Monday, February 20, 2017

Cherishing the Firsts AND Lasts of Childhood

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

As parents, we mark down and celebrate our kids' firsts.  Their first smile, first word, first step, etc.  Some people keep detailed memory books or calendars, others post the latest milestone on Facebook.

But have you ever stopped and thought about your child's lasts?  They usually slip by unnoticed until all of a sudden, you realize that things have changed.

Here are some of my kids' lasts that I wish I known about. Some were welcomed, some were sad:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Few of My Favorite (Tubie) Things! + a Giveaway

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

For 16 months of his life, my son Davy had a hole in his tummy.

He got it when he was two months old and was unable to eat enough to grow.  His G Tube was a little button that was inserted into the surgically placed hole or stoma in his precious little tummy.  Eventually, he learned how to eat and when he was 18 months old, we were able to remove his G Tube, leaving a little pucker on his stomach that resembles a second bellybutton.

A few of my favorite tubie things + a giveaway!

During Davy's time as a "tubie," I compiled a list of things that I found especially useful or just really cool and am excited to share them with you.  Please keep in mind that everyone is different and what works for one person, may not work for the next.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Davy's Tube Feeding Story

I used to think that only kids who were terminally ill, disabled, or premature had to have feeding tubes.  I never in a million years thought I would have a child who would need a to be tube fed.

I was so wrong.

Davy's Tube Feeding Story

Friday, January 27, 2017

What It's Like to be a Special Needs Mom With Special Needs

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

I have 4 kids. Katie (8 years old) has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, and a visual tracking disorder.  Nano (6 years old) has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, and eczema.  Anna (4 years old) has Amblyopia, and Davy (2 years old) has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, GERD, severe eczema, hypotonia, mild developmental delays, and is a tubie graduate

And then there's me, the source of my kids' bad genes.  I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, GERD, asthma, eczema, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS, unexplained sudden anaphylaxis episodes, and PTSD.  I'm what is referred to as a spoonie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Join the Free Birds Coffee Club!

My baby sister had a baby last year.  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around that.  Wasn't  it just yesterday that she was a little 4 year old with a head full of Shirley Temple curls following me around like a cute, but annoying little puppy?

But I digress.

She entered into motherhood with a lot of experience and knowledge under her belt, thanks to watching both me and our older sister have four babies apiece and being the cool babysitting aunt.

Join the Free Birds Coffee Club!

Basically, she's rocking the mommy thing, and I'm kind of amazed at how awesome she is at it.

One of the things she's learned about being a mom is that you will go crazy if you don't take some time to recharge every now and then.  So she decided that once a month, the three of us sisters and our mom will visit a coffee shop together while one of our husbands watches the kids.  Not only is she making sure that she stays sane as a mom, but she's making sure we do too.

Have I mentioned how amazing she is?

Thanks to doctors' appointments, I missed the first two outings, but I made it to the January one.  The best part of the trip was when we walked into a thrift store after getting our coffee/tea and the lady working the counter asked why we weren't in school.  As in high school.


Talk about an ego boost, right?!?!

Okay...back to the point.

Our once-a-month coffee shop outings are called Free Birds, a name my mom and younger sister came up with at the December event.  Naturally, that warranted its own hashtag, #freebirds, and cheer.  Yup, I said cheer, like the ones with pom poms.  I came up with it spur of the moment after we all piled into my minivan and were a little giddy with freedom and the prospect of caffeine.

Here goes:

Hot tea, coffee,
that's our game!
If we don't get it,
we go insane!

And before I apologize for assaulting your mind with that fun little cheer, here are the shirts I designed for our #freebirds group.

 Free Birds Coffee Club Shirt

What can I say, I'm a bit of a really big dork and a chai latte addict.

So here's the deal.  I want you to start your own Free Birds group with some of your mom friends/sisters/moms, etc.  Get some coffee or a chai latte (because that's pretty much the best thing ever) and relax.  Maybe do a little shopping afterwords.  Recharge.  You deserve it, and your kids deserve it.
Join the Free Birds Coffee Club!


Here's our group picture.  From left to right is my baby sister, a teenaged friend who stayed with my family for a few weeks, my older sister, my mom, and me.  You can tell just by looking at the picture how relaxed and happy we were.

If you start your own group, I'd love to hear about it!  Take a picture and hashtag it #freebirds or share it on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Share Your Affiliate Links

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for helping me keep this blog going!

So you signed up to be an affiliate (hopefully with the Sunshine and Spoons affiliate program!) what do you do with that referral link?

Obviously the goal is to share it with people so they'll make purchases and earn a commission for you.  To make that a little bit easier, here are 6 ways for you to share your affiliate link along with 5 affiliate companies I recommend joining.

How to Share Your Affiliate Links

First, the most important thing you need to know about being an affiliate is that you must always disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner that the link you're sharing is an affiliate one.  This post from Tricia Meyer gives an easy-to-understand overview of the FTC's disclosure guidelines.

Basically, if you include affiliate links in a blog post, you have to include a disclosure at the beginning of your post.  See the top of this post for an example of how I disclose.

If you're sharing on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, there are several ways you can disclose.  I've seen some people use hashtags such as #ad #aff at the beginning or end of their post.  Others start their post with "Disclosure: Affiliate link."  It's up to you...just make sure you disclose it in some way!

There are several ways you can share your affiliate link.  You can either share the whole website/shop or a specific product.  To share a specific product, you may need to use your affiliate website's link generator.

Join the Sunshine and Spoons affiliate program!

Okay, on to the fun stuff.

1. Share an your affiliate link or a specific product from your affiliate on your Facebook profile or page.  Here's an example of a post from my page where I shared an affiliate link from Amazon.

2. Share your affiliate link in Facebook groups.  The best way to do this is to take a picture of you wearing or using the product and then post it in the group with your affiliate link to the shop.

3. Share your affiliate link on Twitter.  Here's an example of one I shared on Twitter.  Make sure to use hashtags!

4. Share your affiliate link on Instagram.  You can put your affiliate link directly in your profile and share a picture of the website or product, directing people to click on the link in your profile.

5. Pin your affiliate link on Pinterest.  This post from Just a Girl and Her Blog details how to do it.

6. If you have a blog or website of your own, that's a great place to share your affiliate links!  One way to do that is to write a review of your affiliate website and/or a product from it, making sure that you include your affiliate link in the post several times.  You can also place banner ads on your blog/website-just check your affiliate's site to find and download one.

How to share your affiliate links:

Now that you know what you're doing (or are starting to figure it out!), it's time to join some more affiliate programs!  Here's a list of the ones I recommend.

1. ShareASale
    ShareASale is awesome because it hooks you up with TONS of different companies.  My favorite affiliate I work with through ShareASale is Gymboree (and yes, that <---- is an affiliate link!)

2. Affiliate Window 
    Affiliate Window also connects you to many companies.  I love that you can be an Etsy affiliate through them!  The best part of Affiliate Window though is their Convert-A-Link feature.  Once you've installed the Javascript on your blog/website, it automatically converts all links, old and new, to affiliate links.

3. Amazon
    Amazon is another affiliate program I love.  Lets face it, if you can't buy it on Amazon, it probably doesn't exist which means that you can create affiliate links for pretty much anything.  Once you've been approved as an affiliate, an Amazon Associates Sitestripe will appear at the top of the page when you're signed into Amazon.  It makes it easy to share links, check your earnings, and more.  
4. Commission Junction 
    Commission Junction also does all the work of connecting you to many different companies.  I don't work with them much, but I know a lot of bloggers who do and love it.

5. Ebates
    Ebates is a really cool site where you earn cashback on your online purchases.  As a bonus, you earn money every time someone signs up for Ebates using your referral link.

How to share your affiliate links:

Are you ready to take the plunge into affiliate marketing?  A good place to start is with my affiliate program!  You can learn more about it here.   

You might also enjoy:

Join the Sunshine and Spoons Shop Affiliate Program

So guess what?!?

You can now earn money by referring your friends to my shop.

Join the Sunshine and Spoons Shop affiliate program!

That's right.  You can earn money in your Paypal account or gift cards to my shop just by showing your friends (and enemies too, because why not?) the awesome shirts in my shop so they can buy one for themselves.

All you have to do is click here and register to be an affiliate.  It's easy and free, and you'll be sent your own personal referral link to share with others.

Join the Sunshine & Spoons Shop Affiliate Program & earn money/gift cards!

As an affiliate for Sunshine and Spoons Shop, you'll earn a 4% commission on all orders placed using your referral link with a 7 day cookie.  There's no limit to how much you can earn!

Want to know more about sharing your affiliate links?  You can about it here!

What are you waiting for?  Join the Sunshine and Spoons Shop affiliate program!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Special Needs and Chronic Illness Medical Binder Printable

When Davy was in the thick of his medical complexities, I put together a binder full of information and notes that I took with me to every appointment.  I used the binder to track Davy's symptoms, log his meds and hospitalizations, record questions for upcoming appointments, and more.  It was pretty basic...loose notebook paper shoved in plastic sheet protectors and held together in a 3 ring binder.  Nothing fancy, but it helped me stay organized and on top of Davy's care needs, especially when we switched health care providers.

Special Needs and Chronic Illness Medical Binder Printable

Then, last year, Davy along with two of his siblings and I, were all diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How To Save Money With the $5 Method

If you've been on Facebook or Pinterest lately, you may have seen the 52 week saving challenge.

I tried it once.

I got to day 11 and realized that it wasn't working for me.  I usually didn't have the right amount of cash on me so short of writing myself a check each week, it just wasn't practical.

How To Save Money With the $5 Method

But, I still wanted to save money so I wracked my brain and came up with a different way to do it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Kids' 2017 New Year's Resolutions

I asked my kids what their New Year's Resolutions were.

They looked at me with blank expressions and turned back to playing with their new toys.

Soooo, being the awesome mom I am, I helped them out a little.