Summer Blogging Plan

Today I wanted to take a little break from the normal schedule and my normal Admiration Monday posts to tell you a little bit about what to expect from me and this space over the coming months.

July

My husband and I will be traveling in the states for the whole month of July, which means that things may be a little out of the ordinary here on my blog. So, I wanted to give you all a heads up so you know what’s going to be happening.

I value this space and the community that is just beginning to develop around it. I want to continue building that community and make this a valuable and helpful space for all of you who visit me here. I don’t want my traveling to disrupt this space too drastically (as it has in the past). So, I will continue to post regularly while I travel.

IMG_3316But, I also wants to spend my long July days twirlying with my niece (isn’t she cute!), playing hid-n-go seek with my nephews, giggling with my beautiful sisters, eating ice cream with my cousins, sharing stories with my friends, going on long walks with my husband, cuddling with my baby, and generally soaking in the sunshine and beauty that is summer. To balance these two desires I’ve decided to enlist some help, plan ahead and let a few things go.

I’ve asked some dear, beautiful friends to write some guest posts for all of you to enjoy. So, expect to see a few guest posts around here in the coming weeks. Each of the people who will be writing guest posts mean so much to me and I’m really so excited to share them with you. I can’t wait to read what they will write, and feel so blessed that they have agreed to share a little bit of themselves here on my blog.

I have also been doing a lot of writing ahead of time, so that I won’t have to write as much while traveling. Because of this I can tell you I have some fun posts coming your way. I have a series about Traveling with a 9 Month Old that will start this week, recipes like macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, Fish Burgers, and Olive Oil Cake, posts about How to Tell a Good Bed Time Story and a little about My Education. I hope you enjoy these and many other posts that I have planned for the coming weeks.

Even though guest bloggers and good planning will lighten the load for me I know that I still won’t have as much time to devote to you all. So, I want you to know up front that it might take me a little longer than normal to moderate comments, or respond to them. It might take me a little longer than normal to respond to your emails as well. I might not comment on all of your wonderful blogs quite as often. And I may not participate in all of the blog carnivals that I normal try to engage with. Don’t worry though I will definitely still be doing Two for Tuesday!

So, that’s July.

August

I’m supper excited about what I have planned for August here on the blog…IMG_5173

August 18th will be my husband and my 5th wedding anniversary. I know it’s not really that long, but it sort of feels like the first really significant anniversary we’ve had. I love being married to my husband and I can’t wait to celebrate with him. So, I’m expanding our celebration to include this site by naming August my own personal Love and Marriage Month.

I plan on all of the posts in August having to do with Love and Marriage. I plan on sharing my husband and my story with you – how we met, got engaged and what our wedding was like. My Admiration Monday posts will be about couple’s who I admire and have learned from. I’ll feature guest posts about marriage and love (speaking of which, if you are interested in writing a guest post on this subject please contact me, I’d love to talk with you about it). And maybe also write a bit about wedding planning. But, don’t worry there will still be lots of recipes too – maybe a wedding cake recipe, or a post about foods that can be aphrodisiacs, or a romantic dinner menu, who knows what I’ll come up with once inspiration strikes.

Oh, I’m so excited! I want to go start writing posts for August right now! Focus, Bethany, focus. First things, first!

Well, that’s what the summer will look like around here. I hope you enjoy your summer as much as I know I will! And I hope that you continue to visit regularly. You all are a blessing and encouragement to me!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

Photos by Beth Stedman


If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Two For Tuesdays Blog Hop

twofortuesdaysLast week I introduced you to this exciting new carnival and told you that I was one of four hosts sharing in this event. Well, today I have some exciting news!

Two for Tuesdays is becoming a blog hop! THIS WEEK!

What is a blog hop?

Basically a blog hop is a blog carnival on steroids.

With a blog carnival one blogger will play host and post a bunch of links to other blogs. Sometimes they will have these links sent to them through email and then post them. But, with applications like Linky Tools it’s easiest for them to just place some simple code on their web site and allow anyone who wants to participate to add their link to the post using the application.

A blog hop, on the other hand, allows more than one blog to host a carnival at the same time. It is a great application created by Linky Tools and makes it so that any URL link added on one of the “hosting” sites will show up on all the other “hosting” sites.

And Why should I participate?

For bloggers, this is a GREAT way to get more exposure and increase your audience! A blog hop means that if you add your link to one site it will show up on multiple sites, which can only mean good things for you! Traffic isn’t the only reason why bloggers should participate in blog carnivals/hops though, carnivals are a great way to meet new bloggers and make new connections. So, jump in, post your links, meet some new friends and build your audience!

For readers, giving people the opportunity to add their link from multiple places means more links over all and a larger list of links for you! That means more information, more recipes, more help, more encouragement, more of all that you are looking for when you read blogs! So, even if you don’t have a blog, carnivals are great for you too and you should definitely seek them out and read, read, read! Plus, most carnivals and blog hops (ours included) will encourage you to add your own opinions, or recipes in the comment section, so you can actively participate even if you don’t have a blog.

So, now that  you know the general info on what a blog hop is, let me tell you about our blog hop:

Two for Tuesdays

Alex at A Moderate life is the visionary behind this wonderful carnival idea. It’s a real food blog hop, meaning that contributors are asked to post about real food. Alex named it Two for Tuesdays with the hope that people would post two recipes in their blog (how great is that two recipes for the price of one!). But, Alex and all of us Two for Tuesdayers want this to stay open, so to quote Alex, “you can post two recipes, two links, a recipe with a variation or ANY real food or wholesome food information.”

Allow me introduce my fellow Two for Tuesday Hosts:

Alex at A Moderate Life
Heather at girlichef
Michelle at Health Food Lover

I encourage you to visit all of their beautiful blogs, say hello and subscribe to their feeds – you won’t regret it!

Here’s How to Participate in Two for Tuesdays:

  1. Write a post about anything having to do with real food. If you want to include a recipe (or two) that’s GREAT, but you definitely don’t have to. Write about what you are passionate about, what you are learning, what you are trying, or ANYTHING having to do with real, wholesome, traditional food.
  2. Include a badge (see below) and/or a link back to that particular weeks Two for Tuesdays post hosted on my site (or any of my fellow hosts Two for Tuesday’s post).

    BethStedman.com

  3. Go to any of the four hosting blogs on Tuesday and put up your link. It’s super easy – I promise! Just follow the directions given by Mr. Linky. NOTE: the linky application for each week will stay up till the following Tuesday, so if you aren’t able to link up on Tuesday don’t worry you can always add your link later in the week!
  4. After adding your link leave a comment on one (or all four of our sites). This ensures that we won’t miss your entry and that even more people will be sure to check out your post.

That’s it! After that you can just hop around and read all the other great posts and enjoy Two for Tuesdays to the fullest!

BONUS: In the spirit of comradely, if you are a blogger and you love the exposure that blog carnivals provide and the new friends you meet through them, here are some other blog carnivals focused on food that also happen on Tuesday. I like sharing, so after you’ve added your link to our blog hop, jump over to any of these sites and add your link there as well!

Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace

I truly hope you ALL participate in Two for Tuesdays THIS WEEK! I can’t wait to see all the great links that come in!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Beth Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

All About the Ads

You may have noticed that I recently started putting ads up on this site. I wanted to write a post telling you a little bit about my philosophy for advertising on my site and why I decided to go this route.

First, why put ads on my site?

I’ll be honest, I really struggled with whether or not to put ads on my site. I have had this site since 2007 and I’ve never put ads up until now. I sometimes thought about it, because we could definitely use the money, but I always decided against it. Blogging was my hobby and I didn’t want the pressure to make money from it to kill the joy I received from doing it. I also thought to myself, “I won’t really be able to make money from it; I can’t really BE a blogger. I’m not good enough, so why stress myself out trying? Why not just leave it as it is and just enjoy writing when I want to?” I feared I would fail if I tried to make a little income from it, and usually when I fear failure I decide not to try at all.

I also feared that people would be annoyed by the ads, judge me for it, and value my site less because of it. Well, I realize now that this fear was sort of silly – most bloggers have ads up. As a reader of literally hundreds of blogs I personally don’t mind ads at all especially when they are content appropriate to the site. So, if other readers are anything like me, putting up ads shouldn’t be a problem for them. So, that fear wasn’t too hard to get over.

Here’s what it came down to for me though…

A few weeks ago I wrote a whole post about valuing myself and my work. In many ways adding advertisements and affiliate programs to the site has been a way for me to value my own contribution to the world and the work that I do. I put in a lot of time blogging and it’s not wrong for me to want to make some money from it (sometimes I still feel like it is, though, what is that? Why do I feel guilty for wanting to help support my family by doing something I love?)

Anyway, it took me a while to process through all of that and come to a place where I was ready to try to make a little income through my writing. So, this is me trying. So, here’s a bit about what I desire for these ads to be…

My Current Ad Philosophy:

I want my ads to add value for my readers. I want to post ads for good, quality products that I think my readers will need, want, or already be looking for.

I will personally select what ads go up on my site. That means no randomly generated Google ads. If you see an ad up on the site it means that I personally looked at the company and I like what they are selling.

I want my ads to look ascetically pleasing and to not distract from the content of the site or annoy my readers. This means no pop up ads and I will probably at least limit my use of banners and flash ads.

My current ads:

First off, all of the ads currently on my site are affiliate links. That means that if you click on them and then end up buying something from them I’ll get a small commission. Ok, so let’s talk about each of the current ads individually:

Real Food Nutrition & Health:
This is a text book written for home schooling families that outlines health and nutrition from a clearly real food perspective. It was written by Kristen at Food Renegade. Many of you may have noticed that I have been participating in “Fight Back Friday’s” over at Food Renegade. I love Kristen’s site and I am super excited to promote this book. I just got my copy of it and plan on starting it tonight. I will definitely write a full review of the book once I finish it. I personally am really excited about this because I was homeschooled and would have LOVED to have this for a text book. I also am seriously considering homeschooling my son (and any other future children I may have) so I’m excited that to have this as a resource down the road.

Story-Formed Calendar:
This is NOT a paid ad and as of this time I receive NO commission for this link. I put this up because I love it and it supports a very dear friend of mine. My friend and mentor, Tara, makes these calendars. They are calendars centered on the Christian church calendar. It’s filled with beautiful pictures taken by Tara and other photographers I know (this year’s calendar even has one of my own pictures in it). I love the idea of centering our lives in God’s story and time. Click on the link and learn more about this wonderful tool for worship and daily life.

Nurtured Family:

This boutique sells products for mom’s and babies – things like cloth diapers, nursing bras, baby carriers and other such items. I’ll be honest I only recently learned about this store and I haven’t bought anything from them yet (we have a bit of a no spending rule in place at the moment). But, I have looked through the site quite a bit and there are definitely tons of things I’d love to have from this beautiful boutique. I feel good about supporting this store and advertising them on my site.

Mountain Rose Herbs:

This on-line store carries organic herbs, essential oils and teas. They have been in business since 1987 and they have a great reputation. They guarantee that they “will never sell or stock products that are more than a few months from harvest (except for seasonal items)” so you are certain that the products you buy from them will be fresh and high quality. There were also the “first U.S. supplier of Fair Trade Certified medicinal herbs” and they have extensive policies about recycling and re-using. In fact they are a “Zero Waste” company – meaning that “any perceived materials which might be regarded as waste are either recycled, re-used, composted, reclaimed, or brought back into the production cycle”. I am really excited to support this beautiful company and their wonderful products.

Amazon:

I have an affiliate account with Amazon so pretty much anytime that I link to Amazon from my site it is an affiliate link. This means that if you buy something from Amazon after getting there from my link then I will receive a very small, but very appreciated commission.

Best for Babes:

This isn’t a paid ad – it’s something that I believe in and want to support and promote. Check it out!
Alright, that’s it for now. There may be other one’s up in the near future – just know that they will always be personally approved by me. If you ever have a question or concern about an ad on the site please contact me and let me know.

I am also very interested in selling ad space on my site (of course only for companies that fit with my values and the topics addressed on this site). So, if you have a company that you would like to advertise on bethstedman.com please contact me. I’d love to discuss options with you.

Finally, I’d like to ask all of you, my readers and friends, what do you think? Do you have any feedback on the ads I have right now and on how I have placed them on the site? Do you have any feedback in general about including ads or not including ads? Do you have any suggestions about additional ways for me to make an income from this site so that I can continue to spend a good deal of time bringing you what I hope is value-adding, quality content? I truly value your opinions and would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or contact me directly.

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

My Story Blog Series

Lately I’ve thought it would be nice for those of you who visit this small place on the web to get a feel for who I am and where I come from. So, I thought we’d do a little series entitled “My Story.” I plan on writing about various aspects of my life and history, covering everything from my walk with God, to my family, my education, various jobs I’ve held, and how I met my husband. So, tomorrow I plan to post “My Story: My Walk with God”.

What would you like to know about me? Anything specific you’d like me to cover in this series?

If you have something that you’d like to know about me please leave a comment or contact me and let me know. I’d LOVE to hear suggestions for what I should include in this series. Thanks!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Don’t Miss a Post

Well, there are some changes happening at bethstedman.com. First off, this will be the last post that I syndicate to facebook notes – after this if you want to read the blog you will have to visit the blog or subscribe to it. The good news though is that you now have two ways you can subscribe to bethstedman.com to ensure that you don’t miss a single post (oh, and of course, all subscriptions are free). As always you can continue to subscribe through RSS, but now you can also subscribe to me through email.

The RSS Option:

For those few of you out there who aren’t familiar with RSS already (hi, mom!) here’s a brief explanation. Basically, it’s just a format for keeping track of web content that is ever changed and updated. Instead of ‘bookmarking’ a site and having to go back and visit it regularly in order to see new content you can use an RSS Feed Reader, subscribe to a web sites RSS feed and then all you have to do is check your Feed Reader and all of the updated content from your favorite web sites will be right there, available for your viewing pleasure. Problogger has a great and really easy to understand description of RSS that I encourage you to read if you aren’t familiar with this tool already.

Personally, I think RSS is the easiest and cleanest way to keep track of your favorite blogs. All you have to do is set up an RSS Feed Reader, for example ‘Google Reader’ which is what I use. Google Reader provides a help section to get you started, but you can also just start subscribing to sites and playing around with it until you figure it out.

The Email Option:

If RSS is intimidating for you or just sounds like too much work to set up then there’s always the email option. Just click the email button on the right, put in your email address, and you’ll start receiving blog updates right in your email. It’s as easy as that.

The Bookmark Option:

I have a little confession to make, I only started using an RSS reader myself a little over a year ago, I know I tend to be a little behind the times. My husband teases me about it, but the truth is I don’t really like change, even when I know that the new thing is going to be so much better. I knew that RSS was the way to go, I knew it would save me time and effort, I knew that once I got used to it I would probably LOVE it (and I did). But, I can be pretty stubborn and set in my ways and I just didn’t want to learn a new way of doing things. So, I held off for quite a long time. Now that I’ve made the switch, though, I can’t imagine ever going back.

So, if you are like I used to be I’d encourage you to let go of the old and embrace the new, you might be really glad you did. But, there’s no pressure here and if bookmarking is what works for you then by all means continue!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.