How to Create a Backyard Butterfly Garden

I love butterflies and I know I’m not the only one! I think they are one of God’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures. I could watch them for hours (if I had the time, of course). So I was disheartened when I learned monarch butterflies may be on their way to the endangered species list.

They currently face a myriad of threats along their migration route including climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use. Because of this the monarch butterfly population has been drastically reduced. Can you imagine a world without butterflies?! That thought makes me so sad!

My parents have butterfly gardens in their backyard and I always watch them landing on the bushes, drinking the nectar, their wings fluttering in the wind. It’s a beautiful sight to see and my kids enjoy watching as well.

Since Earth Day is approaching I decided now is the perfect time to create our own backyard butterfly garden. There are a few simple steps you want to follow to ensure you can attract these beautiful butterflies. It is essential for you to create an oasis that will encompass their entire lifespan (they live four to five weeks).

Looking for the perfect Earth Day activity for your kids or family? Learn how to Create a Backyard Butterfly Garden to attract these beautiful creatures! | adayinmollywood.com
1. Placement is Paramount

Butterflies love the sun so make sure to pick a sun-drenched spot! However, they won’t hang around if it’s too windy so choosing a location protected from the wind such as against a fence or near some trees is perfect!

2. Mix it Up

You’ll want to choose a variety of plants that do well in sunlight. Annuals are great because they will bloom continuously throughout the season, creating an endless supply of nectar for butterflies! Color and shape are also important as butterflies are attracted to bright blooms. Make sure to research which plants are native to your geographic area.

3. Restful Retreat

While butterflies like to warm their wings in the sun, they also need a place to rest. Putting stones or large rocks in your garden provide a great spot to rest.

4. Say No to Chemicals

I know it’s tempting to help your plants grow faster by spraying them with insecticides, but these chemicals are highly toxic to butterflies. Don’t use insecticides in or near your butterfly garden.

5. Watering Hole

Butterflies like to puddle. This means they like to land on wet sand or mud and drink the water and minerals from the wet ground. Placing a bit of sand in your garden could help attract more of these beautiful creatures and entice them to stay!

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Have fun planting your butterfly garden with your children and don’t forget to snap some photos when the butterflies finally make their home in your yard!

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Keep Your Kid’s Screen Time a Happy Time

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and DreamWorks, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #VeggieTalesfun http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

I’m not ashamed to admit that my kids love watching television. Look, I know screen time gets a bad reputation. And I completely agree that too much of anything can be a bad thing. I will also agree a lot of the shows kids watch are not age-appropriate.

With the introduction of tablets, which were actually meant for my husband and I, both boys were picking what to watch on their own. I love when they have breakfast picnics on the floor together in the morning – blankets, jammies and all. It’s nice to wake up and have a moment of silence while I drink a hot cup of coffee and try to wake up. I consider it the calm before the morning storm!

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But I soon realized they had been watching a show encouraging bad behavior. In fact, when I watched an episode I knew something had to change – and quick – because my boys were modeling the bad behavior in the very cartoons I had been letting them watch! Whoops! I know it is my fault for not paying more close attention to what they’re viewing.

It’s a lesson learned, for sure! As a parent it’s my responsibility to make sure their screen time is a happy time.

Keep Your Kid's Screen Time a Happy Time with #VeggieTalesFun #weavemade #ad | adayinmollywood.com

I had heard of VeggieTales before and heard it was a kid-friendly show that promotes good values. But I honestly wasn’t sure if the boys would go for it. They are alllll about the action-packed, superhero stuff. So I wasn’t sure if it would keep their attention. We don’t have cable but we do have Netflix, which has new VeggieTales in the House original episodes. Turns out they LOVED VeggieTales! The catchy songs, the characters, the storylines. It was all good with them. They already know the theme song by heart!

VeggieTales toys are available at WalMart!

I surprised Landon on a trip to Walmart by telling him he could bring one of the VeggieTales characters home with us. He chose Junior the Asparagus, who sings and shakes right along with my boys.

VeggieTales Character Toys - Junior the Asparagus

The boys are smitten with Junior and the rest of the VeggieTales cast of characters. I feel so much better knowing if we do turn on a show for them to watch – it will help them learn important themes like being helpful and kind to one another. Two things these boys need to be reminded of from time to time, if you know what I’m saying.

VeggieTales Toys

I’m honestly kicking myself for not turning on this show before now! Yes, we are new to VeggieTales but we already love them in this household.

The breakfast picnics in their jammies will continue and I can rest knowing that my kiddos are watching a wholesome program thanks to VeggieTales.

Cleaning Made Easier with a Printable Chore Chart

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

I have a confession to make. I hate cleaning. Like, loatheeeee it. I think there are people out there who love it but I am not one of those people. When March hit everyone was talking about spring cleaning and I was just shaking my head because NO! It’s not that time again, is it?

The truth is – I really really need to clean this house. From top to bottom. We had a TON of sickness this past winter and the thought of getting all those leftover germs out of this house is refreshing. It’s the actual, ya know, getting it done thing that makes me feel overwhelmed.

I knew if I was going to conquer our 2,500 square foot house I would need a good plan for each room! So I created a simple printable Chore Chart that could help me track what needs to be cleaned and when I’m done with it.

Need some help getting started with cleaning and organizing? These printable chore charts are great for every room in the house! #WhenImHungry #Ad | adayinmollywood.com

Now, here’s my other confession, which some people may think is kinda silly since I’m a mom in my thirties. But here it goes. I’m jealous that my sons have sticker charts.

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Whenever they go above and beyond to help out we give them a sticker. When they fill it up they get to go pick out a toy. I mean, what about me?! Don’t I deserve some stars for my hard work too?! I think so!

You know what always helps me accomplish a task? Incentives. If I know there is something amazing waiting for me at the end of a chore – I will get ‘er done so I can enjoy my reward.  I decided that each time I finish a room I am going to have a yummy snack! 

And in this case, it just happens to be my favorite chocolate bar – SNICKERS® with a little bit of coffee. I don’t know about you but if a SNICKERS doesn’t make you want to finish scrubbing the sink then I don’t know what will! I can’t get my work done #WhenImHungry can you?

Reward Yourself #WhenImHungry #Ad | adayinmollywood.com

There are actually two pages to the printable chore chart. I wanted to list each area of our house that needed cleaned. I even put “outdoor” on there because our deck and flower beds need some serious work.

You can download a PDF of the Chore Chart and print it off so you can check off the stars and reward yourself for finishing tasks too. It feels so good to check those little stars off!

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I shop for all my cleaning supplies at Dollar General since they have such great prices. And before I left I was able to pick up my SNICKERS® Almond bar right as I was checking out.

SNICKERS bar at Dollar General #WhenImHungry #Ad

So what about you – do you use a chore chart? Do you give yourself a reward for accomplishing a big task?

You can find more SNICKERS® fun below!

In which my daughter does not take my advice

I knew it would happen sooner or later. I would have a one on one talk with my daughter. And she would completely ignore the advice I gave her.

In this case, I told her not to grow up. It’s a trap. You have to like, pay bills and other not-so-fun things. You have to call plumbers sometimes. And do dishes and laundry. Lame.

She looked me in the eye while I was talking. So I totally thought she was listening. Turns out she was not.

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She is growing up regardless of the fact that I told her NOT TO. I told her it would be better if she stayed tiny and cuddled up next to me all the time. My arms are the best place for her, after all.

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But instead she’s outgrowing all of her little clothes. Girl’s got some crazy hair coming in too. I told her that the peach fuzz was so much easier to work with. Once again, she ignored me.

The nerve of this girl!

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I can only assume this is the first of many talks where she will decide not to take her mother’s advice.

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I really wish she would have listened to me. Our darling girl is getting so big.

But I guess we’ll just have to follow her lead on this whole growing up thing. She’s pretty good at it already.

The truth about those (dreaded!) sponsored blog posts

Today I’m going to discuss a hot topic in the blog world – sponsored posts.

Last month I conducted a reader survey. The last time I asked for my readers’ thoughts and opinions was in 2011. So I thought it was time I figured out who is reading my blog. I also wanted to find out why you are reading and what you might like to see more or less of in this space.

In 2010 I did what’s known in blogland as a “rebrand.” I moved from blogger to wordpress, changed my name and got serious about doing what I love most – writing stories.

During the next couple of years a lot of amazingness happened here. Awesome opportunities came my way but more importantly, I wrote some of my favorite stories. Stories that came straight from my heart. I wasn’t doing it to make money, although I admit that would have been nice. I was doing it because I am passionate about storytelling. I come alive when I write.

I’ve been blogging for over eight years and I’ve done a few sponsored posts here and there. It wasn’t until the end of last year when I felt a pull to try harder at making money while blogging. I started following other bloggers who were successful at making money online. Some of them I was blown away with what they’ve been able to accomplish in their online spaces.

I read a story about a mom who was homeless. Her husband left and she was living in a homeless shelter with her kids. Now she is making a living through her very successful blog, helping other women live a better life. I mean, God bless her! She has worked so hard and it paid off in big ways.

Obviously, that is not my story. But I truly believe you get out what you put in. Isn’t that the truth with just about everything in life?

Wanna know the truth about those sponsored blog posts you read? Or are you a blogger looking for encouragement when writing sponsored content? Then you need to read this STAT! | adayinmollywood.com
So in January I started another rebrand – which is the blog you see now. My mission on this blog is to encourage you to thrive when motherhood gets messy. And I’m not just talking about spilled milk here. I’m talking about the bigger messes inside of us that motherhood often create. The ones that cause us to feel alone in our journeys.

During this rebrand I gave myself a personal challenge – if I could increase my pageviews I might be able to make more money for my family. Other bloggers were doing it successfully – why not me? I wanted to give it a try.

As a blogger, I walk a fine line between staying authentic to myself and this space while also making extra money for my family. I receive offers to write sponsored blog posts every single day – and I want you to know – I turn down most of them. Either because they just don’t fit with the mission of my blog or I don’t have the time to write them.

If you read here you have probably noticed more sponsored content. I realize it can be offputting to see that dreaded disclosure before a post. In fact, you may see it and click away. And I totally get that. I do. I used to be like that – clicking away because blech, they are being paid to say that.

But then I realized that bloggers have just as much right to make money as any other profession out there.

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a young girl. Until recently, I never knew how to make that happen for myself because I live in an area where there aren’t a lot of opportunities for writers. So I decided to create my own opportunity – just like millions of other entrepreneurs out there!

I’ll be the first to tell you it hasn’t been easy. Every time I publish something I’ve been compensated to write – I end up feeling a bit guilty.

WHYYYYY?

Why should I, or any blogger for that matter, feel guilty for trying to figure out a way to bring income into their family?

Yes, I understand that some posts can come across as shilling a product. But my philosophy is to share my stories and thoughts with my readers. Just because it has a disclosure before it doesn’t mean I don’t mean what I’m writing.

And for those that aren’t bloggers – please understand the companies and brands don’t want us to simply sell their product. Most of them desire us to be forthcoming and many don’t even want a “product review” anymore. They want stories. I happen to love that. The brands who give me the freedom to write from my heart, well, those have been my favorite ones with which to work.

On my reader survey, some did say they hate sponsored blog posts and won’t read them. I completely understand. I really do. But I’m done feeling guilty because I want to be paid for the time I spend writing. My time, just like your time, is valuable. I honestly don’t have a lot of it and I work hard (and stay up really late) to try to provide great content for the brands who have hired me.

But most of all, to try to provide some great stories for you, my readers. You’re the reason I continue to write. Your support and feedback is what has kept me writing here for eight years – and counting!