And Working Mother

From Squidoo to Your Own Site

I first got my start making money online by posting content to a site called Squidoo. I joined in 2009 and did very well for myself until they started having issues with Google in the early part of 2013. At that time, Squidoo made significant changes to their strategy, the kinds of content they wanted, and the layout of their site. Their rules and regulations changed and they way they went about making those changes was – at the very least – annoying (and that’s being polite).

As a result, I ended up moving all of my lenses to my own site: StonesFinds. It took awhile and I still have some to publish but it was well worth it.

Now, I make the rules about what goes on the site and what doesn’t. I decide what I want to write about and I don’t have to worry that the format will have changed while I was off working on something else. Talk about feeling free and working for oneself!

I’ve also added other kinds of posts to the site – content about my life, travel, my kids, and hobbies. I can write whatever I want to write about with whatever words I want to use and not worry that I’ve got to get past some secret filter.

I have to thank Squidoo for allowing me a free place to practice but now I’m doing much better on my own and would encourage those of you who are struggling to simply start your own site.

Sewing Machines for Beginners

Janome 6500P Sewing MachineWhen you’re a mother of all boys, there are some topics and items you don’t shop for much. One of those items would be sewing machines for beginners. There’s not really a whole lot of sewing going on at my house. There used to be, though. I took home ec in high school. I’ve made my share of pillows. I think I even made a dress once. (Pretty sure I never actually WORE it, however.)

Now, there SHOULD be some sewing taking place at my house. I’m a bit, well, short. Pants aren’t easy to find. I have rolls of that stitch witchery tape so I can hem them with an iron. However, I’m always catching my heels in my hems and ripping out that darn ironing tape so actually altering the pants with a sewing machine is probably not a bad idea. In fact, I suspect that’s one of the reasons most people have a sewing machine – for alterations. What a novel concept!

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How I Ended Up Buying a Motorola Droid

Motorola Droid Picture

Motorola Droid at Amazon

Here’s the story of how I ended up buying a Motorola Droid even though I hung up on a sales person who tried to sell me one a few months ago and told the salesperson in the Verizon store last week that I thought it was highly unattractive. Now, I wouldn’t trade it for any other phone.

We got my oldest son (let’s call him son #1) a cell phone the Christmas he was 13 years old. The age of cell phone achievement in our household was then set. Reach 13, get a cell phone. Our youngest (son #3), who is 6, is pretty sure that’s the stupidest rule he’s ever heard. He’d like a cell phone NOW. Fortunately for him, we didn’t stick to it long. Instead of waiting until 13, we got son #2 a cell phone this past Christmas at the age of 12. At this rate, son #3 will have one by the time he’s 8. And so go the rules at our house.

In either case, in December of this past year, I tried to order the phone for son #2 as a Christmas present through our carrier’s website (let’s leave out their name, shall we?). I love to shop online – especially at Christmas time – and I was a bit overly pleased with myself for getting my online shopping started in time to get the presents to my parents’ house where we’d be spending the holiday.

I ventured onto my carrier’s website to order the phone and add a phone line. How hard could that be, right? There’s even a little button that says “Add a Phone Line”. Yup. That’s what I want to do! Click.

Click….click…select….click….backup….click….what the *(#&$)(*&#!

So much for making things simple. For the life of me, I could not add the phone line, much less order a phone.

Oh, but there’s a cute little live-chat option. I’ll just ask someone to walk me through it. (I’ll save you the long description of that fiasco. Let’s just say that didn’t go well either.)

Next, I call my carrier and tell them what I want to do. Sure, no problem, he says (evilly – I swear!) “The reason you’re having trouble adding the phone line is that you are up for a free upgrade on your main phone and you’ll have to use the upgrade before you can add a new line.”


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Hugging and Business – Why the Two Don’t Mix

Hugging cat

© Marcus in NY

As the final day with my employer approaches, there has been a lot of reminiscing at work.  I’ve been with the same group of people for more than 10 years.  Today, we got into a discussion about hugging and business and why I think the two don’t mix.

I know, you’re saying, “Well, it seems kind of obvious why the two shouldn’t go together.  Don’t they teach you that in workplace harrassment classes?

Yes, but I work in an unusual, tightly knit industry.  Sometimes too tightly knit.  When the group of us involved in this particular business congregate at a conference, there’s an awful lot of hugging – as if it’s a family reunion.

When I attended my first conference, I noticed it right off the bat.  Why are all of these people hugging each other?  This is supposed to be a professional atmosphere.  Not being the huggy type, it really struck me as a bit bizarre.

And then, I saw one coming my way.  A business acquaintance I’d met maybe once or twice before.  He had the look of a hugger and he was walking towards me.  His arms started to outstretch.  I’m sure my eyes were the size of saucers and I did the only thing I could think of to escape the oncoming squeeze.  I stuck my hand straight out in front of me in traditional hand shake position.  He faltered for a moment, recovered, grinned and shook my hand.  “Not a hugger, huh?”, he asked.  I smiled back and shook my head.

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Robot Mop – My New Best Friend

Robot Mop

iRobot Roomba Floor Washer

Meet my robot mop.  She’s short and round and cleans my floors for free – 24/7,  if asked.  She never complains, has completely freed my back from having to sweep, vacuum and mop large amounts of tile floor, and sits quietly in the corner when not in use.

My parents have used an iRobot vacuum for over a year now and have raved about it since they brought “her” home.  She’s been dubbed “Bridget” by my niece and they love to watch her roam the floors sucking up any dirt she might find.

So, while visiting my parents over the holidays, Dad and I got into a discussion about the one he has in his garage, too, to keep his workshop area clean.  This led to quite some time investigating the iRobot site and my “oohing” and “ahhing” over all of the cool products – especially the robot floor washer.

You see, when you live in Arizona, tile floors are a pretty big deal.  They help keep your house cool and are easier to keep clean with all of the dust that floats through our air and, well, I think they’re just part of our normal desert decor.  They look really cool – until you have to clean them.  And, of course, I had to get a nice, light beige floor tile.  It can take me well over three hours a week just to do the tile floors, between sweeping or vacuuming and then mopping.

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Diaper Cake Ideas

I have found some great diaper cake ideas, for boys and girls, and built a collection of them, along with photos, at a few new sites on the web. These are the cutest things and although I never had one at any of my baby showers, I can see why they make a great gift. My boys aren’t so old that I don’t remember how many diapers we seemed to go through in a day!

If you’re looking for a great baby shower gift or want to make a diaper cake, these resources will help you out with pictures, instructions and more:

Diaper Cake Ideas
Best Diaper Cakes for Baby Showers
How to Make a Diaper Cake Step by Step
Baby Shower Centerpiece Ideas
Diaper Cakes for Boys
Diaper Cake Ideas (yes, I did it twice!)

There are many ways to use a diaper cake either as a decoration for a baby shower or purely as a gift to an expectant mother. Some are simple but beautiful and decorated with bows in baby colors, dots, or stripes. Others are adorned with all kinds of baby gifts, toys and toiletries. Many are filled with baby lotions, powders and baby bath soap.

You can also find diaper cakes in all kinds of themes – diaper cakes for boys, girls, multiples. Diaper cakes with monkeys, giraffes, cars, trains, flowers, princess themes. Even diaper cakes done up in the colors of your favorite college football team.

They’re not difficult to make, in fact, they’re actually quite fun and the best part is picking all of the neat ways in which you can decorate a diaper cake.


Free Cars Programs and Research

I’ve been doing some research lately on free car programs for business reasons and found some interesting material. Did you know there are companies that will buy a new car, have their advertising put on with ad wrap, and then give it to someone to drive around FOR them? A great advertising mechanism, for sure!

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Guys Are Visual and Why I Get That Now

Part of an email to a friend last week:

“I just realized something…and I don’t know why this didn’t sink in before but just as I was reading your question my son came to me with the traditional “Mom, can you come look at something?” and I’m thinking to myself, “Why must the kids always make me come look at something?”

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How to Make Balloon Decorations

I’ve been gathering information on how to make balloon decorations for awhile now. Mostly this is because I have three boys and I’ve made balloon decorations a regular event for every birthday. I can now do a number of cool tricks like balloon columns, arches, and even came across some stuffed balloon ideas. It’s easier than you think.

I’m using that research in a couple of ways. First, I’m planning two birthday parties – one in a couple of weeks for my middle son and another next March for my oldest son’s 16th birthday. Second, as I’m gathering these ideas, I thought it was a great way to practice writing and I put up a few article pages about the balloon decoration ideas and instructions I’d found…which then became a blog:

I’ve been amazed at how many cool ideas there are for balloon decorations.   Just peek around the web and you’ll find images of all kinds of neat arches and columns and centerpieces.  But HOW to make balloon decorations?  That’s what I wanted to know.  And if I wanted to know that, I figured others did, too.   And you know what?  Get a few basic steps down and you can do so much more than you imagined.

Those who know me will say they’re not surprised this turned into so many pages of content.  I never do anything in small doses…

All I can say is my children are soon going to be overwhelmed with balloons (and I better remember to take pictures!).