Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Special Guest Post

I love Thanksgiving, but I really love Christmas. My Husband & I decided a few years ago to avoid overspending & going crazy during the holidays by limiting our children’s gifts. Being Christians and believing in Jesus birth story we landed on three gifts for the three wise men. Simple, right? Wrong! My children would give me there input on what they really wanted for those three gifts. Then, I would be out in the stores, meandering the aisles, and bam, I would see something that they would JUST LOVE but wasn’t on their list. Well what is a good mamma to do? She creates a new way to give them gifts, that’s what.

As I starting finding all these cute, little, inexpensive gifts I would stash them away. When we decorated the house for Christmas and hung our stockings on the fireplace, I was inspired. That is how the Twelve Days of Christmas was born. Twelve days before Christmas I place a small gift in each of their stockings. So each morning before school they run downstairs to see what we have left them. And, yes, they do know it is us that left it. No Santa needed for this project.

I wanted to share with you the types of items I buy. Most things can easily be found at the Dollar Store or in the $1 section of Target.

* Gum
* Christmas Candy
* Chapstick
* Lip gloss
* Pencils
* Funny erasers
* Bookmarks
* Stickers
* Books
* Headband Antlers
* Christmas themed door knockers

My children look forward to The Twelve Days of Christmas every year, even more so than Christmas. The excitement in their eyes with what will it be this time is priceless. I love shopping for these small tokens of love. This is one holiday tradition that I will love for a lifetime.

Merry Christmas Y'all!


Christina is the creator and author behind A Closet Writer - A look into everyday life through dirty, child-smeared, finger-print laden windows. She is a wife, mom, sister, daughter, Christian & humorist living it up in Central Texas. Regardless of what is actually going on, she is a GLASS HALF FULL kind of gal. When you read her blog she prays you will laugh, smile, feel hope & come back again and again. Wash, rinse & repeat that’s all she’s saying! You can also find Christina chatting it up on her regular column with as the Austin Parenting Tween Examiner. She would love to connect with you either on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Revisiting the Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Social Networking

Recently, I guest blogged on The Work at Home Woman, a great site full of resources for women that work from home (or want to). I love Holly, the founder - she's a great friend. And, I love the opportunity she gives me each month or so to write for her blog.

This particular post was done back in August, but it's still one of my favorites to this day. Here's the meat & potatoes of that post (the full post can be seen here:

So, what are the top 10 mistakes? Well, it depends on who you ask, but in my experience, it comes down to these 10:

Mistake #1Following as many people as you can in hopes of getting followed back. Why is this a mistake? Well, first of all, you want your follower/following ratio to be as close as possible. If you have a significantly higher amount of people you are following, you can appear to be a spammer. Take it slow, and add 10 new people a day – and only those you are truly interested in. And, no, you don’t always have to follow back.

Mistake #2Always scheduling your tweets. It is okay to schedule your tweets. Just not all of them. People will figure it out, especially if you aren’t around to engage by retweeting and @mentioning or @replying. If you schedule a tweet and aren’t around for the response, isn’t that kind of pointless?

Mistake #3Sending a DM, especially an auto-DM when someone starts following you, and including a sales message. Okay, DM’s are great. Auto DM’s are okay. But, DO NOT include a link to your sales page or try to sell something. If you are going to send an auto-DM, make it a ‘thank you for following’ or ‘nice to meet you’ message – and that’s it. In general, save DM’s for private messages or for sales pitches ONLY when someone has shown interest.

Mistake #4Always making it about you. This goes for all your social networking. The general rule of social networking on a business account is to use the 4:1 or 10:1 ratio (there are different schools of thought). The basic point of this is that you should spend a majority of your time retweeting, commenting, liking, @mentioning, @replying, link sharing (not yours), etc. and save the sales pitches for the minority. If you make it all about you, people will eventually get tired of it.

Mistake #5Neglecting your accounts. Again, this relates to all social networks you have set-up. I am guilty of this on occasion, especially with my blog. And, it’s okay from time to time. But, find a balance, set-up a routine if you can, and be consistent. Your fans/followers/readers will appreciate it and know what to expect from you.

Mistake #6Completely separating your personal and professional life. Huh? What? Yes, I went there. I know some will not agree, but I find that if you add a little personal into your professional accounts, your following will connect with you more. And, it’s really okay. My following knows that I’m struggling to have a child (not all the details, but you get the idea), that I am a chocoholic (I often tweet about cravings), and all about my pets (and their bad habits). So, decide how much is enough for you and start sharing a little.

Mistake #7Always suggesting your page to your friends. This can be a great tool, but it can also cost you some friendships. Rather than always hitting the ‘suggest my page to my friends’ link on Facebook, consider a more subtle way – every so often (not that often) post a link to your fan page on your personal page. This way, they can choose whether to become a fan or not, and you’re not seen as a nag.

Mistake #8Posting when you’re tired, angry, sick, etc. Yes, this can be a problem. If you must do this, then read what you wrote once or twice before you post it. Or, have someone read it before you hit ‘submit’ to ensure you don’t say something you can’t take back.

Mistake #9Shunning your competition. Attention: it is okay to be friends with other people in your industry. In fact, it could be a great thing for both parties involved. Don’t be afraid to connect with other people who share your passions and talents. Bonus: this is also how networking works. You refer to her, she gives you a tip, and so on and so forth. It works people.

And, for the next one, I’m giving Holly the honor of adding one, since she gives me the honor each month of guest blogging on her site…

Mistake #10Not adding a personal message when sending a friend request. Nothing is worse when someone sends over a friend request on Facebook or LinkedIn and you have no clue who they are or why you should add them as a friend. If you don’t know the person, always remember to include a short message with the request “Hi I see that we both live in Austin, and I’d love to add you as a friend”. Social networking is about making genuine connections, not a competition on how many “friends” you can rack up.

Well, that's it - my 10 tips - take 'em or leave 'em. That being said, make sure to go check out Holly's site if you've never heard of it before - you won't be sorry! :) And, if you think about it, go ahead and leave a comment about YOUR tips and what-not-to-do's.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Time to be Honest

Okay, so I have to be honest.

I don't know what it is, or why it's happening, but I HATE blogging. (well, right now I do.) Call it a dry spell, but I just can't seem to blog on my own blog.

Now, the good news is...

I'm having no issues guest blogging! I seem to be able to come up with topics, write them quickly, and have enough inspiration to pull off a few a month.

But, I just CAN'T write for my own blog. Any thoughts as to why? Or how to solve this issue?

Another good thing is that on Saturday, I'll be at Bloggy Boot Camp, and I'll be learning alongside other bloggers. I'll be able to put things in my blogging toolkit that will help me come back on Sunday focused, renewed, and ready to blog again.

Well, that's my goal anyhow. :)

How about you? Can you relate? Have you been there?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Pledge to Buy Handmade & Local Items

As I gear back up to get back into blogging after taking a break to enjoy my sister and nephew having moved in with me and my hubby, I decided to take part in something great...

The Handmade Toy Alliance ( is coordinating a push to buy handmade and local products during American Craft Week (

Why am I participating in spreading the word? The reason is two-fold...

1. I myself am a small business owner, making my products by hand, and I strongly support consumers buying from their local businesses and supporting the small-business owners, who often have higher quality items, sometimes at a lower cost.

2. Now that there's a baby in the house, I understand better the importance of what types of toys we give our children and knowing where they came from.

So, I hope you'll consider joining in - or at least reading about the pledge and spreading the word...

To find out more about the pledge and how you can get involved, check out this site:  You can also read their press release to learn more:

They also have a facebook and twitter page: and @toyalliance.
When tweeting about it, if you'd like to spread the word, be sure to use the hashtag #HTApledge.

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Reason I Haven't Posted Lately

So, I have been neglecting my blog lately. I'm sorry. I know I should be more consistent in my posting, but I just can't right now.

Here's why...

My sister and her baby just moved in with us. He was born on July 21st (my anniversary with the hubs) and they just moved in on Saturday. His name is Forest, and isn't he a cutie??? :)

Just thought all my blog readers would love to see his cute face... I promise to do a post soon after I get used to soak up his sweetness. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What are You Getting Your Teachers this Year?

So, it's back to school time... and that means...

Teacher gifts.

As part of my Back to School Blog Tour postings, I figured this would be a great topic to share! But, first, a big shout out goes to Abbey with Living My MoMent and Holly with The Work at Home Woman for hosting this tour! If you aren't sure what the tour is all about, read this first...

So, what kind of gifts should you get your child's teacher? Well, as a former teacher, I can tell you that most teachers want practical, yet thoughtful gifts (although none expect gifts).

Here are some ideas (I offer the first 4 things):
1. Personalized note cards - these can be with their name, school info, etc.
2. Decorated clipboard - more fun, yet still practical, and can be personalized with name, school theme, etc.
3. A piece of unique jewelry - I've got some great domino, scrabble tile, or bottle cap pieces you can personalize with their names or even school theme 
4. Gift certificates - this can be to anywhere - a shop like mine, a restaurant, Starbucks, etc.
5. Coffee mugs or thermal mugs
6. Flowers or a card - especially if it's personlized with a note from the student
7. Candy or food of any kind
8. Cute note pads, or other stationery items
9. A nice pen/pencil set - maybe engraved with their name
10. A few new children's books or other teacher supplies to add to their stash - especially helpful for those teachers who teach in situations where they always have to buy these things - it gives them a break.

Teachers don't want you to spend an arm & a leg - truly. It's the thought that counts - and the more you get to know about your child's teacher, the better suited of a gift you can get them. :)

Okay, now shop away!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Back to School Blog Tour is Coming!

Over the summer, I participated in The Summer Blog Tour with Living my MoMent and The Work at Home Woman. It was a great tour and I met a lot of great bloggers.

This time...

I'll be participating in the Back to School Blog Tour. The great news? You don't have to be a blogger to participate - you can read blogs, comment, win prizes, and have a ton of fun without the commitment of blogging!

So, this is just my little pitch to let you know that on Sept. 6th, I'll have a special Back to School post up and a link to where you can go to enjoy the Back to School Tour and the rest of the blogs.


I'm one of the bloggers that will have a prize that will be given away - so, don't miss out on the fun!

See you then....