Thursday, August 28, 2014

Make a Blog Media Kit During Nap Time

Just like any stay-at-home mom, the kids' "quiet time" (aka nap time for MP and play quietly in bedroom time for LP) is a couple hour time frame that I try to get things done without four extra feet running around me.  Today I decided to focus my "quiet time" towards creating a media kit for my blog.  This is something I've been thinking about doing for probably over a year but have never sat down to do it.  And guess, what?  I was able to create a media kit in just one "quiet time"!  And - I did it using the free version of PicMonkey.  This is how I did it:

Make a Blog Media Kit During Nap Time

#1:  I researched what I needed in a media kit and decided I needed to include:

  • Information about myself
  • Description of my blog
  • Review, giveaway and sponsorship information
  • Companies/brand relationships
  • Blog Statistics
  • A fun profile photo
  • Contact information
  • Special project information

#2:  I created a PicMonkey collage placing my profile photo where I wanted it, so I could then use the rest of the blank template to edit.  (If you have a blog logo or header, you should place that in your collage as well before going to the edit screen.)  I used the free "Biggie Smalls" layout and changed the size of the collage to 1800x2400.

#3:  Under the edit PicMonkey function I then added overlays and text to create a fun and simple layout for my media kit.  I used banner overlays and Chelsea Market and Shadows Into Light Two fonts.  Use whatever layouts and text associate well with your blog.

#4:  I saved the PicMonkey collage as a jpeg and uploaded it to a tab on my blog!  Then under the PicMonkey image, I made sure to link my contact information and my Comments for a Cause information (because I also decided I wanted to share about special projects I'm working on).  Now whenever a company contacts me I can direct them to my media kit on my blog and hopefully it'll help them know and understand me and my blog.

Here is a look at what I created for free through PicMonkey:

Blog Media Kit example - using free version of PicMonkey

If you have a blog I recommend you take your next "quiet time", or a couple free hours, and create a media kit for your blog.  It is a great resource for companies that want to collaborate with you.  If you have a blog, do you have a media kit for your blog?  What do you recommend including?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Farm Progress Show Wordless Wednesday

Today My Farmer and I loaded up our van with LP, MP, my Father-in-law and one of our neighbors and we headed to the Farm Progress Show, the nation's largest outdoor agriculture show featuring the world's best seed genetics, equipment and in-field practices.  AKA a one-stop show for a farmer to look at the best of the best and get their questions answered by experts.  Before calling it a night I just had share a couple photos of our adventures today!

I enjoyed some GMO sweet corn at the Farm Progress Show today.
It was sweet, juicy and delicious!

Both of the kids had a lot of fun checking everything out
Here is LP checking out some drainage tile

I also took some time to attend a #FPS14 Tweet Up
It was a lot of fun to meet other Tweeters, including @JPlovesCOTTON
(Also, thanks Janice for letting me borrow your photo)
We had a great day and got to see a lot of great things and visit with a lot of great people.  Did you go to the Farm Progress Show?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Falling out of Summer

I don't know about you, but I'm loving this time of year!  The busyness of summer has ended and at the same time, the harvest pace of fall hasn't begun.  It is the perfect few weeks to just stop, relax and reflect.  One thing I got to thinking about this week was our family's Summer Bucket List we made at the beginning of the summer.  So with a few weeks left before our family gets into harvest mode, let's check out to see how we did!

  1. Go Camping at Beed's Lake or Pine Lake - We didn't get this accomplished but we did do a lot of backyard camping.  So I'm calling this one half-way done!
  2. Host a Baconfest on our farm - This didn't happen and won't be happening.  I guess we'll just have to go to area Baconfests this winter to make up for it :)
  3. Check out RAGBRAI Bicyclists as they come through North Iowa - We didn't do this either!  We saw RAGBRAI support teams but decided to stay away from as much RAGBRAI traffic as we could.
  4. Have fun at a Surf Ballroom Rock "n" Tots lesson - We not only had fun at one Rock "n" Tots class but the entire summer's worth of classes.  This was a great program that we look forward to participating in again next year!
    Surf Ballroom Rock n' Tots
    LP channeling his inner Buddy Holly
    while playing his rubber band guitar
    on stage at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake
  5. Watch one of the Fireworks Shows during the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) convention - We had good intentions to go up and watch a show but never made it!  Next year!
  6. Go to an Iowa Cubs Baseball Game - We didn't get this accomplished either!  Maybe I shouldn't have looked at our bucket list...
  7. Shop the Des Moines Farmer's Market - I got to do this with my Mom and one of my sisters earlier this summer!  I enjoyed everything from my breakfast burrito, to picking up some salsa, to purchasing some cute clothes and toys for the kids.  The Des Moines Farmer's Market really does have a bit of everything!
  8. Visit a Science Center or Children's Museum - I am happy to say that we have gone on a couple two-day getaways this summer and one was to Des Moines a couple weeks ago.  We visited the Iowa State Fair, the Blank Park Zoo and the Science Center of Iowa.  The entire family had a great time!  There were so many hands-on activities at the Science Center.  We will definitely be back and will be sure to check out more science centers on our travels.
    Hands on activities at Science Center of Iowa
    LP testing his Lego car at the
    Science Center of Iowa
  9. Go on an Iowa Ice Cream Trip - Throughout June's Dairy Month we traveled to an Iowa ice cream destination weekly.  We had a lot of fun visiting Decorah's Whippy Dip, Hudson's Hansen Dairy, LeMars's Blue Bunny, and Mason City's Birdsall's.  I think we might just have to do this again next year! 
    Visiting LeMars - the Ice Cream Capital of the World
    MP enjoying her own ice cream cone at Blue Bunny in LeMars
  10. Continue our Tradition of going on a Family Vacation - And this is going to be happening soon!  We are excited to get away for a few days in South Dakota.  I'll be sure to post about our trip afterwards!
So, we didn't do as well as I thought we did, but nonetheless, we've had a great, fun-filled summer.  Did you make a Summer Bucket List?  How did you do?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, August 11, 2014

August Comments for a Cause - ELCA Malaria Campaign

July and August, and well really, all this summer has been busy and I'll be making an announcement soon as to why I may have been a little preoccupied with other things then blogging this summer.  But anyways... let's talk about Comments for a Cause.  In the month of July I had a total of 18 comments, equally a $9 donation to the international Little Free Library program.

In the month of August I'm looking forward to donating $0.50 for every comment to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, that I got to help support at the beginning of the month through my local community's Vacation Bible School (VBS) program.

Part of our VBS youth practicing their songs
At the beginning of the month three area churches came together to teach the community's youth about Jesus's ministry and about malaria in Africa.  Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted through female mosquitoes.  After being bitten, the disease works through the circulatory system in the blood and initially causes fever and headaches, eventually causing coma and death.  Children are easily susceptible to the disease.  In fact, it is estimated that a child dies from malaria every minute.

Through the ELCA church, we raised dollars to help combat this preventable and treatable disease.  One way to prevent this disease is to sleep in mosquito nets.  The female mosquitoes are nocturnal, so if families sleep under mosquito nets the infected mosquitoes can't bite them.  Each net costs $10, where half of the dollars goes toward the actual net and half towards education of how to use the nets.  During VBS we raised over $450, or 45 mosquito nets, and through August's Comments for a Cause I'm planning on adding to that total.

What world-wide efforts do you support, either individually or through your church?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer... Relaxing or Stressful

When you think of summer what do you think of?  Laying out in the sun, going for a dip in the pool, enjoying a nice frozen drink...  Or does reality sink in and you find yourself nearing the end of July like me and you aren't really sure what you can show for your summer except a lot of this and that.  I've been thinking about this a lot after I heard about a recent survey that said a third of Americans find themselves more stressed during the summer months than any other season of the year.  You hear about people getting the winter-blues, but could the new thing be the summer-rundown?

Now don't get me wrong, my family and I have been having a great and fun summer checking things off our bucket list, playing outside and simply enjoying each other.  But at the same time, with just a 3 year old and a 13 month old I will admit that I have possibly started over-scheduling ourselves.  Each Monday and Wednesday the kids have activities that we travel to, and it seem like I have some sort of meeting at least once a week, plus then trying to get stuff done on the farm and at home, all while trying to stay up on laundry and dishes and whoosh - my week is over and I've marked maybe one or two things off my to-do list it seems.  So does this mean that I am maybe in that one-third of stressed Americans?  Ummm, maybe, but I don't think quiet yet.  But to be on the safe side I'm going to start or reinstate some habits to help me combat the summer stress:

  • Wake up at the same time, every day, all week long AND go to sleep at a decent time to ensure I'm getting plenty of rest.
  • Keep up on my laundry and house cleaning routines.
  • Drink plenty of water all day long.
  • Get up and move!  Go on a walk or have some type of physical exercise daily.
  • Enjoy the little things with my family.

It seems with longer days I just want to fit as much as possible into them, but I need to remind my self to enjoy and relax.  Has the summer heat gotten to you this year or have you been enjoying your summer?  What are some tips you can share on how to beat summer stress?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Latimer, Iowa Little Free Library

If you are ever around Latimer, Iowa be sure to check out our Little Free Library in Downtown.  We have a large selection of books for babies to adults - check out some of the titles circulating through the Library on my blog's new Little Free Library tab.

What is your favorite book of all-time?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Knee High by the 4th of July

I do have to admit, I was a little worried that our annual "Knee High by the 4th of July" photo this year was going to show corn that wasn't knee-high, but half-way surprisingly, it was higher than I expected.  In a "normal" year, we'd like to see our corn shoulder or head high (see previous year's photos for examples - 2013 & 2012), but this year, due to the extreme wet conditions, our corn is only waist high.  We are actually planning on getting into the field today to do some work which would be the first time in several weeks because it has been too wet to get into the field.

Knee High by the 4th of  July
And if you are curious what an ear of corn looks right now, below is a photo.  After our family photo we did some crop scouting and peeled a corn stalk all the way down to the ear of corn.  Pretty neat right?  It is amazing that that will cob of corn will grow 8"+ in length in just a couple of months.

Ear of corn on the 4th of July
I hope you all had a great Independence Day!  Do you have any 4th of July traditions?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!