Why It’s a Great Time to Start a Blog

Start a Blog

 

Have you ever had dreams of working from home? Today, we’ll show you why it’s a great time to start a blog and realize your dreams of working from your kitchen table in your pajamas! Here are a few things you need to know before you get started.

 

You Can Make Money Blogging

 

The blogging industry is growing, and has been over the last decade. I began blogging “for real” in 2009. By “for real” I mean, I started a blog with WordPress, hosted it with a super hosting company, and set it up to build my homeschooling consulting and evaluation business. As the years went by, my readership grew and the opportunities for affiliations with companies became more abundant. Today, the opportunities are bigger than ever before, and blogging has become a career and a great way to support yourself and your family.

 

Find a Niche

 

What will your blog for 2018 be about? Ask yourself these questions: What are you interested in? What are your strengths? Have you had any amazing and cool experiences that you want to share with others?

 

I have many interests and a few things that I am great at, and have lots of experience doing. My blog capitalizes on these things. You won’t find me doing makeup tutorials here, or discussing current style: these just aren’t my strengths, although you can sometimes find me binge-watching my favorite beauty bloggers on youtube. Find your strengths and interests and turn them into a business!

 

Use The Right Tools

 

This is very important and something I learned by experience. I began my blog by using WordPress, by hosting it with a terrific company, and by investing time and dedication to building it myself. As the years went by, and as my girls started to grow up and demand more of my time, I didn’t really keep up with WordPress. It is really like learning a new language, or at least it was for me. Don’t be intimidated though, because once you get the hang of it, it’s easy; but, like any language, if you don’t continue to use it you lose it.

 

Write Good, Quality Content

 

This might seem like a no-brainer, but to keep your visitors coming back to your brand new blog, you want to offer them something that is useful and relevant to their lives. Post often, and be sincere. I love reading and listening to personal stories. I think most people do. If you are relatable, and give your readers quality stuff, you will already be set up to grow and expand.

 

When I started my blog in 2009, I wrote good, quality content. As life’s demands and other priorities took over, I stopped doing this. Yes, I still shared good information, however, it was not my own information; mostly, I’d just link to something else. Which was still good for my readers, but not really giving them anything personal.

 

Keep Your Blog Updated

 

After a few years I realized that my blog was looking a bit outdated. The header was old, the theme wasn’t that exciting anymore and I wanted to refresh it. Knowing that I once was able to use Word Press to create a great-looking blog, I dusted off my password to the cpanel and decided to start updating. What I thought was going to be a relatively quick and easy thing to do, was more difficult than I thought. I needed a refresher. Many refreshers. And now, I was teaching online (full-time at this point), and continuing to homeschool my girls.

 

Hindsight has taught me that once you begin a blog with WordPress.com you should never, ever, move your blog to a different platform. Never! I was pressed for time, and wanted what I thought would be the “easy way out” so I moved my blog with all of its great content over to Weebly. Weebly has a drag and drop feature and the themes were easy to use and super modern-looking. Their customer service is fantastic, and I thought I had done the right thing.

 

Monetize Your Blog

 

You must monetize your blog, if you want to make money, and the best way to do that is to begin with WordPress. Using WordPress has many other perks, such as giving you great analytics and other things that I may write about in a future blog post but for now, just know that there are multiple ways to do this and I am still learning about all of them. The possibilities are incredible!

If you want to learn the details of how to monetize your blog, I encourage you to take the 30-Day Blogging Fast Track Course with blogging experts, Heather and Pete Reese. They even post their monthly income on their website so that you can see that it is not only possible, but very probable for you (and me!) to make that kind of income, too.

If you are not ready to sign up for the 30-day course, Pete and Heather also offer a totally free 5-Day Crash Course. I actually took this one first and was hooked, which prompted me to sign up for the 30-Day Fast Track Course. And did I mention it is totally FREE? Not only is it free, but it is jam-packed with amazing information. You won’t believe what Heather and Pete offer for zero cost. I promise you, it is just a snipped of the information contained in the 30-day course. And the best part is, after you sign up, you have access to everything for two years so you don’t have to worry about digesting it all at once (or taking notes!)

 

My Blog Evolved and Yours Will Too

 

After prettying up my blog with Weebly, I realized that I wanted to get back to regular posting, more writing and sharing of tutorials and things that I have experience with, so that I can help and reach more homeschoolers. Ultimately though, I found myself wanting to turn this business blog into a hybrid of sorts, and share some more personal things about our homeschooling lifestyle in Florida. This is why you see me blogging here at Our Happy Medium. almost ten years later!  You can read more about our vision for our new blog here. 

 

This time, I hired a web developer to help me get set up with WordPress again. If I had done that the first time, I would never have moved my site to Weebly, and things would have been a whole lot smoother for me. If you would like the contact information for Micah, the super-awesome, ultra-patient web developer who not only helped me, but actually taught me how to get going with WordPress again with a brand-new beautiful, and easy-to-use theme, I am happy to share his information. Just email me at Terri@ourhappymedium.com

Create Your Own Product

You will notice that successful bloggers offer a product or a service. I have always offered my homeschool consulting and evaluation services on my blog, but once I got serious about blogging, I began to offer homeschool courses through Our Happy Medium Academy, and now have my new e-book, Take Courage! An Inspirational Quote Journal for Moms up on the blog, too. What are you great at? What can you offer to others? Can you create a course, sell crafts, write a book? Again, the possibilities are endless.

Work With Sponsors

In their blogging course, Heather and Pete will show you how to find opportunities for sponsored work. My first paid sponsored post came when a company reached out to me. You can read this post here. I had fun writing it because it was for a company that I already knew and loved. Are there any specific products that you use and love? If so, reach out to their marketing people and pitch a blog post!

Main Things I Learned by Taking the 30-Day Blogging Fast Track Course

 

  • Blogging is a HUGE business right now
  • The sky is the limit in terms of how much money you can make
  • Travel Blogging is even bigger
  • There are multiple ways to monetize your blog, all you have to do is choose the right ones that fit you and your blog style
  • Blogging helps you meet, and build relationships with, people from all over the world
  • There is no time like RIGHT NOW to begin
  • There are hundreds of support groups for bloggers, including several devoted solely to Word Press help
  • A large percentage of advertising budgets for major companies goes to bloggers like us! They know the power of social media.

 

GIVEAWAY: A New Year, Your Best Year: 2019 Conference for Moms

Our happy medium giveaways

A New Year, Your Best Year

You’ve hear about this amazing conference and how it can help you make 2019 your BEST year yet!

Goals

Are you looking to set new goals for the new year? Do you want to learn a new skill? Maybe your goal for the new year is to be more consistent with meal planning, be better at organization, crush your fitness goals , stop yelling so much, or to simplify your life.
Sign up today to hear expert speakers on topics such as these (and MANY more) for only $20. If you register by 1/3 you’ll receive an additional $5 off.

Prizes

As an attendee, you will ALSO receive lifetime access to all conference workshops and materials, a swag bag stuffed full of freebies and discounts valued at over $800, and access to the conference Facebook group for fun, fellowship, and prizes!

Sign Up Today

If you don’t want to wait to see if you are the winner, register today for only $15 by clicking here. 

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Why You Need New Year’s Resolutions for Your Homeschool

Why do you need New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool? I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, several years ago I resolved not to participate in the seemingly pointless, tradition of sharing with friends all the ways I was going to make my life better in the coming year. What a set up for failure, right? I mean, all these ads and sales for healthy foods, supplements, weight loss products, exercise equipment is enough to prove that resolutions don’t last; otherwise all these things would be in your face all year long.

But today I’m not talking about exercise and diet resolutions; I’m talking about resolutions for your homeschool. Are there changes you’d like to make? Things you’d like to do differently? Do your kids have ideas about what they’d like to add to their schooling? Now is the time to regroup, recharge and resolve! Making New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool is important and here’s why: (more…)

Five Simple Things You Should Know to Help Your Young Child Become an Amazing Writer

​I am often asked the question, How can I teach my child to write?  Since reading and writing go hand in hand, the best way to start “teaching” writing is by reading.  Teaching a love of writing at this early age is so important for future successes a writer. There are a few things you should know about the early stages of writing.

Scribbles Are Important

Early writing really begins with drawing or scribbling. These random marks on the page are very important beginnings to the writing process. If you watch your child, you will see that these “scribbles” soon turn into long wavy lines resembling writing. This usually happens between the ages of 2 and 4.Next in the development of writing at this age, you’ll likely see your child making letter-like markings. These won’t really be true letters, but represent them.

Recognize Letter Strings

Around age 4 or 5 you’ll start to see real letters in strings on the page. They may or may not make real words.  More often than not, they are simply the letters your child enjoys making in non-phonetic blocks and lines. Don’t be alarmed if many of these are backward. This is totally normal.

Inventive Spelling is “Real” Spelling

When inventive spelling emerges on the page, (usually around age 5 or 6,) the fun begins! Now your child is using his or her own spelling according to how he or she makes the letter-sound correspondence.  This is my very favorite stage of writing and children are so excited to be able to put their sounds to paper and have others decipher it! One thing you can do to celebrate this success is read your child’s stories aloud. I promise, the more you read this inventive spelling, the better you will get at being able to decipher it. Hint: “speak” it as your child speaks; try to talk like your child. When my daughter was young, she had trouble with the “bl” blend and her writing at this stage reflected this.

Have Your Child Share Their Work

Children love to share their writing. Ask you child to be an author and sit in an “author’s chair” – a special chair designed for the sharing of the written word. Ask your child to sit in this chair (or wear a special hat, or other special thing to signify author’s time).  Be an active listener.  Invite the whole family. Ask questions about the story. Comment on what you enjoyed about it.

What Not To Do

It is very important not to correct a child’s spelling or grammar right now. Let them enjoy the free flowing feeling of writing without worry whether it is “right” or not. Spelling is one of those skills that is best acquired over time and does not come by rote memorization, constant correction or practice writing words correctly over and over again. (I’ll have much more to say on this subject in later posts.)

Later On

Around age 7 is when children begin to use more and more conventional spelling in their writing and spells most words correctly. Now is the time to teach simple grammar rules, which we’ll talk more about later on.

Useful Books:

This is an oldie but a goodie. It is hard to get a hold of, but if you can find it, it is gold:
Using Word Walls to Strengthen Student Reading and Writing at the Emergent Level

​Playful Writing: 150 Open-Ended Explorations in Emergent Literacy

Literacy-Building Play in Preschool: Lit Kits, Prop Boxes, and Other Easy-to-Make Tools to Boost Emergent

Reading and Writing Skills Through Dramatic Play

The following books are excellent books for teachers and are a must-have when you are teaching little ones during these early years:

Soaring with Reading and Writing: a highly effective emergent literacy program 

Teaching Beginning Writers

Curriculum We Recommend

All About Spelling

If you have an older child who is struggling with writing, we recommend our “How to Write the Perfect 5-Paragraph Essay” course. At Our Happy Medium Academy, we believe that learning should be fun!

Helpful Websites

Get Ready to Read (GRTR)

International Reading Association (IRA)

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL)

Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

Reading Rockets

How to Get Organized This Christmas

Making a plan for your holiday can save you time and money.

Getting organized for Christmas is easy with our cute, printable planner!

Inside this 12-page planner you’ll find:

  • Gift Tracker

  • Card Tracker

  • Menu Planner

  • Printable Gift Cards

  • Printable Recipe Cards

  • Calendar

  • Pages for Notes

free printable Christmas planner

Download yours today!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Our Happy Medium!

Why You Should Incorporate Educational Games in Your Homeschool

why you should incorporate educational games in your homeschool

There’s never enough time to do all that we want to do during our homeschool days, am I right? I have so many ideas that never come to fruition, so many things that I want to expose my girls to, but much of it never seems to happen. And the days go by. And then the weeks and the months and, well you get the picture. That’s why you should incorporate educational games in your homeschool.

Natural Learning

You know that I am a big fan of child-led, natural learning. Games are one way that provide children with information, but in a fun way that either relates to the real-world, or to something else that they are learning about; this is why unit studies are great!

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner identified seven different intelligences among students. Educational games speak to many of these intelligences. If you haven’t read Gardner’s work, make it a priority.

Interpersonal

Playing games is a great way to teach interpersonal skills. Whether it is a cooperative game such as Wildcraft! (listed below), or a very competitive game such as chess, we can learn so much about ourselves and others simply by playing games together!

Touch on the Subjects You Don’t Have Time For

In our homeschool, we love the arts and sciences. Art History is a favorite as is Classical music. We love the sciences, especially experimenting. We also love learning about natural medicines and holistic living. I have found that the way to “sneak” these subjects in is to find games that nurture our love for such things. I’ve linked and listed our favorites for these subject areas below.

Family Game Night

I can testify from experience that family game night is even more fun as your kids get older. When the games are geared toward the things you love as a family, they’re even more fun. Spending time and learning together is a win for everyone!

The Ultimate Homeschool Mom Gift Guide

The Ultimate Homeschool Resource Shopping Guide

It’s that time of year when everyone is looking to find the best deal on whatever they’ve had their eye on for the past year. I don’t love shopping, but I do enjoy getting a good deal and I like sharing those deals, too. This ultimate holiday season homeschool mom gift guide will inspire you!

Homeschool Wish Lists

We all have them! I love getting my Rainbow Resource catalogs in the mail and I mark things all year long. I have been known to put homeschooling items on my personal Christmas wish list, too.

Support Small Business

I don’t know about you, but I remember when the “big box stores” started taking over all the mom and pop businesses in and around the area I lived. It made me sad back then, but it makes me even sadder now that I’m (more of) a grownup, and a small business owner. In my town, there are many small businesses, and I do all that I can to keep them going. I enjoy shopping on Etsy and also on Amazon (supporting small businesses like my own!)

From One Homeschooler to Another

We homeschoolers have to stick together! I’ve met so many amazing homeschooling parents who also work either part-time or full time to supplement income. If these moms have a product to sell, and if it is something that I can use (or gift to someone!) I’m all about supporting them. After all, The homeschooling community is amazing in this way. Support your peeps by buying from the ultimate homeschool mom gift guide

Make Your Shopping List AND Your Wish Lists

Make a list of all the “wants” you have for your homeschool. Then make a list of all the things you’d love to have for your family (family game night, anyone?!) Don’t forget to make a list of things you’d love to have, too. We homeschool moms often put ourselves last, don’t we?

Shop the following categories in this guide:

  1. homeschool
  2. girls
  3. family
  4. faith

Share your lists with your loved ones and wait to see what gifts you might receive!

Take Advantage of the Black Friday prices and make your shopping lists for your friends and family, too. You will see that our How to Write the Perfect 5-Paragraph Essay course is on a super Black Friday deal that you won’t want to miss!

 

Tips for Celebrating Advent with Older Kids

Top Five Tips for Celebrating Advent With Older Kids
I’m guest posting today over at Life of a Homeschool Mom! Just because our kids are getting older, doesn’t mean that we have to stop the fun holiday traditions. Come on over and see my top five tips for celebrating Advent with older kids.

Included is a FREE Advent Activity printable geared toward the older kids.

Before you head on over to Life of a Homeschool Mom, be sure to grab our The Story of Advent Printable Pack for your little ones. This 14-page pack includes copy work, matching, sight word practice and much more.

We have something for everyone at Our Happy Medium!

Have a blessed holiday season. <3

Healthy Gluten-Free Grab and Go Breakfasts and Snacks: Your Kids Won’t Notice the Veggies Inside

healthy gluten free breakfasts and snacks

If you’re one of our regular readers, you already know the story of our journey toward a gluten-free lifestyle. I’ve been eating gluten-free since 2009 with the exception of a few months after being without gluten for almost 2 years in the beginning, and one other ‘cheat’ with quesadillas one night five years ago. Both of those times, gluten proved to me that it doesn’t like me at all, so leaving it behind for good at that point wasn’t a problem.

Most of you already know about the great health benefits of going gluten-free. Lucky for us, it seems that every day a new gluten-free product shows up on the shelves of our grocery stores. Many times the gluten-free options are not particularly healthy either, so If I can find a grab and go snack or quick breakfast that is not only gluten-free but also healthy, it’s a double bonus.

Garden Lites – Veggies Made Great

Imagine my surprise when I found these delicious Garden Lites Veggies Made Great snacks in the freezer section of our grocery store. The package reads, “Veggies: Our #1 Ingredient.” That sold me. My family loves anything that includes gluten-free flours and veggies. The Garden Lite muffins remind me of the snacks I used to make for my (then little) girls which included hidden veggies from recipes from The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals

No Baking! Grab and Go Muffins

Some of you also know that cooking is not my #1 favorite activity. I’d rather be outside growing the vegetables, rather than inside adding them to my baked goods, so I love anything that we can grab and eat  – – especially on those busy mornings when we have to rush out of the house. (more…)

Five Easy Ways to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude in Your Family

cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your family

We’ve all heard how adopting an “attitude of gratitude” can improve your life, but how exactly do you go about doing that? Sometimes it’s easy to let life get us down and to get caught up in all the daily hustle that we forget to stop and give thanks for the little (and big) things.
Here are some simple ways that we incorporate gratitude in our homeschool.

1. Start the Day With an Offering

This can be an offertory prayer, or a simple statement of intention for the day. You can also offer a prayer for a goal that you would like to accomplish for the day. Don’t keep these to yourself; it’s easy to do as a family before you begin your homeschool day. We like to say our offertory prayer at breakfast. It really does pave the way for an awesome day.

2. When Something Goes Wrong Reframe It

I’m not saying to pretend that bad things don’t happen. They do happen and they will happen. That’s life. In my experience it’s the small things that have the biggest ability to make me forget to be grateful, not the big things in life. A forgotten appointment; a missed deadline; plans needing to be changed last-minute; a week that’s too busy; all these things throw me into a tailspin of ingratitude.

When I find myself complaining, that’s when I know it’s time to stop, pause and take stock of what’s good about the moment. Reframe it by finding something good to positive to focus on. Modeling behavior is a huge part of parenting and educating. I, for one, don’t want to model complaining behavior and bad coping skills for my children. I want my family to have an attitude of gratitude because that helps me, too.

3. Do Something Nice For Someone

When you feel yourself going down the path of ingratitude, do something nice for someone. Get out of you own way. Ask a friend if they need help, hand out blessing bags to the homeless, or volunteer at your church or food pantry. If you can’t get out and do something, send a “thinking of you” letter (a real letter), or make a phone call to someone who’d love to here from you. Make it special: don’t just send a quick text.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal

We love our bullet journals because they allow the freedom to create space for whatever we need to keep track of. My teenagers keep gratitude sections in their bullet journals. Actually, my youngest has an entire journal devoted to recording things that she’s grateful for.

5. State What You’re Grateful For: Out Loud

I’m a big Brene’ Brown fan. If you haven’t read any of her books, I highly recommend them. I love them all, and have listened to all of her books (I’m a huge audio book fan) more than once, but these are my favorites and ones that I recommend you start with.

After you’ve read (or listened to) one or more of the above books, be sure to get this one:

Brene’ has a practice in her household where she and her family go around the dinner table each night and say one thing they’re grateful for. Sounds a little hokey? Maybe. But she’s a well-respected sociologist who knows what positively and negatively affects people and human behavior, so if she’s doing this with her family, I’m doing it, too.  And you know what? It does help. It brings my husband into the here-and-now of family life after a day of work, and it helps us all cultivate a small culture of gratitude among us. The benefits far outweigh the effort it takes.

If you have other ways of incorporating gratitude in your life and in the life of your family, we’d love to know about them so tell us below!

Go ahead and share this post with a friend. We want them to be happy, too!

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