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Entrepreneurship

    Changing the Game With CoSchedule

    I’m still in my first year with this blog and getting in my groove with the business aspect of it. There’s quite a few things that I didn’t know about blogging as a business that I wish I did (my series to come next month) and one of the things I underestimated was the impact of social networking.

    Here’s the thing, when it comes to social networking personally, I may be a bit of a junkie. I tweet, Instagram, send FB updates, get caught up for hours on Pinterest… I love it. But here’s the thing, when you’re building up a social network for business, things are different. There’s an art, a science, a methodology to the thing for greater chances of success. In all honesty, I thought that I could manage doing it all by myself PLUS writing PLUS pitching PLUS running my store PLUS everything else. And I can do it, but not if I expect to sleep.

    So I signed up for Coschedule.

    What IS CoSchedule?

    It’s an all-in-one marketing calendar that works seamlessly with your site and social networks. Not only does it make it easy to schedule posts, it also works to track the success of whatever post you’ve created (tweet, FB update, Pin, etc). If you use WordPress, this is definitely what you want since there’s a plugin giving you direct access to everything you need from the dashboard. I have another calendar plug-in and it just does not cut it.

    My Favorite Features:

    CoSchedule has been one of the most useful tools in the business of blogging to date. It's recent partnership with Pinterest has really increased the capital. I love it and here's why: www.thecrunchymommy.com

    Getting Started

    I think that CoSchedule thought of everything. Set-up and log-in took me about 5 minutes from start to finish. It was easy as pie (assuming you’re good at baking) to get things running and have my dashboard look like this:

    When you get started, they set up some things for you to do that will get you acclimated with the program. And they have a tutorial video that makes things even easier to get set-up. Check out this video here that speaks to everything you can do:

    CoSchedule In Use

    I love it and I didn’t think that I would. I’ve signed up for so many other resources that are supposed to help streamline the business of blogging and social networking. They’re nice. They work. But I’m a blogger, an influencer and this site is my baby, my bread and butter, my legacy. My goal is to help and positively influence as many people as I possibly can and in the two weeks that I’ve been using CoSchedule, it’s made a vast difference in how I do things.

    As I finish writing my posts, I’m able to schedule my posts on the following:

    • Twitter
    • Facebook (Personal)
    • Facebook (Fan Page)
    • Linked In
    • Pinterest
    • Tumblr

    Not only am I able to schedule them for the day that I post, but I can schedule them for the next day, week, month, and whatever custom date I’ve decided to use. Game. Changer.

    **New Feature** Pinterest

    I was really excited about this. Pinterest has been one of the networks that I’ve been working on figuring out. When you schedule your post on Pinterest, you can choose multiple boards at a time–so big to me!

    How Did Your Post Do?

    Stats are something that I’m in love with. From a marketing standpoint, these are the form of measurement that makes sense of dollars for them and confirm or deny your strategy. (Need help with your social strategy? Check out this post by CoSchedule) Look at this nifty report they put together showing you just the impact that your posts are having:

    Very cool right?

    If you’re interested in seeing what CoSchedule can do, sign up for your free 14-day here.


    Do you use a scheduling program? Have you considered CoSchedule?

    Cloth Diapering Made Easy

    Cloth diapering has come a looooong way and dare I say it's become easy? Even with all the choices, cloth diapering your baby is not only eco-friendly, but it's budget friendly as well! And to show this, Nicki's Diapers is offering a giveaway so be sure to enter today!

    I can still remember my first encounter with a cloth diaper. I was babysitting my friend’s baby when I was in college and he brought over all these pieces of thick cloth and showed me how to fold into a perpendicular triangle that somehow created a diaper around his baby’s little bottom. I’m not sure how we made it through diaper changes but I’m sure there was at least one time that I shed some tears as I tried to wrap her up while she skillfully maneuvered out of it and away from me. At that point, I broke up with the notion of ever cloth diapering my kids. I was scarred and unforgiving.

    Until now.

    So a big part of being “crunchy” is cloth diapering. Given my history of it, I wasn’t so enthusiastic about this aspect but part of growing up is forgiving and thus I’ve ended up where I am now. Ok, so maybe I didn’t forgive but I did get over that prior experience after seeing the huge changes that were made in cloth diapering. Not only were they absolutely adorable, but they were easy to use!!!

    Can't even tell she's wearing a cloth diaper!

    Can’t even tell she’s wearing a cloth diaper!

    Cloth Diaper Essentials

    Wet Bags

    Unlike disposable diapers where you just toss the entire diaper and wipes in the trash, you don’t do that with your cloth diapers. Have a wet bag is super important and makes the cloth diaper cleaning process so much easier. Once you’ve pulled out the wet cloth, toss it in one of these babies to hold until it’s time to wash.

    Cloth Bottoms Dressed 3

    Cloth Wipes

    I didn’t think these were so necessary until I was trying to figure out where to put the wipes that I’d just used on her poopy bottom. With the cloth wipes, you can easily roll them up with the cloth diapers to dump into the wet bag for washing. Assuming you go with this option, snag one of these wipe solutions to keep the wipes ready to use.

    Laundry Care

    I thought that my little tubs from Walmart would work (and we made them work) but special detergent for the poop, having a tub with a splatter shield, and stain remover are all really important.

    Cloth diapering has come a looooong way and dare I say it's become easy? Even with all the choices, cloth diapering your baby is not only eco-friendly, but it's budget friendly as well! And to show this, Nicki's Diapers is offering a giveaway so be sure to enter today!

    Deciding On Your Cloth Diapering System

    I thought this would be harder than it was. Here are the different types of cloth diapers:

    • One Size Diapers – These can be used from birth through potty training.
    • Diaper Covers – Waterproof outer layer that is used with flats, prefolds, or fitteds.
    • All-in-Two Diapers – Waterproof shell with separate inserts. Inserts need to be changed at changing–shell can stay on.
    • Pocket Diapers – Waterproof shell with an opening for inserts or prefolds to be placed inside. Must change cover and insert at each change.
    • All-In-One Diapers – One piece that has a waterproof outer shell with an attached cloth interior. Must change entire diaper at each changing.
    • Prefold Diapers – Rectangular cloth with 3 panels that can be used with a cover.
    • Flat Diapers – Single layer of fabric that is folded into a cover.
    • Fitted Diapers – Entire diaper is cloth and is contoured to fit baby. No folding and entire diaper must be changed out with each changing.
    This is the Hedgehog design. So.Frickin.Cute.

    This is the Hedgehog design. So.Frickin.Cute.

    I went with an All-In-Two diaper system. This was the most convenient to me for a couple reasons. My system has a snap-in system making diaper changing super easy. I also like the way these fit abc. You can’t tell that she’s wearing a cloth diaper because her little bottom isn’t super fluffy. Outside of them being hard to use in the beginning, I hated that clothes didn’t fit because of the size of the cloth diaper! I specifically got the Best Bottom Cloth Diaper System with the Stay Dry Inserts.

    Happy Cloth Bottom

    Popular Questions

    Q: How many do you buy?

    A: That honestly depends on how often you plan on doing laundry and how old your baby is. With abc being 18 months, we go through between 6-8 diaper changes a day. I have 3 shells and 12 inserts. Because with our system we have you don’t have change the shell with every diaper change we do laundry every other day. 

    Q: Was it expensive to get started?

    A: Nope. It took about $85 to get started with this package here. On average, we spend about $40/month on diapers. Now we spend pretty much nothing–though I still send her to daycare with some disposables. 

    Q: The poop… How do you deal?

    A: I’m not going to lie. It was hard at first. But we keep some black tubs ready and waiting to have the poopy ones dumped into. 

    How about a giveway!?!?!?

    Yep! Nicki’s Diapers wants to giveaway a system to get someone started in their cloth diapering journey:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Use coupon code “crunchymommy” for a 5% discount on all orders through March 2016.

    **I received product to test but all opinions expressed are my own.**

    Celebrating Love With the 2016 Mazda 3

    I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here!

    Love is in the air…

    Yes, in my head I sang that. We just wrapped up Valentine’s Day weekend along with mini’s 6th birthday with the help of the 2016 Mazda 3. This isn’t our first time zooming around town in a Mazda so I already knew that I was going to be in love but how approps is it that the car was red?!?

    Lady Roulette… this @mazdausa drives soooooooooooo smooth I fell in love with her!!! #drivemazda

    A photo posted by The Crunchy Mommy (@thecrunchymommy) on

    As with all the cars, I named her Lady Roulette. I don’t know why but that’s what spoke to me when she rolled up in my driveway.

    So what did Lady Roulette and I do while we were together? Everything!

    Celebrating My Little Love

    I can’t believe that my mini, my breath, my greatest achievement and the catalyst to my life being as challenging awesome as it is now turned SIX on the twelfth!!! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was picking my mom and her bestie up from returning from a cruise when I told her that I was having contractions. Me at 26 was waaaaaay less informed about all of this birthing stuff and I hadn’t even had Braxton Hicks contractions so I had no clue what I was in for. I sat on Facebook and chatted with my friend Lori, what was already a mom, about what contractions felt like and that was when she suggested that I start timing them. Less than 24 hours later, I was holding my mini who is now 6.

    We decided not to do a party outside of school since she opted to take the cash that we would have spent on it instead. I thought it was a winning deal because while party planning is so much fun, it can also be super tedious. But just because there wasn’t a party doesn’t mean that she wasn’t going to be treated special! For her birthday, I decided to go against the norm and make birthday donuts instead of cupcakes! Roulette and I zoomed around town looking for all the things I would need to make them both vegan and delicious. We made it happen:

    But when she woke up, I wanted her to feel special! So I zoomed around and got balloons that we weighted down with little gifts and a chalkboard that screamed “Happy Birthday!!!” Luckily for me, the trunk space in the Mazda was so unexpectedly big that I was able to leave the balloons in there overnight and not ruin her surprise! She loved her birthday treats that concluded with a formal tea at one of our favorite spots. She has been officially inducted into her sixth year of life!

    Celebrating The Love of My Life

    This isn’t my first time at the marriage rodeo (another post for another day ha!) but it is my final ride. I married the most amazing man. He’s an incredible friend, father, and mate and I wouldn’t trade him for the world because his idea of a night out on the town matches mine. Instead of doing the cheesy, romantic stuff for Valentine’s Day (not knocking it, it’s just not us), I surprised him with tickets for the Amazing Escape Room. I registered us for the zombie room (side note: I’m legit scared of zombies so I chose this room to make sure that should the apocalypse happen, I’m ready. This is also the reason I work out ha!). But on our way there, Roulette set the tone for us:

    Roulette, the @mazdausa I’m whipping this week, is setting the mood for the hubs and I’s #datenight #drivemazda #thanksmom

    A photo posted by The Crunchy Mommy (@thecrunchymommy) on

    Amazing Escape Room

    I’ll go into a deeper review sometime soon but here’s our visit in a nutshell:

    • the zombie room is the hardest
    • it was tons of fun
    • we didn’t make it out alive

    12745729_10100142668363607_269430941413096773_n

    Granted we didn’t make it out of the room, but we still won since we were able to hop back into our cute Mazda to continue zooming about our evening.

    I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here!

    Celebrating the Mazda

    I really enjoyed this car! Now I typically drive a crossover vehicle that is more spacious but I loved that this car offered way more trunk space than I currently have.

    Pros:

    • The engine is eco-friendly. It gets a boost from self-charging battery source using less gas.

    I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here!

     

    • The interior is rather lush! I love the leather seats which make for easy clean up with kids and the red on black is sexy!!!

    I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here!

    • The trunk space is something that any mother would love. I had a jogging stroller and two weeks worth of groceries in there!

    image

    • Great gas mileage. I put $5 in and was able to drive 85 miles!
    • Easy and safe messaging on the go

    I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here! I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here!

    • Flip up speedometer so it’s easy to see your speed

    I love the all new 2016 Mazda 3! It was such a zippy car to zoom around in making my Valentine's Day and mini's birthday something to remember! Read more here!

    Cons:

    • Not enough space for 2 carseats + long limbed parents. We were quite literally squished with the 4 of us in there. My husband is 6’3 and I’m almost 5’6. Both our kids are off the charts with their height so we’re rather long people. We kind of felt like sardines in there!

    We had a lot of fun driving this car but I think it’s more for my peeps without 2 kids!

    Are you a car, SUV, or minivan lover??? 

    **I received the 2016 Mazda 3 for a week but the opinions expressed here are all mine.**

    2016 Kia Sorento: The Motherload

    Once you become an adult, it seems like your life is a never ending run of errands. When you add children to the mix, you add birthday parties, sports events, competitions, play dates, and the like every.single.weekend. Having kids in the car provides an insane amount of distractions between the “Are we there yet?”s and the constant requests for different music or to talk to nana or…well you get where I’m going with this. Well, I had the opportunity to test drive the 2016 Kia Sorento and I fell in love. I nicknamed our Kia Sorento “Muva” because of her mother-like intuition.

    Yes, you read that right. This vehicle is soooooooo intuitive that it even welcomes me to the car and says good bye when I leave it!!!

    Exterior

    I think every feature on this car is my favorite but lets start with the exterior:

    • Smart Welcome Lighting – when I walked up to the car, the lights turned on and welcomed me to the car! I love this feature especially because at night it’s comforting to have the light scare off potential predators.

    The 2016 Kia Sorento is the "mother" of all vehicles I've ever driven. Check out my review at www.thecrunchymommy.com and see all the features that make motherhood way easier!

    • Panoramic sunroof – this might have been my favorite feature because of my tendency to sit in the car after I’ve parked.

    What a beautiful day it is in GA!!! We’re heading to @sprouts farmers market in Muva–the 2016 @kia Sorento #drivekia

    A photo posted by The Crunchy Mommy (@thecrunchymommy) on

    • Smart Power Liftgate – when you have the key and stand behind the door, the trunk opens by itself!! Can you picture how helpful this is when you’re carrying a whole lot and you’re struggling with your keys?!?!

    The 2016 Kia Sorento is the "mother" of all vehicles I've ever driven. Check out my review at www.thecrunchymommy.com and see all the features that make motherhood way easier!

    Interior

    I could quite literally list every feature in the entire car because Kia really outdid themselves here.

    • Surround View Monitoring – this is so cool. When you put your car in reverse, you can see 360 degrees around the vehicle.
    • A million and 1 places to charge your electronics–even your normal plug that you use in the house!!!
    • Seating for 7–there’s third row seating that pops up and goes down really easily The 2016 Kia Sorento is the "mother" of all vehicles I've ever driven. Check out my review at www.thecrunchymommy.com and see all the features that make motherhood way easier!
    • Different drive modes – there’s 3 modes available: Eco, Sport, and Regular.
    • Heated AND cooled seats!!! Yes, that means you can have both toasty and cool buns! But it’s not just the front seats, the back seats as well! IMG_1975
    • Heated steering wheelThe 2016 Kia Sorento is the "mother" of all vehicles I've ever driven. Check out my review at www.thecrunchymommy.com and see all the features that make motherhood way easier!
    • Reclining back seats. This is a game changer for us because we road trip and mini always ends up falling out of her booster seat folded over uncomfortably. The 2016 Kia Sorento is the "mother" of all vehicles I've ever driven. Check out my review at www.thecrunchymommy.com and see all the features that make motherhood way easier!

    It’s so rare for me to actually favor a vehicle. If it gets me back and forth from my destination safely, I favor it. But I really appreciated the thought that Kia put into this vehicle. When you’re navigating to a destination, you have a choice to see it on the dashboard or the screen. This is a great feature when you have your passenger trying to adjust your music and you still need directions. The amount of thought that the creators put into this vehicle is truly awesome.

    The 2016 Kia Sorento is the "mother" of all vehicles I've ever driven. Check out my review at www.thecrunchymommy.com and see all the features that make motherhood way easier!

    What features in a vehicle are important to you?

     

    Review: Made South Subscription Box

    I went from being a NY Apple to a GA Peach in 2001 and have never looked back. When I was a little girl, I had dreams of moving to the South and being chummy with the cast of “Meet Me In St. Louis” (yes, the musical and yes as an adult I realize that Missouri is not technically the South though it was south of me…), learning what the word “reckon” meant that I’d read in all my books based in the South, and meeting some tall, dreamy basketball player that would sweep me off my feet. I loved all things South–though my ideas of it were slightly misconstrued (they don’t really say “reckon” as much as I thought they would).

    A subscription box comprised of all things "South". How awesome is that?! Check out my review of the December box at www.thecrunchymommy.com.

     

    Made South Box

    A company called Made South created a box showcasing three artisans & makers that live in the South.

    A subscription box comprised of all things "South". How awesome is that?! Check out my review of the December box at www.thecrunchymommy.com.

    I know…what’s in the box, right?

    Wondermade Peppermint Marshmallows

    Who would have though to make peppermint marshmallows?!?! I guess it was destined to happen since we pretty much create everything under the sun. If you’re a chocolate and mint lover, these will be perfect to put in some hot cocoa. Delish!!!

    Marshmallow Box

    A subscription box comprised of all things "South". How awesome is that?! Check out my review of the December box at www.thecrunchymommy.com.

    Stately Made

    I love paper goods. I am a junkie when it comes to things like this. There were two goodies in the box. One was a “The South” 8×10 print. I love this.

    A subscription box comprised of all things "South". How awesome is that?! Check out my review of the December box at www.thecrunchymommy.com.

    The second print was the “Can’t Never Could” red print. “Can’t Never Could” is a popular saying in the South (like “reckon”). How cute is this?

    Can't Never Could

    True South 

    When I was growing up, every year for New Year’s Eve we would put together a puzzle. I grew up loving puzzles and this is something that I look forward to sharing with my girls–something I have in common with the creator Susan Taylor.

    A subscription box comprised of all things "South". How awesome is that?! Check out my review of the December box at www.thecrunchymommy.com.

    Not only are the products beautifully made and hand-crafted, 10% of the profits from each of these December boxes benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. Giving back to the community is something that is so important to me. I grew up giving back and firmly believe that if we take care of our community and our kids then we ensure our future.

    I loved the contents of my box and look forward to future boxes!

    Do you like subscription boxes?