Category Archives: Resources

Why Even New Bloggers Should Never Work For Free

As a professional blogger, social media influencer and digital marketing strategist for almost 10 years, there is something that really gets under my skin.  I rarely see it myself, because I nipped it in the bud many years ago. However, blogging forums are peppered with posts from new bloggers sharing how they received an email from a PR rep asking them to promote a service or app without any mention of compensation. Even over the internet, I can see the quivering lip of the new blogger, as they meekly ask, if this is okay.  Some will try to justify it by saying  they really have no right to ask for compensation, because their blog is brand new.

It isn’t just bloggers, who are routinely asked to “donate” their services. Photographers, Magicians, Vocalists, Graphic Artists and DJ’s  are often asked by friends to provide their services for free. These well meaning friends will even go so far as to tell them it will be great experience, they will make new contacts and build their portfolio. The way they spin it, they should be so grateful to provide their services for nothing. When people get something for free, they don’t put much value in it. By accepting the gig, they are putting a nail in the coffin of their career. The bottom line is, if they want to be treated like a professional, they need to start acting like one!

Even the newest blogger needs to quit acting like their work has no value, and their time is not precious.  This is easier said than done because many newbies have a hard time standing their ground. They may even try to justify taking the job for free, telling themselves it is a portfolio builder.

I will-not work for free

I tell new bloggers they are going to need a strong backbone. Next , they need to respond to the email  with confidence.  Their response should let the PR rep know that they think the app or service sounds like it would be a great fit for their blog audience and social media followers.  Further more, they need to explain they are skilled at creating buzz worthy content that will drive targeted traffic to the brand’s website and social media accounts. Lastly, they need to ask what the compensation is for promoting this content on their blog and social media channels,  I guarantee Gloria from  XYZ Media is getting paid to find the bloggers and social media influencers to promote this, so why shouldn’t they?

I also prep them about how to respond if they receive a reply from Gloria stating the client has a very small budget and while they are not able to provide compensation for this campaign, they have many other clients and may contact them in the future for paid promotions.

Now, they say that for a reason, they want the new blogger to think, if they throw this away, they will never hear from this agency with any other opportunities.  It usually works like a charm, and the rep gets free promotion that they then charge their client for. To make it worse, the blogger goes on the agency’s  “Will Blog For Free” List.  Their name will never make it to big budget clients, because by accepting the free gig, it showed the rep  they are not a professional blogger.

The bottom line is, if  you  want to be taken seriously, you need to respond confidently, that you can definitely create buzz worthy content to promote the product or service, but you don’t work for free. Go even further, turn the tables and ask them if they work for free? Don’t be afraid, let them know, you are well aware they are not a volunteer at XYZ Media.

I’m not saying you should never volunteer for worthwhile things, but make sure you are not being taken advantage of. The perception some have of bloggers, is that what we do is so easy, or of such little value, we should be glad to have some content to post.  They want us to think, they are really doing us a favor.

It is the exact opposite, bloggers are powerful influencers brands can plug-in with to have their product or service promoted to the blog’s audience which likely is their target market. Bloggers have the  power to create and amplify stories, experiences, services, images and ideas through their posts as well as ingniting a social media fire storm of tweets, pins, posts, likes and shares on every major social media channel.

Start valuing your work! The next time you get an email from any rep or agency trying to make you feel special because they picked you to promote their client for free, just ask what the blogger compensation is.  Go on, you can do it.  Be proud of your work.  When you feel the butterflies, just ask yourself if the client they are pitching you about is paying them for their services.  You know the answer is yes, so why would you let them take advantage of you?

Have you ever dealt with someone asking you to do your craft for free like they were doing you a favor?  How did you respond?  Please share your stories, I would love to hear them.

 

 

 

 


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Filed under Blogging, Education, Life, Main Page Post, Mommy Ramblings, Resources, Tech

Budgeting For A Family Is Hard With Debt

Starting a family and raising kids is expensive. Being part of a family, and properly providing for everyone, isn’t something that generally leaves you with a lot of money to spare. Disposable incomes have largely dried up in the last thirty years. If you want to stay out of debt, you’ve got to be frugal.

Unfortunately, many people starting out don’t realize the costs involved in having a family. They continue to spend money the way they did before having children and soon fall into debt.

If you’ve already got debt hanging over your head, getting what you want requires going deeper into debt. Many understand this in an esoteric way, but it doesn’t hit home immediately. It is not hard to understand, how they  soon find themselves tens of thousands of dollars “in the red”, as the saying goes.

Living Beneath Your Means

The key to being debt free as a family is to live beneath your means. You want to prepare meals at home using ingredients that were purchased as cost-effectively as possible. You want to avoid making big purchases that will put you deeper into debt, and cut unnecessary spending.

If you live beneath your means long enough, you’ll be able to buy that new car or new appliances. On the contrary,  if you don’t live beneath your means, you will be lucky if you can finance an older car.

Many who have neglected living under their means, have found themselves in steep debt. If you want to get out, you’re going to have to exercise some serious discipline. You can start small. Cut out the fast food, cut out the expensive coffees and cut expenses related to entertainment.

Use the internet. Get a library card. Pursue cost-saving activities that don’t require a lot of money. If your family goes to Starbucks twice a week and gets a five-dollar coffee for everybody, a four-person household could be spending $40 a week on coffee alone, that is $160 a month. Cut that out, find a better way. Make the coffee at home.

Additional Areas Of Savings

Next, look at your other expenses. One drastic, but effective, step you might take, could be to sell the mortgage on your home. This may not be ideal, but a four-person household can comfortably live in a two-bedroom apartment. Additionally, you can get about the same floor space in a “tiny home”.

If you sell your mortgage and put the money into a tiny home, then all you’re paying annually are property taxes—which will likely be much diminished from what they were. You can do this for a few years to get out of credit card and loan debt, then upgrade to a larger house once the big debts are paid off.

You could also visit sites like www.debtacademy.com to find debt solutions so you and your family can live a debt-free life. Consulting professionals can help you identify areas of spending that can be cut from the budget, resulting in a quicker way out of debt.

Overcoming The Worst-Case Scenario

Still, there will always be situations where no amount of cost-effective living can overcome debt. In these scenarios, you may want to seek outside help through crowdfunding campaigns on Plumfund for example.

Between cutting unnecessary costs, seeking professional assistance, and getting funding through the crowdfunding when those methods don’t work, you can get out of debt; it just may take time.

This is a sponsored guest post that does not necessarily represent the ideals or views of Mommy Ramblings.

 


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My Blogging FAQ Answered For You

When someone finds out I work from home as a blogger, they are usually very intrigued. Their curiosity leads them to ask me several questions. After answering the same kind of questions, literally, hundreds of times, and my good friends and colleagues constantly telling me to make a post about it, I am  finally doing it!

This post will cover many of the questions I have been asked over the nearly ten years I have been blogging. If you are looking to start a blog or just want to learn more, you are in the right place. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get cozy while I give you answers to my most frequently asked blogger questions. If you still have questions after reading this, leave them in the comments and I will answer them for you.

Why Did I Start My Blog?

Believe it or not, earning income from my blog was the furthest thing from my mind when I started it almost 10 years ago. At that time, I did not even believe people could make money from blogging. I started my blog to share my photos (I am a hobby photographer) and tales of our family (I am a wife and mother of 5) with others. I also wanted to create a sort of online scrapbook/journal of our lives for us all to be able to look back on.

How Did I Start Working With Companies?

A little less than a year into blogging, I started connecting with companies and doing product reviews. I was bitten pretty bad by that bug, and it became a conquest for me to see what kind of products I could get to review. Adding giveaways really brought me traffic. I have to laugh, in the beginning I was so lost. I had some amazing giveaways too and because I was so new, the entries were low, so I started to get some loyal fans who loved the high chances of winning.

Shortly after I started with reviews and giveaways, things started to take off. My pageviews shot through the roof over the course of a few weeks. I was getting many high-end products that more established bloggers were not getting, and the reason was, because I used my advertising and marketing background to my advantage. I have many years of experience dealing with companies and so I knew how to approach them. I did not follow any of the other bloggers, I decided to use what I learned in the corporate world and approach things as a confident, professional entrepreneur. My confidence and digital marketing experience helped me to connect with companies and led to great partnerships.

What Sets My Blog Apart From Others?

I have always loved writing, and that along with my insatiable love of photography was another thing that set my blog apart. I saw so many bloggers putting up generic posts with stock photographs. It turned me off, and it turned companies off. When a company wants a top promote a product through a blog review, they want to see authenticity.

Other bloggers were so obsessed with numbers they were churning out content at record speed and their blogs lacked any personal flair.  From their posts it was evident, they did not even open the box or try the products. They copied and pasted most of the content in their post right from the company website. Around this time, media contacts and PR agencies were getting wise, and knew that engagement was more important than exaggerated stats.

Does A Large Number of Followers Guarantee Your Success?

Many bloggers felt blogging was a numbers game and the blogger with the most followers on social media wins. They took it so far as to use services like Fiverr to buy tens of thousands of bogus followers for their social media accounts. The problem was, since they were fake followers, they did not engage with the content. What good is that to a company? PR agencies and media contacts are wise to that now and care more about engagement. Smaller bloggers with good engagement are a better choice than a blog with inflated numbers of fake fans.

What Kind of Feedback Did Companies Give You?

Companies told me they appreciated the authenticity of my blog content.  There was no doubt we were using the products, because my detailed photographs and original content clearly showed that.

I had converted part of my third floor to a photo studio shortly after my fifth child was born. I upgraded cameras, bought some Alien Bees lights, got a ton of props and backdrops and was in my glory. When I started blogging my studio came in very handy. Companies loved my photos, and I know it led to me landing products that some would have said, were out of a new bloggers league.

I was getting Stokke Tripp Trapp high chairs 2 at a time plus holding giveaways for the same products. I received all kinds of designer clothing, jewelry, lighting fixtures for my house that cost thousands of dollars, area rugs, appliances large and small, furniture and so much more.

How Did You Start Working With Blogger Networks?

From that point, I began to really get noticed and companies started coming to me. I joined a few blog networks, became an Amazon affiliate and was having a great time.

I started receiving emails from a major blogger network that I signed up with.  They had different campaigns you could apply for. Up to that point, I had been dealing direct with companies. I was also a staff writer for a children’s trade publication that introduced me to many established and up and coming companies. This blog network kept asking me to go to a brief online meeting so they could show me how their site worked. I literally dragged my heels on attending for about six months. I finally went, and literally a week later they asked me to write a post for a major television network.

I remember seeing the price they were going to pay me to string together some words and was floored. That was the first time I was paid for creating content on my own blog without reviewing anything or holding giveaways. They just wanted me to write about the channel.

After that post, I was getting picked frequently by that network, and I had joined others. I started working with several blogger networks and was being chosen for all types of campaigns. Some were more creative like creating recipes, throwing parties or coming up with crafts and tutorials using the products they were promoting.

Did That Lead To Other Opportunities for You?

I was asked by that first blogger network to teach a time management course for bloggers. I was paid very well to create my curriculum and produce a video course.

After my course was published to their blogger university, they selected me to be on their creative council. I was one of four bloggers paid to brainstorm and come up with marketing campaigns for companies like Nabisco,  Pepperidge Farms, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and more.  It was fast paced, with a quick turnaround time and I thrived because, I work best under pressure. I was a natural because my marketing and advertising background gave me the insight needed to outline the best ways to meet the company’s goals.

Along the way, I was asked to write as a staff writer for other sites and it provided a significant stream of income. I believe in multiple streams of income, and it helped to get my name out there, and looked good on my resume.

What Kind of Advantage Did Your Experience Give You?

My years in social media marketing and advertising  helped me to be hired as a consultant for a very large company where I work to evaluate the effectiveness of social media advertising. I do that a few hours a day and I am a staff writer for a major retail coupon site. I not only write three blog posts a week for them, I write website copy for them and post about great deals. I like the variety, and I have a great deal of freedom with my writing on their site, allowing met to put my creative spin on things.

What Do I Have Planned For Mommy Ramblings?

I am currently working on some huge projects for my blog which I will be revealing very soon. They are things that have not been done before, and I am majorly excited to be working on them with some amazing companies. I consider myself very blessed by the opportunities I have been given. I do work very hard, and if you are looking to become a blogger, you will need to work hard.

Is Blogging an Easy Way To Make Money?

If the only reason you want to start a blog, is to make money, it will probably be a drudgery for you. I would even go so far, as to advise you to look into something else. I feel that way because I have seen countless others start a blog because they think it is an easy way to make money. Many of them do not even like to write. When they find out the amount of work and time they need to put in, they soon become frustrated. It is not long after, they throw in the towel.

It is easy to see the ones who are not in it for the long haul. Go to any blogging group of new bloggers, and you will see post after post of whining want-to-be bloggers complaining that they have been blogging a whole month and are not making any money. I have to laugh, when I read posts like that. The next thing they say is that they are giving it 3 more months before they give up. I want to tell them to just save themselves the headache, and give up now.

How Do People Set Themselves Up To Fail?

Once you say you are going to try anything for a set period of time, you already have one foot out the door. You have to have, a failure is not an option attitude if you want to succeed at anything.

Are There Other Ways To Work From Home Other Than Blogging?

It is said, that making a living doing something you love is priceless.  I totally believe that, there are many ways to make money with your passion beyond blogging. The internet has opened a lot of doors that we never would have dreamed of , and blogging is not the only way to work from home.

Many people are doing well on YouTube creating video content about  everything you can imagine. You will find videos showing people how to organize their homes, sharing what they bought at the store in a shopping haul, demonstrating home repairs or craft projects and so much more. If you have a a passion for something, you can bet others do to and that is how you find your audience.

I Still Want To Start A Blog. How Do I Get Started?

If you still want to start a blog, the next step is to read my post-How To Start A Blog In Fifteen Minutes. 

Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links, if you purchase through these links, I may earn a commission. All of the links in this post are products or services that I recommend because I truly believe they are the best and would recommend them whether or not I earn a small commission from them. 

 

 


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Tips For Planning A Community Charity Event

Are you planning to raise money for your community? Although some online platforms such as Plumfund.com allow you to raise money online, some people still prefer the traditional way of fundraising.

If you are one of those people, here are some tips that will come in handy when planning a charity event:

Choose Your Target Audience

Once you decide who your target audience is, the event type, venue, and theme options will fall into place. For instance, if you want money to help the homeless in your neighborhood, whom will you target? Is it a general event to which you will invite everyone or do you plan to invite a specific group of people only?

Set Your Goals

Once you define a specific project idea and decide to go through with it, you will need to set some clear goals. Make sure your goals are SMART –  specific, attainable, measurable, timely, and realistic. How much money are you willing to spend in organizing this event?

Choose The Event Type

When you know the type of people you want to invite, come up with an event that will resonate with your target audience. Start by doing some research to find out the events that have been successful in your community. Once you find some inspiration from previous events, you should be motivated to go a step further.

Find Collaborators

Find team members who will take over tasks before getting in touch with external vendors. You need to get in touch with caterers, wholesale bulk candy suppliers, and drink suppliers. Make sure you keep in touch with all these people to ensure they are playing their part.

Create A Budget

Once you have a list of external vendors and assign tasks to teammates, start coming up with a budget. Include the expenses needed to hold the event and consider your fundraising goal. When writing down the final number, leave some room for unforeseen costs.

Draw Up A Marketing Plan

If you already have a budget for the event, it is time to publicize the event so your target audience knows about it. Come up with some enticing ways to convince them to attend the charity event. You can use direct emails, social media, and flyers to let people know about it. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.

Create A Timeline

The deadline for making plans falls on the day of the charity event. Before that day arrives, keep yourself occupied with plans to make the event succeed. Coming up with a timeline will help you to keep things simple.

Follow Up

When the event is over, you need to get some feedback from the attendees. You can send an online survey to people who attended, asking about their thoughts on the event. Do not forget to thank everyone who helped you make the event a success. This is very important, especially if you want to maintain great relationships with your supporters and vendors. Thank the vendors even if you did not like their work; just make sure you find other vendors for your next event.

Organizing a charity event can be a challenging feat that requires a lot of effort and time. If you do not have enough time to plan it yourself, consider using an event planning software. When you do this, make sure you check in on the progress occasionally. Moreover, do not shy away from asking your friends and family for help.

This is a sponsored guest post, it does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings. 

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How To Start A Blog In 15 Minutes

So, you want to start a blog, this step-by-step guide will get you started with your domain name, blog server and website in about 15 minutes.

What Kind of Blog?

Think about what kind of blog you want to start. Maybe you already know, and that is good. If not, the first thing to consider is, the type of blog you want to start. Do you want to have a niche blog that will limit you to one topic or do you want a more general blog that gives you the freedom to post about different topics?

There are pros and cons to both.  A niche blog on a subject you are knowledgeable about can help build your credibility as an expert. Some say they rank better and are easier to make money with than a broad subject blog. However, others will say that a broad subject blog allows you to appeal to a larger audience and get more new readers from search engines thanks to the wide range of topics.

In the end, I believe if you are sharing great content, your followers will come whether you have a niche or broad topic blog, so blog about what you like to write about.  It is always easier to write about what you know and are passionate about. 

Own Your Domain 

Next,  you need to think of a name for your blog and register your domain URL. You might think you would rather skip buying your own URL and start blogging on a free site like Blogger or WordPress.com. If I can offer my first piece of advice,  it would be to start with your own domain name on self hosted site. I speak from experience as someone who started on wordpress.com. Within 6 months of my blog taking off,  I switched to a self hosted WordPress.org blog for a number of reasons.

First, it allowed me to add sidebar ads and affiliate links to monetize my blog as well as being able to use plugins which helped me to customize my blog easily. When you switch platforms, you have to transfer all your content from one platform to another. Many bloggers are not comfortable moving their content over, and so they have to hire someone to do the transfer for them.

Luckily, I am tech savvy and performed the transfer myself or I would have had to shell out a few hundred dollars to have my site transferred. Beyond that, when you do switch, you have to build up your stats again. All of that could have been avoided had I just started on a self-hosted WordPress.org site in the first place.

Register Your Domain 

After you chose your domain name, you have to register it. The first step is to make sure your domain name is available. Go to BlueHost and click GET STARTED.

You will then be taken to a page that shows you the plans. I know you will be thrilled to see that it is not going to cost you an arm and a leg to get started when you use BlueHost. They have some amazing deals on their already low-cost hosting.

The great thing is one domain name is included with any hosting package you pick. The thing I love about BlueHost is that for their Plus, Prime or Pro hosting plans you  can host an unlimited number of websites with them for the same price.

That means you pay the same low price a month to host 10 sites as you would 1 site. If you want to branch out in the future and add more sites, you will not have to pay any extra. Right now, the Prime plan is the same as the Plus and so, it is a no brainer to go with the Prime. 

Choose your plan and it will take you to the next screen where you can check to see if your domain is available. Just type the name in the new domain box and click on next. If your name is available, you are golden. If it is not, they will give you some alternatives or you can think of something else.

Once you have a name that is available you can advance to the next page where you will fill in your information.

 

There was a nice surprise on this page. As I was scrolling down, a pop up appeared with an offer to save even more. It said I could get 3 years for the price of 2. The new price was $4.95 a month, and as you can see, it is quite a savings.

The other great thing is with the Prime membership, many extras other companies charge you for things like domain privacy protection, site backup pro  and domain registration are FREE. You can add SiteLock security for just $1.99 a month, and I would recommend it. Okay, you are all set, just hit submit and we can move on to the fun part.

Install WordPress

Once you have checked out, you will get an email from BlueHost that will have your login information. Once you have that, you are ready to log on to your BlueHost CPanel.

The second icon on the first row under the heading WEBSITE is what you will click to install WordPress.org.

You will be advanced to another screen where you will click the down arrow to select your website and it will show up as the domain for installation. Click NEXT.

On the next page, you will fill out your site name which would be the name of your blog, your admin name that you will log on to WordPress with and your WordPress Password as well as, your admin email. Acknowledge the terms of service and click NEXT.

While WordPress is installing, you will see a bunch of themes on the page. Don’t worry about those and just wait until the installation is complete. I will go over themes once you log into your WordPress site. There are many free themes available as well as some like Genesis that many bloggers use because it is so easy to work with.

When the installation is complete, you will get an email with everything you need to log on to your new WordPress site. 

As you will see in your email, the address for your login will be http://www.YourDomainName.com/wp-admin. When you enter that address, you see the log in screen below.

Choose A Theme

Log in and look at the sidebar, you will see a paint brush icon and the word APPEARANCE. Click it and you will see THEMES. When you click that, you can have fun browsing themes for your blog. There are so many to choose from . There are many free themes you can choose from or you can go with the very popular Genesis Framework.

Genesis is very flexible and makes it easy to customize your blog easily whether you are a novice or advanced developer. The Genesis theme provides a secure, search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go, for a one time purchase price of $59.95. Once you purchase this theme you can use it on as many sites as you have, at any time. That is a super value!

You can then get a return customer discount on a Child Theme that works with your Genesis Framework. There are Child Themes for Lifestyle Blogs, Food Blogs, Business Blogs, Real Estate Blogs and more.

If you are looking for a low cost logo or custom blog theme etc, check out Fiverr. You can find some great graphic artists on there as well as virtual assistants or any other services you need to help you build a great income producing blog.

When you start making that income and need some user-friendly accounting software to help you manage payments, send invoices, manage projects, track time and so much more, try the free trial of FreshBooks. They are helping the self employed and small business owners, including bloggers to easily manage and run their business.

See, that was easy wasn’t it. We will cover more about customizing your blog and the best plugins to install but the hardest part is done! Give yourself a pat on the back, I am really proud of you!

 

Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links, if you purchase through these links, I may earn a commission. All of the links in this post are products or services that I recommend because I truly believe they are the best and would recommend them whether or not I earn a small commission from them. 

 


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Easy Plum-The Amazing Store You Need To Know About

There are so many stores to choose from when shopping for appliances, furniture, electronics, computers, tools, toys and jewelry. The problem is, when you are looking to purchase big-ticket items, you might need credit. If you have just graduated, gone through a divorce, declared bankruptcy, started a new job or moved to a new apartment, your credit may not be established or your credit rating may be held against you. If this is you, maybe you feel like you are in a rock in hard place.

I have good news, Easy Plum is a store that can offer you easy and fast credit approval. They have a great selection of brand name products you know and trust. Easy Plum makes it easy to shop for the latest products with financing option to make them affordable for you and your family. Now, you can get the things you need, with payment terms you can handle. They also have fast, hassle free shipping, so what are you waiting for? Start shopping now at Easy Plum.

 Is this the first time you have heard of Easy Plum? I would love to know.

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Simple Steps To Make Buying A Car Easier

This is a sponsored post for Cars.com. As always, my words and opinions are 100% my own.

When you are shopping for a new or used car, the process can be daunting. Everywhere you look you will find different information. All of it can leave your head spinning and wondering what to believe. I understand the frustration, so I want to help by giving you some simple steps to follow to find the right car for you.

First things first, do your research. If there is a car you want, check out and learn everything about it. One resource that I like is Cars.com, it has a wealth of information that will let you do your due diligence and make an informed purchase. They even have a Video & Reviews feature where you can see extensive reviews for all different makes and models of vehicles.

Don’t worry that you will be seeing some bogus reviews, they shoot straight and you will see the good with the bad. They are not going to hide bad reviews, performance records or anything else. This is one of the reason, you should check their site out. So dive in and do your research, the more information you have, the better decision you will make and not have buyer’s remorse. What you will have, is the best car for you at the best price. That will make you and your wallet feel great!

Don’t get stuck going to just one dealer. I know there are mega dealers that have huge inventories of many makes and models of vehicles, but that does not mean their prices are the best. Try checking out other dealers for the kind of car you want, this will help you get a baseline price. With that in mind you can easily get the best price, because you know what you should be paying.

If you are shopping for a used car, checking out different dealers is a must. One of the most important things to take into consideration is the mileage. The higher the miles, the more wear and tear the car has, and that affects the price. Don’t try to guess the value of a used car based on the mileage, because that is not reliable. Visit a few different dealerships to price similar used cars, this will arm you with the knowledge you need to show the salesperson you are informed and ultimately get you the best price.

Don’t rush, I know you may be chomping at the bit to get your car, but take your time and do your research. There are so many types of cars available with different features that making a rush decision will probably leave you with regret. When you finally make your decision, it is one you should feel right about. A car is not something you are going to buy every day, so make sure it is what you really want and need.

Enjoy the journey and follow these simple steps to find the right car for you at the best price. A little research goes a long way, especially when you are shopping for a car. When you break it down into steps the process does not seem so stressful or complicated. Knowledge really is power,  the power to put you in the driver’s seat when negotiating a deal and driving your car off the lot.


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The Easy Way To Create Stunning Graphics For Your Blog or Event #Giveaway

Are you looking for an easy way to create stunning graphics that will help make your blog posts pop? If so, let me tell you about some great graphic design software I discovered that makes it amazingly easy to edit photos, create graphics, logs, event invitations, collages, banners for your social media channels, hero images and more.

It is called FotoJet and it is free to use. To make things really easy, their site puts a massive amount of templates and resources at your fingertips. Tired of trying to navigate graphic design software that is so complicated all you get is frustrated? Then you will love FotoJet, because with just a few clicks you can get professional results even if you have no experience. That is because everything is user-friendly and effortless. You can try it for free for yourself right now. There is no registration or downloading required.

I was checking out the site recently and was playing around with some of their templates. I made these Save The Date examples to show you how easy it is to start with one of their designs and change it up to fit your style or the style of a client.

Both of those designs above were made using one of FotoJet’s templates. I just switched out backgrounds, fonts, colors, graphics etc. It was a lot of fun and I could easily undo anything I did not like.

Here are some graphics I made recently made to go with some of my blog articles.

Both of the above images started with a free stock image and I added overlays, frames, texts and other effects to dress them up.

Best of all, the free version gives you many options to create the graphics, flyers, collages, headers and more you need. You will be amazed at just how quickly you can create beautiful Hero Images that will make your posts pop and get shared and pinned all over social media. That means your blog traffic will increase and isn’t that what we are all looking for?

Add text and overlays to your photos or stock images, make graphics for your YouTube videos, create channel art and so much more for free with FotoJet. Check out their tutorials and resources to get your creativity flowing.  If you want to do even more, they do have a membership that is less than $3 a month when paid annually. Or pay just $4.99 a month.

We have great news because FotoJet is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. One lucky blog reader will win a One Year Premium FotoJet Membership! Thank you FotoJet for my complimentary premium membership and for sponsoring this amazing giveaway on Mommy Ramblings. Open to US residents.

FotoJet Premium One Year Membership Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good Luck!!!

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8 of My Favorite Bird Feeders

I love watching the birds at my feeders during the day, at night we have the pleasure of seeing southern flying squirrels, which is really cool! I have used a lot of bird feeders over the years. I want to share some of my favorites that have stood the test of time and can be found all around my yard.

Watching the birds brings me a lot of joy and provides me with thousands of photo opportunities which is something this hobby photographer loves. These are my 8 favorite bird feeders:

The No/No Red Ball Feeder by Perky Pet

This fun-shaped feeder comes in red and green. I use the red but red and green would be perfect for Christmas since they look like ornaments. They are low maintenance and supposed to be squirrel and small animal proof. They are better, but not foolproof. I have some pretty smart squirrels and frankly, as long as they do not break the feeders, I don’t mind them coming in for a snack. Even if they do manage the tough task of removing the top,  this feeder has not broken. That is a huge plus as plastic feeders don’t stand a chance!

It is easy to fill and holds 6 cups of black oiled sunflowers very well. I have a few of these and they are out all year-long in the frigid, snowy winters of Upstate New York and hold up well. The birds really like them and they are one of my most flocked to feeders in my yard. I just noticed Amazon has the green feeder on a super sale now  for only $5.98. I am picking up a few more because I like color and I can always find more places to use them on my property. I think they would make a nice gift for teachers at the end of the school year. I guess I should get a few more.

 

Ladybug Mesh No/No Feeder by Perky Pet

This feeder is one I bought when shopping with my young sons in our local garden center. It adds a whimsical touch to our yard. It does not hold as much as the ball feeders and it is a little harder to fill, but not terrible. The birds really like this feeder and I think it might be the contrasting colors that make it stand out. The little legs add a perching area for the birds coming in for a snack.

No/No Bronze Tray Bird Feeder by Perky Pet

This is a feeder with a huge capacity of 2.5 lbs. I like this feeder because of its large capacity, if I have to be away for a day or two, I know the birds can count on this feeder. It can feed many birds at once which is great, because we have many birds that dine at our house.

Perky Pet Metal Tube Feeders

I love these metal feeders almost as much as the birds do. I like the colors, they remind of colorful houses in the Caribbean. I hang them off my porch which may occur for my only issue. The squirrels can, with a lot of work, pop out the plastic seed guard and perch. They are very tough and I have been able to pop them right back, but I think if they were not in such an easy area for the squirrels to reach them, it would not be an issue.

They are so easy to fill,  the red and blue hold a nice amount of seed. I just love the look of the bright colors among my home and gardens. Red is the largest, then blue and yellow is the smallest.

 

Wildbird Care Vertical Cedar Bird Feeder

I like this feeder because the seed guards and perches are screwed in Even though we have squirrels dropping or flying by for a treat, they cannot remove them and happily snack from the tray on the bottom. It is very attractive and is a beautiful addition to our yard. This is another feeder I will be buying a few more of.

Droll Yankees New Generation Finch Flocker

Along with black oiled sunflower seeds, I like to put out Nyjer or thistle seed and since they are so tiny, they need a special feeder. I have used sock feeders, but they are hard to refill and  can get moldy. I wanted something better. I found the Droll Yankees New Generation 8″ Finch Flocker  fit my needs.

This feeder is very well made and allows for several of our colorful finches to eat at the same time. An internal seed baffle  directs seed to an additional seed port located at the lowest level of seed to ensure that the feeder empties completely without allowing seed build-up. It is easy to fill and holds 1/2 lb. of seed. It has a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty against squirrel damage.

Kaytee Mesh Feeder

This feeder is perfect for filling with dried mealworms that our Bluebirds love!

Stokes Select Double Suet Bird Feeder with Metal Roof

If one is good, two is better, right? My birds seem to think so! The Stokes Select Double Suet Bird Feeder has a metal roof and room for two suet cakes. It looks nice and gets a lot of traffic. Stokes also makes a larger cylinder style that I may give a try. If you feed suet, check these out!

I will not get into hummingbird or oriole feeders now, I will let you know about those in an upcoming post. Let me know what your favorite bird feeders are.

 


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When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette #JesusGreenEyedBrunette #Giveaway #FlyBy

I know, When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette may sound like a weird title for a book but what a book it is! Max Davis grew up with a church that turned him away from God. Everything was not allowed, no Christmas Trees, no music in church, no TV etc. It turned him off so much that when he met the woman who would later become his wife in high school, he told her flat-out he would never go to church with her. Ah but he did, what he found was something completely different, there were instruments, there was singing and it was about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It changed his life.

Since that time he has come to understand that Jesus is very much alive today and still does incredible things, sometimes supernatural things, through us! This book is hard to put down. It is especially helpful for those who are hurting and weary from worn-out religion and aire longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. This book will make you laugh, cry and come face to face with Jesus through the heartwarming and miraculous stories of Jesus appearing in ordinary people. This reaffirms that Jesus is fully present in us and our everyday circumstances, especially in difficult times.

I have a lot on my plate right now as I am sure most of you do. Yet, when I received this book, I could hardly put it down and could not wait to pick it up again. The stories spoke to me, they even mirrored some things I was going through or struggling with. They also were a welcome reminder that Jesus is very much alive and the Holy Spirit lives in us from him. In a world that can be bitter and hard to swallow at times it is nice to know that at the most opportune time we can be touched by Jesus through anyone, even a stranger in the coffee aisle at the supermarket. It also reminds us of the way we are blessed with the presence of Jesus in us and what a gift that is!

Would you like a chance to win a copy of this inspirational and uplifting book? Just enter the giveaway below.

Giveaway:

When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette Book Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” Open to US Residents.

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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