s view of the content. At the very least, be courteous enough to let them know when you have something new to say. When you write a new blog post, send out a notice to your email list or include the post in the next edition of your e-news.

    I use + highly recommend Mailerlite. It’s a free (or low-cost option) + easy service that allows you to manage your email list AND build + send e-newsletters + email blasts that look like a pro did it.

    It’s a free way to send out marketing emails that look like a pro designed it. It has all sorts of templates so if you can cut + paste copy into a template + you’re good to go. It has ALL of the features you need — including autoresponders!

    You have to start paying once you reach 1,001 subscribers, but plans start at $10 per month, so it’s a great program for bloggers with lists of less than 5,000 names (although Mailer Lite does offer programs for lists that exceed 50,000 subscribers too)!

    Another free + low-cost option is MailChimp.

    I’ve been using Sumo as part of my list building for quite some time now. Some big names that you probably recognize use it, too (AirBNB, theChive, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss).

    Sumo is a suite of tools that help automate your business’s growth. What I love about this tool is it is something that is used by some of the biggest sites on the Internet but is also easy to use + affordable for people like me + you.

    Content Marketing with Reddit

    This is hands down one of the biggest sources of traffic when I promote wedding content. From one blog post that I shared on Reddit, it generated 143 visits to ONE post in ONE DAY.

    It is totally free to set up a Reddit account + you can make it easy to share by adding a Reddit button to your blog post pages. After I post to my blog, I click on the Reddit button on my post + it allows me to add it to my Reddit account to share with the universe. (It’s soooooo simple I’m convinced my one-year-old can do it.)

    Snip.ly

    Snip.ly is another content marketing option that allows you to piggyback on the content marketing that big businesses/websites/companies/publications are already distributing. I was able to piggyback on an Entrepreneur article with a similar topic that brought the most comments to date to my blog posts.

    1. Head on over to your fave search engine.
    2. Conduct a search on the topic of your article.
    3. Copy the link to the article you choose. (HINT: If it’s at the top of Google, for example, then it probably is there because it has a lot of views, shares + comments.)
    4. Once you’re in your snip.ly account, paste the link to the article you found + click the snip button.
    5. Fill in the popup box info + hit create.

    Does Size Matter in Blog Content Marketing

    When you sit down to write a blog post, you’re likely wondering if  a short post is better or if a longer blog post is the way to go with content marketing.

    There are two main schools of thought on whether a blog post should be short or long.

    Content Marketing Big Ideas from Small Beginnings

    1. Blog Posts Should be Short

    Some think, my readers are busy. They have short attention spans, so they don’t pay attention for longer than about 20 seconds (maybe even less).

    I have to shove this information down their throat..do it quick…+ get them to do what I want them to do.

    It’s not a wrong thought process + one the advertising world has been using for DECADES.

    2. Blog Posts Should be Long

    Maybe you’re thinking, “Define long.”

    Fair enough.

    Long is typically copy of 1,000 to 2,500+ words. This school of thought has a valid point. When someone is looking for information on a topic, they want to come to one place, get all the info they need.

    Truth be told, search engines like Google LOVE long content too.

    Studies show that the best results for rankings with Google in 2019 are blog posts or pages that have at least 1,705 words. (That’s at least 1,705 words, which means more words can mean even better rankings.)

    When you think about it, it’s pretty hard to cram a lot of quality content into the average 500-word blog post. It generally takes quite a bit more words (more detail) to truly provide the quality content that moms + Google are looking for.

    Content Marketing Makes Your Blog Focused + Fabulous

    So, which is the right choice?

    It depends.

    What does it depend on?

    I am so glad you asked.

    #1 Audience: Who You Want to Attract

    It depends on the mamas or the peeps you are trying to attract. Some are information hounds. They crave info. They seek it out. They devour it when they discover it.

    (I would say that generally speaking MOST moms fall into this category but it’s not all of them, of course, so you have to determine what kind of mamas fall in the category that you’re trying to attract.)

    Others are time starved + don’t have time to belabor every, little word you put in your blog post. So, first, you have to know who you’re dealing with on the other end of your words.

    The best way to figure this out is to ask them + to test out the length of your blog posts to see which performs better. You can view your site stats to see which of your blog posts get more traffic.

    It’s easy to see if these are ones that are shorter or longer in length.

    Tim Brown, the owner of The Hook Agency, goes into detail about how to determine which length of blog posts is your best performers in his article, “How long should a blog post be in 2019 for SEO purposes?” 

    #2 The Info: What Information You’re Sharing

    Another factor is the type of information you’re sharing. Some information requires details — a ton of information. Some doesn’t.

    My school of thought + the one it seems search engine optimization is leaning toward, is to write so that it covers the subject at hand + forget about how many words it is.

    If it takes you 495 words to share, great! If it takes you 2,014 words, then that’s great too! Maybe even better since the minimum length for SEO this year is 1,705 words.

    #3 What Your Competition is Doing

    Spy on your competition. Google the keyword you’re trying to rank for with your blog post. Find out what your competitors (other bloggers, not huge authority sites) are saying + how many words it’s taking them to say it.

    Your goal is to make your content better + longer than your competition so that your blog post has a change to rank higher than your competition.

    Let’s get social
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  • Summer Day Camps
    Raising Girls

    The Ultimate Guide to Summer Day Camps + Sleepaway Camps

    The end of the school year is suddenly here (today for my daughter finishing Kindergarten + last week for my preschooler). What are you going to do to occupy your kids for those long summer days? For moms who work either full-time, part-time or even flex hours from home + even stay-at-home moms, summer day camp does double duty as child care + can help save your sanity.

    I read a post from a fellow Mama yesterday that said her success for the day was not strangling anyone since her kids were already home for the summer. Success indeed 🙂

    If you haven’t thought much about the plan for summer but now you’re hitting the panic button, wondering if it’s going to be 3 long months of computer screens as babysitters… you’re in luck.

    Most summer day camps + even summer sleepaway camps expect + prepare for an influx of registrations at the end of June or early July. You likely have an array of summer day camps to choose from, depending on where you live + what still has availability.

    Types of Summer Day Camps

    The best way to find out what type of summer day camps are available for your child is to do a local search online. Here are some of the typical, activity-based summer camp choices.

    Summer recreation programs

    Many towns offer a recreation program, with typical hours from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but sometimes shorter hours + sometimes longer. This is one of the most affordable options to get kids out of the house + socializing under the supervision of caring adults or teenagers. Your child will engage in a variety of activities, including outdoor play, gym exercise on rainy days, swimming + arts + crafts.

    Depending on the location of your town or county’s recreation program, there may be an option for kids to purchase food for lunch. Otherwise, you may be required to pack a snack + lunch each day.

    There will likely be at least one or two field trips to kid favorites like the local movie theater, skating rink or bowling alley, or perhaps a nearby farm if you live in a more rural area.

    Performing arts camp

    Kids who would like to develop their talents for singing, playing musical instruments, dancing + acting might be thrilled with the idea of attending a performing arts camp during the summer.

    If your younger child shows aptitude around the performing arts, this experience could well be the catalyst for future participation in music band, drama club + other performing arts-related extra-curricular activities.

    YMCA summer day camps

    The YMCA has long been a reliable option for summer campers of all ages. The YMCA offers indoor + outdoor pools with swim lessons for all ages, taught by certified instructors. They will also typically have indoor gym areas, exercise equipment, racquetball courts + outdoor playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis, ball fields + other kid favorites.

    Sports camp

    For kids with a love for sports there are summer day camps for that. At these camps, the majority of the focus is refining particular skills that apply to a certain sport.

    So for example, if your child attends softball camp, she will spend the majority of her day working on catching, throwing, hitting + fielding. Teams are formed + games are played.

    Other activities at sports camp will of course include meals, along with some free time + possibly swim time. If you know your child is really into, or wants to become a pro at a particular sport, then sports camp could be a great investment for the summer.

    Computer + STEM summer day camps

    A growing number of organizations are dedicated to helping kids develop their intellectual + skill set – with opportunities to attend summer day camps focused on science, technology, engineering + math (STEM) skills.

    This type of camp can be ideal for the brainy, mechanically inclined, book smart + computer savvy kid for whom intensive sports or hours of daily outdoor play may not be her thing.

    Since it’s a good idea to have kids be active for at least some portion of the day, ask if there will be some outdoor play to have the children burn off energy + enjoy some free time with peers, in addition to the educational experience they will be gaining at this type of summer day camp.

    The Right Type of Camp for Your Child

    The type of summer day camp that’s right for your child will, of course, depend on her personality + individual preferences. While parents who work may have more limited options based around the operating hours that the summer day camp offers, stay-at-home moms may have more choices in day camps, since hours might be more flexible.

    Since no mama likes to dish out cash for something their kid isn’t going to enjoy, start by asking your children what types of activities they’d be interested in exploring for the summer. These days, there’s something for every preference + taste.

    If your son or daughter is hoping to advance their baseball, basketball, soccer, or gymnastics skills, summer sports camp can give them an edge during the off-season, so they’ll return stronger + more prepared to compete when sports are back in session during the upcoming school year.

    Arts camp is a perfect fit for the dramatically, musically + artistically inclined. And scout camp or another type of outdoor camp that features activities like hiking, fishing, swimming, traversing the outdoors, learning about + experiencing nature + other related activities can be a win for the outdoorsy type of child.

    Hours for Summer Day Camps

    Drop-off + pick-up times at summer day camps depend on the individual camp where you send your child or children. Most summer day camps take into consideration that working parents need a place to bring their children early in the morning before they head to work for the day.

    So your child’s summer camp’s drop-off time could be as early as 7:30 a.m., or it may be a more firmly-set schedule that begins at 8:45 a.m. — but again it depends on the camp + their hours of operation.

    Camp’s pickup time, too, can coincide with the end of the work day for parents. However, if you choose a camp for your child that offers an array of flexible options, then you may be able to secure a pick-up time as early as 3 p.m. or as late as 6 p.m.

    The best way to find out about summer day camp hours is to make some calls to the various day camps in your area.

    Duration of Summer Day Camps

    Once again, the answer to this question varies greatly from one summer camp to another. You may find that some camps in your area require that parents sign their children up for a minimum of one month of camp.

    Other camps allow parents to sign up their kids week by week, as needed. If your child is signed up for all four weeks of July, she may see a variety of kids coming + going. Some summer day camp facilities even permit parents a flexible schedule of 2 days a week, 3 half days, or some other alternate option.

    Ask to see a printout of the camp’s schedule + itinerary, or check it out online if there is a website available to read + gather information.

    How much does summer camp cost?

    You can find camps that cost as little as about $500 per month, or as much as several thousand dollars.

    Many of the lower-priced camps are subsidized by the government to make it more affordable for working parents. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to foot the bill for camp, you do have options such as obtaining financial aid or being granted a scholarship for your child to have a free ride to camp this year.

    A higher grade-point average, being a well-rounded student + a track record of good behavior may be factored in when considering whether to grant a child a scholarship to camp.

    The American Camp Association has designed a scholarship program that local camps can elect to participate. The first prerequisite to a camp offering their scholarship is that said camp must be ACA accredited.

    According to the ACA website, “Each year, participating camps give scholarships to campers who cannot afford the entire camp fee and whose presence at camp will broaden the composition of the camp community.”

    The YMCA is another camp that is well known for offering a scholarship to qualifying families who meet their income requirements. If you are interested in obtaining a scholarship for your child to attend either of these, or any other type of summer camp, your best bet is to start your research well in advance of summer, ask lots of questions + be persistent.

    Fill out forms in a timely fashion, obtain supporting documents such as proof of income. The best way to get what you want is to ask for it.

    So if you need help affording summer camp for your child or children, be proactive. Make the calls, find the right person in charge to speak to + let them know your needs.

    Are Summer Day Camps Daycare?

    Yes, most summer day camps are similar to daycare. It is one daycare option available to working parents or parents that want to help occupy some of their kids’ time during the summer.

    Summer day camps tend to provide children with a well-rounded experience that combines learning, socializing, skill building, sports + more.

    For this reason, you’ll find fully qualified professionals who can provide proper care for your children; be counted on to react swiftly, appropriately + effectively in an emergency situation; are trained in CPR; qualify as certified life guards for the swimming pool or lake if there is one; + other requirements.

    You’ll find a registered nurse on staff in the camp’s infirmary, an arts + crafts teacher who likely has a degree to support his or her teaching skills + possibly even music teachers who have been formally educated as such, depending on the type of summer day camp you choose for your child or children this summer.

    Summer Day Camp Schedule

    Once again, a summer camp’s schedule can vary depending on the type of camp you choose for your child, the hours of operation + the way the camp elects to segment the day.

    If there are different age groups performing various activities during the routine hours of day camp, then the camp may opt to rotate these groups through each activity.

    There may be an arts + crafts building, a pool or lake to swim in, woods to hike, sports fields, or other features of the camp. It is up to the organizers of the activities to decide which age group participates in which activity + for how long, based on a variety of considerations + concerns.

    Young campers may prefer to have pool or lake swim time later on in the day after it becomes a bit hotter. Sporting activities may be organized for the younger campers during the earlier morning hours before the sun is strong.

    Rainy days typically present opportunities for alternate activities such as arts, crafts + indoor games.

    Again, the summer camp schedule that your child experiences depends on the camp + their schedule.

    Since these are just some possibilities, your best option is to contact some camps in your area to ask specific questions before registering your child.

    Do summer camps serve meals?

    Some, but not all summer camps serve meals. If your child is attending a summer camp based out of a daycare facility that provides year-round service, then they may already have a lunch program in place. In which case, your child should be able to purchase lunch on site.

    Some day camps/day care facilities have an ongoing relationship with local food establishments + may have worked out a Monday through Friday schedule of ordering lunch from various places, for a flat fee of around $3-$5 per meal.

    Day camps who do not offer on-site lunches expect parents to pack a snack + lunch for their child(ren), along with a drink, each day. There may be a large refrigerator unit where the lunches/snacks can be stored to prevent spoilage on hot summer days.

    Be sure your child’s name is written clearly on her lunch bag + avoid foods such as mayonnaise, which tend to spoil easily. If the camp doesn’t have a fridge or cooler for children to store lunch boxes, it’s a good idea to include a cold pack to keep items like yogurts, fruits + sandwiches fresh.

    Helpful tip: Be sure to follow up with your child about lunch at camp. Ask if she has enough time to eat her food or if there is a reason why she is not getting to finish her food. Be sure that she is able to eat lunch within a reasonable time frame + that the foods you pack are not being tossed into the garbage before moving on to the next activity.

    Lunches + snacks can be mixed up in the rush to get everyone set up with their lunch + eating. If your child seems very hungry at the end of their long + busy camp day, asking about their lunch + snack time can help you assess if you need to pack more food or something else is happening.

    For example, in one of my daughter’s classes, I found that her snack time was so close to her lunch time that she had a ton of leftover food each day. I started packing a smaller snack with the same size lunch + found that she was wasting less food this way.

    Should I Send My Child to Summer Sleepaway Camp?

    The choice to send your child to summer sleepaway camp versus summer day camp versus no camp is, of course, a personal decision. Before registering your child for summer sleepaway camp, here are some things to consider.

    The age of your child

    Summer sleepaway camp is usually for children that are at least 11 or 12, though some summer sleepaway camps may be for younger children.

    The maturity level of your child

    More important than age is your child’s comfort level which has a lot to do with maturity. Some 10 year-olds who are old souls may feel at home spending their days + nights with friends at summer camp.

    Some 14 year-olds may feel separation anxiety as a result of being away from their families for so long. Again, it really depends on the child, what they’re comfortable with + used to + other factors.

    How far away from home the camp is

    Some parents happily pack their kids up + drive 2-3 hours to give their kiddos the rustic summer sleepaway camp experience. Or, maybe the camp isn’t necessarily in the woods or mountains, but you’ve selected it for some special offering that your child can benefit from, such as arts camp or horse camp.  

    Keep in mind that in choosing a camp that is farther away, you are solely relying on other people to care for your child, even if something goes wrong. Are you + your child ready to be separated for such a great amount of time and distance? Will you be able to visit them at camp + how often?

    Other things to ask yourself:

    • Is there a special need or a special medical situation that warrants you’re somewhat nearby in the event of an emergency?
    • Is the camp located nearby to a family member or friend whom you may be able to rely on to help?
    • Will your child attend camp along with a buddy from school whom she can stick with for safety, a sense of security, friendship +the other perks of having a pal present?

    Benefits of Summer Sleepaway Camp

    Just as there are pros + cons to summer day camps, there are pros + cons to summer sleepaway camps.

    Children become more independent

    Although it may not feel like it at first, one of the best + most liberating times your child may have is while being away for a month or more at summer sleepaway camp.

    At first, they may be filled with apprehension at being on their own. But with so many fun things to do, new people to meet, friends to make, exciting experiences to be had + a newfound sense of freedom, it can do wonders for a child’s self confidence + sense of self reliance.

    Kids branch out socially

    Summer sleepaway camp is an opportunity for your child to make new friends with new + different types of kids, some of whom she may have never known prior to this experience.

    Culturally + socially, your child can broaden her horizons after meeting new friends from different towns, cities + states around the country, at summer sleepaway camp.  A bunk buddy from summer camp could become a long-distance pen pal to keep in touch with the whole year through.

    Your child can conquer fears

    As parents we mean well, but sometimes our presence can actually hinder our children’s personal growth as we fall into the same predictable behavior patterns. An extended time away from parents, brothers + sisters can help a child break out of her shell to be bold in ways she may never have considered possible.

    Kids can learn new ways of doing things. In meeting different people, having a new routine + undertaking new experiences, your child may learn how to do things in new ways. This can contribute to worldly wisdom + expanding one’s awareness, which is a good thing for maturity + personal growth.

    Questions to ask before signing your child up for summer day camp:

    • What is the daily camp schedule?
    • What are drop-off + pick-up times?
    • What age groups is this camp?
    • What is the camp’s activity schedule for a particular age group?
    • Are there themed weeks at this camp + if so what are the themes for this summer?
    • Will there be a field trip, or several of them + if so, to where?
    • What age are the people in charge of overseeing the campers (i.e. camp counselors, junior counselors, directors, instructors, coaches, etc.)
    • How many children per counselor or junior counselor?
    • Is my child required to have a physical performed by her doctor before attending camp?
    • Am I required to sign my child up to camp for a minimum of days; for example, a full month?
    • Is there a discount or other type of tiered pricing based on the number of days or weeks a child attends camp?
    • Is there a family discount for sending more than one child to camp?
    • Is lunch available for purchase on site, or do I have to pack a bagged lunch?
    • What other items am I required to have my child pack each day for camp (typically a swim suit + towel, lunch + snack, sneakers or hiking shoes, rain poncho, other?)
    • If my child is attending a specialty camp, what type of equipment, supplies, uniform or outfit am I expected to purchase in advance?
    • Is financial aid or a scholarship available?

    How to Afford Summer Camp

    Summer camp fees vary depending on the type of camp your child attends + the duration of the camp. A summer recreation program based out of the school may be more affordable than a specialty camp that focuses on advanced skills like horseback riding, computers, fine arts, or sports such as baseball or gymnastics.

    One way to help offset the cost of camp is to have your child “work for camp” – that is, assuming this is a camp that she really wants to attend. Not only will chipping in to pay for camp teach your child the value of a hard-earned dollar, but they can gain valuable skills in the process.

    There are plenty of tasks that busy moms + neighbors can outsource to young people with a mind for making money to pay for summer camp. There are local moms in need of babysitting or a mother’s helper.

    Other ideas for kids to make money for camp include running a paper route, mowing lawns, doing yard work or running errands, house sitting, washing cars + walking dogs.

    Is financial aid available for summer camp?

    According to an article in USA today, a 2018 survey by the American Camp Association, 93% of U.S. camps who responded to the survey claimed to have some sort of financial aid available for families who qualify.

    Don’t allow the stress of paying for summer day camp paralyze you from taking action. If you’re looking for a way to obtain financial aid for summer camp, inquire about need-based grants in which your household income will factor in to the amount that you’re required to pay for summer camp.

    Another option is a scholarship. If you are a lower-income family, single mother or someone on a limited budget, it can benefit you to begin searching for an affordable camp situation well in advance of school letting out.

    If you are really strapped for cash + cannot afford to send your child to summer, check out what the mom from Simply Made Fancy does to host a summer camp for her own kids at home.

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  • How to Increase Blog Traffic Fast
    Mom Blogger Resources

    How to Increase Blog Traffic Fast

    Once you’ve had your mommy blog for a while, you’re going to have a lot of old blog posts. Sure, some of the information on these posts is evergreen (so it doesn’t really change much) + it remains sage advice.

    Other blog posts age, however, so the information becomes outdated. You can breathe new life into your old blog posts, which can mean that you attract the search engines + your peeps by running through your old content + doing one or more of these 10 things to update blog posts.

    How to Increase Blog Traffic Fast

    So the #1 way on how to increase blog traffic fast is to update old blog posts.

    #1 SEO the Title

    Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a huge role in your audience finding your content, your blog post, your website/business + you. Focus a lot on optimizing your blog posts so your audience finds the information you’re sharing.

    Start at the beginning with the title of the blog post. Revise the title to include the keyword you are focusing on for this particular post.

    #2 SEO the Link

    Then move on to optimizing the URL or permalink for the blog post. Generally, this link is your domain name followed by the title of the post. When you revise the title to include the targeted keyword make sure that you change the link/URL/permalink to also include the keyword.

    It’s one more positive step toward optimizing your blog post to help it rank better in the search engines + be found by your audience.

    #3 Re-write + Revamp Copy

    If your blog post is a few years old, you’ve probably gotten a lot better at writing. Show it off by going through the copy of the post + re-writing + re-vamping it to show off your refined writing skills. You can finesse sentences, switch out words + do whatever else you need to do to make the copy + content pop.

    #4 Fix Spelling + Grammar Errors

    We all have typos + errors (even me!). We are, after all, human. Proofread your content to make sure that it is free of spelling + grammar errors, which can be a big turnoff to some. Use a spell check + grammar check program, if you need help in this area.

    #5 Update Old Facts + Figures

    Update any old stats, facts or figures that you include in the blog post. Again, if the post is 1 year or older, these stats, facts + figures can easily be outdated. This is especially true if you list out dates or years in your posts.

    For example, a post on the top 10 strong girl names for 2018 became outdated as soon as 2019 began. You can create an entirely new post by going through to update everything in the article that has changed.

    #6 Add Links

    Go through the post + add links, where appropriate. Add internal links, so links to other blog posts or pages on your site that provide additional information on the topic you’re covering in the post.

    Also, add external links, so links to blog posts, articles + other websites that provide additional information. It should be said that you should link appropriately + don’t get too crazy with the links. One internal + one external link per post can be sufficient.

    Although, Neil Patel from QuickSprout suggests adding a link about every 200 words but only when appropriate.

    #7 Fix Broken Links

    Links in your post can be outdated + broken. Check existing links in the post to make sure that it still works + goes to the right page, post or article. Fix + update any broken links so they work again or remove links that cannot be updated or fixed.

    #8 Optimize Photos

    All of your blog posts should have at least one photo. If it doesn’t, then get on it–adding at least one photo, pronto! You can optimize your photos, too.

    Simply name the photo as you save it + upload to your post so that the name of the photo contains the keyword you’re focusing on for the post. If it is an existing photo on the post, you can either rename it + re-upload it or edit the photo name in the post so it contains the keyword.

    You can also change the alt text + title of the photo so it contains the keywords.

    #9 Create a Pinnable Image

    Pinterest is huge so it should be a huge focus for mom bloggers. Make sure that all of your posts contain at least one pinnable image. You might notice that I have an image in my posts that is on brand for my business + then I have a pinnable image also. You can do it the same way or you can have one image that is optimized, on brand + pinnable.

    #10 Update the Keyword + Meta Description

    Update the keyword (if necessary) to match the keyword you’ve been using throughout your updates. Re-write or revise your meta description. While the meta description doesn’t have anything to do with the search engine ranking, it is what your audience tends to read when your blog post pops up in their search. Make sure it contains the keyword + a description that is going to grab their attention.

    Updating old blog posts is easy + can go a long way in helping to increase blog traffic by gettting your blog posts in front of the mommies that you’re trying to attract.

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  • How to Increase Blog Traffic Free
    Mom Blogger Resources

    How to Increase Blog Traffic for Free

    Confession time.

    I rarely publish new blog posts on one of my blogs anymore. Between writing blog posts for my other blogs, writing copy + content for clients, raising three girls + just life in general, there just aren’t always enough hours in the day to get it all done.

    The fact that I don’t publish new blog posts there all the time has NOT decreased the amount of traffic I get to this blog, though. In fact, it’s increased traffic.

    Whaaaaaaat??????

    That’s right + I’m going to share with you how I do it so you can increase the traffic that flocks to your blog/website, too.

    #1 Increase Blog Traffic for Free by Focusing

    There’s Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SEO, oh my! The biggest mistake mommy bloggers make is that they try to be on all of these platforms + manage all of these platforms.

    All this does is leave you exhausted + wondering why none or a very small amount of traffic are trickling to your site.

    Instead, pick two things to focus on + give it your all. My advice is to focus on:

    These are the two areas that are going to give you the biggest results. BONUS: Both are FREE ways to increase traffic to your blog/site. These are the two areas that I give my all + it pays off.

    If you haven’t heard of her before, Ana from The She Approach is a wealth of information on increasing blog traffic + Pinterest.

    #2 Try Something New to Increase Traffic to A Mommy Blog

    It might sound counterproductive since I just told you to choose SEO + Pinterest + give it your all but you do have to test the waters for other avenues to attract new traffic, too.

    You’ve probably heard the saying that goes something like you keep doing the same things over + over again but expect different results. This applies here.

    If all you’ve been doing is writing blog posts, slapping a link on social media to it + then you hear crickets, it’s probably time for a change. Again, I would set your sights on Pinterest + SEO.

    Ana from The She Approach offers you highly actionable tips on increasing blog traffic + how to use Pinterest to do this for a highly affordable price without having to spend $197 for each course on the topic.

    Even if you decide not to focus on Pinterest + SEO then try something new. Try one new thing at a time so that you can run a true test to see what is working for you.

    Maybe you guest post on a popular site that reaches your niche. Maybe you get quoted in a magazine article that reaches your audience. Maybe you simply add sharing buttons to your website + blog posts.

    #3 Make it Easy to Go Viral

    Get other mommies to do the work for you. Make sure that your website + ALL of your individual blog posts have share buttons. Mommies can share your information with other mommies.

    After all, who is better at sharing than MOMS?

    Moms can pin your pins to their Pinterest boards to reference later + to get other moms to pin it to their Pinterest boards. You can add these buttons for free to your website + blog so make sure they are there!

    #4 Update Old Content

    Once you have a lot of content on your blog or your blog has been around for a while, like one of my other blogs, you don’t always need to produce brand new content all the time. You can actually breathe new life into old content, instead, which is almost the same as creating new blog content.

    Check out 10 Ways to Update Blog Posts to Increase Traffic to find out exactly what you need to do.

    What can you do today to start making some changes that can attract more traffic your blog + to your business?

    BONUS: If you decide to buy one of Ana’s ebooks with with my link, I’ll throw in my Mommy Business Blogging eBook FREE.

    Go ahead. Grab your blog traffic ebook or your Pinterest ebook today. You know you want + NEED to increase traffic.

    #5 How to Use SEO to Increase Blog Traffic Free

    Use SEO to drive more traffic, they say.

    You say, how in the heck do I do that? Then you freeze + do nothing, which is the worst possible marketing strategy for your blog.

    As a blogger, the way you market your blog can make or break the traffic you drive to your blog. When you use the right online marketing techniques, you can drive a tremendous amount of traffic to your business.

    When you use the wrong techniques, you can miss out on the traffic + then you can forget about turning the traffic into any kind of money. 

    SEO is the bridge between traffic that is milling around out there on the Internet + the traffic you drive to your blog. 

    Do Your SEO Homework

    Before you start batch writing blog posts + before you start going through old posts to SEO ’em up, take a step back to make sure that you truly understand the types of people you are trying to attract.

    The bottom line is that you have to understand these folks better than any other blogger that is offering the same type of information, products or services that you are. 

    Use the free version of tools like SEMRush to help you find the keywords  your people are using to search for the information you offer (or are going to offer).

    You can also consider paid search tools like Ahrefs

    This is the foundation for creating content people want to read + that they can find because you’re using keywords that helps the content rank higher in the search engines. 

    Talk about a win-win.

    I am no SEO expert but I did take Mike Pearson’s Stupid Simple SEO course. He has a free version you can check out + I highly recommend it. Mike only offers his paid course a couple times a year but starting out with his free course is useful.

    Place Keywords Carefully

    Once upon a time, keywords were the easiest part of SEO. All you had to do was scatter it throughout your content to attract the right traffic to your blog.

    In the SEO industry, this is known as keyword “stuffing.”

    Google got smart a few years back + now if they catch you keyword stuffing, it can remove you from the search engines altogether.

    And…nobody wants that.

    Instead, use the keyword you want to rank for up to 3 times in the body of your content + then in some strategic places that I go into detail about in in the last section of this post.

    External Sites Can Help You Use SEO to Drive More Traffic to a Mom Blog

    Onsite SEO is when you use keywords + SEO strategies on your website + blog to attract traffic.

    Offsite SEO is when you leverage external websites to rank in the search engines.

    When other websites or blogs link back to your website or content these are backlinks. Backlinks from quality sources can help you climb the search engine ranks.

    Guest blog posts are one of the best ways to gain backlinks to your content + rank higher in the search engines. 

    Add SEO to Headlines + Sub-Headers

    Creating fab content is #1 in importance. Creating that fab content also has to do with how you format it.

    Formatting + SEO go hand in hand. When you’re formatting website copy or a blog post, make sure you use your keyword in the headline (H1) and in a sub-headline (H2).

    For example if you’re trying to rank for “best doula in New York City,” then include this keyword phrase + variations of it in your h1 (Headline) and h2 (sub-headline) tags.

    This way, you spread out the SEO juice across the page in all the right places. 

    Leverage SEO to make it easier to find your blog. It’s not always about how much traffic your drive to your blog with SEO but it is all about driving high quality traffic to your blog. SEO is what helps you achieve this.

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  • 10 Best Books on Raising Strong Girls
    Girl Mom Reviews,  Raising Girls

    10 Best Books on Raising Strong Girls

    Raising strong girls in the face of mean girls, bullies + life is tough. Even if you were a girl at one time, as a mom now, it’s a different world for girls than it was when we were growing up.

    Also, if you’re going at this parenting stuff for the first time, you’ve never raised girls before. It doesn’t hurt to have some information at your fingertips so you can have a plan in place for raising strong girls.

    These 10 books can provide you with the information, tips + advice that you need for raising daughters + raising strong girls that can take on this world while they are little + continue to take it on as they grow into teenagers + adults.

    1. No More Mean Girls

    No More Mean Girls

    Remember in elementary school how you we played + learned + then went home? Yeah, those days are gone. While mean girls tended to appear in high school for us, mean girls are now making an appearance as early as elementary school.

    No More Mean Girls by Katie Hurley tackles the issues like peer pressure, low self-esteem + cyber-bullying that is creeping up at younger ages than ever before. In a world where social media leads our girls to believe that building “likes” reveals to the world just how “liked” they are, it is our job to instill confidence in them so they don’t define their self worth by what others think of them.

    This books gives parents practical + actionable advice on exactly how raising strong girls is about teaching girls to stand up for themselves while being strong, confident + learning to build each other up instead of tearing each other down.

    Katie Hurley also provides parents advice on how to teach girls to deal with mean girls, how to seek out + build healthy friendships + how to express their emotions in a healthy way.

    2. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

    Strong Fathers Strong Daughters

    Raising strong girls has a lot to do with the relationship that said girls have with their fathers. The challenge is that most fathers have never been girls so it’s hard for fathers to connect to their daughters (It can be hard for mothers to connect to their daughters, too, + most of us have been girls.).

    In Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Dr. Meg Meeker, reveals the 10 secrets every dad needs to know about building or re-building strong bonds with his daughter. Building these strong bonds is the foundation for helping daughters + fathers create successful lives.

    3. Little Girls Can Be Mean

    Little Girls Can Be Mean

    When my oldest daughter was entering the 4s’ class at her preschool, I was shocked to find out from her preschool teacher that “mean” girls start as young as 4. Four! My oldest is especially sensitive so I wanted to arm her with + my other daughters with what it takes to stand up against bullying.

    Little Girls Can Be Mean provides you with the four steps you can take to bully-proof girls starting in the early grades (for me it started in Pre-K) such as elementary school.

    The great thing about tackling the issue of bullying in this book is it covers bullying for girls + bullying at young ages rather than with older girls. The book provides actionable strategies young girls can use to stand up for themselves when they are being intimidated, bullied + disrespected.

    While the focus of the book is on helping girls deal with bullying at a young age, you just might pick up a strategy or two on dealing with “mean moms.” Some things + people never change, right?

    4. Cinderella Ate My Daughter

    Cinderella Ate My Daughter

    Growing up in Florida, I was surrounded by Disney. As I reached adulthood, I began to realize that Disney does girls a HUGE injustice by implanting thoughts such as, “One day, your Prince Charming will come along.”

    It creates a fantasy + fairytale mindset that is often far from reality. Now that I have three daughters, my focus is on raising strong girls that can stand on their own two feet — whatever way that looks for them — without a man, with a man, wearing a tiara or wearing a football helmet.

    Cinderella Ate My Daughter weighs the pros + cons of raising girls in a binary gender society. The biggest takeaway with this book is that we should just let our daughters be whoever it is they want to be.

    If she wants to don the princess dress + be girly, then that is A-okay. If she wants to roll in the mud + wear a dinosaur dress then that is A-okay, too. If she wants to wear a princess dress while rolling in the mud, then so be it!

    This book also dismisses the mindset that girls are all sugar + spice + everything nice mentality. It delves into the thought process that our society has about how important outer beauty + how to focus on inner beauty instead.

    5. What I Told My Daughter

    What I Told My Daughter

    This book screams Girl Power! It is a compilation of reflections from women leaders in politics, sports, business, academia + the arts. Strong + confident women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Laura Bush + Madeline Albright.

    These women lead by example for their daughters + provide their best advice in what they told or showed their daughters about life lessons in leadership, courage + empathy.

    What I Told My Daughter is a series of essays written from the perspective of the celebrities + women leaders. They each discuss the life lesson they taught their daughter(s) + how they went about doing it.

    You don’t have to be a celebrity or a power-leader to take away some great life lessons that you can share with your own daughter.

    6. Enough As She Is

    Enough As She Is

    While girls are outpacing boys in areas such as college enrollment + GPAs, girls are more anxious + stressed out than ever before. Many girls feel that no matter how successful they are that they just aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough, popular enough, successful enough or thin enough for the world in which they live.

    Enough As She Is uses case studies + in-depth research to help parents give their daughters the necessary tools to become healthy, happy + fulfilled women that reject the pressure of becoming a supergirl + how to overcome the stress that society places on them.

    I remember being scared to death of turning 30, but my 30s turned out to be a time in my life when I finally felt comfortable in my own skin, didn’t care what other people thought of me + truly lived life on my own terms. If I had read this book or had a mother that read this book, I might have been able to get there way before I turned 30.

    By the way, my 40s aren’t looking so bad either 🙂

    7. Odd Girl Out

    Odd Girl Out

    Boy bullies tend to push + shove. Maybe even punch + slap. They come at it from more of a physical side than girls. Girl bullies punch + strike with emotional abuse.

    Odd Girl Out reveals the hidden + dark side of girl bullying in our culture. This includes social media bullying online. The author arms parents with information to recognize the signs of social media bullying or girl bullying in general + provides ways to overcome it.

    8. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls combines the world of make believe with reality. Each story is about a true strong woman but is told as a fairtytale. This is a lead by example book for raising strong girls.

    The book includes 100 stories illustrating the lives of extraordinary women with the likes of Amelia Earhart, Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, Cleopatra + Marie Curie. The illustrators of the book are 60 women. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a book for girls written about girls (past + present) by girls + illustrated by girls.

    It is a bit more for younger girls than it is for adolescent or teenage girls. Much like the fairytales from Disney, the book has engaging stories while teaching life lessons. It is the perfect book for bedtime stories.

    9. How to Mother a Successful Daughter

    How to Mother a Successful Daughter

    All any of us want as parents is to have happy, healthy + successful daughters. Success can look drastically different from one daughter to another.

    How to Mother a Successful Daughter delves into the steps you can take as a mother to help your daughter overcome the stress, pressure + anxiety that societal pressures put on her to build a successful life in her own eyes.

    As mothers, we lead a lot as example for our daughters. We have to model the behaviors that we want our daughters to exhibit. We definitely have an influence on whether those behaviors are healthy ones or not. The focus of this book is the dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship + how mothers can have a positive influence on their daughters.

    10. Strong is the New Pretty

    Strong is the New Pretty

    You know what they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So true. What is pretty to me may not be pretty to you. What is pretty to you may not be pretty to me.

    Strong is the New Pretty is a photo book that depicts girls just being themselves in all sorts of different outfits + situations. It debunks the myth that girls have to look or act a certain way to be pretty, to be accepted or to be liked.

    The 175 photographs depict that raising strong girls is all about fostering the beauty that is on the inside + that what is beautiful on the outside is a strong + confident girl.

    Raising strong girls is not for the faint of heart. It’s a tough process but you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous resources available to you, Mama, so you can raise strong + confident girls that are going to do great things for this world.

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  • Raising Girls

    A Complete Mom Guide to Summer Activities with Kids (So Everyone Survives the Summer)

    Hooray, it’s almost summer! Time to relax, have some fun in the sun + enjoy a more laid-back schedule. Whether you’re planning on chilling at home or heading out to the pool, beach or on vacation, here are some summer activities with kids + some tips to play it safe inside the house, out in the yard + while roaming.

    Create a Summer Activities Bucket List

    The first thing I do with my kiddos when it’s summer break is make a Summer Activities Bucket List. This, in + of itself, is such a FUN activity. We break out an old fashioned pen + paper + we set to work using our imaginations to conjure up all of the summer activities we can try to accomplish over the summer.

    You can get fancy + creative with the design of your bucket list of summer activities but you certainly don’t have to. It can be a standard check to-do list.

    Lauren + her 3 kiddos over at Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood create a handmade summer bucket list. You can check out her ideas for adding summer activities to your bucket list, too.

    The Best Ideas for Kids offers a free download of a summer bucket list. Click on the picture of her bucket list to download it from her site.

    summer activities bucket list

    Check out summer activities throughout + at the end of this post for ideas to add to your own summer activities bucket list.

    Summer Activities with Preschoolers

    My kids are 5, 3 + 1 so we have to find a range of activities that are fun for everyone. Sometimes, the activity is a bit more focused on one or the other, though.

    Some summer activities with preschoolers + toddlers can be just as fun for the Kindergartner, though.

    Some of the simpler BUT SO MUCH FUN summer activities with preschoolers that you can do at home:

    • Bubble gloves
    • Drawing with sidewalk chalk
    • Throwing water balloons (especially at their sisters)
    • Playing in the water table
    • Running through the sprinkler

    Another activity that my kids love is to have a summer outdoor movie. Steph over at Dresses and Dinosaurs says to set up a screen + projector, put out some fun cushions or chairs (sometimes she + her kids even use water floats) with blankets + pillows. Steph puts together some fun snacks like snack mixes or popcorn + watches a movie with the kids once the sun goes down!  

    Slight variation on this. My kids have made “cars” out of cardboard boxes, plates, colored duct tape, markers + more to sit in while they watch the movie. This is what I call a two-fer because you get two activities out of it–making the cars + watching the movie. Woo hoo!

    Another slight variation is to seat them in one of their play “car” vehicles. Here is the baby in her sister’s Frozen Jeep. (OK. She’s actually standing.)

    I don’t know about your kids but my girls LOVE to play in the mud. Alexandra over at Scissors & Glue suggests setting up a mud kitchen in your back yard + letting your kids go to town digging + playing in the mud.

    Alexandra also shares how to serve tea time treats from a mud kitchen. My girls would be in total heaven. Tea + mud, oh my!

    Time at the Pool

    Swimming is usually high on the list of fun summer activities with kids. My older girls are taking swimming lessons + the oldest is getting ready to participate in the swim “team” for 5 + 6-year-olds in our neighborhood.

    For adults + older kids, swimming is a great workout for your heart + lungs + a HUGE stress reliever. If you do head out to the pool with the kids, take the necessary safety precautions no matter what your age or the age of your kids.

    Swimming + Pool Safety is a Must

    Girls in the pool
    • Always swim with a buddy. The buddy system is important so you can look out for each other while in the water. If someone starts to feel sick or loses control while swimming, his or her buddy can call out for help. If your buddy knows CPR, all the better!
    • Take breaks. Swimming + splashing around in the pool is tiring. Swimming takes a lot of energy + muscle power. It’s a full cardio workout, which means your heart + lungs are giving it their all. If you start to feel tired + like you can’t keep up, sit this one out. Just a few minutes of rest may be all you need before you’re back in line at the diving board.
    • Don’t go in without a lifeguard on duty. Lifeguards are trained to keep people of all ages + sizes safe in the water. They are required to take water safety courses + undergo CPR training. If you’re at a pool or lake, the best way to keep your entire family safe is to look for a life guard before heading in together for a dip.
    • Invest in swim lessons. Anyone at any age or skill level can learn to swim. Once your child masters being able to tread water + swim in the deep end, you’ll feel so much more at ease while at pools, lakes + beaches. It also opens the door to all sorts of fun, warm-weather activities such as boating, kayaking, wave running + more. Knowing how to swim assures a safer + more enjoyable summer for everyone!
    • Never leave children in the water unattended. No matter how strong a swimmer your child may be, you should never leave him or her unattended in the pool, at the lake + especially not while swimming in the ocean. Station your group in close proximity to a life guard + put an adult in charge of overseeing the water activities.
    • Floaties are everyone’s friend. When in doubt, grab a flotation device. Kids’ life jackets, water wings + pool floaties should be worn according to age, size + weight. Adults too, should check the maximum weight capacity on their flotation device. No shame in taking a rest on your pool raft if you feel the need 🙂
    • Observe the water depth. Teach kids to be mindful of the number printed on the side of the pool. Teach them early so they know that 3′ is the safe zone but 5′ is the deep end where only the expert swimmers can go. Even if the deep end is roped off, it’s best to make children aware of water depth.
    • Mind the rules of diving + swimming. Teach your children that the adults who are in charge of the pool should be respected. If the sign says NO DIVING, NO RUNNING, NO HORESPLAY then follow accordingly. If kids can’t read yet, take a moment to explain the rules of the pool + that the rules ensure everyone’s safety.
    • Keep sun exposure to a minimum. Vitamin D is definitely important, so a little sunshine is okay. But if you plan to be out for several hours, be sure to apply a good, waterproof sun block. Brimmed hats, awnings, umbrellas, rash guards + beach cover ups are other, less messy ways to stay shielded from those UV rays.
    • Take a rest after eating before you get in the pool. Some say that you should wait at least a half hour before heading in to take a dip after eating. This is mostly for swimming so you don’t get cramps. Frolicking in the water doesn’t really count so you don’t have to follow this rule to a tee, but it’s good practice to “rest while you digest” so you won’t end up overexerting in the water.
    • Keep water horseplay to a minimum. If someone seems scared or uncomfortable, let them be. Teach kids to respect the space of other people. Of course, some splashing + frolicking is great provided everybody’s enjoying it. But if there’s an uncertain swimmer in your midst, or someone who’s afraid of the water, be mindful of their feelings + safety.

    For more pool safety tips, check out Pool Safety 101 from Ashley at Irish Twins Momma.

    Summer at the Beach

    Probably only second to the pool is heading to the beach for a day trip (if you’re lucky enough to live near the beach) or on vacation. In my book, (I’m from Florida but live in Virginia now) the beach is #1 on my summer activities’ list.

    The list of things you can do at the beach with the kids is almost endless.

    • Playing in the sand
    • Building sand castles
    • Burying sisters in the sand (Keep their head out, please)
    • Carrying a million buckets of water back + forth from the ocean
    • Flying a kite
    • Digging
    • Eating
    • Drinking
    • Having ice cream from a vendor on the beach or nearby
    • Blowing bubbles or bubble gloves
    • Surfing (for older kids)
    • Boogie boarding
    • Playing in the surf/waves
    • Playing in the tidal pools (be careful of jellyfish + other sea animals)
    • Hunting for shells
    • Riding bikes
    • Taking a walk along the shore

    Safety: Fun in the Sun, Safe in the Surf

    Whether you’re a year-round shore dweller or someone who just vacations there during the summer, it’s always a good idea to take necessary precautions at the beach. Here are some tips for making your trip to the ocean a fun + safe one.

    • Sunscreen up! The white sand + the reflective ocean water, plus the general lack of shade at the beach make for some quick + painful sunburns. Be sure to apply a good, waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF. Those with fair skin may also wish to bring along a beach umbrella, tent +/or hide beneath the wide brim of a floppy beach hat. If you do manage to get a sunburn, use aloe vera after a bath or shower to soothe + moisturize.
    • Avoid going in the ocean without a lifeguard present. The undertow can be extremely strong + waves can overwhelm even an expert swimmer. Beach life guards are there for everyone’s safety + enjoyment, so make sure you’re near one if you’re thinking about taking the plunge. (I know I need all the hands + support I can get since my kids outnumber me + my husband!)
    • Stay within designated safe swimming areas. At the beach, you’ll often see colorful flags posted every few hundred feet or so, close to the shoreline. This serves to mark the designated safe swimming areas. Usually, a life guard station is between these flag markers. That’s how you know that this is an okay spot for you + your family to swim.
    • Swim with a buddy or in a group. It can be a lot of fun, bobbing up + down in the crashing waves, diving into the foamy surf, being thrashed around by the mighty ocean. But ocean swimming takes the most physical effort + is the most dangerous of all types of swimming or water activities. Bring along a swimming partner or entourage if you plan to go in. Always keep your eye on your buddies while in the water, to make sure everybody’s staying safe.
    • Don’t bring kids in to swim in the ocean until they’re strong swimmers. The shore line is the perfect spot to wade up to your ankles, build a sand castle, collect some shells + splash in the foam. But kids shouldn’t go all the way in until they’ve taken swim lessons + are proven strong swimmers. If your family or friends plan to be near where the waves break, it’s a good idea to have kids don some swimmies, a floatie tube or properly sized life jacket to ensure that water play stays fun + safe.
    • Mind the tide. Year-round beach dwellers often pay attention to something that vacationers may miss: the tide. When the tide is high, the undertow becomes stronger + that can mean more difficult + strenuous swimming/water conditions. Check posted signs so you pick the best time to swim + be on the beach. Or you can always ask a life guard.
    • Keep an eye out for jellyfish. Jellyfish prefer warm water, so if you want to avoid them then head out for an ocean swim earlier in the day before the water heats up. If you’re planning a beach vacation, June + July mean less likelihood of encountering jellyfish on the shore line because the water is still on the chilly side. Where there’s one jellyfish there are usually more. If you spot some, maybe take a break on the sand. If there are tidal pools on the beach, be careful there are not jellyfish or jellyfish tentacles in the pools. Even if the tentacles are no linger attached to the body of a jellyfish, they can still sting! (If you do get stung by a jellyfish, here’s what to do. Immediately rinse the sting with sea water + attempt to scrape out the stinger using something with a dull edge, like the edge of a credit card or a child’s sand shovel. Once back at home or at the place where you’re staying, treat the wound by rinsing with vinegar. Apply a baking soda paste. Hot baths + ice packs may also ease the pain. Finally, relieve itching + discomfort with calamine lotion or lidocaine.)
    • Don’t forget to hydrate. Tiredness, confusion + headache are all signs of dehydration, but it’s easy enough to avoid, even at the beach. Take along a small cooler filled with bottles of ice water. If you don’t have water with you, stop for some refreshments on the boardwalk. Remind kids to have a drink every so often after playing. Ice pops are another fun way to stay hydrated on a hot, summer beach day!
    • Pay attention to landmarks. One funny thing about the beach is that every entrance looks exactly the same as the last one. Teach everyone in your group to pay attention to landmarks, such as special signs, flags, or a particular building that may be within view. This way, if anyone becomes separated from the group, they’ll be able to find their way back easily.

    Summer Camps for Kids

    My kids attend (or attended) the summer camp at their preschool. My middle daughter is there right now! Summer camps for kids are a great way to occupy their time (for at least half a day, if not a whole day).

    Summer camps for kids can range from general day camps to super-specific camps. Our summer camp for preschoolers is general but each of the teachers has a theme.

    For example, the teacher that is in charge of my daughter’s camp does a camping theme with them. All of the activities over the course of the two-week camp is centered around camping.

    When she was my older daughter’s summer camp teacher, she did an “around the world” theme. They had passports that they made + they did different activities centering around different terrains + areas of the world (desert, wetlands, Antarctica, etc.) to get their passports stamped each day.

    I’ve also seen super-specific camps such as science camp, where the kids focus on science-related activities + learning experiences the entire time they are attending the camp.

    Summer Camp Safety

    Whether it’s the very first camp experience, or your kid is a seasoned camper, sleep-away or weekly day camp… you definitely want to remind your child of some safety precautions to take before embarking on the summer adventure that is camp!

    • Get a referral. A familiar summer camp that your child looks forward to having fun at is probably your best bet. This is my girls usually attend the camp at their preschool. Another good idea is to find places you go with your child (My Gym, the local rec center or a local museum, for example). If this is your child’s first experience at a camp they’ve never been to before, try to get a personal recommendation from a friend whose child has already attended, if possible.
    • Take a tour. If it’s a brand new + unfamiliar summer camp, be sure to take a tour with your child. This way, you can get to know the counselors + caregivers while getting a feel for the types of activities they offer.
    • Use the buddy system. Whether the day’s activity is hiking in the woods, lake or pool swimming, arts + crafts, or sports… encourage your child to hang with a buddy + stay with the group.
    • Teach your child about privacy + personal space. If it’s sleep-away camp, your child is going to change into sleepwear, swim wear or day wear, take showers + use the facilities. Teach her the difference between good touching + bad touching. Let her know that she has a right to her own space + privacy. Make it known that if someone makes her feel uncomfortable, she needs to tell you right away.
    • Make sure your child knows where the infirmary or nurse’s office is. Bee stings, skinned knees, poison ivy + heat exhaustion can all be a routine part of camp life. Encourage your child to tell his or her counselor if he’s been injured or has any symptoms that may need to be treated. If your kiddo has allergies, be sure that your child’s counselor, camp nurse + caregivers know what the allergies are + how to treat the symptoms.

    Amusement Park, the Zoo + Carnivals

    Summer time offers its share of fun in the form of carnivals, zoos, amusement parks + water parks. In our area, we have both paid + free options.

    One of our summer vacations with the kids is to take them to Hershey Park, Dutch Wonderland + Sesame Place. Being from Florida, I have been to Disney about 101 times (maybe more). Check out my article on 4 Tips to Prep for Your Disney Trip with Kids.

    We have the National Zoo (free) + Frying Pan Park Farm (free) nearby + Roari’s Zoofari (paid) that are usually on our list of summer activities with kids.

    We tend to make a day (or a half day) out of going to the local farms + zoos. We get in the car + head to the place by around 10 am. We pack snacks, drinks (especially water) + sometimes even a lunch.

    We take along a blanket to sit on the ground for a picnic on the ground. If there are picnic tables or general tables available, we, of course, snag one of those instead.

    Amusement parks are more of an all-day affair. Before you pile all the kids in the car, take some of these safety tips into consideration to ensure the most enjoyment with the least amount of worry.

    • Charge up the phones before heading out. Whomever has phones (parents, kids or both) should bring them along on your excursion. This way, if anyone becomes separated from the group, they can put in a quick call to locate the pack. Another good use of cell phones is for meet-ups. “I’ll see you over by the monkey cages at 3:15.”
    • Try to keep it to an even number of friends or family. This is particularly important if you’re visiting an amusement park or carnival. If your family is oddly numbered, then bring along a friend for the day. This way, you’ll never be in that awkward scenario where one person has to either ride with a stranger or sit the ride out entirely + get separated from the group. Also, it means there is one adult per child!
    • If the sign says don’t feed the animals… don’t feed the animals. Many zoos have designated petting zoo areas where you can purchase animal feed for a quarter + have a great old time letting goats nibble out of your palm. However, kids should be taught that other animals outside the petting zoo may not be as friendly + should not be offered a snack.
    • Stow your valuables if you plan to use the water park. It’s helpful to bring a sleeve of quarters so you can get a locker to store your cell phone, wallet + other valuables while splashing about in the water park.
    • Mind the height requirements + cautions for various amusement park or carnival rides. Usually the people who work at such establishments are pretty good at knowing when someone is too short to ride a certain ride. However, some folks are more lax about the rules — so it’s up to you to make sure that kids are safe.
    • Accompany kids to the bathroom. Play it safe + keep the children with you in the bathroom.
    • Take shelter from a sudden storm. Every once in a while, a brief summer thunderstorm disrupts your outing. If this happens, find the nearest place where you can go indoors, such as a gift shop or food establishment. Typically, summer thunderstorms pass quickly so it won’t be too much of a hassle. If caught outside in an electrical storm, be sure to avoid trees, tall metal structures + metal poles.

    Take a Hike

    Take the kiddos on a family-friendly hiking or walking trail. We recently took a vacation to Shenandoah Valley for spring break. This area has numerous trails so we were able to find a family-friendly one where the girls could walk on their own + we could push the baby in her stroller.

    We also have numerous trails surrounding us in the area we live, including one in our neighborhood. Hiking or walking a trail with the kids is one of those summer activities that is great in the morning or later in the day when it is cooler.

    Hiking or walking a trail is a fabulous way to introduce your kids to nature. Birds, animals, fish, plants, flowers + fauna are all typically within arm’s reach.

    It’s also a GREAT way to tire the kids out so naps just might be in order — even for the kids that don’t normally take naps!

    Practice Good Safety While Hiking + Exploring the Woods

    While taking a walk in the woods can be enjoyable, there are definitely some things to be mindful of in the interest of your safety, as well as the safety of your kids.

    • Select a trail that matches the ability level of the kids. Most people who hike often know that there are easy trails, where the terrain is fairly level + without obstacles. Then, there are more strenuous trails that may lead up mountains, onto rocky terrain + over sloped areas that pose risk to less experienced or less able-bodied hikers. The trails are marked by different colors, such as red, white, blue, green, orange, etc. If you aren’t sure which colors mean what, spend some time looking at the hiking trail map. Or, talk with a park ranger or hiker who is familiar with the trail + can guide you into choosing the most kiddo-friendly trail.
    • Bring a charged cell phone. Keep yours charged + on your person during hiking expeditions. One useful thing about having your cell on a hike is that if you decide not to go the full trail, you can navigate your way to a shortcut that meets the road.
    • Keep a back pack with plenty of bottles or sippy cups of water. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially if hiking during the summer months.
    • Take along a first aid kit. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it – but if someone gets cut or scraped while on the trail, a first aid kit with Bactine + band-aids is going to be a welcome + comforting sight.
    • Dress for tick protection. Deer ticks carry the dreaded Lyme Disease + Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Take precaution by wearing long sleeves, long pants + tying up or putting a cap over long hair before heading out into the deep woods for a hike.
    • If you see a bear, make a lot of noise. Hiking in Bear Country? Bears typically don’t bother humans + are typically only after a potential snack. But mother bears can become defensive if they see you as a threat to their cubs. If you spot a bear in the woods + there’s no avoiding it, spread out your limbs to appear bigger, clap your hands together + make a lot of noise. This is said to scare off bears so they’ll leave you alone.
    • Avoid smoking cigarettes in the woods. Prevent forest fires by not smoking in the woods. Smoking and hiking are two activities that don’t mix anyway.

    Camp in the Backyard

    You don’t have to pack up for a camping trip + drive out to a campground. Turn your back yard into a camp ground — complete with tent + a campfire (Check with your local authority to make sure there isn’t a burn ban in your area).

    My girls adore putting up the tent with their dad + getting their sleeping bags, blankets + pillows all set up inside. We live in a wooded area so our back yard does have a camp ground feel to it.

    We have a fire pit that we (carefully) roast marshmallows over to make s’mores with the girls.

    Campfire Safety this Summer

    Are you a campfire person? For many of us, the cool air of a summer night conjures up memories of toasting marshmallows + telling spooky stories around a campfire. If you build a campfire, be sure to practice good safety habits.

    • Add a screen. Wood fires can pop, crackle + sparks. You can use a protective screen to avoid the burn of a stray ember.
    • Phone it in. Many towns have a special phone number that you can call to find out if there is a burn ban in your area due to dry conditions. This way, you know not to have a campfire if dry conditions could cause a fire outbreak.
    • If you dig a fire pit, be sure it’s large and deep enough. The recommendation is 4 feet in diameter and 12 inches deep. There should also be a border of large stones around the fire, to ensure that the flames are kept to one spot. Leave 2 inches of space between the stones for proper air flow.
    • Have a water source nearby. This means a working hose that’s hooked up + ready to go if necessary. Typically, you can put out a fire by shoveling dirt from the bottom of the fire pit over the burning embers + wood. But if you want to be more quick about stopping the fire, then use the hose method. This unfortunately creates a ton of smoke, but it may be your best option in certain circumstances.
    • Teach kids to stay back from the fire. Also do not allow anyone to run around near the fire pit, where both the flames + the large stones pose a risk. Avoid having people wear loose clothing which could catch on fire if the individual is tending or poking at the fire.
    • Don’t forget about stop, drop + roll. This is fire safety 101, taught from the beginning in preschool. Remind all of your campfire attendees that stop, drop + roll is still the best way to put out a fire in someone’s clothes catch an ember.
    • Avoid smoke inhalation. If your fire begins to billow out smoke for whatever reason (green wood, spraying water on it to put it out), instruct everyone present to leave the area until the smoke clears.
    • Don’t start a campfire on a windy night. If you’re not sure if it’s good campfire weather, you can consult with your local fire department to be sure. Some towns regularly post a risk of forest fire number which is good to know if you host campfires near a wooded area or in a neighborhood where the homes are closer together.
    • When in doubt, put it out! If you’re ever wondering if this is the wrong time for a campfire, it probably is. Best to be safe than sorry… so put it out!

    Gardening

    My girls love to plant flowers, trees + bushes. We live in a wooded area + have had to cut down a few trees that were endangering our house + cars. We bought tons of news trees to plant with them–trying to teach them that if you have to take a tree away that you should plant at least one tree to replace it.

    (We planted a lot more than a 1:1 ratio).

    Every Spring we plant new flowers with the girls in our flower beds + planters. We have even gone down the road of having tomato plants.

    Gardening or planting a garden is one of those summer activities that comes with a ton of benefits for you, your kids + the environment.

    The girls even have little gardening sets made for kids that make planting or tending to trees, flowers or veggies easy peasy lemon squeezy.

    Summer Time Gardening Safety

    Did you know that good gardeners have their own set of rules that they abide by for the best yield of produce + the safest gardening experience? If you’re new to gardening, heed these wise words when growing veggies, herbs + fruits this summer with the kids.

    • If it’s not in use, store it away. This means shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes + gardening shears. Tools that are left scattered about can pose a risk to the passerby who may accidentally trip + fall over them + you don’t want the kids messing around with sharp objects unsupervised. Also, tools that are left out in the rain can rust over time. Take a few minutes to tidy up after a day of toiling in the garden beds. It is safer + the garden looks tidier, too!
    • Replace rusty fencing. Lots of people put up low critter fences to keep rabbits + other varmints away from their veggie gardens. We have to put up deer fencing or the deer in our neighborhood eat EVERYTHING. Over time, this fencing can rust. If someone accidentally scratches themselves on the fence, this can pose a risk. So be a safe gardener + get rid of that rusty fencing.
    • Don’t pick veggies after a rain, or when it’s dewy out. The air becomes moist after the sun goes down + everything is covered in dew in the morning. This is the worst time to pick vegetables because wetness transmits mold, bacteria + viruses. Wait until the sun has been shining on your garden for a while to dry everything out, before heading in to harvest.
    • Use proper form when bending + reaching to pick vegetables and tend your crops. It’s easy to strain your muscles if you reach too far while standing in an awkward position. Remember to bend your knees when leaning forward + keep your tummy pulled in so as to avoid straining your back while gardening. (This one is probably more for you than your kids.)
    • Avoid using chemical sprays on your garden. This includes pest control. Most garden pests can be kept under control either by planting strongly scented herbs nearby your veggie plants, or by simply picking the beetles off the plants. Another option is to knock off garden bugs with a spray of the hose.

    Summer Activities Bucket List

    I mentioned earlier that my girls + I have not made our summer activities bucket list quite yet but here are some more ideas to inspire you when making your own list.

    1. Go to a baseball game
    2. Make popsicles
    3. Go on a scavenger hunt. Check out scavenger hunt printables) from Red Tricycle)
    4. Visit a foreign country (from your living room)
    5. Plant a garden
    6. Make homemade ice cream
    7. Check out a program at the library
    8. Check out books at the library
    9. Decorate a t-shirt
    10. Check out the summer movie program ($1 per person)
    11. Buy ice cream from the ice cream truck
    12. Visit a museum
    13. Go to a spray park
    14. Go to a drive-in movie (We have tickets that we bought the girls as part of their Easter basket gifts)
    15. Make homemade ice cream sundaes for dinner
    16. Pick your own berries at a local farm
    17. Play baseball
    18. Hoolahoop
    19. Ride a bike (maybe even learn to ride a bike without training wheels)
    20. Visit a local book store (We found a really neat one in Old Town Alexandria, Hooray Books, where we found some of the neatest items, including the baby’s new llama Wubba Nub!)
    21. Act out a puppet show (My girls did this last night)
    22. Try a new ice cream place (We hit a local shop, Sugar Mama’s,) recently that makes their ice cream locally + it was DELISH! They also have this fabulous idea where you can buy mini scoops of different flavors for 50 cents each so you can try a variety of flavors all at once.)
    23. Gaze at the stars
    24. Watch airplanes land + take off (Dulles + Reagan National are our local airports)
    25. Attend an outdoor concert
    26. Host winter activities in the summer (See 101 Winter Activities for ideas)
    27. Enjoy the indoors or rainy summer days (See Rainy Day Activities for ideas)

    It’s summer ya’ll so make your summer activities bucket list, start doing + checking items off your list. Have a happy + safe summer!

    Mom Guide to Summer Activities with Kids
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  • Raising Girls

    The Ultimate Guide to Sibling Fighting + How to Stop It

    My two oldest girls (almost 6 + almost 4) fight ALL. THE. TIME. I imagine it is only a matter of time before the baby (1 year) is brought into the melee. It’s what I imagine it’s like to have boys (sibling fighting) because there is often a brawl similar to a WWF wrestling match in the living room, on the breezeway or in their room when they are going at each other.

    They lose their #$%! + then I lose my $#@% + it just gets ugly from there.

    I’m an only child so this is unchartered territory for me that I vowed to get to the bottom of + FAST. Here’s what I found out + have started to put to work.

    Why Do Siblings Fight?

    In my research to get to the bottom of this sibling fighting, I first set out to find out why siblings fight to begin with. I mean, there’s probably some obvious reasons but I discovered there a LOT of underlying reasons that spark siblings to fight.

    1. Sibling Fighting is Normal

    It is perfectly normal behavior for siblings to fight with each other.

    Phew…

    You can heave a little sigh of relief. I know I did.

    In fact, child behavior experts say that sibling fighting can help prep your kids for the real world. It gives them the skills they need to negotiate + for conflict resolution.

    Now, rolling around on the board room floor pulling hair, punching + yelling at one of their co-workers is PROBABLY not how you want them to resolve conflict + negotiate so the HOW to resolve conflict + negotiate are skills you have to work on with them.

    We’ll get into that a bit later on.

    2. Sibling Fighting Garners Attention + Gives Them Control

    When the kids fight, you react so another reason that siblings fight is to get Mom or Dad’s attention. It’s on an unconscious level for the kids, but they soon come to realize that if they fight with each other or pick on their sister that Mom or Dad (or both) give them attention.

    Second, it gives the kids control over you as the parent. Again, it’s more subconscious than on purpose, but kids are really smart. They quickly put two + two together to figure out that they can control Mom or Dad’s behavior + reactions (if you let them) by fighting with their sister.

    It is no coincidence that as soon as you take a phone call from your old college roommate or you’re trying to schedule a doctor appointment that this is when your girls turn into Ronda Rousey + Stephanie McMahon.

    3. Sibling Fighting Stems from Comparison

    One child in the family tends to feel as if they don’t measure up to their sibling so it causes sibling fighting. As a parent, we have to be careful that we are not making statements that compare our children to one another. Often times, this is an inner feeling that the child has (whether parents are contributing to the feeling or not).

    Because the child feels as if they don’t measure up to their sibling, they lash out at them + start a fight.

    In the book, Siblings Without Rivalry, the authors conduct a group study. The authors ask the group what adults (parents) do to contribute to sibling fighting + sibling rivalry. The response from kids was that parents compare siblings.

    So interesting.

    Think about it. You know you’ve probably done + so have I. One kid is having a full-on meltdown + you mumble something like, “Why are you acting like this? Look at your sister. She’s not acting like this. She’s doing what she’s supposed to be doing — getting her PJs on for bed.”

    Oops…

    The Siblings Without Rivalry book also provides suggestions on how to help your kids live together so that you (as parents) can live (in peace) too.

    How to Stop Sibling Fighting

    While some or all of these causes of sibling fighting might sound familiar to you, what in the heck can you do about it?

    Check out these 10 ways to finally put an end to sibling fighting.

    1. Model Behavior

    My husband + I attended a family retreat on strengths-based parenting. One of my biggest takeaways from the retreat sessions was we model behavior for our children.

    Worth repeating: We model behavior for our children.

    We SHOW our children exactly HOW to act.

    Our children act + react just like we show them to act + react to situations.

    So if you + the hubs are fighting, yelling + screaming at each when there is some kind of a family conflict, guess what?

    That’s how your kiddos think they need to act + react in order to resolve a conflict they’re having + in their situation it’s a conflict with their sister.

    The same holds true for your reactions when a fellow driver cuts you off on the road or you have an issue returning an item at the customer service desk of the local department store.

    If a driver cuts you off, instead of throwing F-bombs + shooting them the finger, say, “Wow, that driver cut me off. That’s dangerous but it’s OK. They must be in a hurry or maybe they didn’t see me.”

    In your head, you can throw F-bombs + shoot them the middle finger 🙂

    This models calm behavior to your children as a way of reacting to an unpleasant situation.

    2. Allow Them to Express Their Feelings

    Girls tend to hold in their emotions + not use their words to express their feelings. Instead, they bottle up their feelings until one day it explodes all over their sister.

    Hence, the WWF match taking place in the middle of the living room.

    So when my daughter yells at her sister saying, “I hate you. You’re the worst sister ever,” that is perfectly OK. She does have the right to feel like her sister is the worst sister ever.

    Instead of shouting back at her that she shouldn’t say that, you should validate her feelings + say something along the lines of, “I can hear that you are angry with your sister. Good job using your words to express your feelings.”

    3. Stay Out of It

    As long as nobody is being hurt, stay out of the middle of sibling fighting. When a fight breaks out, stay calm + quiet. Allow them to work it out between each other + don’t intervene.

    If violence or hitting breaks out then you might have to step in saying something along the lines of, “In this house, we use words, not hands to resolve issues.”

    Allowing fighting siblings to work out their own differences is where they can acquire their conflict resolution skills.

    4. Separate Them

    I have found this works the best so far for my two fighting siblings. Send them to separate rooms for some time apart from each other. Not only does it diffuse the situation but it also gives you the opportunity to speak with each child one-on-one.

    It gives each child the individual attention they might be seeking from you without their sister interrupting + allows them to give you their side of the story.

    In the end, separating them usually allows whatever the fight was over to dissolve + they’re back playing together nicely 15 minutes or so later.

    5. Divert Their Attention

    For my girls, fighting is generally over an object, like a toy. The preschool teachers where both girls went or currently go, use terms like, “That was in Audrey’s hands so would you like to play with this truck until Audrey is done with the motorcycle?”

    Most of the time, the kid takes the alternative toy (or whatever it is) + moves on. Sometimes, they don’t come back for the toy. Other times, they wait close by + when their sibling puts the coveted toy down, they scoop it up for their turn with it.

    6. Celebrate Their Individual Strengths

    Each of my daughters is soooooo different. Sure, they have some similarities (DNA will do that to ‘ya) but for the most part they are truly individuals — with their own likes, dislikes, personalities + characteristics.

    Celebrate these differences with your family as a whole + with your child individually. I mentioned a retreat that my family + I attended on strengths-based parenting.

    The premise of strengths-based parenting is determining what your strengths are as an individual + what your child’s strengths are as an individual. Once you know what each of your strengths are, you can help your child focus on their strengths (rather than focusing on their weaknesses + trying to turn them into strengths).

    The book Strengths Based Parenting is ah-mazing. It helps you figure out what each of your strengths are + then walks you through how to parent a child with the strengths your children have + how to be a parent with the strengths you have.

    The book does not cover the topic of sibling rivalry + sibling fighting BUT it does work with you on how to be the best parent to the child(ren) you have + it focuses on not comparing your children but rather celebrating their strengths + helping them to foster + nurture their strengths.

    Indirectly, this all helps to eliminate (or at least drastically reduce) sibling fighting.

    I highly recommend the book. (We also own the Strengths Based Marriage book, which I also highly recommend for your relationship with your spouse + building the marriage you want).

    7. Give Them an Outlet

    Give your kiddos some way to express their feelings that doesn’t involve punching their sister as hard as they can while holding her in a full Nelson. My girls LOVE art. They would paint, color, draw or make crafts All. DAY. LONG. if I let them.

    When a fight breaks out, try to divert their attention with a creative activity they enjoy, such as art. This allows them to get their feelings out on paper (or some other medium) rather than out on their sister.

    8. Make a Wish

    My girls are into fairies + wishes so granting their wish is powerful to them. When one of them is having a conniption fit, simply saying, “I can see that your sister is making you angry + you wish that she would stop [insert whatever it is that she is doing at that moment to tick the other one off].”

    Just making this statement, granting her wish, has an amazing way of diffusing the situation, validating the feelings of the upset daughter without really requiring any action on the part of the daughter that is pushing her sister’s buttons.

    I’m like a fairy godmother 🙂

    9. Don’t Take Sides

    It takes two to fight (I know you were expecting make a thing go right + that’s true too). Avoid taking the side of one child. Avoid punishing the children at all or taking away the toy (or whatever) that is causing the problem.

    Instead treat the children equally. They are both fighting + they are both in the wrong for doing so.

    10. Teach Empathy

    Separate the kids + circle back when everyone is calm. You can teach your kids to be empathetic to their siblings by asking, ” How do you think your sister felt when you took the car out of her hand?”

    It helps your daughters to understand how other people feel by their actions + helps them to (hopefully) adjust their behavior the next time they are in the same situation so they won’t make their sister mad (sad, etc.).

    Let’s get social
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  • Mom Blogger Resources

    How to Find Blog Ideas

    Do you ever sit down at your computer searching for an answer to one of your latest problems + feel instantly OVERWHELMED with all of the info that pops up in your search engine?

    Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Other moms feel the same way as you. (Confession: It happens to me ALL. THE. TIME.)

    So how do you make your blog post stand out from the crowd so that it doesn’t overwhelm your audience? How do you cut through all of the noise to write about topics your fellow mamas care about reading?

    The First Step in Finding Blog Ideas

    Be YOU when you write. By this, I mean being you when you write is one of the BEST + FIRST ways to cut through the noise that all of the other “mom bloggers” are making on a topic + finding blog ideas your audience cares about reading.

    Better yet, that answers their question or gives them a solution to the problem they are having.

    I cover (at length) how to be you – how to write like you — in the Mommy Business Blogging eBook, but let’s take a few minutes to get an overview of what this looks like.

    Bloggers ask my advice on writing all the time. My #1 tip that I love to share is to be you when you write.

    It sounds so simple, right?

    You are one of a million bloggers milling around in the blogosphere. What makes you so different from all the other bloggers sharing information online?

    YOU!

    That’s what makes you different. Your voice, your tone, your personality + your point of view are what makes you different, what makes you stand out from the crowd + what attracts your peeps to you.

    Now, If you are a poor speller or your grammar sucks, then you have some adjusting to make before you launch a best seller, but…other than that, when you write, write using your own words, your own voice + voice your own opinion with your words (+ the facts that support what you think).

    Take a moment to figure out your style.

    1. Do you write like you would talk if you were having a conversation with someone sitting in front of you (or on the phone)?
    2. Are you sarcastic?
    3. Do you like to make jokes or use puns when you’re writing?
    4. Are you serious and conservative?
    5. Are you formal + stiff?

    Remember, there are no wrong answers. You can’t BE you in the wrong way, unless you’re acting like someone else + not like you at all!

    Remember, too, that you are writing for other people to read + understand, so write like a human being talking to another human being. Write like a mama talking to another mama.

    The main point is that you give your content a voice, an opinion, a viewpoint that makes the content unique to you + isn’t just a regurgitation of what all the other mamas are saying — even if it is the same topic.

    So that’s that. If you have a topic to write about in the first place, then put it in your own words, use your own opinions + your own experiences to write about it.

    Now let’s talk about finding blog ideas when you don’t really know what to write about.

    If you’re struggling for topics, here’s some secret sauce on how to come up with topics that moms actually want to know about, read + find the answers to their burning questions.

    Buzzsumo for Blog Ideas

    Head on over to Buzzsumo (www.buzzsumo.com).

    I should mention here that there is a free + a paid version. You can decide for yourself which version is best for you. I use the free version + find that it suits my purposes. Again, only you can decide which one works for you.

    I think you get about 10 searches per day with the free version. You may find this suits your writing needs just fine. The free version also limits the number of blog ideas you can see (I think it’s 5 blog ideas). If you want to see the whole kit + kaboodle then you have to go with the paid version.

    Anywho, once you are at Buzzsumo, a search box appears at the top.

    Type in a topic, keyword, or even a URL (of a site that is yours or covers similar topics to your site).

    Buzzsumo then pulls up articles, blog posts + content that matches what you typed into the search box.

    Alongside the content, it lists out each social networking site + how many times the content was shared. Buzzsumo covers the primary social media sites, so FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

    These numbers are big clues on what moms find interesting enough to share. If they find it interesting enough to share, then they find it interesting enough to read.

    Take a look at some of the articles. Read them. Pull out bits of info. Think on it.

    Do you have an opinion on the article content?

    Do you have a different viewpoint or experience from the author about this particular topic?

    Can you expand on, condense down, or embellish the info that is in this article?

    If you can do all of these, then you can even come up with more than one blog idea. BAM! A whole bunch of blog ideas from ONE. LITTLE. SEARCH.

    OK, so that is Buzzsumo. Let’s move on to a second way to can conjure up some topics.

    Google Trends for Blog Ideas

    Trends are trends…well, because they are popular + hot at the moment. You saw a little of this just from our search on Buzzsumo. Google Trends lists out the hottest topics of the moment + the day – the trends come from how many times people are Googling the listed topic, talking about it, sharing it, etc.

    Lots of parenting topics are evergreen but parenting trends pop up all the time.

    So, peruse the topics that show on Google trends + see if there is any way to tie your knowledge + info in with something that is H-O-T. It can be far-fetched, but it can work.

    I’ll give you an example. One of the most popular blog posts I wrote was something I tied in with a documentary I watched on Showtime called, My Date with Drew.

    I wrote an entire article on what this documentary reminded me about marketing. I tied everything the guy did in the documentary with marketing tactics.

    People loved it!

    Plus, it was fun to write. I notice when I really love what I’m writing about it shows in my writing + it shows in the enthusiasm people show in reading + commenting on the blog post.

    While I am not an SEO expert, I do know this, tying your content to hot topics + applying SEO rules to it can help couples find your articles + find you. (More about this later).

    So that is Google Trends. Pretty simple in getting your creative juices flowing. Now, for a third way you can generate blog ideas – a Swipe File.

    Ahhhh……the good ole swipe file. A swipe file essentially is a document or list that you put together or that someone else put together that you can just pull up + “swipe” or grab a blog idea from it.

    (HINT: There’s a swipe file at the end of this post full of blog ideas + you can download it too!)

    By the way, there are two different kinds of swipe files that I use.

    1. My own: When I come across info that I think I can use at some point, I “swipe” the link + the title into a spreadsheet or folder on my computer. Later when I’m looking for something to write about, I scan my swipe file for ideas or inspiration. This might be blog posts I read, social media updates, emails that land in my inbox, or content from a Google alert that I set up about a particular topic.
    2. Other people’s swipe file (OPSF): Bloggers, writers, marketers + people (in general) share swipe files all the time. Some are free. Some try to sell them to you. When I receive these, I keep them in a folder on my computer or I keep the link. Generally, these are not SPECIFIC topics, but contain a list, such as, “___ Ways _______ Taught Me How to _________.

    Recently, I came across a pin on Pinterest offering 8,209 blog post ideas. This, my friend, is a SWIPE file.

    Even if the swipe file is specific. Say it is about personal finance topics, which might seem hard to tie to a mom blog (except if you are talking household budgets + spending or family financing). You can still use these as idea generators.

    Obviously, it is much easier if it is a swipe file that covers the industry you blog about.

    Swipe files are blog idea generators. In a way, though, you can pretty much copy + paste with some revisions + additions on your part.

    Again, you want to give it your own voice, tone, opinion, etc. You want to avoid simply regurgitating what someone else is already saying.

    So a swipe file title of 7 Ways to Green Your Home might morph into The Top 7 Ways to Serve Up an Eco-Conscious Family Meals (or something like that).

    I think you probably get the idea.

    OK. Moving on to Competitive Shopping (OK, Browsing).

    Take a tour of your competitors’ websites + blogs. Check out what other mom bloggers + other industry bloggers are talking about.

    Once you find the bloggers you want to stalk, I mean, follow, Google their names to see what guest blog posts are published on sites other than their own – although you can also just look at what they publish on their own sites.

    Again, go back to the questions that we talked about when using Buzzsumo. Figure out what they are saying + what you have to say about it too. You can even copy + paste their article link into Buzzsumo to see just how popular that article is in the world of social sharing.

    You don’t want to say the same exact thing they are. You want to put your own twist on the same old, same old.

    Sometimes, reading these articles generates an idea of a totally different topic. You might read a blog post about the 7 alternatives to using pesticides in your garden + decide to write about the 7 natural/organic cleaning products you can use for “safe” + healthy home.

    Again, it is simply a jumping off point that might spur up a totally different blog idea in your head. Then, it’s a matter of hitting the publish button.

    OK. Another way to find great topics is Inspired Reading.

    I read articles + blogs all the time. I’m often inspired while reading. I voice an opinion or put my own take on the same or similar topic.

    Am I saying copy someone else’s idea or work? NO WAY!

    All I’m saying is that it can get your creative juices flowing by doing some research, looking around + reading what you normally read. Whether you jump on the Wall Street Journal site or People Magazine or Scary Mommy site every morning while you’re sipping your morning cup of Joe, it doesn’t matter.

    It might not even be an industry blog that inspires you. Like I said before, a simple documentary about landing a date with Drew Barrymore inspired a very popular post about marketing. At the time, all I was doing was my morning ritual of walking on the treadmill + watching a little TV while I did it.

    Reading a financial blog post about financial planning for the future can inspire you to write an article about ways you can save for your child’s college education or creative ways to pay off all your debt.

    The possibilities are literally endless.

    Just Ask for Blog Ideas

    Ask other mamas or mamas that read your blog what kind of info they are looking for. Trust me, they are more than willing to share this info with, to pick your brain + to hear what you have to say.

    Also, listen to what they are saying to you during your conversations. Listening more + talking less can really fill the pool with blog ideas. (My 5-year-old reminded me of this saying just yesterday when she told me her teacher told her it’s why we have two ears + one mouth. It made me chuckle.)

    Mamas are usually willing to tell you what their problems are, what their issues are + what kind of information they’re seeking answers + solutions about – essentially what they are looking for from you + other bloggers like you.

    Yes, these are opps to insert your services (or products) BUT they are also HUGE opportunities to position yourself as the expert that you are by creating content pieces that speak to their burning needs or desires.

    Because if these are hot topics for the people you’re talking to that read your blog, then don’t you think other mamas like them probably have the same or similar issues that they’re searching for solutions or answers?

    Answer yes to that question.

    Talk to other bloggers that blog about similar topics to you. They are often a wealth of info on what readers are asking them. While you can set up a formal face-to-face coffee meeting or a virtual Skype meeting, you can also just listen to what they are saying when you do happen upon each other and have a convo.

    Better yet, what they’re talking about on social media, in FB groups + on Twitter + Instagram.

    When I was a wedding planner, I took courses, learned from hands-on work, but I learned THE most from talking to fellow wedding planners. When I first started out blogging, I learned the most from other bloggers. I still learn a crap ton of things (Yes, that is a technical term) from other mamas just like me who are bloggers in their own world of the blogosphere.

    Trust me, it’s a fabulous way get the in on topics that are hot so you can bank on it.

    SEO (The Easy Way) to Blog Ideas

    I recently took on email course on SEO by Mike Pearson. While I have some general + basic knowledge (+ maybe even a little more advanced than general + basic), Mike truly simplified the process of keyword research.

    Most SEO experts tell you to brainstorm the keywords you think your audience is searching for + then find out how competitive these keywords are. Blah, blah, blah.

    Mike comes at it from a different (+ mind-blowing) angle. BTW: This is a free email course that Mike offers so what I am about to say is not leaking any of his course information (except that the email course does include some of what he covers in his paid course — Stupid Simple SEO).

    Anyway, I digress.

    Mike suggests you use a tool like SEMRush or Buzzsumo to research your top competitors to see which keywords they are ranking for + then…wait for it…create EPIC content so you can rank for the keywords that your competitors are.

    One of the caveats is that you have to look for other bloggers, not huge publications like the New York Times, Parenting, or Good Housekeeping, for example.

    Instead of plugging in a blog idea or a keyword, plug in the domain of the competitor + see which keywords they’re ranking for. Check out the content they wrote that is ranking + then find your own way to write a blog post that is EPIC + soooooooo much better than theirs so that you rank higher than them (theoretically).

    Finally, Think of Your FAQs for Blog Ideas.

    Think about the questions that readers ask you or that you hear being asked all the time. They are asking these questions because they want the answers. You can easily turn one question/answer topic into a piece of content.

    It is easy peasy.

    If they are always asking you about how to create a household budget, write a piece that details out exactly (step-by-step) how to create a household budget.

    Get detailed.

    Go line item by line item if you wish.

    Add a household budget worksheet download or printable as a BONUS!

    Again, this is but one of an infinity of examples…

    OK, so now you have all of these blog ideas. Now what. Well, you actually have to write the blog post.

    Once you find a topic, it’s time to write it with your own twist. Don’t write about the same old crap, in the same old way that everyone else is!

    Be you when you write it! It really and truly is what cuts through the noise – setting you apart from all of those other bloggers in your area – all of your competitors.

    Your readers relate to you in a way that they might not relate to another blogger. When your words, your story, your background, your credentials, resonate with them they want to read what you have to say because of your tone, personality, or character, or viewpoint on a common blog topic.

    Whatever it is, it is something that connects your words to their hearts + BAM! They realize you are the pro they have been searching for all this time.

    I cannot count how many times my client convos start with, “I’ve been following you for a while…” + this is all about sharing content that my people care about.

    The same applies to you + your blog or mommy business.

    So here is my challenge for you…

    Come up with five fab pieces/topics/headlines of content you want to create for your blog.

    Bang out the headline or topic (make it yummy, please) for each blog idea.

    Then, of course, you have to write the content.

    It’s OK. It happens to all of us.

    Blog Ideas for Moms

    Pregnancy Post Ideas

    • Pregnancy announcement ideas
    • Creating a birth plan
    • How to deal with the birth not going as planned
    • C-section recovery
    • Birth recovery
    • What to pack in a hospital bag (for mom + for baby)
    • Foods to eat
    • Foods to avoid
    • Exercising while pregnant
    • Best parenting/baby books to read
    • Dealing with morning (or all day) sickness
    • Maternity clothes
    • Postpartum body
    • Postpartum expectations
    • Dealing with postpartum blues/depression
    • What to expect each trimester
    • Reviews of best car seats
    • Reviews of best strollers
    • Reviews of best [insert baby product here]
    • Financial prep for baby
    • Surviving a miscarriage
    • Gender reveal ideas
    • Baby shower ideas
    • Babymoon ideas
    • Meal prep for after coming home from the hospital
    • Midwife
    • Doula
    • Home birth

    Baby Blog Ideas

    • Nursery decor
    • Must-have baby products
    • Surviving the first few weeks with baby
    • Breastfeeding
    • Sleeping (baby)
    • Learning how to function on no/little sleep (adult)
    • How to choose a diaper bag
    • Top items to keep in a diaper bag
    • Diapers (options/brands/which ones to use)
    • How to care for a newborn
    • Food for baby
    • Sign language for babies
    • Best books for babies
    • Baby registry
    • How to care for a newborn
    • Formula feeding
    • Baby’s first foods
    • Baby food recipes
    • Baby clothes
    • Baby wearing
    • Baby names/naming a baby
    • Girl names
    • Boy names
    • Favorite apps for tracking feeding, diaper changes, etc.
    • Traveling with a newborn
    • Introducing baby to siblings
    • Co-sleeping

    Parenting Post Ideas

    • Anger management (how not to lose your $#@! as a mom)
    • Sibling rivalry
    • Teaching kids to learn
    • Teaching kids to read
    • Discipline for toddler
    • Discipline for adolescent/teen
    • Single parenting
    • Top mommy bloggers to follow
    • Top parenting books
    • Best parents books for caring for babies
    • Best parenting books for caring for toddlers
    • Best parenting books for caring for teenagers
    • How to be a calmer mom
    • Vacationing with kids
    • Parenting multiples (twins/triplets)
    • Marriage after kids
    • Mommy self-care
    • Home schooling
    • Raising girls
    • Raising boys
    • Chores for kids
    • Positive (instead of negative) parenting
    • Discipline differences between parents

    Toddler Post Ideas

    • Rainy day activities for young kids
    • Craft projects for kids
    • Sleeping (toddlers)
    • Girls’ hair
    • Learning activities for kids
    • Sensory activities for kids
    • Books for kids
    • Books for girls
    • Books for boys
    • Food for toddlers
    • Food for picky eaters
    • Toddler clothes
    • Yoga for toddlers
    • Raising low-screen/screen-free kids
    • Potty training
    • Temper tantrums
    • Transitioning from crib to toddler bed
    • Toy rotation/toy libraries
    • Indoor activities
    • Outdoor activities

    Teen Post Ideas

    • Dealing with defiant behavior
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Peer pressure
    • Teen clothes
    • Best books for teenagers
    • Prepping teens for high school
    • Prepping teens for junior high
    • Prepping teens for college
    • College application process
    • Choosing a college
    • Yoga for kids
    • Exercise for teens
    • Self-esteem/self-confidence in teens
    • Dealing with bullying
    • Digital age

    Money + Finance

    • Starting a blog
    • Working from home
    • Side hustles for moms
    • Budgeting
    • Budget-friendly family activities
    • Paying down/paying off debt
    • Teaching kids about money
    • Allowances for kids
    • Working mom
    • Frugal living
    • Couponing
    • Organic on a budget
    Let’s get social
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  • Mom Blogger Resources

    7 Ways to Grow a Mom Blog in 2019

    Whether you’ve been blogging for awhile or you’re just starting out, the end goal for blogging is to grow your mom blog big enough to attract the right people to it — + then turn those reading your blog into buyers of your product or service, clickers of your affiliate links or whatever your end goal is for making money with your mom blog.

    1. Create Quality Content

    Moms are information hounds. They are on the hunt for ALL. THE. INFORMATION. they can find about babies, getting their toddler to sleep, raising kiddos that don’t turn into little $H*^s (you know, the norm) + the list just goes on + on.

    Moms are actively searching for YOUR content — your information — so make sure you’re giving it to them in the form of high-quality content.

    Whatever your mom blogging area of expertise, moms are seeking your expertise, experience + personal twist on how you deliver information to them. One of the best things you can do for your mom blog in 2019 is to offer free value-packed content.

    2. Update Old Content

    Nobody says you have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content, either. If you have old blog posts, go back through them. Add valuable content to beef up the information that you’re sharing.

    Update the information you’re sharing so that it is current. Make it 2019 instead of 2009, for example.

    3. Write Content Moms Want 

    Billions of searches are happening online each day. That’s a TON of searches. Out of those 3.5 billion searches happening each day, how many are looking for information on the topic you’re blogging about?

    4. SEO the Heck Out of Your Posts 

    If you write it they will come is not the strategy you want to have for your blog. Instead, take a proactive approach to making sure that the people you’re after find the information you’re trying to share with them.

    I recommend Mike Pearson’s free SEO email course + his paid course Stupid Simple SEO. I took both courses + it is a wealth of information to FINALLY get your SEO on track.

    5. Invest In Your Blogging Education

    This blog post gives you a lot of great ideas on how to create fab content, attract more readers with your fab content + get the chance to turn them into cash.

    As great as all that info is, it’s also important to invest in in-depth blogging education + in tools that can take your blog (+ business) to the next level. Level it up! 

    If you need a start to finish blueprint on how to blog, what to blog about + how to promote your blog posts to attract more readers, check out Blog By Number by Suzi Whitford.

    Even though I had been blogging for many years when I started my mom blog, I knew that I needed the knowledge + experience of someone who did it before me. I took Suzi’s course Blog By Number + I highly recommend it.

    It is literally a step-by-step guide that walks you through every aspect of starting your blog, maintaining your blog + promoting your blog.

    BONUS: If you register for Suzi’s course using my link, I’ll throw in my Mommy Business Blogging eBook FREE ($27 value). Just send me an email (girlmom@girlmomchaos.com) with the name + email you use to purchase Suzi’s course + I’ll send my eBook bonus right over to you.

    BONUS #2: Whether you decide to register for Suzi’s course or not, grab this FREE blog planner. It is everything you need to start planning out your blog content for an entire year. I downloaded + printed off + use one blog planner for each of my three blogs!

    6. Content Upgrades

    The content upgrade. It’s essentially an incentive for the people visiting your blog to read your post because then they can download a freebie at the end.

    The content upgrade is a two-for-one because not only does it draw visitors to your site that want to download what you have to offer, but it also GROWS your email list at the same time.

    Yup, when they get to the end of the blog post, you offer them a freebie (checklist, PDF of the post, or whatever) in exchange for their name + email address.

    Brilliant!

    7. Pinterest

    You might think of Pinterest as a time suck because once you get on there you just start pinning away + before you know hours have gone by.

    As a blogger, you have to be where your audience is. I’m here to tell you that they are ALL. OVER PINTEREST–especially if your audience is moms.

    This means that you need to be ALL. OVER. PINTEREST. too. So, get pinning.

    7 Ways to Grow a Blog in 2019

    Do you have any plans or strategies to grow your blog in 2019? Drop your strategies or ask a question in the comments below.

    Let’s get social
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  • Girl Mom Reviews

    A Girl Mom + A Girl Review of When I Grow Up by Jon Hales

    We received our copy of When I Grow Up by Jon Hales. The book is about a young girl who is trying to complete a writing assignment for her favorite teacher on what she wants to be when she grows up.

    It’s an imaginative tale that takes you on a journey of exploration of the mind of a young girl in trying to figure out life (to some extent).

    I read it with my oldest, who is 5.5. Here’s what she + I thought of the book.

    What We Loved

    First + foremost, we loved, loved, loved that it rhymed. I was only a few sentences into reading the book to her when she piped up with, “It rhymes!”

    She is learning to read so she can read books herself but this particular book is a little above her reading level to read on her own. A quick divert as to why I was reading it to her 🙂

    Another thing I loved about the book is that the narrator + main character of the book is a girl. I think it’s important to have strong female characters in books for girls to emulate.

    I think it is important for boys to see strong female characters in books, too, so that they understand that girls are strong. Girls are humans. Girls have goals, wants + needs, just like them.

    The third thing we loved is the creativity. The book takes you on an imagination journey. The girl in the book has to use her imagination to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up so she can complete a writing assignment for her class.

    And quite the imagination she has! She comes up with some fantastic job options like Alien Hunter!

    Another great thing about the book is the illustrations. At some point, my almost 4-year-old wandered over to read the book with us. Both girls were fascinated by the illustrations of the story.

    My oldest enjoyed the book so much that when we reached the end she asked me to read it again (which we did two more times in a row). On the third ending, she asked if there was another book!

    Finally, I also enjoyed that the main character of the book is completing an assignment for her favorite teacher. She talks about how great her teacher is + the reasons why she thinks he is a great teacher.

    I think this important for a couple of different reasons. It shows kids that teachers are people, too, + that teaching style has a lot to do with how kids learn + relate to the material.

    The girl speaks highly of her teacher even though his teaching style + interaction with the students is “different” from other teachers. The girl deems it important to take the assignment seriously because she wants, in a sense, to “please” her teacher by providing him with the answer to what it is she wants to be when she grows up.

    She learns from the teacher that it is OK to not have everything in life figured out yet. That he too doesn’t always have all the answers. This is a great lesson for people of ALL ages.

    What We Didn’t Love

    I don’t see any bad or negative things to say about the book. If I had anything to say about it, I would say that I wish my daughter could read it on her own but that has nothing to do with the author or the book.

    She’s getting there. She’s just not there yet.

    Like I said before, my girls really enjoyed the book from the story itself to the illustrations + wanted to read it over + over again.

    Maybe, there will be a sequel 🙂

    Grade

    We definitely give When I Grow Up by Jon Hales an A+. It allows the kids to explore with their imaginations + creativity. It really takes you on a journey through the mind of a young girl who is trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. And it takes you on this journey with a creative storyline + amazing illustrations.

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