Budget Friendly Mothers Day Gifts

Sometimes I question the calendar placement of Mothers’ Day. It is usually smack-dab in one of the busiest times of the year, in the midst of graduations and end of school year preparations, and also right around the time things like summer camp registrations are due. Money may be tight, but you still love Mom!

I generally follow the same gift giving rule that I teach my children, give people a gift that you yourself would appreciate receiving. So, I’ve compiled this gift guide full of things that I too would love to receive for Mothers Day–and I bet you would too!

  • Nice Colored Pencils : Every mom knows that all of her favorite supplies are often “borrowed” by children working on their monster map of South America that is due, OMG, it is due TOMORROW! Bonus points if you buy her a different brand than what the kids use, making them more difficult to “borrow.” Sweeten the pot by adding in this beautiful Journaling Bible with over 500 verses to color–perfect for someone like me who loves the idea of a journaling bible, but has zero ability to draw pretty doodles. OR, for the snarkier mom (can I admit that I am a little of both?) a fun adult coloring book about the lighter side of motherhood may just make her day!
  • EchoDot: Because sometimes Mama just wants to listen to her stories, or her music–or maybe she wants to drown out the sound of chaos. This little voice-controlled, hands-free device is small enough to tuck in a tote and travel from work to home and back again. At just under $50 it is a fun gift for the tech-inspired mom in your life.
  • Water Infuser Bottle: Mom’s on a diet? Well, this little gadget may make her a little less crabby! Water tastes great when it is infused with fruit flavor and the mesh basket helps keep seeds and pulp out of your water!
  • Cute Shoes: These sweet Mary Janes from Hot Chocolate Designs are adorable and a fun splurge for the shoe-loving mom. Hint-hint–I wear a size 10!
  • Miss your mom? Me too. This sweet coffee mug can be custom made with any of the United States and the Canadian provinces! They also have a sweet quote on the back: “My mother forever, never apart, maybe in distance but never in heart.” A sweet sentiment and I know of at least one mom who is getting one–wink!
  • I often like to start my mom on book series–she is a reader like I am. Last year I started her on the Anthems of Zion series, and I cannot wait to purchase her the third of Katie Schuermann’s novels when it is released in a few weeks. This is a perfect series for the “church lady” in your life.
  • You can never go wrong with a cookbook! (that is, if your mom cooks!) And I have found that you can never go wrong with a cookbook from Six Sisters Stuff. None of their recipes may be groundbreaking, but they are all delicious and family friendly! They are also full of tips on streamlining meal planning and your kitchen! This one is next on my list of cookbooks to buy!

So, there you have it! My favorite, budget-friendly mothers’ day gifts! What is your favorite gift to share with your mom?

 

Happy Easter!

For Pastor’s Wives, I should just say, “yay! We survived!”

But really, no matter our vocation, we all have difficult times. We have periods as moms where our lives have more things on the schedule than times to do them, or more items on the shopping list than money to pay for them.

I’m emerging from a post-lenten fog.

I’ve had a lot on my plate.

I’m beginning to think that March is not my favorite month. Last year I struggled with my oldest son being away at basic training in March, and this year I just, well, struggled. It was nothing I can put my finger on, but I can tell that I am coming out from the other side.

I’m enjoying my family again.

I’m feeling productive.

Yarn is flying off of my crochet hook and knitting needles.

Decent meals are being cooked.

The house, while not company ready, IS family ready.

I’m getting my work mojo back.

It is all good.

And I am so thankful to God for sustaining me through my rough times as well as my up times.

We all have down times.

And that is OK.

#MomWinWednesday Having Fun

#MomWinWednesday Here on #MomWinWednesday I am encouraging you to celebrate the small wins in your day. Because, let’s face it, sometimes the small wins are the only wins we get in a given day.

I’ve written before about setting yourself up for a successful morning before–and make sure you grab your free printable here! Well, this morning was a payoff for proper nighttime preparation. I DID manage to make sure the  girls laid their clothes out last night. We ALL made it to bed on time–even me–which might have freaked out the teen when he came home from work to a dark house!

This morning we were up with the sun, and even had time for a home cooked breakfast! (thanks Dad!). But the most fun, and my #momwin would be the fun lipsync party we had to a favorite song over our eggs and bagels!

It set ALL of our days up for smiles and happiness.

(And WHAT is our favorite song for an epic lipsync battle?)

 

Pros and Cons of Using Social Media for Your Business

 

Pros and Cons of Social media for business

  I have a little side-hustle where I coach local small businesses on using social media. I’m going to begin sharing some insights here, in the hopes that I can inspire and encourage you!

Social Media can be a frightening thing. People either feel comfortable with social sharing or they do not. As a small business owner, the toughest part of Social Media is getting out of the way of your own humility. Mom taught you not to brag. Social Media demands that you do.

So here is a list of pros and cons to the use of social media in your small business:

Pros:

  • Social media is “free”. I share this pro with a HUGE caveat. While it is free to use platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, your time still has value. And, while you can work within the free aspects of these platforms, it is not uncommon to find that you have to invest some advertising dollars to gain visibility. I advise my clients who are dipping their feet into the social media waters to stick with free services. As you become more comfortable with the intricacies of each platform (and some of the great social scheduling tools available) you can slowly begin to invest some money to make social media work better for you.
  • Social Media is EVERYWHERE. Let’s face it–you can choose to not use social media for your business, but if you do, you risk losing out on valuable market share.
  • Your Customers and Clients enjoy the instant gratification that Social Media affords.  We are living in such an online, mobile society, that your customers enjoy finding answers quickly and easily using your social channels. Whether that means that they know that they can book appointments online, read customer reviews, or get personal answers from you, social media can save you time. A well-written FAQ on your website, or as a doc on your Facebook page will help your customers. Refer to them often and add to them as needed.
  • Social Media is fun! I challenge my clients to take advantage of humor and fun on their social media accounts. Appropriate and applicable humor can boost social media engagement, and may even help build your brand. I encourage clients to set up a bank of inspirational and humorous photos, videos and quotes to drip out  regularly across social media accounts.

Cons:

  • Social Media can be a time hog. I hinted at this on the first pro. While social media is free–it takes some time to set up and optimize. And, no matter how much you automate your social media (and I advise against over-automation), social media needs to be monitored regularly. (tools such as Hootsuite   or Mention can help with this.)
  • Negative Feedback is difficult to remove: If, for some reason, you make an online enemy, they can use your Social Media against you in the form of negative reviews and abusive posts. These need to be dealt with swiftly, and are a big reason that you need to be vigilant in monitoring your social media accounts.
  • Social Media Moves Quickly. There is always a “new thing”. The experts will almost always claim that the “new thing” is the most important thing. I counsel my clients to choose a platform or two or three that they are comfortable with–and most importantly–where their customers are. No one wants to shout into a giant void.

Conclusion:

Social media is not going anywhere. If you choose to ignore the power that social media can have over your business, you just may miss the boat. Need help? Check out my contact information here.

 

#MomWinWednesday– The One in Which I Refrain from Yelling–Plus FREE Bedtime Checklist!

#MomWinWednesday

It is no secret that I am a mom who yells too much. I’ve talked about it before here. I come from a long line of yellers. My grandma even managed to yell in two languages.

I also am really, really, working on this. I’ve been working on this for almost 21 years.

It is NOT getting any easier.

However, my empathetic side tells me that I would be CRUSHED if someone yelled at me every single morning.

And so, I really work to tame my tongue.

I also remind myself that good mornings begin at night. Meaning, the more that I prepare for our mornings the night before, the smoother things will go. Sadly, at night, what I would prefer to do is knit or crochet and binge watch shows. Being a grown up is hard sometimes.

You can download this free printable bedtime checklist!

I’m working on implementing a checklist for the kids (and for me too!) so that we can help our mornings go a little smoother. I’ll share it with you here. I’ve left space for you to add some tasks that might be unique to your family as well! My girls love clipboards, so I have laminated this checklist and given them each a clipboard and a dry erase marker to check off each task.

Hopefully, as we get used to checking off our items each night, mornings will become easier and easier!

Chime in! How do you tame the morning crazies? Share your tips with other moms in the comments, or pop over to the Facebook page and join the conversation there!