Are YOU My Ideal Reader?

Are You My Ideal Reader

I just read a great article about creating better content for your blog. The exercise involves describing your ideal reader and then writing every article to that one person. This is the way to define your blogging niche.

I thought long and hard about my ideal reader. She is a lot like me when I was younger. Many times I feel like I’m writing to my younger self. The new mom who was EXHAUSTED and wanted to be perfect. The mom who’s whole world was her new baby. The mom who suddenly realized how much she had to teach, how much she had to give, how much she wanted the absolute best for her child and was completely overwhelmed by it all.

The mom I’ve become is much more laid-back. She has a teenager now (it’s still hard to believe). I’ve realized that not much matters except that you show your child how much they are loved. I’m seeing all my hard work being paid back by getting to enjoy watching the amazing person my son is becoming.

As much as I’ve changed over the years, some things remain the same. The person I was and the person I am still have a lot in common:

  • Wants it all
  • Feels her role as “mom” is the most important one she’ll ever have
  • A bit of a perfectionist
  • Passionate about eduction
  • Enjoys feeding her family healthy meals
  • Involved in her community
  • Has to be organized to accomplish all of her goals
  • Needs to take time for herself
  • Loves fashion
  • Struggles with getting it all done and living up to her own standards

I have such high standards for myself that I’ve HAD to come up with simple solutions to achieve my goals. I’ve HAD to learn to accept that I can’t be the perfect mom. I’ve HAD to decide what I will accomplish and what I will “let go” of. I’ve HAD to learn to take care of myself in order to be a better mom.

I actually created Less Than Perfect Parents because I tried to be the perfect mother and burned myself out all while stressing my poor son out. This blog was my attempt to help moms be the best they can be without the pressures of being perfect.

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one ~Jill Churchill

I have this quote on my office wall to remind myself not to judge myself or others. I feel so strongly that moms need to build each other up and make each other’s lives easier. Less Than Perfect Parents was designed to be a community of support for all moms no matter what our decisions are.

Are you a busy mom looking for easier ways to spend quality time with your family, make healthy meals, stay organized, and take care of yourself? If so, make sure you sign up for the Less Than Perfect Parents Newsletter so have all of our best content and exclusive content sent directly to your e-mail.

What are the areas you struggle with as a mom? What solutions would you like to see more of on Less Than Perfect Parents? If you’re a blogger, who is your ideal reader? Let me know in the comments below!

March 2014 Blogging Income Report

Monthly Income Report

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links…make sense since I’m talking about how my blog makes money, no?

CAN YOU MAKE MONEY BLOGGING?

This series is an attempt to answer that question as I try to attain my goal of finding 10 different income streams where I can make $100 or more per month. March was spent planning for future revenues. You’ll hear me say often, “Plan then execute.” I’m still mostly in planning mode as far as making money.

Plan then execute. {Tweet this}

Income:
BlogHer – $75
SponsoredTweets – $0
Shareasale – $13
Bluehost – $0
Optin Skin – $0
Aweber – $0
HireInfluence – $3
Fiverr – $40

Total Income: $126.00

Expenses:
Aweber: $29

Currently, I make most of my money from BlogHer’s social media programs. I didn’t have a lot of new projects fro them this month so my revenue was the lowest it’s been since I started monetizing my blog. However, since I believe in turning failure into success, I used the extra time to look toward the future.

Turn failure into success. {Tweet this}

March was spent planning for future revenues. You’ll hear me say often, “Plan then execute.” I’m still mostly in planning mode as far as making money. I have two goals for my newsletters. One is to create a Blogging Tips E-course that’s free when someone subscribes to The Blogging Project Newsletter. The other is to create a Kids LOVE Reading series that will deliver reading tips to subscribers to my Less Than Perfect Parents Newsletter (more on setting up and monetizing both newsletters below). I’m setting them up using Aweber as auto responders.

I found a great post called The Great Content Hoax which details who to identify your ideal reader. It was a game changing read for me and I highly recommend it. I defined my ideal reader as someone like myself (mostly myself as a newer mom) She wants to be the best mom for her kids, is juggling a MILLION different things, and is many times stressed out and tired. She needs simple solutions to help her be a rock star parent and give her some time back in her day.

Writing to your ideal reader leads to a loyal and engaged following.{Tweet this}

I also tidied up The Blogging Project website. I had tested some different designs and it was looking a little messy so I made it look presentable. I have written a few pages so far but haven’t started posting articles yet.

The Blogging Project:
Blog: Worked on the design. Created a couple of pages with basic blogging tips:
How to Set Up a Blog
Top 4 Blogging Tools for 2014
How to Build Your E-mail List

Less Than Perfect Parents: 
Twitter: I have continued making money through Twitter via BlogHer. This month I was only hired for one Twitter party so I only made $75,

E-mail: I started a Kids LOVE Reading series which sends 52 tips to instill a love of reading in children. One tip will be delivered per week. I set it up so 1 out of 4 contains affiliate links and 1 out of 4 links back to the blog to increase views. 2 out of 4 are just regular tips since I like to make sure quality content is the primary focus.

Fiverr: I made $40 from ads and tweets through Fiverr.

Giveaway Properties:
E-mail: I made about $3 promoting a giveaway through Shareasale. I haven’t worked on building these numbers yet but I did make a landing page. It’s set up and ready to go for when I want to promote it.

How do you make money blogging? Have you tried any of the ways listed above? Is there anything you’d like me to add to this series?

How Magic Ears Stops Whining

Kids Whining

When I was a preschool teacher, I heard a lot of whining and I tried many different tactics to prevent it. I finally came along one thing that always worked without fail…magic ears.

How does it work?
Just tell your children that you have magic ears that cannot hear whining. When they whine, just smile and say “What?” as if you can’t hear them until they speak calmly. Simple? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

How to Apply Magic Ears
I still remember the time a girl in my class was whining about how she wanted a toy. Another little child looked at her and said seriously, “She can’t hear you. She has magic ears.” The girl turned to me and said calmly, “Ms. Tracy can I please have the toy?” I smiled sweetly at her, “Sweetie I’d be happy to help you.”

Magic Ear Tips
You must remain calm. You can’t hear the whining do it shouldn’t bother you. Whining is designed to drive you to the brink of insanity so you give in to your child’s demands. If you can’t hear it and remain happy, it loses all power. I like to smile and even hum happily while “not hearing” the whining.

Reward the positive behavior. When you child gets control of themselves and is able to speak nicely, reward them with your full attention. This doesn’t mean giving it to them but bending down and looking in their eyes while smiling and explaining is enough.

Rub your ears if necessary. Sometimes rubbing your ears to turn the magic ears on can give your child a visual of the fact that their whining is ineffective.

Why does it work?
Any behavior that your child displays frequently, good or bad, means that they have learned it’s effective. If your child is a whiner, it means they have learned it works on you. Magic ears teaches them that whining is no longer a means of getting what they want.

Warning
If your child is a whiner because they’ve learned it works, they will likely turn it up a few notches before giving up. Be prepared for a possible tantrum when first using this technique. Remember if you use this repeatedly and stay calm, your child will learn that whining does not get them anywhere.

Planning The Perfect Kids Pool Birthday Party

Planning the perfect pool party

I went to a pool party for the kids in the neighborhood last summer where I suspect the Mom thought she had planned the perfect party. She was a “helicopter Mom,” and hovered over the kids the whole time, directing, orchestrating and controlling. That’s not my idea of a perfect kids party. It can be a lot more simple.

Just let them enjoy the water. If you combine kids and a pool, you have the basic elements for a wonderful birthday party. They will make up games, splash around, and have a great time all on their own. They might need the occasional bit of direction to start a new game, such as “There’s a shark in the water – don’t let him catch you.” But for the most part, kids are very imaginative in the pool. I remember some of the games we devised when I was young, and they were complicated and fun. We created fantasy worlds, had team games, and all without someone telling us how the game needed to be played. Just let the kids have their own fun, and the entertainment takes care of itself.

Figure out safety. With kids in the water, the safety issue needs to be addressed. One very elegant solution I heard about – the parents hired one of the lifeguards from the community pool. The kids were used to paying attention to him, because he could pull them out of the water. It kept the parents from having to try to perform the monitor function, and eliminated the need for hovering Moms to be fluttering around the kids. Be sure to check with the parent of each child who will be there, and make sure they can swim.

Take care of the party basics. What does a party need? A location, refreshments, and sending out some invitations. There are some great resources to help develop a checklist for a kid birthday pool party, like this planning article, some great ideas for pool games for the kids, and even options for great food to serve at the pool. Once all items are accounted for, the fun can begin.

Refreshments. With kids, burgers are always a safe bet, so maybe have the husband fire up the back yard grill. Just remember to plan for a lot of food – the kids will work up an appetite in the water. Have a table stocked with chips and drinks, and they’ll be happy. Think about having a designated meal time, so everyone will be out of the water together, and have games like badminton or Frisbees that the kids can play in the back yard until they can go back in the water.

Host the parents. Invite the parents to stay for the party, and most of them will. Have a shady area with tables, where the adults can sit and visit, or watch the kids play. Make sure everyone has been introduced, and just be a sociable hostess, to make sure people feel comfortable and welcome.

Sunscreen? Before the kids jump in the pool, make sure they’re all covered with sunscreen. Some of the parents might be willing to help with this task. Set up a table with a lot of sunscreen on it, and about every hour, get the kids to hop out and have the sunscreen applied again. You want the kids to have fun, not have a painful sunburn the next morning.

When your child’s friend comes up as he leaves and says “Thanks for having me – this was the most fun ever,” that’s a signal that you’ve thrown a party that the kids thought was perfect.

Kaitlin Gardner writes for AnApplePerDay.com. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend.  In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature.  She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.

Image credit: poznyakov / 123RF Stock Photo

What is the Best First Sport for Kids?

first sportTo answer that question, I am going to do something my dad did to me and something I do a lot to my kids: Answer a question with a few questions.

You see, choosing a first sport for your child is not a right or wrong answer and it is as individual as your family and your kids. By asking yourself these questions, I hope you arrive at your own conclusion.

Question 1: What sport interests your child?

Give your child a few choices and let her decide. Take her to watch a soccer game or a basketball game or a t-ball game or a ballet class or gymnastics class. Talk with her and ask if she would like to try it for one season.  Of course, if she doesn’t like it, let her try something else the next season.

You might also notice which sports she naturally gravitates to on her own, either watching on TV or on the playground. Go outside and play with your child and tell her to choose the sport.

Question 2: What are his friends doing?

Putting your child in a sport with friends has several advantages: you can carpool to practices with mom-friends, your child has friends on the team which will help him feel more at ease, and you will have friends to socialize with at games and practices.

Question 3: How much money do you want to spend?

If the budget is tight, stick with sports that require less equipment: flag football, soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, basketball and stay away from sports with lots of equipment like hockey and tackle football.

Another way to save money is to look for sports programs with the city recreation leagues or YMCA.  And if their choices are limited, well then, that will help make your decision easier.

I cannot tell you which sport is a good place for your child to start. Of course, the popular choices are soccer, t-ball, hockey, gymnastics, or ballet.   If you’re considering tackle football, I’d do a little more investigating into whether you really want your little guys tackling at such a young age; there’s a lot of for/against arguments. Flag football is a great alternative for youngsters without the “violence” of tackle football.

As you choose a sport, remember this: what they play is not as important as the environment they are in when they play. It should be positive and fun, first and foremost. Skill development at such a young age is secondary.

 

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks and is the author of the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

photo credit: greg westfall. via photopin cc

Environmentally Friendly Activity For Kids

Rather Lather

Here’s an idea on how we can teach our kids to reduce our carbon footprint: recycle unused soap into a lathering liquid soap! Here’s how it works:

  1. Spray your unused soap pieces with Rather Lather Anti-septic Spray then grate into container.
  2. Whisk warm water and Rather Lather Soap Solution.
  3. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Pour into soap bottle.

To learn more about the process including a video click here. Purchase your Rather Lather products here.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post which means I was paid to review this product or website, however all opinions are my own.

GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win Your Child’s Dream Craft Room!

I love crafts and giveaways so I’m obviously excited to promote this awesome opportunity to win a craft room for kids! I wish I had Kiwi Crates for my son when he was little. I just imagine having a crate full of activities for him coming once a month. It would have my life SO much easier! Check out the details of the giveaway below:

March is National Crafting Month and to get YOU inspired, Kiwi Crate is teaming up with Highlights Magazine and YoYo.com to offer your kid(s) a dream craft room!

Celebrate with us and Kiwi Crate this month and enter your family into a giveaway of a lifetime!
Enter to Win Your Kid's Dream Craft Room
How to Enter

Contest goes from now till Monday March 31, 2014

Click on the photo above to enter!

Kiwi Crate is an award-winning, monthly subscription service that provides all the hands-on materials to inspire creative, educational fun. With themes like Music, Color, Robots, and Safari, these crates deliver everything needed for unique activities that you and your kids can enjoy together. see sample crates ››

Delightful kids' crafts delivered right to your door. shop now ››

And for even more crafty inspiration, visit their DIY Ideas page to check out the latest and greatest on easy projects you can do right at home, right now!

DIY Mosaic Heart DIY Dreamcatchers

Can You Make Money Blogging? 2014 February Income Report

2014 February Income Report

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links…make sense since I’m talking about how my blog makes money, no?

CAN YOU MAKE MONEY BLOGGING?

This series is an attempt to answer that question as I try to attain my goal of finding 10 different income streams where I can make $100 or more per month. My December Income Report had a total of $257 for the month. In this report I’m including my expenses as well. Right now I’m focused on growth over profit so I’ll be spending more in order to grow. Once I reach my goals I can slow down on spending and enjoy higher profits.

Income:

BlogHer – $155
SponsoredTweets – $7
Shareasale – $9
Bluehost – $0
Optin Skin – $0
Aweber – $0
HireInfluence – $25.05
Fiverr – $40

Total Income: $236.05

Expenses:

Aweber: $29

This month was a crazy one for me personally which translated to a less than stellar month for my blog and profits. AT&T accidentally shut my internet off and couldn’t figure out how to turn it back on for TEN DAYS! Since the time I typically spend blogging is late at night after my family goes to bed, this really set me back. I also had the flu and couldn’t get out of bed for a week. This was a tough lesson for me. I typically plan all of my blog posts and social media months in advance but I’ve been slacking in 2014. This taught me how dangerous that can be. There is NO REASON for a blog and it’s social media to just go dark like mine did. If I had everything set up like I should have, my posts would have gone live on time and my digital properties would have had content go out automatically.

There is NO REASON for a blog and it’s social media to go dark for days. Planning is key! {Tweet this}

Since I’m all about turning failure into success, I’m going to create some content on how to make sure your blog is set up for success like I’ve always done in the past. I don’t want anyone to make the mistake I made last month.

Entrepreneurship is all about turning failure into success.  {Tweet this}

On the bright side, I finished setting up my auto responders so now when someone signs up for my blogging newsletter, they not only get my income reports and blogging posts right to their e-mail but the also get a Blogging Tips e-course with the following lessons:

Blogging Tip #1: The Most Simple Tip Is The Most Powerful
Blogging Tip: About Me – 7 days after the previous message
Blogging Tip #2: Building Your Blogging Knowledge Base
Blogging Tip #3: Brand Your Blog And Stand Out From The Crowd
Blogging Tip Case Study: My Branding Story
Blogging Tip Feedback: Show Me Your Logos
Blogging Tip #4: Setting Up A Blog That Brands Will Want To Work With
Blogging Tip Case Study: My Web Hosting Story
Blogging Tip Feedback: Tell Me Your Blogging Story
Blogging Tip #5: Turning Your Online Assets Into Money
Blogging Tip #6: The Money Is In The E-mail List
Blogging Tip #7: Using Auto Responders To Make Money Passively
Blogging Tip #8: Create Wealth From Your E-mail List
Blogging Tip #9: Get Free E-mail Subscribers Easily
Blogging Tip # 10: Hosting Giveaways PLUS FREEBIE INSIDE!

Automate your business and increase your sales by building an e-mail list.  {Tweet this}

Check out how auto responders work by watching this video. Aweber costs only $1 to sign up!

Try AWeber’s Autoresponders for $1

The Blogging Project:

E-mail: It took all of my spare time for most of the month to write these as each e-mail took me about 5 hours to write. I wanted quality material because I’m creating other e-courses that I’ll charge for. I want potential customers to see the kind of quality they’ll see when they purchase from me.

Less Than Perfect Parents: 
Twitter: I have continued making money through Twitter primarily through BlogHer. Since that has been so successful, I’m going to create an offer to sell tweets to brands.

I also signed up for HireInfluence which is a very simple way to make money through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. When I started they were paying a lot more but it’s lately the payment has been reduced to about $1.50 per tweet which is much less than I would normally charge. I’ve been keeping it up only because it’s so simple. It take about three seconds to find a tweet and click a button. I’m also hoping they will increase the payments again. We’ll see how it goes.

E-mail: I started a Kids LOVE Reading series which sends 52 tips to instill a love of reading in children. One tip will be delivered per week. I set it up so 1 out of 4 contains affiliate links and 1 out of 4 links back to the blog to increase views. 2 out of 4 are just regular tips since I like to make sure quality content is the primary focus.

Fiverr: I made $40 from ads and tweets through Fiverr.

Giveaway Properties:
E-mail: I made about $7 promoting a giveaway through Shareasale. I would have made more but most of the people who clicked were repeat entrants so it really reduced my payout. I’m going to have to work on building this e-mail list in the future.

How do you make money blogging? Have you tried any of the ways listed above? Is there anything you’d like me to add to this series?

Image credit: cooldesign / 123RF Stock Photo

Shamrock Crafts For Kids

Shamrock Cake Topper

DIY-Shamrock-Cake-Toppers This cake topper is simple and elegant. It would be a fun way to decorate a cake with your kids. Click here to find out how!

Shamrock Cards

Shamrock Thumbprint Craft

This simple card is perfect for kids. They can make cute cards for family or just play with stamps and paper while mom gets a few minutes of quiet (imagine that!) Child Made Tutorials has the directions.

Shamrock Leprechaun Trap

catch-a-leprechaun-st-patricks-day-craft-photo-420-FF0309LEPRA03   Protect your home from St. Patrick’s Day mischief! For directions on how to make this adorable Leprechaun trap head over to Spoonful.