Once Upon a Time...(then what?)

At the risk of embarrassing myself...I'm going to put it all out there on the nursery rhymes/fairy tales front. I'll just admit I'm bad. I have a bad memory, I must have been a bad listener in pre-school or at storytime, and now I feel like a bad mommy.

It all started with this...it's a book a friend of mine brought back from France. Nice! She probably thought the 6 years of French I took in school would get me through this childhood fairy tale. Not so. My troubles started with the title...

Apparently this book isn't about "The little girl and her dog" as I started to tell my daughter. I hadn't even opened to the first page when my husband interrupted and said "I think it's Little Red Ridinghood." (I should note: he took German!) Oh, okay so my context clues led me a little astray. I figured at that time my daughter was only 6 months she didn't know the difference.

But the book came back to haunt me this week. Recently, it's been one of her favorite toys. The perfect size for her 9.5 month old hands. It's colorful, sturdy and has little cutouts for her fingers to explore. So earlier this week I thought I'd try to read it to her one more time. At least this time I knew the title. I prefaced by telling her, "This book is in French, Mommy only speaks English."

"Little Red Ridinghood," I began...I opened to the first page and without a clue as to what those words said, solely relying on the pictures and my poor memory I continued: "Once upon a time (I knew this part had to be right) Little Red Ridinghood went to visit her Grandma. She had a nice Grandma who made her some porridge."
            "WHAT?" my husband yelled from the other room, "That's The Three Bears."
Oh whatever, she's not even 10 months she doesn't know the difference. I turned to the next page and looking at the illustrations I continued, "When Little Red Ridinghood left her grandma's she had to be careful because she met the Big Bad Wolf."
          "That's The Three Little Pigs." I hear from the other room.
          "And they lived happily ever after." I knew I couldn't mess that part up.

And the moral of the story is...if you're like me and you can't remember a nursery rhyme or a fairytale to save your life there is hope! I've scoured the internet and found something to help us all. This way we can all get a head start for the next our children ask us to tell them a story...whether it's in French or English!

Classic Fairy Tales
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes

In the 10th Month...Let There be Teeth

The first teeth have let their presence be known. I'm scared!

I'll continue to update you on how it goes. For now, I have to get back to my crying baby.

Thank God, for Hylands!


Before the Baby: Unique Wedding Ideas

Let's backtrack a little here from the baby business...

As a mom I'm super organized, I have to be! But before baby made three my husband will tell you the most organized I've ever been was planning our wedding. It was a day we'll never forget. We had so many special touches. Even as we approach our four year anniversary, people still talk about how wonderful our wedding was - how intimate, beautiful and meaningful!

Weddings can quickly cost you (or your parents) tens of thousands of dollars. So I thought I'd share some money saving tips and unique wedding planning ideas with you. I've linked to all of them. Please share your favorite idea and let me know which you incorporated into your special day.

Simple Ways to Plan a Unique Wedding

Important Reminder for Parents

A friend of mine had her first big scare as a parent. Her baby fell, or rolled (she's not sure which) off the changing table. Thank God everything is fine with the her baby. Not even a scratch, a bump or a bruise to report. But it could have been much worse. She laid her baby on the changing pad and realized she was out of diapers. Not thinking, she ran to grab a diaper in the other room. When she came back her baby was sitting on the floor.

I have to admit, I've left my daughter on the changing table to grab a binky, a diaper, a toy...you name it. While I haven't done it since she's started rolling over (and turned into a wiggle worm), I am guilty of leaving her there for more than a split second.

I'm sharing this story as a reminder to everyone that even a split second is too long. This is especially true once your baby starts getting a little more mobile. While the strap on the changing pad may help to keep my daughter in place, I'm not even taking that chance.  The warning on the strap was enough to put the fear into me: "to avoid death or serious injury..."

What's the hardest lesson you've learned as the parent of an infant?


Earning Money Online (Doing What I Love)

May has been my most successful month on Ehow. I'll be able to pay off my entire gas/electric bill with the money! Ironically, it's the month I wrote the fewest articles. For an entire week I didn't even log into my ehow account. As I do every month, I've updated my original blog post with my most recent Ehow earnings so you can continue to follow my success.  

Original March Post: 
I just did the happy dance. My hard work and dedication to writing ehow articles and trying to help my family's bottom line is paying off. The best part is my writing work is done online, from home (and in my pj's, if I want). It's passive residual income meaning it makes money even if I don't work for a few days and for an indefinite amount of time after the work is done. Three months in and I've already hit the lucky number!  

I hate to brag...but in my three short months as NewMama on ehow.com I've already earned over $100! My goal was to pay off one bill a month and in just three months I've done that and more! After all, it wasn't that long ago that I was so excited that I had earned my first 8 cents. That was at about the same time that my husband looked at my skeptically and said something to the effect of "this is a scam." A few weeks later he apologized, congratulated me and then asked how much I was transferring from my PayPal account to help pay off the credit card!

First I'll show you how my first three payouts break down, then I'll explain what I think is the key to my ehow.com success and the huge percentage increase each month.

November 22 (my first day)-December 31: $8.20
January '09: $26.75
February '09: $66.01

For a grand total: $100.96  (Read all the way to the end for continuing monthly updates)

It's hard to believe that I've earned over $100 just by doing what I love - writing. And by writing about what I know about! What's even harder to believe is that I earned 226% more in January than the previous month. And in February I increased my online earnings by another 146%! Have you ever gotten a raise like that? I haven't!

In three months I've written 93 articles. (As you can imagine it's difficult to find the time to write with an infant at home. Many dedicated ehow writers pound out 3 articles a day! Imagine how much they make!!!) The majority of my articles (60) were actually written before January 21. Why, January 21, you ask? Well that was the day I bought Writergig's Ebook "
How to Earn Passive Income On eHow.com."  That was the day I realized, while my 60 articles were earning money, they could be earning so much more.  My articles weren't earning their full potential because I didn't know the proper strategies to follow. After reading this e-book I put the suggestions and techniques into practice..and, well, you see what happened.  I got a huge raise! 

Starting on January 22 I began writing a little differently, I promoted my articles differently, and I started seeing a huge earnings increase. I had a few articles that were already doing fairly well..maybe making $1-$2 a month. Those that were still sitting on a big goose egg I went in and tweaked. I changed their titles and their keywords to make sure the search engines were picking them up and I edited the copy slightly. I didn't want to spend too much time changing them since I decided to concentrate on the articles I was going to write from here on out. As of today the very first ehow article I wrote still hasn't made a cent. I'm done changing it. I have no idea why it's not making money, but I'm not wasting any more time with it. I've simply decided that's the way it is and fooling with it any more is only costing me more money.

On the other hand, I have one article that earned me $15.62 this month. I wrote it January 9th. That month it made $6.40 (since I can't see a history of per day payments I'll just say it average .22 a day). I went back and tweaked the title and added a few keywords according to ebook's suggestions and it's now averaging .56 a day. (If all 93 of my articles were making that much money I'd be making $1,453 a month! To that, my husband just said, "that's legit." Hmmm!) It's not a dated or topical article which means it has the potential to earn that much, or more, every month from here on out. I think I spent about an hour writing that one article. Think about that for an hourly rate. 

After purchasing and reading the book I also changed the way I pick article topics to write about. While I still focus on baby, parenting, and money topics (because that's what I know best) I've now tailored that focus to specific subjects that are highly searched in Google and other search engines. Out of respect for Writergig I'm not going to give away all her secrets...why would you buy her book then? But I will say there's a secret formula to earning big bucks on ehow. She should know..she's one of ehow's top earners! I only wish I had bought
How to Earn Passive Income On eHow.com before I wrote those first 60 articles.

I know what it's like to go from two incomes to one. With the economy the way it is, many people are being forced into that situation. My family chose that situation. I left my job on my own terms so that I could be a stay-at-home-mom. Staying at home with my daughter is no sacrifice-I wouldn't trade it for the world. But
living on one income means making lots of (simple) financial sacrifices. While Ehow certainly isn't a paycheck I would rely on, and it doesn't come close to matching what I was bringing in pre-baby, it gives me the satisfaction of continuing to contribute financially, and perhaps more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to have a creative outlet at the same time!

March '09 Update - 
          + $52.00 (from a 2nd passive income stream that requires no work, as described in the ebook I read)
             March Grand Total $136.35!!! 

April '09 Update
Ehow: $121.67 
            + $12.50 (from a 2nd passive income stream that requires no work, as described in the ebook I read) 
            April Grand Total $ 134.17!!! 

May '09 Update -
Ehow $151.84 
           + $25 (for participating in a special Ehow writing program) 
           + $12.50 (from a 2nd passive income stream that requires no work, as described in the ebook I read) 
   May Grand Total $189.34!!!


Clacker Board Books Update

A few months back I shared my love, and my daughter's love, for the Clacker board books. I even featured them as a New Mama Must Have, saying she played with the book so much she ripped it to shreds. In all fairness, I need to update you on the fate of our Clacker collection since I now realize it may not have been her playing, but the poor construction of the book that left it looking like this.

What was once one fish clacker became two. Well, two halves. My mother-in-law (MIL), knowing how much my daughter liked the fish, searched high and low and was finally able to get her hands on the Bee Clacker book. Within a few days Mr. Bee had gone from buzzed to busted. He, too, was split in two. Then last weekend my daughter received a second fish Clacker book. I'm not kidding when I tell you that within a half an hour the book was ripped in half. Now, I don't have some kind of superbaby. I don't feed her spinach all day long or give her steroids. This is an 18 pound 9 month old we're talking about, who in the matter of 30 minutes has destroyed three of the same books. Perhaps something is wrong with the construction of the books????

My MIL did tell me, she found out the books were difficult to find because many stores were no longer carrying them. The ones that were, never had any in stock because kids would play with them in the store, rip them in half (surprise, surprise) and that was the end of that. She even heard the entire Clacker series is being discontinued. If that's true, it's a real shame. The books are a great idea and one of my daughter's favorite toys! They have bright colors, they make a loud clacking noise and just scream to be shaken, they're easy to hold, and have beautiful pictures. But, there's no sense spending money on books or toys that will only be destroyed in a day. I wish the publisher, or whoever, could find a better way to construct them so they could stand up to the excitement of all those little hands.

Related Links:
Bunny Clacker: Baby's First Easter Basket
New Mama Must Haves: Featuring the Fish Clacker Book
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