Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How I Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

Since I've been introducing new blog topics over the past few months, I decided to let you know how I come up with these new blog post ideas. First, I wrote down a list of blog ideas so that when it comes time to write a new post, I already have a whole bunch to choose from and I don't just have to think of one right then. Some of the ideas are just things I enjoy writing about, like my family. Others are things I'm passionate about, like saving money and heart health. Some of them are topics I saw on other blogs and enjoyed reading, so decided to write about them too.

I saw a post on a blog that has a list of 27 blog topics. It's on Market Your Creativity. You should check it out, it's an inspiring post!

Carzoo Critters had a giant list of blog topics that I printed out, but it's not on the blog anymore, and in fact, there aren't any posts on that blog anymore.

Those posts were from 2010 and 2014, so you can see, that I'm getting a late start on my ideas. Every year, I want to improve my blog by writing posts more often and writing them about a variety of topics, but then life gets too busy and I don't get the chance. This year, I've been able to find a little more time and have finally been able to write some more.

So, now you know where I find my blog post ideas. Where do you find yours?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

My Week

This was a tough week. There were tough decisions to be made and lots of studying for tests, so it was pretty stressful around here. None of us got much sleep.

On Monday, I didn't have a job so I looked through my snack recipes for new ideas for afternoon snacks, cleaned up things around the house, went through my email, painted my nails and watched a show. I don't usually have time to paint my nails, but since I had the day off, I decided to do it. My nails looked much prettier under the projector screen this week at school. I also usually only watch shows I record at night, but since I had already finished what needed to be done, I decided to watch one. I felt guilty though, because I felt like I should be doing something else.

On Tuesday, I was in a kindergarten class that I've been in before. The kids are well-behaved and I'm familiar with their routine, so it was a nice day.

On Wednesday, I was in a first grade class that I've been in several times this year. I also was able to eat lunch with the teacher I worked with last year, since she works at this school, and we had a really nice conversation.

On Thursday and Friday, I was in the second grade class I worked at for 3 weeks earlier this year. The kids were happy to see me again and said they missed me. On Thursday, it was their Student of the Month assembly and the teacher had left me a page to read for each kid that won the award; thankfully it was only 2 kids. I had to use a microphone and talk in front of the other teachers, staff, principal, students and family members. I was so nervous! I just looked at the kids while I talked so that helped me stay calm. On Friday, one of the students wrote me a nice note telling me how much she missed me and how much she loved having me as a sub. She also said she wants to me teach them "silent language" (sign language).

On Saturday, I had to run errands, clean, make pancakes, and we went to my parents' house for dinner. This was also our big decision day. My daughter only had one more day to decide which college she would attend - she chose UC San Diego. Her younger brother and I are happy about it because she'll be able to still live at home and just commute to school. This was such a tough choice for her; she really struggled over the pros and cons and did lots of research about both universities. She prayed a lot too, and was finally able to make the choice.

We also had decided earlier in the week that it's time for us to leave our church and look for another one. This was a choice we were hoping to be able to put off until after school ended, since my poor daughter already had enough stress in her life, but it became very evident that we needed to make that decision now.

So, it was a rough week for us. How was your week?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

My Week

I had a very nice work week.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was in a 2nd grade class, right next door to my son's class. I've subbed in this class before, so the kids know me and I know their routine.

On Wednesday, I was in that same class, so I had another nice day. At home, it was very busy, though. As soon as my son and I got out of school, we headed to the library, so he could return his books and check out some new ones. We were home for about 15 minutes(while home, we threw the food, I cut earlier in the morning, into the crockpot for dinner), then had to pick up my daughter from school. We were home for 5 minutes and had to head out to her orthodontist appointment. She had her teeth scanned so they can make a mold of her teeth, and make her final retainer. 20 minutes after coming home(while home, I started the rice and made a quick snack for everyone), I had to head out to my physical therapist. Thankfully, the therapist said I don't have to come back for 2 weeks this time. When I got home, I had to make the vegetables for dinner. I was exhausted at the end of the day!

On Thursday, I didn't get a job for the morning, so I did my grocery list. In the afternoon, I was in that same 2nd grade class.

On Friday, I subbed for a teacher at the high school. I've subbed in that class several times, and since she's a co-teacher, I just have to monitor the students while the other teacher instructs them. That was a nice, easy day. That night, my husband, daughter, and I talked about her college decision, but she still hasn't decided. She has to decide by May 1!

On Saturday, we went grocery shopping, I cleaned the house, made cinnamon rolls, and did yard work.

How was your week?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

One of My Favorite Etsy Shops - Designs By Dona

One of my new blogging topics every month will be to share with you my favorite Etsy Shops. I used to sell my crafts on Etsy, but had to stop when I started back to work at my subbing job. While on Etsy, I found lots of shops I love to shop at and made lots of friends too. Today, I'll be sharing with you one of my favorite shops to shop at on Etsy.

I love shopping at Designs by Dona on Etsy. It's where I buy all my basket liners. I like to have different themed decorations for every month in my kitchen. Donna has plenty of basket liners to choose from for every holiday and other themes too. If I don't see what I want, I just have to email her, and she'll look through her fabric supplies and see if she has what I want. Then, she'll make it for me!

Donna also sells fabric in 1 yard, 1/2 yard, fat quarter, fabric bundles, pre cuts, and bolt ends. She also has a sale and clearance section where you can find great items at half price.

She also sells placemats.

You can also find quilted table runners, table toppers, and wall hangings in her shop.

So, the next time you need some beautiful decorations for your home, visit Designs by Dona on Etsy, and I'm sure you'll find what you're looking for.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Week

This week, I was at a different school almost every day. I always have to make sure I think of what school I'm going to before I leave, and don't just run on automatic, so I don't end up at the wrong school.

On Monday, I was at the first grade class that I was in the Friday before Spring Break. They are used to me, so it was a very nice day.

On Tuesday, I was in a 2nd grade class that I've been at once before. This time, the kids were much more talkative than they were before. Some kids even had to move their clips down all the way to "contact parent," but even that didn't quiet them down.

On Wednesday, I didn't have a job, but luckily it's only a half day. So, I reconciled the March bank statement, completed a product review, and caught up on email. I also went to physical therapy in the afternoon. Last time he said it would be my last session, but my back hasn't improved enough, so I still have to go there next week. This time he gave me a band to stick in the door at home, to use for my exercises.

On Thursday, I was at a first grade class that I haven't been to before. The kids were really good whenever they were on the rug, but when they went back to their desks to work, they got noisy. My daughter said, I should've just had them do their work at the carpet!

On Friday, I was in my son's 3rd grade class. That's always nice since the kids all know me. My teenage daughter and husband left after school for a 10 hour trip to go visit UC Berkeley. That's one of the school's she was accepted at, so Saturday was their day to try and "woo" students to choose their university. They got there at 1:30 in the morning. They stayed with my mother-in-law. I thought the trip would help, but she still can't decide which university to choose.

On Saturday, my older son had to take me to pick up my van(my husband left it at the dealer the day before for an oil change), then I went grocery shopping, cleaned and cooked. My parents came over for dinner.

How was your week? Do you have a child trying to pick what college to go to this year?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury By Precious Moments Book Review

I was excited to be able to review Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury because I absolutely love Precious Moments and reading with my son! With this book you can create a bedtime tradition in just 5 minutes. You will delight your little ones with these sweet Precious Moments® characters as you share beloved Bible stories and comforting bedtime scriptures with them. The five-minute format helps parents create a meaningful bedtime. With paraphrased stories from the International Children’s Bible®, you’ll nurture a love for God’s Word.Take five minutes before bed to create a special connection with your precious child.

Here's a little bit about Precious Moments: Since 1978, Precious Moments has grown into an evergreen brand recognized worldwide, with more than 12.5 million books and bibles sold through Thomas Nelson.

The first thing my kids and I thought when we opened the box and saw this book, is how beautiful it is! The cover has shiny gold stars on it and brilliantly bright and colorful Precious Moments characters on it. There's a yellow ribbon bookmark to keep your place(it matches the stars). There's even a couple of pages where you can list your family tree, an All About Me page, and a Church Record page. This book is meant to be treasured for a long time. There are stories from the Old and New Testament. The Scripture Reference is given under each Chapter title, and at the end is a Bedtime Bible Promise verse to encourage your child. The stories are very beautifully illustrated.

My 9 year old son and I really enjoyed reading it together every night. He says, "It's a good book!" He liked it so much, he even read the title for the next night, so he would know what to look forward to the next time we read together. Reading this together, gave us inspiration for some great discussions about what went on in the Bible, and also some great applications for today. Also, every day in my teenage daughter's lunch, I include a Scripture on a note, and I plan on using the Bedtime Bible Promise Scriptures for those notes. I love it that the book can have a purpose and meaning for the whole family. I, of course, loved seeing the Precious Moments illustrations, and often shared them with the rest of the family, just because they're so cute. This book will definitely be a treasured book in our family, used for many years to come.

If you would like to read Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury for yourself, you can find it at the Faith Gateway Store or on Amazon.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids Book Review & Discount Code #8SimpleTools #FlyBy

I was excited to be able to review 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids by Dr. Todd Cartmell because I'm always looking for ways to help me raise my kids and to help make me a better mom. Here's the description of the book from their website 8simpletools.com: "Whether you find parenting intuitive or impossible, we could all use a hand here and there. Let child psychologist and father Todd Cartmell walk you through the nuts and bolts of healthy, effective parenting.

Using examples from his home and 20 years of professional practice, Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:

Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
Develop a nurturing home culture
Correct behavior in lasting ways
Designed for busy parents, 8 Simple Tools breaks each tool into five short chapters that include a summary tip and application questions. Use even half of the tools in your parenting, and your family dynamics will thrive. Your relationship with your child will be built on love and trust, providing you with fertile ground for planting God’s wisdom in their heart, and ultimately, seeing them flourish."

Here's the info about the author, Dr. Todd Cartmell: "I earned my doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. We then moved to Columbus, OH, where I completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Wright State University at the Children’s Hospital. Since then, I have done my clinical work at Summit Clinical Services in Wheaton, IL, where I continue to see children, teens, and families on a full-time basis.

I have written five parenting books (faith based), which you can learn more about on the Books page. I have presented many parenting workshops at mom’s conferences (Hearts at Home, MOPS International), MOPS groups, churches, and schools, which you can read about on the Workshop page. I have also recently developed a skill-building game for kids called The Flexible Thinking Game.

In my free time, I enjoy doing anything with my wife, spending time with my boys whenever possible, reading, running, and playing jazz piano any chance I get. My Christian faith is an important part of my life and thinking, and I am continually thankful for God’s grace, of which I am an undeserving recipient."

I have really enjoyed reading this book so far, and look forward to reading it every night. I read a little bit from about 5 different books/magazines at night before I go to bed, so I really like it that the chapters in this book are short. I'm able to read a chapter a night, and I get a lot of insight out of each one. So far, I've read about the first 3 tools. The first one is "talking." I learned to pay attention to my communication style, pause before speaking, initiate conversations, and be easy to listen to. That was a big one for me, because I like to talk a lot, and I'm sure with all my complaining, I'm not very easy to listen to sometimes.

The second tool is "listening." I learned to listen first, listen to understand, listen often, listen to everything, and listen with your entire body. This whole chapter convicted me. I always want to be the first to talk and don't take time to really listen to what my kids have to say. I'm often thinking about all the things that need to get done, or busy on the computer and not really paying attention to what they have to say.

The third tool is "influencing." I'm still reading about that, but so far I've learned to remember who your kids are, and to understand the power of my words. I often say things I wish I hadn't, so I need to remember to think before I speak.

The other tools are "connecting, teaching, encouraging, correcting, and leading." I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of this book and to seeing what else I can learn about raising great kids! By the way, this book is good for kids of all ages. I have a 9 year old, 17 year old, and 19 year old, and everything I've read can be applied to my relationship with all of them.

If you would like to read 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids for yourself, I have a DISCOUNT CODE to offer to my readers. It will give you 50% off retail when you purchase the book at moodypublishers.com. Here's the code: GREATKIDS16. The code is good from April 15, 2016 to May 15, 2016. With every purchase, you have free access to The Hearts at Home Essential Workshop Collection for Parents. If you would like to know more about the author, here's his Facebook page.

I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post, however all opinions expressed are my own.