Just a little blog business today.
First of all, I'm sure many of you have heard the Google is shutting down Google Reader? And I think Google Friend Connect is going away with it. I am upset about this, because Google Reader and GFC are how I keep up with all the blogs I follow! Rats.
I think a lot of people are going to be switching to Bloglovin for following blogs. I spent part of last night getting myself all set up on Bloglovin. This post gives some good Google Reader alternatives and explains how to save your subscription list to your computer, and this post explains how import your subscriptions into Bloglovin if you choose to use it.
I'll probably use Bloglovin - I'm going to check out a few readers and see what I think. But if you want to follow my blog through Bloglovin, please click here (or any of the other Bloglovin links - can you tell I don't want to lose all of you?)! Or be sure to add my blog to whatever reader you end up choosing if not Bloglovin!
Note: If I followed your blog through Reader, I already transferred my subscriptions, so I should show up as a follower of yours on Bloglovin.
Another note: I just realized that I can't see WHO is following my blog on Bloglovin, only the number of followers I have. I think this stinks because how am I supposed to connect with new followers? How annoying! If you are a new follower, for pity's sake, comment and tell me so I can check out your blog!
One more note: Actually, upon further inspection, I think if you set up a profile then people can still see that you follow their blog. Am I right? I'm obviously still trying to figure this thing out.
On a different note (ha!), I re-did my blog design. I was inspired by these two pictures, and I wanted a different look for my header. I like the way it turned out! I always feel the need to update my blog look in the spring, and this screams spring and/or summer time to me.
I originally got these two here, but I have no idea where they originally came from! If anyone knows, please let me know so I can give proper credit.
And this one is my favorite, from here.
And time for a new poll question! The last time I asked how long you all have been following along. Here are the results:
Just found it!
Started reading within the last few months.
I've been reading for at least a year.
I'm a long-time reader! I've been reading for two or more years.
Originally there were 72 votes, but it somehow dropped down to 69? Hmm. Anyway, I'm glad so many of you have stuck around for so long! That's encouraging to me. And to you new readers - yay, I'm glad you are here!
Okay, new question - how do you usually read my blog, or blogs in general? Vote to the left or comment below. And while you're at it, for you Google Reader people out there, comment and tell me how you plan to read blogs now that it's going away!
All year 'round! Am I supposed to stop?
Whenever I start to feel "Christmas-y", usually in the fall.
Not until after October 31st.
After Thanksgiving, and no earlier!
I'm not really a Christmas music person.
Gracias! And let me know in the comments if you are on TBB, because I'll toodle on over and vote for you too!
Do you own any colored skinny jeans?
As one of my lovely commenter's pointed out, it is also exciting to be due so close to Christmas, because it is an extra present to me! And therein lies the challenge - I am so excited for her to arrive, and I am just feeling the need to get all the Christmas stuff done ASAP because I want to focus on her arrival!
So we're going Black Friday shopping this Friday. My goal is to finish all Christmas shopping then, and I really hope I do. I just really need to cross all that off my list.
What do you think of the new button? Nice?
So . . . I've decided to try a button swap here on the blog! I've never done anything like this before, so I thought I'd try it for one month and see how it goes. If you are interested in swapping buttons with me, here is what I'm thinking:
1. I'm just going to offer a button swap to people who are currently following my blog (as of this posting). So If you're already a GFC follower, you are in luck!
2. If you'll grab my button and post it in your sidebar for 30 days, I'll do the same with your button!
3. The only thing I ask is that buttons be 200 pixels in width and 150 pixels in height (or really close to that).
4. I'll only accept buttons for private blogs for the swap, no Etsy shop buttons . . . but if you are a current blog follower of mine and have an Etsy shop, let me know and I'll e-mail you a discount code for any size space you want!
5. I don't care how many followers you have, so if you have a smaller blog, don't be shy!
And if that all sounds good there are only two things to do:
1. Grab my button and put it somewhere in your sidebar.
2. "Buy" the button swap ad space under my Sponsor page (a 100% discount code will be provided, so you won't actually end up paying anything). Then as soon as I confirm that you are actually a follower of my blog and that you have my button in your sidebar your button will show up to the left!
I'm only going to do five of these at a time, so if you want your button on here hurry and reserve your spot! Buttons will show up in my left sidebar under my reader polls. And of course, under any sponsors, but I don't have any at the moment, so your button will actually be pretty high up there! If any of you decide to purchase a bigger space, your buttons will go above all the rest.
And I wanted to include the results of the last poll I did.
How did you originally find my blog?
A link in someone else's post.
A link list/sidebar on someone else's blog.
A comment you left on someone else's blog.
Someone's Blogger profile.
A search engine's results.
I realized after I had posted the poll that I didn't have any option for if I found your blog . . . sorry about that! Most of you found my little space through a link or button in someone's sidebar (see how nice those sidebar spaces can be for increasing readership?).
An almost equal amount stumbled upon me because of a link in someone's post (thanks to those people who have linked to me in the past!), or from my comments on someone's post. A couple people found my blog because of social media or Google. And I'm very curious as to what the "Other" is for those of you who voted on that, but I'm guessing it might be some of those bloggy friends that I found first?
Bottom line: You get more readers who stick around by interacting in the blogging community. At least if your blog is similar to mine. Am I right?
That was a fun poll for me, you guys, very educational!
Okay, button swap away! If I used emoticons on my blog I'd put a smiley face here.
I am 20 weeks pregnant this week (actually 20 weeks and some days pregnant)! I feel like the belly popped out a little more, and I think I look more pregnant (unless I'm wearing a baggy shirt, then I can still hide it pretty well). I've been feeling great, except for some back pain when I'm on my feet too long. And a lot of round ligament pain (I think it was mostly from the belly stretching, because it seems to have settled down some the last few days).
The baby is the size of a cantaloupe now - 6 1/2 inches and 10-ish ounces! And doing a lot more moving while there is still lots of room in there, and I've loved feeling more movement. Derek got to feel the baby move on August 15th! But most of the movements aren't quite strong enough to be felt from the outside.
Over the next week baby will be working on developing taste buds! Which I think is fun, because then they can start to taste certain foods that I eat. I ate a lot of Mexican food when I was pregnant with Wyatt, and now he likes spicy food, and I've been wanting more Chinese/Japanese food with this baby . . . so I wonder if he/she will end up liking Kung Pau chicken and yakitori sauce? We shall see!
I finally recognized that I am, in fact, nesting. Derek has been trying to tell my I'm nesting for a couple months now, but I didn't think I was, because I wasn't trying to organize everything - I was just trying to get the house to look pretty. But this past week I've realized that wanting your house to look perfect would actually still qualify, even if no organizing is involved.
And I also realized that some of my "beautifying" projects actually were organizing in disguise. So yes, I've accepted it now. I think I actually "nest" throughout my whole pregnancy, and I just don't realize that's what I've been doing until later - that's what happened with Wyatt too. It's okay though, because it's a powerful motivator, and the house needs that every few years, right?
What am I going to do when I stop having babies and no longer have that extra drive to clean? Don't ask me. Maybe I'll have molded myself into a more organized person in general by then.
I've been pinning a lot of color schemes on Pinterest lately, trying to decide on the colors for this Little One's quilt. This baby and Wyatt will probably end up sharing a room for a while (more on that in a different post), so I've been trying to see what I can come up with that doesn't clash too much with the colors in Wyatt's bedding. And obviously the room will need to be repainted if it's a girl, but I think I already have a wall color picked out, should that be the case.
A week from tomorrow and we find out the gender of this baby! I can't wait to see what we're having so I can start on all the projects I just mentioned! Plus it makes it all so much more "real" when you know whether it's a boy or a girl. We are doing a gender reveal party on September 2nd (so I'll have to keep it a secret for a few days), and then I'll let you all know after that! More posts on the gender reveal party coming up next week.
Speaking of which, it's that time! I'm putting a poll up in the sidebar so you can all vote on whether you think Babykins the Second is a boy or a girl! I'm curious to see what you all think the baby is this time around . . . it was so fun to see the results with Wyatt. So vote to the left! I am going to do a post on how we fit with all the old wive's tales though, so if you'd rather hold your vote until after that, keep an eye out over the next week!
And a few more belly pictures (as always):
And with the big brother:
Okay, so I have to know . . .
The week before I announced I was pregnant I was writing for the blog and I decided to sneak a little hint about expecting baby #2 into the post.
So . . . who caught it?
I’m not going to tell you which post it was, or how I incorporated my hint, because I’m going to do a giveaway next week. Whoever can tell me which post has the hint and what it was will get major-extra-giveaway points! I’m giving you a head start by mentioning it now. It will be in one of these five posts:
So send me an e-mail telling me what you think and I’ll tell you if you’re right! And I’ll give you extra entries next week.
Speaking of the First Birthday Parties post, let’s look at the poll, shall we?
How much would you/did you spend on your child’s first birthday party (including decorations, presents, birthday outfit, food, and any other details)?
We didn't do a 1st birthday "party", per se - 4 (13%)
-Under $100 - 11 (36%)
-$100-200 - 12 (40%)
-$200-300 - 2 (6%)
-$300-500 - 3 (10%)
-Over $500 dollars - 0 (0%)
-I can't really put a price tag/price limit on it - 0 (0%)
You all are so thrifty! Most of you thought $0-200 was a good amount to spend, and 16% would spend somewhere from $200-500. But nobody wanted to spend more than $500 dollars (at least not anyone that voted).
I told you all I would tell you how much I spent on Wyatt’s cowboy birthday party . . . I spent right around $100, give or take five bucks. Which I’m pretty happy with, considering that included everything, including presents and food! Plus I gathered all my decorations over a six month period, so it didn’t hit my wallet too hard anyway.
And finally, in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t had any Moms and Babies features for a while – and that’s because I officially put the feature on break for the summer (I’m just finally getting around to telling you now).
However, I will be starting it up again in the fall, so if you are interested in being featured, shoot me an e-mail! I do ask that you are at least a follower of mine in order to be featured, and that you are familiar with my blog, because that’s only fair. I’ll review your blog and get back to you with the questions to answer!
Once I get a few moms to feature I’ll send out a schedule and let you all know the start date. I’m looking for moms to feature from September until the beginning of December (because after that I’ll be taking a break again – you know, having a newborn and all!). Anyway, the point is that I have a limited number of weeks to fill, so it’s first come, first serve!
I’m looking forward to getting the feature going again when Autumn arrives!
Okay, that’s all. Except I wanted to say that I found a new nail polish I like:
It’s called “Sinful Color Professionals”. Kind of a weird name, but dare I say I almost like it better than Essie? Because I do. It goes on just as smooth and it seems to last just as long. And it’s way cheaper – $2 a bottle at Target!
The colors are a little more wild, but sometimes I like a bold color. So I’ll be buying more of this in the future I think!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Alright, first let’s wrap up last week’s poll, shall we?
Do you have a Twitter account/ How do you feel about Twitter?
-I do have an account and I love it! - 6 (26%)
-I have an account, don't use it that much - 4 (17%)
-I have an account, but I don't really "get" Twitter - 7 (30%)
-Don't have an account, prefer other social media - 0 (0%)
-Don't have an account, don't understand the point of Twitter - 6 (26%)
Wow, I was a bit surprised at the results this time! I guess I’m surprised at how many people don’t really get Twitter. But I shouldn’t be, because it took me about two years (?) to understand it. And I’m still not an expert.
Twitter can actually be pretty helpful to bloggers (more so than for the general public, I think), but it is way easier to get into if you have a smart phone. If you have a smart phone and you’re a blogger, you definitely need to give it a good try. No excuses for you!
Any bloggers out there who consider themselves adept at Twitter? Because I think the results of this poll call for a post on understanding Twitter, but I’m not sure I’m the person to write it. But I would love to have you write a guest post for me on the subject. I’m serious. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
Okay, on to today’s topic, and the subject of the next poll – first birthday parties.
(From Wyatt’s first birthday party. I just realized that one of the lights in our chandelier was out. Ignore that.)
I’ve been thinking about first birthday parties a lot lately. Maybe because I’m only four months removed from Wyatt’s first birthday party. Maybe because it seems like lots of babyies in the mom-blog world are hitting “One-derland”! Maybe it’s because I still find cute ideas for parties that I pin to my party Pinterest board.
There are some amazing party ideas out there. Seriously. Just search “first birthday party” on Pinterest and take a look at what comes up. It’s hard not to want your own child’s first birthday to be just as fabulous as all that.
The cute themes. The birthday banners. The artfully decorated smash cakes. The highchairs. The party hats/outfits. The food tables. The favors. The guestbooks. The presents.
(Wyatt’s birthday guestbook.)
Anything that can be done for first birthday parties seems to be done these days.
I’m not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing. You all have seen Wyatt’s first birthday party post. You know the effort I put into it, and I had such fun doing it.
But what I’m getting at more than effort is the money that goes into all of this. Or at least the pressure for all the money to go into this.
A few months before Wyatt’s first birthday, I got the catalog in the mail. The first birthday catalog. Filled with tons of decorations, accessories, and pretty much anything you could think of wanting for a party.
I’m sure you all got the same catalog. How do these people get our names, anyway?
Sure, they had a ton of cute stuff in it. But I sat down and added up all the things that you could buy for one party, based on what they were selling in the catalog. And it was a lot of money. At least it was a lot to me, but maybe I have unrealistic expectations about what it takes to throw a first birthday party.
After I threw Wyatt’s first birthday party I sat down and added up how much I spent on everything, including outfit, decorations, presents, and food. At first I thought what I spent was a lot, but not after looking at the catalog.
And it made me wonder, what is the average amount that is spent on first birthday parties these days? I really want to know.
Because let’s be honest, people, the kids aren’t going to remember any of it. First birthday parties are often more for the parents and family than for the kids, just because of the fact that they won’t remember.
Wyatt won’t remember his first birthday party. I will. But he won’t.
I don’t remember my first birthday party. I like looking at the pictures. It was a circus theme, and I had a cake shaped like a circus train. But that was the extent of it – no elaborate decorations or any of that.
And I looked perfectly happy, thrilled even, with my little party.
(Wyatt at his first birthday party.)
And yet it seems like there is all this pressure to have an amazing first birthday party for our kiddos. Probably more so for us blogging/pinning people. And aside from the outside pressure we also put the pressure on ourselves, because who doesn’t want everyone to “ooh and aah” over our creativity?
I know I’m not immune. And I really don’t think it’s bad to spend a bit of money and effort making your child’s first birthday party special.
I just think there should be a balance.
So, in light of that, what do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on a first birthday party? How much would you/did you spend on your child’s first birthday party (including decorations, presents, outfits, and food)?
Tell me below if you feel comfortable, otherwise you can be anonymous and vote to the left! I’m going to leave this poll open a little longer to last through next week, and I'm allowing multiple answers for those of you who have multiple kiddos.
I’ll tell you how much I spent on Wyatt’s party when I do the wrap-up of this poll in a couple weeks!
One of the things I’ve been wanting to do more of this summer is go swimming! We got to go a couple times last year, but not enough for me. And if I can’t have the beach, I can have the pool, right? So yesterday I met up with my dear friend Ashley, and we took Wyatt swimming!
Wyatt loved the water, which is a big difference from last year (he was either indifferent or upset last year) and we had a really fun time! He loved splashing around in the kiddie pool, and Ashley and I took him in the bigger pool and he loved that too. I jumped up and down in the water a few times while holding him, and he thought that was so funny! Ashley and I also had a great visit, and I think the day was a success! Hopefully we can go again soon this summer!
On another note, last weekend Derek and I bought a new car!
My little white car is getting toward the end of it’s life, and I really wanted to find an SUV. After a little research we decided on a Ford Escape, and Derek and I found one at a dealership last week and bought it! Here it is:
It’s a 2002 Ford Escape with about 132,000 miles on it, so it should last us another five years, we figure. We run our cars into the ground.
I gotta admit, I feel pretty cool riding around in my SUV. I always wanted an SUV, but hitherto it just hasn’t worked out. But now it has, and I’m going to enjoy it before I have 3-4 kids and will possibly need a van or monster SUV or something!
And lastly, the poll last week! Here are the results:
How many projects/ideas on Pinterest have you pinned and actually done/used? (Excluding recipes)
Um, eh, zero. (It's okay, really, just be honest) - 6 (17%)
Eh, 1 or 2? - 2 (5%)
Probably 2-5 - 9 (26%)
Over 5 projects/ideas - 8 (23%)
Over 10 projects! (Go you!) - 5 (14%)
Um, Pinterest? I don't have an account - 4 (11%)
Wow, we have a nice little curve there.
First of all, good for those of you who were honest and said zero. No shame.
The most common numbers were somewhere between 2-9.
And four of you who voted don’t have a Pinterest account. To which I say either “You should check it out”, or if you have chosen not to for a specific reason “Good for you, stick to your guns.” Because it has the potential to be addicting.
I, personally, have done 20ish projects/ideas I have found on Pinterest. Here’s the breakdown, in case you are curious:
1. Balloon banner for Wyatt’s birthday.
2. Picture banner for Wyatt’s birthday.
3. DIY banner for Wyatt’s birthday (actually I came up with that mostly myself, I was just inspired to try because of other banners I saw on Pinterest).
4. Children’s book/guestbook for Wyatt’s birthday.
5. DIY word art for spare bedroom.
6. DIY easy painting for spare bedroom.
7. Crackle painted frames (which I don’t have a picture of, but maybe I will soon).
8. Newspaper manicure (though it didn’t turn out that well).
9. Scrapbook paper manicure (I need to perfect it, but it was fun).
11. Turtle tag toy.
12. Mr. and Mrs. pillows.
15. Tweaked my social media buttons for my blog.
16. Made a skirt.
17. Made another skirt.
18. Actually working on another skirt.
19. Made a dress
19. Altered a shirt using an idea from a tutorial I found on Pinterest, though I kind of re-applied the tutorial so it’s sort of my own now.
Note: The skirts are all from the same tutorial, but I changed them each up a bit. And I’ll probably have a post on all my sewing projects soon – I’m just waiting until I finish the last skirt, but I haven’t had time yet.
20. And one more idea that was inspired by ideas on Pinterest, but I want to surprise you with that one (you’re lucky I actually told you about my sewing projects, because I was debating on whether to surprise you with those too). It’s coming soon.
And those are all of the ones I can think of now. What can I say? My discovery of Pinterest came at a great time for me, ie., before Wyatt’s birthday, when I was working on decorating some rooms, before my sister got married, around when I got the sewing bug, etc.
Nicole is actually thinking of doing a monthly link-up where you can show off the projects you’ve done that were inspired by Pinterest, and I think that might be fun! So you should go over there and tell her you like the idea if you’d want to participate in a link-up like that.
And that is it, my friends. Unless you count informational articles that I’ve found on Pinterest and read, but those don’t actually count.
What projects have you done that you found on Pinterest?
New poll about Twitter is up (it’s a short poll since I’m late on getting it up this week, so don’t forget about it over there).
And for goodness, sake, if you have a Twitter account, will you request to follow me? Because I know there are probably plenty of you who have Twitter that I don’t follow simply because I don’t know you do/have missed it on your blog. But I would like to, so comment below with your Twitter username, and you can follow me here: @CallieNicole7.
Friendship link-up starts here tomorrow, so be thinking of something you can write about!
Just a few items of business on a Friday . . .
Poll results are in! Here they are:
How long have you been blogging (regularly)?
Brand-new! Less than 6 months - 3 (10%)
Semi-newbie. 6 months-1 year - 1 (3%)
For a while! 1-2 years - 5 (17%)
Pretty long. 2-3 years - 7 (24%)
Definitely established. 3-4 years - 3 (10%)
Sheesh, a long time. 4-5 years - 4 (13%)
Old pro! 5+ years - 2 (6%)
I started a while ago but then stopped - 4 (13%)
Total votes: 29
The results are spread so evenly, which I was glad to see! I’m glad this little ‘ole blog can appeal to you newer bloggers, because the last thing I want is to turn you all away! And it’s nice to know that it’s not boring enough to lose you bloggers who have been doing this way longer than me!
And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but for goodness sake, if I don’t follow your blog and you follow me, comment or something and I’ll track your blog down! Believe me, if I haven’t followed back it’s been unintentional.
New poll regarding Pinterest, so check it out to the left!
Top Baby Blogs reset their stats again. I can hear the groans now. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (maybe that should have been the title of this post) – I mostly do it just to stay on the page so I can meet new bloggers through the website. And I have met a lot of you through TBB, so I know it’s worth it! I think it only takes, like, two votes to keep me on the site, so would you mind clicking through for me? And you might as well look around while you’re there. There are a lot of fun blogs to check out!
Of course, don’t limit yourself to the first page. Because you know my blog is fabulous, and I’m usually on about page 10.
Were you all aware that I made a Facebook page for my blog? Because I did. So if you want to, you could always “like” it. I’m dying to try out the stats feature on the page, but I need 15 more “likes” before I get access to it.
And if you don’t want to like it with your real account (trust me, I get the whole protect-my-true-identity thing), you could always create a blog Facebook account. That you use for all things having to do with your blog. Not that I’ve done that or anything.
Hint: Liking my Facebook blog page may or may not be a valuable entry in an upcoming giveaway, so if you like it now, you’ll have a head start!
And just because it’s amazing to me . . . have any of you tried this perfume?
It smells good.
And I got an almost-full bottle of it for two bucks at the thrift store yesterday.
Sheesh, I don’t care if someone used a fifth of it already at those kind of prices!
Have a lovely (ha!) weekend, Friends!