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Blogger of the Month: Fort Worth Zoo Through the Eyes of a Child

We got to go to the Fort Worth Zoo last weekend. We had such a good time as we usually do. This time though I wanted to do something a little different. I handed the picture taking responsibilities over to my daughter. I wanted to see how she saw the zoo. I wanted to experience it through her eyes. I realized while we were there I spent the majority of my time watching my kids instead of the animals.

They are both growing so quickly and I find myself more and more just watching them and taking them in. I want to see the way they look at the world and connect with them. Enjoy a few of the pictures taken by my 11 year old and get a feel for the zoo through her eyes.

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Post Written By:
IMG_0294Alicia is from Mississippi but currently lives in Texas with her husband and their two fabulous kids. She is a recovering people pleaser and a hippy wannabe. She blogs over at Hippy Juice Mama about life, books, and slowly switching her family over to a natural lifestyle.

Blog || Instagram || Pinterest || Facebook

Tech Tuesday: Facebook Tips

Hey y’all, this is Danielle from over at Busy Mom’s Helper and today I’m going to talk about a very touchy subject for us bloggers: Facebook. I know, it’s a love-hate relationship, but just hear me out – a few months ago I learned some valuable Facebook Tips for Bloggers from someone who’s seriously ROCKIN’ it, and it’s made a world of difference for me already – so I’m passing these few ideas on to you!

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1. Create a Call to Action

Ever wonder what that little button that says ‘Create Call to Action’ was for?

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Me, too! Click on it, and you can actually change it to something people can do – SHOP is one of the options, but for bloggers I think the best option they’re currently offering is SIGN UP. Click on that, then add the address for them to sign up for your RSS feed or Newsletter! You may not get tons, but every little bit helps, right? May as well use the space for something!

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2. Add Your Other Social Media Accounts

Your bar where there’s Timeline, About, etc. doesn’t have to stay the same way. Click on ‘More’, and you can link your Pinterest account, Twitter, even Instagram! You can even reorder that row exactly how you want it. When your fans click on one, for example the Pinterest one like in my example below, it goes to a page that shows them your boards, pins, etc. Again – every little bit of sharing helps!

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3. Increase Your Engagement

While it’s important to have a good ‘Reach’ for your Facebook page, it’s really the ‘Engagement’ you want to work on. As this goes up, so does your reach….so two birds with one stone! When you’re in your Facebook page, along the top you’ll see ‘Insights’ – this is where you go into to see all of this information….

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Mine sure isn’t the greatest – but just 2 months ago my engagement was less than 200, my reach way lower than it is now, too. Here’s some things I was told to change (from bloggers who are like masters of Facebook) to help my engagement….and totally worked!
* Post frequently: now this will mean different numbers for each person, so don’t get all upset at me saying I’m telling you to post too much. I’m not, I’m just saying find a good number FOR YOUR PAGE. Some of the people I’ve learned from post every 45 minutes, every day. Right now I’m about 7-10 a day, and that’s doing well at bringing my numbers up there. I want to do more, but gradually.
* Share the love: don’t just share your own stuff. A good ratio that I’ve heard from many is about 1 to 3; for every 1 post of yours you share on Facebook, share 3 from someone else.
* Share quality stuff: keep your fans happy by sharing things they’ll like – I have a friend who’s readers only like when she shares recipes, not crafts, so that’s what she does. Another friend does best when she shares organization things. Find what your readers like (going into your insights you can scroll and see which of your Facebook posts did the best) and give it to them!
* Support each other: don’t expect others to like, comment and share your stuff if you never return the love. Take a little time and leave just a little note, or a quick ‘like’. This helps them out with their engagement, plus it’s like karma – good will come back to you.
* Get Facebook juice: try to share from blogs that have a larger Facebook following/reach than you – so more ‘juice’. This will increase the amount of people Facebook will show your post to. Don’t JUST share from those bigger, though – we need to help and support each other still, right?

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Now, there’s SO MANY tips and ideas to increase your reach on Facebook, but I’m just covering the few I’ve had a chance to implement and see good results from right now. If you have others to add, please feel free to leave a comment here sharing with everyone!

Blogger of the Month: Journey to Become a Work-at-Home Mom

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When my daughter was 1, I quit working to stay home. Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant with my son. I have loved being home with them but I also like to work. I know I contribute a lot for our family by being home but I just have always desired to earn some sort of income for my family.

With having 2 little ones it wasn’t feasible financially for me to work outside the home that would require us to have to put the kids in daycare. Really that’s what I didn’t want to do. Not that I think staying at home is the only thing mothers should do, I know that each family is different and different things work for different families. My mother had to work my entire childhood because she really didn’t have a choice. Because our financial fate didn’t require me to work outside I just didn’t want to put the kids in daycare because I still had the desire to have some sort of career.

When I first heard about women working from home I got really excited! I just couldn’t believe I could actually be with my kids, help with homework, and be there when they were sick. My desire to be flexible and be available for my family outweighed my desire to have some sort of a career. I began looking into anything and everything I could.

I did many different things, direct sales, childcare, and when they both started school worked a little part time outside of the home. I never enjoyed any of these at all. I dreaded doing all of these things and because I wasn’t the primary bread winner and we didn’t depend on my pay check to eat I quit those. I know that there are many women who do these things and are very successful and love doing them but I never could muster enough passion to truly love it. Like with direct sales, I liked the companies (and yes I have tried many, many companies) and the products but was never truly passionate about the products. The women that are really successful with them don’t just like the products they love it! They don’t just sell things they share something they love and you can really tell a difference when someone is passionate about what they are doing and not just trying to make money.

That’s what I wanted. I wanted to find something that I was passionate about. I wanted to love something and be somewhat good at it. I wanted my passion and joy about doing something push me past the difficult parts that weren’t fun or successful. I want the drive to succeed.

Looking for something that fit all my requirements (able to be flexible and available for my family, primarily work from home, and love what I am doing) took a lot of thought. I finally decided to jump in and attempt a childhood dream. It was extremely scary but I am so glad I took that leap. I decided that I want to become a writer and from there my blog was born. I have only been writing for about 6 months and each week I’m growing and improving. I have yet to monetize my blog and that’s okay because I want this to be a lasting career that I love. I’m not in it for the money, I’m in it because I love it. I have realized that writing is a part of who I am. I have many goals and dreams for my career as a writer and little by little I will get there.

My family has been extremely supportive and I have noticed that they are excited that I am excited about something. My husband is incredible because he wanted me to have something that I love doing. I have always felt guilty about not being fully satisfied staying home. Then I would also feel guilty that I wanted to love my job when so many people don’t really have a choice and have to work whether they like what they are doing or not. Guilt can steal so much from you though and decided to just let it go and do whatever worked for us. I’m incredibly thankful to have such an amazingly supportive family.

Post Written By:
IMG_0294Alicia is from Mississippi but currently lives in Texas with her husband and their two fabulous kids. She is a recovering people pleaser and a hippy wannabe. She blogs over at Hippy Juice Mama about life, books, and slowly switching her family over to a natural lifestyle.

Blog || Instagram || Pinterest || Facebook

Craft: USA Wreath Tutorial

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The fourth of July is just around the corner! There’s no better way to show USA pride then hanging the star and stripes proudly. If you like to show off your American pride in more ways then one, this USA Wreath project is for you. ;) Let’s make your door décor scream American pride, shall we?

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What you’ll need:
-Round 18in wreath form
-Blue star burlap ribbon (Walmart)
-Red and white striped burlap ribbon (Walmart)
-Additional wired burlap for the bow. Feel free to pick a different pattern or color.
-Glue gun & Scissors
-Optional: Hanging welcome sign (Hobby Lobby)

Instructions
Step 1: Wrap the wreath form starting with the red and white striped burlap. You’ll be wrapping about 3/4ths of the form. Overlap each section so the form is not exposed. Cut off the excess burlap. Once completely covered use a hot glue gun and secure the flap to the back of the form.

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Step 2: Repeat step one using the blue stars burlap and cover the additional 1/4th of the form. Glue the burlap flap to the back of the form.

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Making the bow:
After choosing the width you’d like for the bow, overlap it on top of itself. I overlapped this bow about three times.

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I cut the same ribbon in half and used it to tie the middle of the bow. You’ll then want to “fluff” the bow up. Secure it to the wreath using glue.

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To finish off the wreath I added a red, white, and blue welcome sign I purchased at Hobby Lobby.

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