Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #130





This week we welcome two new BLOGS to our Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop team:  Cathy of A Peek Into My Paradise and Saira of Mom Resource! 

Be sure to stop by their blogs this week and get to know them.
Their social media links can be found in the host list below.


So, how did we do at last week's fabulous party? So much participation!  What we love is that you all visited SO MANY posts! 
click click click
Comment . like . share . pin . follow!


Most Viewed
recipe blogs


Very Popular


Editor's Pick

Follow our Pinterest Board here:
Follow CD's Country Living's board Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop Favorites! on Pinterest.



Love this party?

Tweet It and It Will Grow!

Simple guidelines...

  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below) ♥
  • PLEASE TWEET THIS PARTY !!!!  We want everyone to know about it!
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways or Etsy shops please. You are welcome to share them in the comments, though.
  • You can add your link parties to my Link Party Directory
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there! 
  • Visit our FEATURES and comment, pin or share -- do what you can to bless them!
  • When you are PINNING, please remember to do it from the original post. ♥
  • Follow our Wonderful Wednesday PINTEREST board, if you'd like (below) 
  • If you are new,  let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. ♥
  • And, thanks for joining us!

Cathy of A Peek Into My Paradise   NEW!

Saira from Mom Resource  NEW!

Kristen of Musings Of An Average Mom
Blog / Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest / Twitter

Erica of eLeMeNO-P Kids

Diane of Recipes For Our Daily Bread

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade

CD of CD's Country Living

Carrie of A Mother’s Shadow

Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row

Jaime of The Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide

Tammy of My Life Abundant

Brittany of Mommy On Demand

Kim of 2JustByou

Nicole and Susan of Flavors By Four

Heidi Jo of Simplee Thrifty

Bloggers Helping Bloggers #5

Welcome to the fifth week of Bloggers Helping Bloggers - a link party of sorts where you review the blog of the week and get your blog reviewed in return.


If you have been here before you know how it works. If not everyone who links up spends10 minutes of your time to review the blog of the week and in return gets numerous reviews back by a collection of your peers instead of spending money to get your blog reviewed with only one opinion.



I was trying to think of a fair way to choose which site gets reviewed each week and decided to choose the blog based on a points system:

1. You will be given 5 points for linking up each week.

2. You will be rewarded 15 points for reviewing the blog of the week. (People who don't put in any effort will receive less points)

3. And a bonus 3 points for sharing on each different social media platforms every week. Please tag me so I can reward the points. Tag me @101thingstodo1, and +1 or share and comment on G+, share and comment on  facebook or leave a comment on Pinterest. A tie will be given to the first one in the link up.

So for example if someone links up, reviews the weeks blog and shares on Google+ and Pinterest they will receive - 5 + 15 + 3 + 3 =26 points for the week which will be added to last weeks points. 


Let me know if you have any questions???

And even if you had your blog reviewed don't forget to come back every week and link up: to be featured for social media boosts: where everyone who links up is required to follow you, getting specific blogging questions answered, or get another blog review after you implemented all the suggested changes.

One site will be chosen each week, and the review will be posted on my site Monday's beginning at 7:30 am EST. Because the review is so long I will be switching the link-up to Tuesdays at 7:30 am and the review will be posted Mondays at 7:30 am.

You can read last week`s review:  
the Fundamental Home You might gain some helpful tips that you can apply to your own blog.  



Please review sites on:

- header
- sidebar (appearance and arrangement)
- how easy it is to follow on social media
- content
- how easy it is to read (fonts, etc.)
- how easy it is to navigate, and find what you are looking for.
- overall appearance
- other comments or suggestions

And the winner week is... Abby from
 Winstead Wandering

Please e-mail your review to kristenstevens@live.ca and I will review and organize/summarize them and post them next week. Along with the next blog to review.

And although it's not necessary I would love it if you followed me (I always follow back):


You can follow me on Pinterest, Google+, Facebook or Twitter 

And I would really appreciate it, if you could share this party on your sidebar or link party page. It will be better to get more reviews and opinions on your blogs.

Musings of an Average Mom

Please link up your main blog - and make sure you're email is correct as I will use this to contact the winner. And I will try to get to everyone in a fair and timely manner.

And please don't forget to review the blog of the week (this week is 
Winstead Wandering and bonus points are rewarded for promoting on social media. tag me on twitter @101thingstodo1,


Disclaimer: Musings of an Average Mom will use screenshots of your blog if you are chosen as the blog to be reviewed. And your comments will be copied and posted anonymously in the blog review.

Please subscribe to our Bloggers Helping Bloggers Link Party Reminders. 

* indicates required



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review of the Fundamentel Home

This week's blog review form the Bloggers Helping Blogger's Link Party was The Fundamental Home





Header:

I don't like how the header is longer than the blog. I think they should be the same size and line up evenly.

I like the changing pictures on your home page. I feel like I got to know you a bit in looking at your family.  That was fun.

The header is large and caught my attention immediately...always a good thing.  There may be a little too much green and I think it might look better if you made the middle stripe white.  This could just be my personal preference though.



I don't like that the header runs off the right side of the page. The fonts and colors look a little outdated, but with the niche of the blog, I get that they're earthy and natural looking. I do like the burlap-looking background of the header.

I like the header.  It is attractive, serene, and is a good graphic representation of what the blog is about.

I love the photo slideshow that illustrates every major theme, in the same order as the index pages.  The photos themselves are very attractive, and they relate well to their embedded links.


Sidebar (Arrangement and Appearance)

I love "About Us" is right at the top, followed by the social media buttons. I do wish the sidebar started right under the header and that the menu preview didn't stretch across the page. I don't see a search button, which is a huge deal, and I'm not sure why there are social media buttons AND widgets for all the social media platforms, too. That seems like overkill.

I like how you have the about us right at the top of your sidebar. But I think it looks a little busy with the twitter feed, and I think you should make your popular posts more prominent - larger or darker font and larger images.

I might recommend putting the "Top Posts and Pages" section higher up and more prominent.

 loved the about me section with the picture of your family and also loved the location at the top of the sidebar.  You may want to choose a darker shade of green for your post links to make them easier to read.


How easy it is to follow on social media

It's very easy to follow you on social media.  Your social media buttons are easy to find and you have additional spots to make it easy to connect with you on Twitter, FB and Pinterest.

It's VERY easy to follow on social media, considering the buttons and the widgets.

Content

The most relevant to me was How I Feed My Family Of 5 For Under $100 a Month series.  You have some awesome tips and I enjoyed reading them. 

The posts are LONG. I suggest either teasing a few paragraphs with a "read more" link, or at the very least adding more photos, using more bullet points or lists, something. There are just a lot of words broken up by... nothing. I read the first story, Preparing for a Medical Emergency, and found it to be mostly the story of the hospital visit. There were a few tips at the end (this would be an ideal place for bullets or a numbered list) but they wouldn't apply to a lot of people (most people have cell phones, don't have college-age kids without licenses, etc.

I read the second post, about groceries, and really wished the numbered list was more obvious (it just looked like more rows of text). This would also be an easy place to insert photos because it's just so text heavy.

Great advice on Summer School for Homeschool.  However, it was really long.  I stopped reading about a third of the way down.  Try adding some headings to break up the content to allow for skimming.  Also, try shortening your pieces.  There’s great content in there just lost amid the text.

I am amazingly impressed with you feeding a family of 5 for under $100 a month.  That’s mind blowing.



Being from the city (DC metro area like you!) and am now the dweller of one of the largest cities in the world (and the largest on the continent of Africa) homesteading is a mystery to me.  I appreciated learning a bit about your adventures and look forward to applying a few tips as we head to the States for a Stateside assignment.  

I have spoken in a number of churches in Appalachia and always love it.  It’s so beautiful and peaceful there.  

Next I clicked around on the index pages and dove into the "How I Feed My Family of Five for Under $100 Every Month" series.  Wow!  Honesty.  Personal Responsibility.  Discipline.  Sacrifice.  Conviction.  I will read every word.

How easy it is to read (fonts, etc.)

I think the green font in the sidebar is a little harder to read because it's too light.

The fonts are easy to read, though you may want to break up the posts with more pictures if possible. 

The font could be a size larger. The color is nice, and it's easy to spot hyperlinks. Again, though, the lack of something to break up the long posts makes it difficult to read.


How easy it is to navigate, and find what you are looking for.

Your navigation is great.  I love the categories and subcategories...they are precise and make it very easy to find what you're looking for.

There's no search bar! I LOVE the scroll to top button (going to have to get one of those) and the menu at the top seems to cover everything.

Overall appearance

My very first impression of the blog is extremely favorable.  Why?  It has a clean, uncluttered, orderly appearance.  It has just what you need above the fold:  an attractive header, a statement that tells you what this blog is about, index pages, and nice looking photos.  



Yes, this blog has ads, but I had to "work" to find them.  Clearly this blogger cares more about sharing content than monetizing her blog.


I would suggest using a “Read More” link for your home page.  That way I can see several of your most recent posts quickly

Since your header is such a big part of your home page, I think you might want to add a second color to liven it up a little.  Perhaps if you made the stripe in the middle white or off white, you could have your name in a different color.

Overall, it looks pretty clean but also dated. I suggest updating the header, even with something basic from PicMonkey. There are plenty of scripty fonts that look a little more updated, a little less DIY church bulletin.


Other comments or suggestions

You post a lot which is fantastic.  I don’t know how you post as often as you do, homeschool your kids, and take care of your house.  You are super woman.

Your scroll-to-top button- and the fact that it works- is genius. Add a search box. Overall, you have a lot of great content to offer.

How can you make a blog look homey and tech savvy all at the same time?  I am jealous.  :)

This is a great blog.  Nice job, Amanda!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Free Recipe Cards

I am not by any mean a fabulous cook - I have a few dishes I make really well, and a couple dips and baking recipes that I often get complimented on - so I like to keep my favourite recipes, most of them passed down from my mom close at hand and of course things are always better when they are pretty (and free!)

So here is my collection of free printable recipe cards so you can pick your favourites for your cherished (or recent favourite)  recipes.



These recipe cards from Boxwood Avenue are absolutely gorgeous! And you can print it double sided so the ingredients are on one side and the directions are on the back.



I love the colours of these fun recipe cards from Melissa at Design Eat Repeat 



I also really like these card with the simple baking utensils on them from Upon a Time Designs



Check out these fruity recipe cards designed by Jessica from  Bodhi Luxe



I love the made with love touch on these adorable recipe cards from Michelle at Today's Creative Life


You can print out these Heirloom Recipe Cards designed by Jen at The Social Home



iheart organizing has some colorful recipe cars free for download with some great gift ideas to go with them

 You can print out these bright Coral recipe cards from Family, Home and Health.



I love this bunting flags recipe card from HeartMade Blog



I love all of Lia Griffith`s designs, like this editable printable spring flower recipe card


Another gorgeous and summer inspired design by Lia Griffith is this free watercolor fruit recipe card.



Here are a few simple recipe cards designed by Kelly from Paper Stories, and found on The Sweetest Occasion


Did you have a favourite recipe card printable? Would love to her about it! Please leave a link in the comments.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baby Proofing

When you have a newborn it's not essential to baby proof but I wouldn't recommend putting it off too long. Because it's not long before your baby learns to roll over, then crawl and then next thing you know your baby is trying to stick a fork in the electrical socket, or something similar in nature.

So what do you need for baby proofing ? And what is just over kill?

baby proofing checklist

I am not an overly cautious person, and was a lot more protective with my first child than my second which is very common.

If my first daughter dropped her pacifier or "choochie" as we called it for some reason. I was insistent that it be sanitized. I even bought pacifier wipes just in case for when we were out.

If my son (the second child) dropped his choochie in our house I would just blow off the dirt then pop it back on his mouth. Sanitary I know. And if we are out I just wipe it off with a diaper wipe, that must clean it somewhat right?

Baby Gates:


 One thing I was absolutely insistent about was baby gates. We had baby gates everywhere. We only have five stairs leading to upstairs but I had a gate at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom just in case they tried to climb up the stairs and slipped.

We have a full flight leading downstairs and the gate wasn't allowed to be off for even 10 seconds without me starting to have palpitations.

One thing I found that simplified our lives though were finding baby gates that permanently fixed to the wall and just swung open. So much easier and quicker than taking the gate down and putting it back up 50+ times a day.

swingable baby gate


 Electrical socket plugs


Electrical socket plugs are an essential. Why children are so fascinated by sticking small random objects into sockets is beyond me. You can buy the simple ones that just plug in or the fancier ones that just slide out of the way.


 Cupboard and drawer locks


This is also somewhat of a personal preference depending on what you store in your cupboards. For instance we put double baby locks on the cabinet below the sink where we keep all the cleaning supplies.

I put locks on all the lower cabinets as it got time consuming to be putting everything back a hundred times a day after they decided to empty the entire contents. Although my son figured out you just have to push the lock down to pull the door open when he was only one year old which rendered all the locks useless.

For my daughter I never had to put a lock on the stove but my son loved getting into everything so I put an oven front lock on the stove so he wouldn't open the door when it was hot. It's easier once they learn rules but it's hard during that transition period. And you can also purchase stove knob covers if yours are located on the front of your stove.

Corner Bumpers


 I found these corner bumpers at Zellers, when Zellers was still open and thought they were a life saver! We have a huge coffee table in our living room with fairly sharp corners, and to be honest I run into the corners ten times more often the kids do. So my always bruised shins are very appreciative of those little rubber corners.

My friend thought the corners were a great idea so decided to make his own out of a piece of cardboard and some duct tape needless to say not quite as effective.

Securing Furniture


And make sure you secure larger furniture to the wall, using furniture wall straps lots of baby dressers and shelves come with screws to secure to the wall because let's face it children like to climb EVERYTHING.

And you can also buy straps to secure your flat screen to the wall so it doesn't tip over.  Because tv's no longer weight 300 lbs and take 4 people to move a 28" inch.

When I was young my brother climbed my moms book shelf and broke 90% of her collectibles. Then I climbed my shelves in my closet and broke them, then climbed on the glass covering the desk in my room and shattered it which my father wasn't too pleased about, apparently glass was expensive.


Baby Monitors


Baby Monitors - I had a simple baby monitor with two receivers as I always forgot to charge them so I had an extra. Okay they were both usually dead at the same time. But great in theory...

I had a friend who swore by the video monitors because she didn't rush to the baby every time he rolled over or made a little squawk and fell back asleep.

There also some baby monitors that connect to your iPhone which would be super convenient. But it's all personal preference.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0069JBKHI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0069JBKHI&linkCode=as2&tag=musofanavem0b-20&linkId=JJJWRYJNNP5DIULO


Door Locks


Depending on how your main doors and basement door locks you may need to get door locks as well. Our main locks both have deadbolts which our son hasn't figured out (yet) so we haven't needed them but you might need to if yours locks on the handle.

Also our neighbour has locked the kids in the house twice so we recommended a key pad. We have one and I love it! Your kids can never lock you out of the house, and you can't get locked out of the house if you forget your keys.

When I was 18 and babysitting my three year old cousin she locked herself in the house and I had to climb the second story balcony to get in. Not fun! And added to my many bruises.

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors


And make sure to check your carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms are working. I hear kids and toddlers don't wake up easily so have seen smoke sectors that are louder and have flashing lights.

Also make sure you have a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place - usually in a kitchen cupboard and check the pressure - they usually have a gauge so you can easily tell if it's in the safe (green) zone - if not replace it right away. And make sure you check it at least once a year.. 

Bath time:


 Baths can be slippery so I recommend an anti slip bath mat, and a plastic or blow up cover for the faucet for when kids inevitably hit their head off it.

I also had a plastic blow up bumpers that went around the tub and secured with suction cups which worked great... Until we put a hole in one of them.

You might also want to consider purchasing a bath thermometer if you have trouble telling the temperature of things. I always have scolding hot baths myself so tended to make the kids baths to hot. I had a little duck thermometer which worked great.... Until it broke in the tub one night. And we skipped bath night so I could clean up the broken glass.

If you can adjust your water heater I recommend turning it down to 120 degrees so the kids can't burn themselves.

Toilet locks, personally I never bought toilet locks I kept picturing the image from Baby Mama where she gets locked out of the toilet and pees in the sink. Yup that would probably be me...

Baby Mama locked out of the toilet


My kids stayed out of playing with the toilet for the most part. And through four years I only sacrificed one pair of socks to children throwing things in the toilet.

And to simplify things you can buy a complete home and bathroom safety kit from Dreambaby on Amazon for $40.53 including safety catches, outlet plug covers, cabinet sliding locks, multi-purpose latches, 2 door knob covers, toilet lock, door stopper, bath thermometer,  non-slip bath appliqu├ęs,  mini multi-purpose latch, bath faucet spout cover, glide lock and drawer catchers.


And because it's a lot to remember I made a printable checklist to (hopefully) make it a little easier.... you should be able to just left click the image save it to your computer and then print it. And I also saved it to Drop Box which might be clearer.

printable baby proofing checklist

Was there anything else that you had to baby proof in your home? Please leave a comment so I can update the list. Thanks so much!


* this post does contain some affiliate links - and I would really appreciate it if you purchase anything through them (at no extra cost to you) Thanks so much!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #129

Welcome to our party!
Last week was the BEST PARTY EVER!
618 posts.
I have to say it again so that it really sinks in...618!!!!
We finally broke through the 600 barrier and way beyond!


So, in addition to the most viewed, very popular and editor's pick features this week, we are also featuring number 600 and 618 in celebration of this milestone in our party history!

Most Viewed

Very Popular

Editor's Picks
I absolutely loved this Ice Cream Sundae Shop party from Fynes Designs. It looks so colourful and drool causing... Doesn't anyone else crave ice cream now?

Kaitlin Krull
Kaitlin Krull
`


I also loved this round-up of Backyard Playhouse Ideas - a guest post by Kaitlin Krull on the fabulous blog: The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide.



So let's get this party started!

#bloghop #linkparty


Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row

Kristen of Musings Of An Average Mom   New!

Erica of eLeMeNO-P Kids   New!

Diane of Recipes For Our Daily Bread

Dawn of Spatulas on Parade

CD of CD's Country Living

Carrie of A Mother’s Shadow

Heidi Jo of Simplee Thrifty

Jaime of The Stay At Home Mom Survival Guide

Tammy of My Life Abundant

Brittany of Mommy On Demand

Kim of 2JustByou

Nicole and Susan of Flavors By Four


Love this party?


Simple guidelines...

  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links above) Black heart (cards)
  • PLEASE TWEET THIS PARTY !!!!  We want everyone to know about it!
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways, Etsy shops or blog parties please. 
  • You can add your LINK PARTIES to my Link Party Directory here 
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there! 
  • Visit our FEATURES and comment, pin or share -- do what you can to bless them!
  • When you are PINNING, please remember to do it from the original post.
  • Follow our Wonderful Wednesday PINTEREST board, if you'd like (below) 
  • If you are new,  let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back.
  • And, thanks for joining us!



And please leave your link# in the comments so I can return the comment love.
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