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May 31, 2013

Checking In

Hello everyone.  I know I have been MIA for the last week and a half here.  My mom's procedure last week went well, but her recovery was not as easy as we were hoping.  It has been a long week for me, I can only imagine how much longer it has been for her.  

I have finally made it home, which is nice.  My goal is to get back into the swing of things next week... fingers crossed.

First on the to-list is the Charity of the Month posts, plus I owe a couple of great sponsors some sponsor love features.  For a sneak peak, just check out some of the lovelies hanging out on the right!  =)

Honor Roll - Sew Crafty Angel

Top Sponsor - Mama Papa Barn



Top Sponsor - Unique Creations by Tracy















Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.




 

May 27, 2013

Meditation Monday

Welcome to a new weekMay we embrace the opportunities this week with open arms and joy.

This week's image for meditation is:

Liz Lamoreux
I love this image from Liz Lamoreux, but even better is the post that goes with it.  Liz challenges us to go out into the world and find 10 beautiful things.

Looking for the good in this world, focusing on the joy... that is what this whole blog is about.  This week I am going to take Liz's challenge and see what goodness I can find.  

I'd love to hear what beauty you can find.  Just leave a link to a post or a comment below!  









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May 24, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness

52 weeksHappy Friday All!  I hope that your week has been fulfilling and happy.

Friday means that it is time for my 52 Weeks of kindness post.  Don't forget to head over to My Three Bittles to see what Amber and everyone else has been up to this week.

This week was spent on the road again at my mom's.  Before I hit the road though, I decided to treat my son's day care class to a little treat.  I would have loved to bake something for them, but that is actually against the rules at his day care.  Something to do with getting federal funding for their food programs or something, so all our treats have to be store bought and in their original packages.  Fun times.





We went with the next best thing, Lofthouse Sugar Cookies.   These are always a big hit in my house - soft, chewy goodness.  Plus they stay fresh for a decent # of days... of course they tend to not last long in this house.


The little ones were all pretty happy, and my little bear got to be a rock star for the day! ha-ha  Made me having to leave him at home a little easier this week.

Have a great weekend!










Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.




 

May 21, 2013

Oh What A HAPPY Day Party!

Welcome to the Oh What a HAPPY Day Link Party!

Time to celebrate what is giving us JOY and making us HAPPY this week.  It is so easy to get bogged down and lost in the negative.  Let's take a moment and celebrate the positive.


Since I am hitting the road early tomorrow morning, I decided to launch our little get together a bit early.  Think of it as a bonus day of sharing our joy.

I am heading back to Michigan to help my mom  some more.  In the car for four hours Wednesday morning, and then sitting at the hospital with her for the rest of the day.  I am not looking forward to the drive, but happy that I can be there to help when needed.  

Of course this also means that I will be out of the blogging office for the next few days.  Please know that even if it takes me a few days to respond, I am always grateful to all of you for all the great posts and happiness you share.  Wednesday has easily become my favorite day of the work week.  =)   

Let's not forget all the lovely bloggers who joined up with us here for Oh HAPPY Day last time too.  We had 65 in total, a new high!  Congrats go out to Bethany @ Before, During, and After for having the most views last week. 


Now onto the party! 


The rules are pretty simple: 

Have fun and say HI to as many other party goers as possible.  =) 

If you would like to spread the word, please grab a button and put it on your blog.  If you are interested in being a co-host, then just let me know!   

 

not done growing





















unique creations tracey




May 20, 2013

Meditation Monday

Welcome to a new week.  I am going to be on the road again this week - back up to Michigan to help my mom.  At least this time it is not a surprise and I can get my head wrapped around it better.  Well, that is the theory any way.  =)

This week my image for meditation is:

 
Patience is not really one of my strong points.  Seriously, my husband is now laughing out loud at how grossly understated that sentence is.   

Being impatient is bad, but the really bad thing is that when I start a new project and do not get the results I want right away; my impatience tends to push me to give up.  Oh who has all this time to invest, I'm just not going to bother.  I tell my three year old all the time to just keep at it, and he will figure it out.  Some times I really do need to take my own advice.

So this week I am going to focus on doing the work, and not worry so much about the results.  My yoga instructor says that we are simply "aiming" towards a pose.  I am going to focus on that aim this week, and not so much on the final pose.

I hope you have a wonderful week. 











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May 17, 2013

52 Weeks and some Sponsor Love!

52 weeksHappy Happy Sweeties!  I am glad that it is Friday today.  This week I was lucky to keep my head above the water... seriously this was one of those weeks where I was just not on my game.  Oh well, here's to a better weekend!  =)

My 52 Weeks Random Act of Kindness was once again kind of sad.  To tell the truth I was lucky to get dinner on the table each day, so not much thought went into it.  To make up for it I am going to do a blog shout out for one of my sponsors!

This pretty lady is Karrie, who blogs over at I Know This Much Is True.  She has been hanging out in my sidebar for just about a month now.  If you have not had a chance to check out I Know This Much Is True, then what are you waiting for!  =)

Karrie is a mom, an RN, and a fellow EMU grad!  The funny thing is that we literally missed each other by a semester.  So funny how small this blog world can be.  

Any who, Karrie's blog really is a breath of fresh air.  She is open and honest, and has a natural writing style that makes you feel comfy and cozy like at a good friend's house.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Just Breathe



Goody Quick Style



I really do hope you head over and check out I Know This Much Is True, you won't be disappointed!

Have a wonderful weekend.  Don't forget to check out all the other acts of kindness over at My Three Bittles today. 










Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.


 

May 16, 2013

Toddler Chore & Reward Charts

Since my little bear is now three and a half years old, I was thinking that it was time to add in some chores and personal responsibility.  I am a firm believer of starting him early on his path to being a proper functioning human being.  I know him pretty well and what he is capable of, so it was time for some age appropriate chores.

I decided to work on giving him some responsibility with an easy to read daily chore chart.  Since he can't read yet, pictures were a must.  I included the words for the added reading practice.  With the chores split between morning and bedtime, this has the added bonus of also teaching a beginning concept of time.   
chore chart
download here

My son has always been very responsive to reward systems, so I also made a reward chart to go with the chores.

reward chart
download blank version here
   
Each day he gets half of a star colored in for his morning chores, and the other half for his evening chores.  There are 40 stars, and when he is done then he will get a Buzz Light Year Action Figure that he has been asking for.  

The little bear just loves the whole set up.  He wakes up every morning and makes his bed without me even saying anything.  He loves that Buzz is right there on his chart to remind him to be a good Space Ranger.  

These chores are pretty basic, but I think they are a good start for toddlers.  I have included links so that you can download a PDF of the chores and the reward chart.  Please note that the reward chart is blank.  I left a space at the top for your child's name, as well as a spot at the bottom for their reward.  Get creative and use what ever works for your child!

I hung the stars as is on the wall of my son's room where he cannot reach it, then use a crayon to color in the stars.  For the chores, I mounted that on a piece of 12x12 card stock and then covered the page with clear contact paper to make it a little more permanent.  We are 20 days in and both are holding up really well.

What kind of chores did you start your little ones out with?  Do you find that having charts like this helps?     















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May 15, 2013

Oh What A HAPPY Day Party!

Welcome to the Oh What a HAPPY Day Link Party!

Time to celebrate what is giving us JOY and making us HAPPY this week.  It is so easy to get bogged down and lost in the negative.  Let's take a moment and celebrate the positive.


This week I am happy to be back home and even happier that my mom is back home recovering a bitOn top of that, my little blog here was featured on Be @ Home as part of their Best of the Web Series!  Such a joy and an honor!



I'd also like to thank all the lovely bloggers who joined up with us here for Oh HAPPY Day last time.  We had 52 in total!  Congrats go out to Julia @ Saving Mummy for having the most views last week.


Now onto the party! 


 photo CraftulateLogo150x150_zpsf48d1c9d.jpgThis week's awesome co-host is Georgina @ CraftulateGeorgina is a British mom living in America.  She loves to do all sorts of great crafts with her son.  Her only requirement is that they are fairly mess free!  Gotta love that!   After you link up, hop over and share the joy.  She even has a great break down of her kid crafts by age group... seriously some good ideas here!
 

The rules are pretty simple: 

Have fun, say HI to our lovely co-host, and HI to as many other party goers as possible.  =) 

If you would like to spread the word, please grab a button and put it on your blog.  If you are interested in being a co-host, then just let me know!   

 

not done growing


















Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.



 

May 13, 2013

Meditation Monday

Monday Monday... the good news is that my mom is back at home and doing a bit better today.  I am also back at home and trying to dig out from my unscheduled week off last week.  

This week my mantra is going to just keep breathing!

source
 











Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.




 

May 10, 2013

52 Weeks & Giveaway!

Happy Friday Everyone.  It has been a long week for me.  I've been staying at my mom's and helping her while she has been in the hospital.  At least this week we finally got some good news and she should be coming home sometime today. 

If it is Friday that means it is also time for my 52 Weeks post.  This week my act of kindness was less random, but filled with the right intentions. 

I am also particpating in a giveaway this week over at A-Cat-Like-Curiosity.  Check out all the great prizes below!

A Curiously Gorgeous Giveaway

As promised, today is the day for my first ever Curiously Gorgeous Giveaway! SO exciting. I have lots of lovely prizes up for grabs and there will be a winner for each prize! My lovely sponsors have been very generous in their giveaway items and I have joined in too. There will be ten winners altogether - just because I love to spread the giveaway love as far and as wide as I can :) So just enter the individual rafflecopters for  a chance to win each prize :)


So, let's get our party on people - here are my lovely sponsors giveaway prizes for you (just click on the pics to visit their stores/blogs):


Gorgeous Pillow Covers







Free Ad Space















Ulta E Gift Card





FREE Ad Space






















2 Lovely Art Prints
No Rafflecopter for me - just leave a blog post comment telling me about something you're grateful for at the moment. I really want to know what makes you happy :)




This giveaway is open worldwide and will run until Monday 13th May. Good Luck!












Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.





May 9, 2013

My two cents on Captch and SPAM!

tips for dealing with spam
I seem to have a lot of new bloggers stopping by lately.  I am so happy to have you all here, it really does make me smile.  Being a not so old blogger, I thought I would take a moment to talk about Comments and Spam.  

Specifically, I would like to talk about word verification on your comment section.  I know there are one hundred and fifty two thousand posts out there about how evil Captcha is and why no one should use it.  

Personally, even having to type the name, email address, and website stuff that is getting popular slows me down and irks me... but at least that info serves a purpose.  Plus I do not have to spend extra time trying to decipher gobbledygook

Now I know, at this point many of you are thinking, but word verification does serve a point!  It keeps spam from my comment section!  This is true, but at the same time it is annoying and driving your guests crazy.  Plus (and here is the key) there are other ways to deal with spam that do not affect your guests. 

turn off commentsFor instance, 99% of my spam comes from just one post.  It is an old post that I think only the spammers read any more.  The solution for me was to simply turn off the comments for this one post.  You can do this easily by editing your post.  Look to the right under OPTIONS.  The first Option is to either allow or don't allow reader comments.  Easy peasy fix that only effect the one post.

Other option available on Blogger is Comment Moderation.  You can actually set this to moderate all comments, or to only moderate on posts that are a certain # of days old.   For example, I have my blog set to moderate on post that are older than 14 days.  Typically real people are going to comment on posts from the last week, so they will not be effected by this moderation 

comment moderation

If needed you can always set this to moderate all comments.  That way they will not post until you approve them.  Essentially giving you the chance to delete spam before any one else sees it.  This option may mean more work for you, but I will say that approving or deleting comments in Blogger is pretty simple.  It works like most spam filters in email.  Plus the work is on you, and not passed along to your readers with annoying word verification puzzles.  Happy readers means more return visits and more comments!  Definitely worth a little extra work on your part!

So now you have my two cents on the whole word verification thing.  I hope that having a couple new options helps.  Please keep in mind that this is what works for me here, I know that it may not work for all blogs.  If you have any other tips or suggestions, I'd love to hear them too!












Looking to grow your blog? I have Sponsor Spots open this week - priced to fit any budget, including FREE! Hop over to my sponsor page for more details.



 
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