#ETHANProject Blogger Kit Review

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Disclosure: I received a copy of the #ETHANProject Blogger Kit for free in exchange for my honest review. As always, this opinion is 100 percent mine. Ethan Project Logo

I’m very excited to bring to you a great opportunity for other bloggers and for my non-blogging readers as well!

I am sure you are all probably wondering what the ETHANProject is. You may think that ETHAN is a name, but it’s actually an acronym that stands for Enjoy the Here and Now. And the ETHANProject is designed to help you do just that. It’s a ten week challenge to inspire you to enjoy the here and now with your kids.

I don’t know about you, but for me at least, the summer months hold a lot of intense pressure to do allllll the things. Especially in Wisconsin where you spend months cooped up because of the snow and cold weather. You want to make it a memorable summer, but you don’t want to go insane either.

Well, two lovely bloggers, Sarah and Sammi, who blog together at Grounded & Surrounded, have put together a kit to help blogger moms Enjoy the Here and Now this summer and still create great content for their blog. Sarah and Sammi are friends in real life and they blog about about all things HEALTHY! Heart, Home, & Habits. You can definitely see in this kit their hearts and I think the idea of pre-planning now so that you can have a more enjoyable summer is a good habit to set up. If you can streamline your blogging that’s more time you have to spend with your kids.

This kit is awesome. First of all, everything, and I mean everything, is laid out there for you. Writing prompts, ideas on how to use the writing prompts, social media strategy, freebies for your readers, and anything else you could need. I’m especially excited for the social media strategy, it’s laid out with tons of ideas for every single week, and that’s an area I could definitely use some growth in. I am great at managing my personal page, but I’m often at a loss for ideas when it comes to my blogging page. And the social media strategy that’s including isn’t just a one size fits all approach for all the platforms – they offer ideas specifically tailored to individual platforms. Which I really, really appreciate. Twitter is very different from Facebook in a lot of ways, for example, and social media strategy needs to take that into account. It’s also not just about the kit when you buy it, but there is a community as well – and that community and support surrounding it will make it all the more worth it. And just look at this schedule, doesn’t it sound like fun? Ethan Project Schedule

If you are a blogger mom, you should definitely consider getting this kit. At just $9.95 you are getting a steal – and if you refer 5 of your friends before May 15th, you can get it for just $4.95. You can find details on that special here. If getting a kit interests you, you can get one for yourself here. They also have a free sample on that page that you can download if you need to see some more for yourself.

Loyal readers, I really hope you share in my excitement. I’ll be doing a more specific intro post in a few weeks, but I want you to know that each and I invite every one of you to participate along with me. I’ll be inviting you to share your stories and your pictures (and I may even feature them on the blog!) There is a Facebook group you can join here if you’re interested. You can read more about the challenge as a reader mom here.

As you can see, I’m so excited about this and I hope you are too! Definitely check it out and stay tuned!

To the Mom Who Feels Like She’s Failed

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A woman with a dropped ice cream cone

To the mom who feels like she’s failed,

I don’t know what it was this time. Maybe it was the fact that your toddler refused the dinner you made. Or you can’t get your baby to stop crying. Or your teenager made a big mistake. Or your kid just will. not. listen. Or maybe it’s that the housework always seems overwhelming and never-ending.

Or maybe it’s all of the above. Or something entirely different. Whatever it is, I know the feeling.

The feeling that you are a failure. That it’s all your fault. That if you had just done x, y, and z, things would be different. That little voice that condemns and says you’re to blame.

But I’m here to tell you that you are not a failure. You are a good mom. I know you are trying your hardest. I know you are doing your best. You are a beautiful, loved child of God. And He made you an amazing person.

You know what I want you to do? I want you to go look at your child. Because they still love you. No matter what you’ve done. You are their mama and they will always love you. Always.

So hold your head up, mama. You are doing better than you think. And tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is a new chance. Let go of the self-doubt and the self-criticism and the insecurity and figure out away to thrive.

Because what I’ve learned from my experience is that I can either wallow in the feelings of failure or I can say, that thing – whatever the failure that I feel happened – does not define me. My whole existence of parenting is not summed up in whatever happened. I am not a failure.

And neither are you.

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P.S. This awesome photo is from Gratisography

Linked up with Mama Reads Monday

Picture-Palooza! April 30th, 2015

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Eat like a bird experiment

Vlog: One Simple Bedtime Tip

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Dominic’s Dressing Shelf

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I have to admit, this was very, very loosely inspired by Pinterest pin, but it’s almost nothing like the original, which is much cooler than mine haha. If you looked at it, you’d have no idea that that project was the inspiration. (See?)

As you may also know, we follow some Montessori principles in our household. We like the focus on independence and on helping teach children that they are capable. It’s worked really well for us. Lately, we’ve been working more with Dominic on dressing himself and so I decided that it would be a good time to take some of his clothes down from his closet and give him more control over what he wears. It’s a scary moment, a bit. I mean, I know I am not fashion forward in the least bit, but I at least think I match most of the time. And releasing this control over what he wears is a little like woah. Parenting has taught me so much that I am not in control of things, so it can be easy to clamp down on the things that I can control, but neither of us grow that way. But it’s like, the other night he picked a turtleneck to wear to bed. I just try to remind myself he’s the one wearing it, not me. He didn’t complain at all about wearing the turtleneck to bed so okay.

So anyways, I should show you the shelf.

This is Dominic's new shelf. The top shelf has books, the middle shelf has shirts and pants, and the bottom shelf has a bucket for diapers, a bin for socks, and some pj type clothes.

It looks very bare, so I feel a bit like I’m wasting shelf space, but I only wanted to put roughly 14 pairs of pants and shirts so that it wasn’t overwhelming. Plus, he has a lot of clothes, they wouldn’t all fit on there anyway. On the top, we have some books that he can read before bed or at nap time, there will also be some toys, but Dominic was playing with them when I took this picture. If you’re wondering about the sticker, it’s because this bookshelf came from a school that shut down. My mom bought it for just $2. I could probably get the sticker off, but it was upside down for a while and I totally forgot it was there. So when Nick anchored it, it was not that long until bedtime, so I wanted to focus on making the shelf fit the purpose I was going to use it for. On the top shelf, I put pants and shirts on it. On the bottom shelf, I have a bucket of diapers (with underwear underneath it, for whenever he potty trains (we’re slowly working on it), a sock bin, and some pajama clothes. The bucket and bin are an old ice cream bucket and an empty dishwasher tablet container. In the beginning, I did think about doing something prettier looking, but honestly, I am not the world’s most decorative person and I like to use what we already have whenever I possibly can. Maybe someday I’ll cover them, but they’re working for us for now.

So there you have it, that’s our shelf.

Fire82 T-Shirt Winner!!

Drumroll please. It’s time to announce the winner of the Fire82 T-shirt giveaway! And the winner is

Fire82 T-shirt Giveaway!

Congrats Marilyn N.! I’ll be e-mailing you shortly, so if you’re Marilyn, watch your inbox! :) Everyone else, if you are still interested in a Fire82 T-shirt, you can read details here in my post about Fire82 and find out how you can get your very own!

Short Story: This Is My Mountain

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Here’s another short story – I hope you enjoyed! It’s rough and could use some tweaking, but I hope you get the idea that I’m going for.

This Is My Mountain

Occasionally, I’d call my mother. We’d exchange the usual pleasantries and she’d catch me up on the small hometown I cared nothing about. I’d pretend to listen and keep the details about myself short.

But at the end of every call, she’d always ask the same question. “Aren’t you lonely up there, Suzy?”

I’d laugh and say, “I’m not lonely, besides here I’m safe.”

“I wish you’d come home,” she’d say. “You could be safe here, too.”

I’d pause, “You know I can’t do that, mom.”

“I know,” she’d say. “I love you, Suzy, I always will, and there will always be a place for you here.”

“I love you too, mom.” And then just a click and a dial tone.

Aren’t you lonely up there, Suzy? The question would linger with me as I hiked the three days back to the home I had built, stocked up with supplies from town on my monthly trips during the warmer months.

But how could I be lonely? I had everything here that I needed. I could live off the land, make what I needed, and best of all, I would be safe. An EMP couldn’t destroy me nor could robots take over and run my life, for there was no electricity to speak of. In all the years I’d lived here, only a handful of people had ever stumbled across my cabin because I wasn’t listed on any map or accessible by any roads. I wasn’t reliant on any fossil fuels and I wouldn’t get cancer because of the GMOs in the food. If there was some disease outbreak somewhere, how would I ever get it without human contact? And terrorists aren’t going to bomb or release anthrax into some place they don’t know exists. Who would even know if I died? If a bomb falls in an empty forest, does it make a noise? Not very effective for terrorists. After all, many Americans don’t even know about the Fu-Go balloons launched by the Japanese during WWII. But I do because you have to be prepared for everything.

Yes, I am prepared, here on my mountain. My big, safe mountain.

Who would even know if I died?

A beautiful mountain in Corsica. Not the mountain she lives on, but it could be like thisP.S. Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Ends on Friday! You could win an awesome custom t-shirt!

Witchcraft Couture Book Review

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Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review. So that’s what you’re getting – my honest review! 

Name of book: Witchcraft Couture

Author: Katarina West (I must admit, I was only half sold on the premise when I first heard of this book, but I decided to give it a shot based on Katarina’s background. She has a PhD in Political Science and as you may or may not know, my Bachelors is in Political Science and Writing. I don’t always run across other people who have both an interest in political science and an interest in creative writing, so I felt as if I had to take the shot.)

Summary:  “Oscar Pellegrini is a talented fashion designer with a deadly enemy: his own critical mind. He destroys much of what he designs and has been drifting for years, gradually retreating from the fashion business he loves but holding on to his dreams of success.

A chance meeting with a former girlfriend triggers a creative crisis so deep that Oscar escapes to Russia, where he drinks and despairs like never before. Just when he thinks he has lost everything he discovers a magical machine that turns ordinary outfits into irresistible sartorial triumphs. Oscar takes the machine back to Italy – and before he knows it, he has become famous for his designs, and celebrities and socialites are fighting to be first to wear his gorgeous garments.

But the happily-ever-after ending for the fashion messiah turns into a nightmare when his dresses acquire a life of their own, gaining energy and evil as time goes on. Haunted by his creations, a dark secret he is no longer able to hide, Oscar finds himself fighting for his life and sanity, and searching for the answer to a question he never knew existed.

Is there such a thing as stolen genius, and if there is, can it turn against the very person who stole it?”

Rating: 4 stars

Reason for rating: In this book, you get to watch Oscar’s incredible journey from the lowest point in his life, about to be fired again from another job, to becoming a world-wide sensation and what that does to his mind and the sacrifices he makes to get there. Let’s start with what I loved – the prose, the prose was beautiful. The images painted, the references to historical and cultural happenings, Oscar’s way of referring to people in colors rather than with names, it was just such exquisite writing. It was rambling, but it didn’t feel rambling. Much like no one can explain why the clothes make them feel the way, I can not quite explain why I love this style of writing.  I could have done without the sex scene and at times the book felt strange to me because unlike the fiction books I have recently read, it wasn’t action packed. But that’s all right, because it was equally interesting to see to see the way the mind works inside. It definitely made me think about what we are willing to sacrifice and for what we get it return and whether or not it is worth it. Despite being so so in the beginning (me? read a book about fashion) I really did enjoy it. I’d recommend the book to anyone interested in fashion (but even if you aren’t, it’s still a good read) as well as anyone interested in psychological thrillers. It would also be good for people interested in Italy – as it includes stunning descriptions of the Italian countryside.

Find Witchcraft Couture on Amazon

Find Witchcraft Couture on Goodreads

Interview with Founder of Fire82 Plus Custom T-Shirt Giveaway!

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated for this post in any way. I am doing this for my sister, because I love her and want to support her and because I think she is awesome! I don’t get any financial kick back for it. 

So, my little sister has been making t-shirts for a while! Awesome ones, I own some of them. Anyways, she has officially opened for business and is selling them so I interviewed her to learn a little more about that! Stay tuned because at the bottom there will be a giveaway!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Elizabeth Zellmer. I am 18 and left for basic training a month after I graduated high school. I like creating things whether that be making t-shirts or writing or whatever else I happen to come up with that day.

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A shirt my sister made for me two-ish years ago. Sorry it’s a little blurry

Tell me about Fire82

Fire82 is a custom bleach t-shirt business that is just getting its start. I create unique t-shirts that even if you get one of my pre-designed shirts will never be the same as any of the other shirts because of the bleaching patterns.

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Where did the name Fire82 come from?

The name Fire82 is in honor of my first paying customer and who really encouraged me to finally launch the business. Fire was a nickname he gave me and 82 is the number of his old jersey as well as the one on the jersey for Buffalo Wild Wings which I used to work at.

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What got you started making t-shirts?

I wanted a unique way to show my pride for the midnight premier of The Hunger Games so I made a bleach t-shirt that said “Tuck your tail in little duck” A lot of my friends really liked it so for the next Christmas I made t-shirts for a bunch of them with their favorite quotes and they absolutely loved it.  So I got the idea to start selling them.

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What are some of the t-shirts you’ve made?

I have made a lot of quote t-shirts. I made a superman logo and a matching Kryptonite shirt (which I plan on selling as a package and can customize with names) as well as the fire82 logo shirt. I have mostly done words but am definitely willing to do simple designs if that is what a customer wants.

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What kinds of clothes can you make for people?

I am starting out with just t-shirts but I would definitely love to expand to long sleeves, onesies and others items of clothing if this kicks off.

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Why should someone buy from you?

It is a completely unique product that I can customize with names for my pre-designed t-shirts as well as having the freedom to have me create a t-shirt that says almost anything you want it to.

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Anything else you want to add about Fire82?

That it is just starting out so to be patient but you definitely will not regret a purchase from Fire82. My current price for a t-shirt is $16 which includes customization with a name if you want it as well as free shipping within the United States. I will ship international, price can be discussed depending on location.

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How can people get in touch with you?

The best way would be to email me at lz.fire82@gmail.com so I can find out what you want me to put on your t-shirt and I am using PayPal right now for payment. But I am working on setting up an eBay account that will work with me selling customizable products. You can also check out my Facebook page here

Now to the giveaway! My sister is generously giving away one of her custom t-shirts of your choosing!! This has a retail value of $16 dollars. This giveaway is open to the United States only, 18 and older! (Sorry Canadian peeps). It will run until Friday April 24th when we will pick a winner! Enter in the form below! And make sure to check your e-mail. You will have 72 hours from the time I e-mail you the winning e-mail or I’ll pick a new winner!

Fire82 T-shirt Giveaway!

Counting to 1000 Gifts: 131-140

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131. That I have a Savior who loves me enough to die for me on this Good Friday

132. That that same Savior also rose again, conquering death

133. Electricity

134. Rice play

riceplay

135. A little helper

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136. Getting a decent amount of sleep

137. That yesterday was a gorgeous sunshine-y afternoon

138. Neighbors

139. This is kind of the same as neighbors, but I am grateful for community

140.  Tasty food

What are you thankful for on this Good Friday? List some gifts of your own! 

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