Back to School Free Printables from Paper Coterie

Back to school free printables are now available from Paper Coterie!

Back to school time can be a tough on little ones. I was once a little girl in a Catholic school uniform, complete with knee-high socks, braids and glasses. I was shy back then (shocker, I know), and sometimes had trouble making friends.

My awesome mom would pack me a lunch every day. She loved to decorate my lunches with pictures, jokes, or just with a note that said, “I Love You!” At first they were little pieces of paper in my lunch bags, but soon she got fancy. She started buying white paper bags, and decorated them with different colored pens. Getting those special lunches was like she was giving me a reassuring hug right there in the lunch room.

Well, now YOU can do the same thing, only even better! No need to get special lunch bags, and you don’t need to spend a 1/2 hour each night trying to decorate them. Check out these adorable back to school free printables from Paper Coterie!

Back to school free printables are now available from Paper Coterie!

Back to school time can be a tough on little ones. I was once a little girl in a Catholic school uniform, complete with knee-high socks, braids and glasses. I was shy back then (shocker, I know), and sometimes had trouble making friends.

My awesome mom would pack me a lunch every day. She loved to decorate my lunches with pictures, jokes, or just with a note that said, “I Love You!” At first they were little pieces of paper in my lunch bags, but soon she got fancy. She started buying white paper bags, and decorated them with different colored pens. Getting those special lunches was like she was giving me a reassuring hug right there in the lunch room.

Well, now YOU can do the same thing, only even better! No need to get special lunch bags, and you don’t need to spend a 1/2 hour each night trying to decorate them. Check out these adorable back to school free printables from Paper Coterie!

Wordless Wednesday: The Cousteau Sisters {Linky}

Deep Sea diving – in the kiddie pool.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! Each week I’ll try to bring you a new linky, so be sure to come back and visit.
Blog Owner: Thumb-Linky Widgets are available to Mister Linky’s Platinum members. Please consider upgrading if you would like to use this feature.

My Weight Loss In Pictures: Face Off!

I thought it would be fun to show you guys how my face has changed while I’ve been going through my weight loss adventures. I try to be good about taking pictures along the way, and I really get a lot of motivation from seeing how far I’ve come already.

I started out at a high of 247 pounds back in 2008, then went up and down (and up…and down…and up…) between then and May of this year. Since I was on diets almost the whole time (except when I was pregnant), I have some pretty good pictures in my archives.

The first picture is of me at my highest weight back in 2008, about a year or so after my second child was born. The middle one is at 224 pounds in 2009, right before I got preggers with my son, and the last one is a picture I took last week at 211 pounds:

Pretty neat, huh? I’m definitely moving in the right direction! I love taking pictures during the process, since it’s sometimes hard to see the changes occurring when you look in the mirror. I always see my weight loss last, but when I look at pictures, it’s easier to see.

I also have full body pictures but I haven’t taken one recently – I think I’m going to wait until I get to my Weight Watchers 10% goal, which is 208 pounds. I’m hoping to get there in a few weeks. The cool thing is that I can definitely feel my weight loss in my clothes already, so I know if I take some pictures, I should see some pretty good progress.

I’d Like To Turn In My Cape, Please

I am not Super Mom.

I tried to be, believe me. It seems like these days when you leave the hospital with your new little bundle of joy, you also get a cape packed in with the coupons for diapers and formula.

“Congratulations, Mom! Good luck trying to be and do everything!”

Source

I had visions of being that mom – the one that bakes fresh cookies for after school snacks, the one who “whips up” a costume, just because her child wanted to be Batman that day. The one that could cook Chicken Francese while entertaining the baby and helping her older girls with their homework – all at the same time.

It was pretty easy at first. My first daughter was a good baby – a good sleeper, good eater – we were very lucky. I kept up with the house and even started working from home. Then I got pregnant again when she was 8 months old and that’s when I started to feel things unravel.

By the time I was ready to deliver my second daughter, I already felt like I couldn’t give 100% to my job or my kid…and it just went downhill from there.

Flash-forward to today, and I have THREE kids plus a business to run. My cape is buried somewhere under the pile of toys and old mail that currently resides on my dining room table.

I can’t even pretend to have it all together. I just about make it out the house every day with my contacts in and my hair brushed; gone are the days of full make-up for preschool drop offs!

As my business has become busier (thank you, God!), my house has become messier. The laundry is starting to creep across the floor, and the dust bunnies have grown up into dust rabbits with little dust bunny families.

I had a hard time giving up my cape at first. I wanted to be able to do it all. But I mostly just made myself (and my family) crazy, and things were still a mess.

So now that I’m just a mere mortal, I understand my limitations.

My house will never be Martha Stewart ready.
My kids will watch a bit too much TV on some days when I’m busy packing orders.
The laundry will always be one step away from smothering me in my sleep.

But overall, life is good. I’m home every day with my kids, and I get to be my own boss! I cook home meals almost every night, and my kids get to enjoy dance classes and soccer games because of my business.

Hmmm…maybe I should hold onto that cape after all…

5 Surefire Ways To Make Me Unlike Your Facebook Fan Page

Whether you’re a blogger or a business owner, a Facebook fan page can be a powerful thing.

I think a lot of page owners think the trick is in getting new fans, and yes – this can be difficult. But I think the even bigger challenge is keeping your current fans happy. If you annoy them or piss them off, they’ll jump ship.

I’ve been a business fan page owner for almost two years now and I’ve grown my base to over 9K using many methods. I’ve also LOST quite a few fans by making some mistakes that I’ll share with you now. I hope these points will help you keep your current fans happy and engaged!

5 Surefire Ways To Make Me Unlike Your Facebook Fan Page
1. Post 5 consecutive messages in a very short time period. It’s very annoying to see a page “machine gun” posts in my feed, unless it’s for something unusual (and interesting to me). For example, there’s one page I follow that posts sample sales and in that case she may post three or four messages together. But this only happens once a month or so (and I really like her), so I don’t mind. But be warned – if your fans don’t really, really like you…UNLIKE.

2. Post more than once or twice a day. I am pretty much always on Facebook (don’t judge!) and when I’m not, I will scroll back to the last time I was on to make sure I didn’t miss anything. So, if you decide to post in the morning, then again at lunch, then again around 3PM, and then a couple of times at night – I’m going to see all of your posts. And I’m going to get tired of seeing you in my feed. UNLIKE.

3. Post boring or off-topic messages. I don’t really want to hear about your cat unless she started talking or can do an Irish jig. Occasional cute stories about your pets or kids are fine. Actually, I usually get a great response when I post stuff about my kids, but I only do it every once in a while and only when they do something incredibly cute or heartwarming…and that’s not very often – like once a month, maybe. Any more than that and…UNLIKE.

4. Post your views on Obama, or the Catholic church, or anything controversial. We all have an opinion and the right to speak it, but save that stuff for your personal page. As a potential customer or reader I really don’t want to know your thoughts on oil drilling (unless you sell oil drills). For bloggers this one is a bit tricky because a blog is more personal, but you still need to be careful. In this instance, you may be able to talk about more controversial topics if you keep your tone light. But for business owners, keep that stuff to yourself or…UNLIKE.

5. Respond to a customer’s complaint in a negative way. This one is tough, because sometimes a customer (or reader) can be nasty right on your fan page. Now it’s out there in public and you want to defend yourself. But you really need to be careful and watch your tone, because everyone else is watching you, too. I’m not saying you have to be a doormat, but consider your words carefully when responding in public. If you start calling names or being nasty back…UNLIKE.

Oh, and here’s a bonus tip for Facebook page owners: I love when you come to my business page and post a hello. But please, please – don’t demand that I like your page back! If you have a page, blog or business that interests me, then yes, I will like you back. But if you DEMAND that I do so just because you liked my page – well, that’s a pretty sure way to get me NOT to like yours.

10 Healthy & Delicious Patriotic Summer Desserts

Fridays are awesome days in general, but don’t you love a Friday before a holiday weekend? Everyone’s just a bit happier and jazzed up, waiting to start the fun.

Since I started Weight Watchers this past week, I didn’t want to blow my diet this weekend, so I pinned some amazing – and healthy – Memorial Day dessert ideas. They also work great for the Fourth of July!

What’s New at Katie’s Charms

We’re into the last few weeks of summer, can you believe it? Before you know it, the kids will be back in school, the days will get cooler, and the holidays will be knocking at the door.


I’ve been busy setting up some new features to help you with your European bead and charm shopping! If you haven’t visited our website in a while, stop by and check out the new digs! Here are some of the recent changes:

  • I’ve revamped the website in an effort to make shopping easier by separating the category listings.
  • We’ve got a snazzy new logo header!
  • We now accept credit cards! You no longer need a PayPal or Google Checkout account to shop our store – you can use your credit card directly during checkout.
  • Gift certificates are now available! Great for gift-giving, our certificates are available in $25 increments, and have no expiration date.
  • I’ve added “new items” and “clearance” sections to make your shopping easier. I’ll be adding items to both these categories often!

We’re also celebrating the first birthday of katiescharms this month! I’ll be posting some fun giveaways here on the blog in a couple of weeks, so be sure to subscribe or “like” us on Facebook so you don’t miss out.

Pandora Style Bracelet Giveaway!

To celebrate the opening of our new web store, Katie’s Charms,
we’re holding our first fantastic giveaway!

The winner of the giveaway will receive:An 8″ Sterling Silver Snake Bracelet that fits all styles and brands of European Bead Bracelets:

PLUS, choose any 3 glass beads from the Katie’s Charms website! Any murano glass beads we have available are eligible for this giveaway!

How to enter:

  1. Go to Katie’s Charms, then come back here and tell us which bead or charm is your favorite.
  2. Follow Katie’s Charms on Twitter, come back here and leave a comment with your Twitter ID (if you already follow us, you can still leave a comment with your Twitter ID).
  3. Write a blog post about the Katie’s Charms giveaway. Come back here and leave a comment with the link to your post.
  4. Become a fan of Katie’s Charms on Facebook by clicking here. Come back here and leave a comment with your Facebook ID. (If you’re already a fan, you can still leave a comment with your Facebook ID).

That’s FOUR ways to enter, FOUR ways to win! You must leave a separate comment for each entry.

Winner will be announced on Friday, September 4th at 9PM EDT.

Legal stuff: There will be one prize awarded which consists of one bracelet and 3 beads. Retail value of prize is approximately $50. Contest is open to residents of the United States, Canada and Europe. Katie’s Charms reserves the right to remove any entries if entrant does not follow rules for contest. Winner will be determined through a random drawing using a 3rd party random number generator. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If winner does not claim prize in said amount of time, their entries will be removed and a new random number will be drawn. Chances of winning depend on number of entries received.