Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Create It Thursday #160 (Plus Features)

Welcome, friends!  So glad you could stop by to check out a few hundred of the latest and greatest ideas on the web.

Thanks so much to everyone who shared with us at last week's party!  I'm sharing a couple of favorites (and one fan favorite) below. You can also find these on the Create It Thursday Pinterest board, the Lamberts Lately Twitter page, and the Lamberts Lately Facebook page!

...and this week's fan favorite...

Again, if you shared with us last week, thank you a ton!  You make this party possible.  Grab a feature button if you're listed above!

Let's get this week's party going!
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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Basics of Blog Monetization: Using Affiliate Links on Your Blog

This blogger has an awesome post on ways you can use affiliate links to make money on your blog!  This is a great resource for all bloggers, from new to experienced.  She gives companies you can work with and methods on how to integrate links into posts!

Affiliate links used in this post.

The next addition to The Basics of Blog Monetization Series is all about affiliate links!

When used properly (and ethically), affiliate links can be a wonderful stream of revenue for your blog. Affiliate links account for about a third of my overall income. (It's interesting, no matter what I do, my income is almost perfectly split into thirds between affiliate links, sponsored posts, and ad revenue.  It's been like that for years!)

Pretty much any blog I can think of will eventually talk about a product, whether they are getting paid to do so or not.  It's just naturally part of conversation from time to time.  Why not get paid for what you would talk about on your blog anyway?

So what is an affiliate link?  
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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Ten Rules that Organized Our Playroom

This blogger has great ideas for how to organize a playroom!  She has a few cheap & DIY solutions too.  Great ways to clean a messy space!

Affiliate links used.

A few weeks ago, I asked my newsletter subscribers what their biggest challenge was in cleaning their home.  The overwhelming top response had to do with "kid clutter" - toys, books, playrooms, etc.  And I totally understand that - as a matter of fact, it's something I've been battling myself lately!

Our playroom definitely isn't lacking in space.  It's actually one of the bigger rooms in our home.  Many older homes are set up like this; right off of our foyer we have a large room that's meant to be both a dining room and a formal living room.  Well, we're never, ever going to use a formal living room, and we really don't need a dining room at the current time.  However, from the first time we walked through this home, I knew this area would be absolutely perfect for a playroom.  It's right off the kitchen (so I can look in on Emmie while I'm cooking or cleaning up) and it's super accessible from really anywhere in the house.  It's also a huge room!

We have it set up to be both a TV room and a playroom.  Half of the area is dedicated to toys and "kids stuff;" half hold some of our old furniture that really has nowhere else for right now.  My beloved Best Glider is here since there really isn't room for it in Jackson's room (it's actually where I do all of his monthly pictures), and our old couch is in here as well.

So, in the spirit of full disclosure...this was the state of my playroom part just a couple of months ago.  Yikes, I know.  I was constantly trying to clean it and it was a constant uphill battle.  I had had enough of the mess, so we implemented a few playroom rules that have really helped so much in containing the chaos!
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Planning with MACS

This post was sponsored on behalf of Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) program. All opinions are my own.

Watching your child move from one year of school to the next is definitely bittersweet.  I absolutely love celebrating how much Emmie has grown and how much she has learned over the course of the past 9 months.  But, it's just mind-blowing how quickly it all goes.

It was just yesterday that I was sending that chubby-cheeked baby to preschool.

And now? She's transformed into a precocious, funny, witty little girl.  I can't believe there is less than a 2 year gap between these two pictures.  What's even crazier is how much she has matured and learned in that short time.

I know the next 14 years are going to continue at this crazy pace.  Before we know it, she'll be graduating from high school and off to pursue her dreams. So, Noah and I are already planning for her future (and her little brother's, too).  We want Jackson and Emmie to have options available to them that allow them to pursue whatever dreams they might have.

We were so excited to find about a current promotion that the Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) program is offering all throughout the month of May.  To celebrate "5/29 day," by opening a MACS account with $100 and signing up for Automatic Contributions, you qualify for MACS to add $50 after three months.  Even if you already have a MACS account you can qualify for the automatic contribution promotion!  You can learn more about this promotion here.

If you aren't familiar with MACS, it is Mississippi's 529 college savings plan.  It works like a Roth Retirement Account. Your contributions grow tax-free along the way & are tax-free when you use the money for college. The money saved with MACS can be used at an accredited college or university in the country (& even some abroad) toward things like college costs, tuition, room & board, computer, any supplies required by the school.  And if one child doesn't use the savings, you can always roll it to the next one!  Plus, as an added bonus, Mississippi state taxpayers receive a state tax deduction on the contributions you make to MACS each year (up to $20K for joint filers and $10K for single filers).

If you've been planning on starting a college savings fund for your child but just haven't gotten around to it, this is a fantastic time to get going!  Want to find out more about Mississippi Affordable College Savings Program?  Check out their website!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Create It Thursday #159 (Plus Features)

Get ready to see some of the best new creations on the web!

I got a ton of new ideas at last week's party!  You can find a few of my favorite ideas (and one of the fan favorites) below. These will also be on the Create It Thursday Pinterest board, the Lamberts Lately Twitter page, and the Lamberts Lately Facebook page!

...and this week's fan favorite...

A huge thanks to everyone who shared ideas with us at last week's party!  Here's your button if you're featured above: 

Time for another party!

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Introducing Everyday Clean

I am so, so excited to announce my latest project today!

There's no doubt that the most popular post I've ever published on my blog is this post - it details my cleaning schedule and how it's completely transformed my home.  I have been absolutely amazed at the response it's received since it was published in August 2015.  As of right now, it has hundreds of thousands of views and repins on Pinterest.

As a result, I got a lot of emails requesting specifics on how I use it.  So, several months ago, I provided a printable calendar to my newsletter subscribers that specified exactly how I break the calendar down.  The response to it was awesome; many readers asked for the same kind of calendar the next month.

That gave me the idea to write an eBook that really goes in-depth with how you can integrate the cleaning schedule in your own life!  Everyday Clean is a collection of printables that lays out absolutely everything you might need to know about using this popular cleaning system.

In this eBook, readers are going to get an updated version of the original cleaning printable.  It reflects a lot of the feedback and requests I've received.  You'll also get 6 months of cleaning calendars (for July-December 2016), deep cleaning printables that aren't available anywhere else, and detailed instructions on how I use this system.  You'll even get pretty cover sheets that allow you to make your own cleaning notebook!

The book is in final revision stages right now and we're finalizing a lot of the behind-the-scenes logistics of selling the book.  This project has been in the works for a couple of months now...I'm so excited to finally see it coming to life!

You'll be able to grab your own copy of Everyday Clean on June 14!  Stay tuned for all of the details of this project.  I can't wait to share it with y'all!

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Life Lately

We've had a fun few weeks!  It's so nice to kind of be out and about again...after feeling like I was trapped in a cave for a few months, any activity is good activity, you know?

How about a good old fashioned photo dump to sum up the last month?  (I feel like I post less and less personal posts over here, but if you follow along on Instagram, I post lots of our day to day pictures over there!)

We started off April with a little bit of April Fool's fun!  Emmie got a huge kick out of the old frozen cereal trick.

We also had two great check-ups for these little love bugs.  Both are totally healthy, still on the upper end of their growth percentiles, and the smaller one took his shots like a champ!

Jackson went to church the Sunday after he had his first set of shots.  He liked it more than this picture conveys, I promise. (How funny is Emmie's face in this one?)

We've had a ton of outside fun over the past few weeks!  The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, so we're having a great time taking care of our garden (Emmie is great about remembering to water it, not so much), blowing bubbles, and playing in the water.

Emmie has developed a little bit of a love of photography.  She constantly asks for my phone to take pictures, and I find her creations all the time in my photo history.  This is just one example of many, many (many) sets of pictures I've found over the past month or two.

We had cousins in town a few weeks ago!  Emmie and Jackson loved getting to play for a few days.

Somebody had her last day of school last week!  We've loved this year so much...nobody tells you this, but one of the coolest things ever is to watch your own child learn.

Just to compare, first day of school vs. last day of school.  She looks like such a baby compared to the picture taken now.

And speaking of baby...last year's first and last pictures. #MakeHerStopGrowing

The night of Emmie's last day, she had a performance at school!  This is her biggest fan cheering her on in the audience.

My girl...thankfully she hasn't developed my stage fright yet!

Since she wasn't in school for Mother's or Father's Day, we got our "gifts" from school a little early.  I'll say one thing - "She likes to eat food?" The girl knows her Momma.

(And apparently I'm quite the cradle robber.)

This weekend, we headed to Tuscaloosa for Jackson's first out of town trip!  My brother graduated from Alabama on Friday, and we got to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom Sunday.

I mean really.  The cutest.

Can we just talk about how much Alabama has grown for a second?  This is one of three graduation ceremonies they had that weekend...when I was there (less than 10 years ago), maybe half of that crowd graduated at a time and there were only two ceremonies.  It's insane!

We also got to see some Tuscaloosa friends!  We had a playdate with my best friend from high school and her daughter.  She and Emmie are only about a month apart in age!

We also got to see some of our favorite people...Harrison is Noah's big brother in his fraternity.  He and his family (his mom is on the right) have become some of our closest friends! They love our babies and our babies love them (just ask Emmie about Uncle Harry, she'll tell you all about him).

And one more shot of my babies in their mis-matched PJ's and bed head...they already love each other SO much.  I can't tell you how much I love watching them together!

***I have a big announcement coming Monday morning...I can't wait to share a huge project with you guys!***

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