Family Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Coronavirus has changed the way holidays look. So today I’m sharing a fun Halloween activity that you can do and still socially distance. Download your free printable family Halloween scavenger hunt.

Happy Halloween friends! We have had our first serious cold front here in Texas where I live and it is awesome! I love sweater weather so much. Most of the time our Halloween in Texas is pretty warm still so I’m excited about this cold weather. Lots of people are altering how they do holidays this year. COVID has just totally turned our world upside down. Since we live one of the largest cities in the U.S. , we are seeing some escalation again.

If you want to do something fun that doesn’t require you to be exposed to a bunch of strangers, I think scavenger hunts are really fun. If you have a neighborhood that goes out all for Halloween, then take things outside for more fun. Otherwise, you can do this in your own yard or house. I’ve created a fun family Halloween scavenger hunt that you can print out and do at home. But first, let’s talk about some fun things you can do this Halloween (or should we call it Corona-ween) and still maintain distance from others.

Social Distancing Halloween Activities

Close But Apart Trick-or-Treating

Originally, I heard some people talking on social media about just leaving a bowl of candy on the porch for people to help themselves. This sounds like a great idea, but I know lots of people who have done this before pre-Corona for one reason or another and had horrible experiences. Some people, when left to their own devices, pour the whole bowl into their Halloween sacks. You see this kind of footage taped by RING cameras all the time. I’ve even seen parents doing it! Ugh! It’s sad that people do this, but people do!

So instead, set up a small table, bench or some other surface on your driveway or lawn. Then you can stand on your porch or near your door and monitor and great people like you normally would but at a safe distance. You can even put the candy in Ziplocks or treat baggies so everyone gets their fair share.

Also before you leave, don’t forget to download my fun Halloween I Spy game. You can do this cute activity inside while they eat their candy. Happy Halloween friends! Be safe. Before you leave, don’t forget to subscribe for future posts and subscriber-only goodies.

Family Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Candy Egg Hunt

If you’ve got some extra Easter eggs kicking around a closet, pull them out and fill them with candy just like you would do at Easter. Scatter them in your yard and let your kids find them. You could also have a glow in the dark version by covering the eggs in glow-in-the-dark paint. Additionally, you could also just put lots of glowsticks near the hidden egg areas.

Halloween Photo Backdrop

You can create a Halloween photo backdrop on your garage or the side of your house and allow others to come and take pictures against it. This way you can join in with all the Halloween fun, but you aren’t having to hand out anything. No contact! Of course, you can always leave a bowl of treats out next to it if you want.

Halloween Car Parade

You can organize it with your neighborhood, but everyone can give their cars a spooky makeover. Then a designated driver from each family can join in the caravan while the rest of the family gathers on the driveway or lawn to watch the haunted motorcade go by.

Skeleton Scavenger Hunt

This is a slightly different take on the printable scavenger hunt idea. This would probably be more fun with older kids or adults. Buy several of the full skeleton decorations found in stores. Disassemble the bones if needed. Scatter them over your house and or yard. Either individually or in teams, have participants find all the bones to complete their skeleton.

Family Halloween Scavenger Hunt

That brings us to my fun family Halloween scavenger hunt. Now, if you have a fun neighborhood that goes all out for Halloween, I say, take the scavenger outside and see what you can find. Additionally, you could always do a car version of the scavenger where you drive around neighborhood streets and try to spot these things.

But I think the easiest thing is to do the scavenger hunt in your house or at least around your property. One fun way to do it is to print out a scavenger hunt and give a copy to every participant. Select a place to be the finish line. To make it fun, have the participants start in different areas. First one to the finish line with all the items found, wins.

I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween. I’d love it if we became friends and you subscribed to my blog. I promise I don’t email too often and I send fun free stuff once a month. Thanks for reading!


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10 Mistakes You’re Making As A New Blogger

We’ve all been there. You are learning the craft and art of blogging. On my second anniversary as a blogger, I’m sharing 10 mistakes you’re making as a new blogger. These are some of my own lessons that I’ve had to learn along the way.

10 mistakes you're making as a new blogger
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

I can’t believe that this October marks two years of writing on this blog. There are lots of reasons to celebrate this year. This is the first year that I am not just in the black but made a nice profit. My subscribers tripled from last year and I feel like I’ve found my groove. It has taken immense commitment, hours of writing, editing, promoting, and some 173,499 words, but I finally feel like my blog is successful. Today, in honor of my blog-aversary, I’ve decided to share 10 mistakes you are making as a new blogger.

10 Mistakes You Are Making as a New Blogger

You Are Relying on Friends and Family to Help Drive Traffic

I get it. I did the same thing. You are so excited to launch your new blog. You may even have friends and family who have encouraged you to start it. In the beginning, those friends may even give you a couple of shares. But I can tell you that your friends and family will not drive your traffic or your sales. My friends and family rarely share my posts. Only a handful actually subscribe to my blog and I can only think of two friends who have purchased something through my blog. Many friends and family read my blog when I post links, but few actually commit and subscribe. If you go into blogging expecting that you’re friends and family will share every post and buy every product, you’ll be disappointed maybe even resentful. I have thousands of subscribers and nearly all are strangers.

Your friends and family will likely not be your audience. I will also tell you, don’t take this personally. It doesn’t mean they don’t love your work or support you. It’s just the way it is. You will need to increase your traffic organically through hardcore sharing on social media platforms. It will come with lots of content creation, potentially paid ads on platforms, building your email list, and scheduling your promotions at peak times.

Not Building Your E-mail List From Day One

When I first became a blogger, I really underestimated how important it was to build your email list. With all the writing and behind-the-scenes work you do, building an email list often gets put on the back burner by beginner bloggers. Think of your email subscribers as repeat customers! They are your captive audience. Your fans. Treat them like it. These are readers who want to hear from you so reach out to them regularly but don’t flood their inbox with emails. I’ve unsubscribed to people who send me emails every couple of days. It’s spammy and it’s a turn-off. You need to find a balance between reminding them you are still here and not annoying them with spammy correspondence. You also want to entice them with reasons to return to your site.

Some bloggers avoid email lists in the beginning because it can cost money. I know money is tight with all budding bloggers, but investing in your email list is something that is necessary if you want to grow and succeed. These days, there are FREE options to get started like Mail Chimp.

Make sure you offer your loyal readers something other readers don’t get and remind them they are only receiving it because they are loyal subscribers. It can be anything. Printables, advice, ebooks, special blog posts, resources, anything at all, but make them feel valued. You need to ask your readers to subscribe every chance you have. Which leads me to my next topic.

You Assume Your Readers Know What to Do

This was by far my biggest mistake in the beginning. I’m going to be honest with you. I feel totally awkward asking for things. I feel weird and self-conscious asking people to buy things. So in the beginning, I didn’t want to come off needy and desperate. In the beginning I got almost no shares, no comments, and no subscribers and it really boiled down to one simple thing. I assumed that my readers knew I wanted them to do those things. They don’t!

That is where a “call to action” comes in. A call to action is a prompt for your readers to take action. You need to tell your readers to subscribe to your blog at some point within every blog post. You also need to encourage them to pin the post for later and encourage them to share it on social media. If you have a shop linked to your blog, make sure you promote your products in every relevant blog post. Also, guide them to past blog posts for more information. Keep them on your site for as long as possible.

You can’t be modest or shy. You need to directly ask your readers to engage, stay, subscribe, and buy. The same goes for your posts on social media. At the end of every post, invite your readers to engage. You can do this by asking a question, ask for their opinion, advice, or ask them to share or like the post. You can ask them to follow a link but always request that they take action after reading.

Not Offering Quality Content

Okay, let’s talk about content. I have seen lots of beginner blogs and one thing that I see often in young writers is the lack of quality in content. Many new bloggers treat their blog like a diary. Now don’t be offended by this. Hear me out. Your blog posts should offer readers something in exchange for reading. You need to solve a problem, teach them something, give them a resource and you need to do it better than your competition. Ask yourself what your readers will gain from your post. Why should they read your post and why should they read it when there are other posts like yours out there? What makes yours different?

“But shouldn’t I be making a personal connection with my readers?”

Absolutely! You can absolutely give updates on your life, anecdotes, funny stories, relatable moments, etc. You absolutely need to be personal, candid, and vulnerable. But these should be nestled into your posts. Diaries and journals are for you. Blogs are for your readers. Entertain them. Educate them. But offer them something they didn’t have before reading your post. Additionally, you need to present quality photos (original when you can) and incentives and teasers for returning.

10 mistakes you're making as a new blogger
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

You’re Not Monetizing Every Post

Blogs make money with passive income. Passive income just means it’s money you earn with little effort. Affiliates are a form of passive income. As soon as you launch your blog you need to have multiple affiliate networks that will monetize links. Every time people purchase something through a link, you earn cents on the dollar. Even as a relatively new blogger, there are affiliate networks that will accept you. Amazon, Share a Sale and Viglink will accept fairly new bloggers. With Amazon, you will need to make some sales within the first six months or so of starting your affiliate account or you will be dropped. You need to sign up for as many as you can and then you need to monetize every post you create.

You can also monetize your posts by creating printables, ebooks, courses, and other digital products. These are awesome money makers because you create them once and then sell them over and over again. You also never need to worry about carrying physical stock and maintaining an inventory. You can also promote them in countless ways in your posts. But you always need to monetize to fully maximize your income potential.

You’re Not Scheduling Your Posts

This was another big mistake of mine. The first few months I blogged, I didn’t want to spend any money on a scheduler like Tailwind. With all the startup costs of a new blog, I totally understand the need to be choosy about expenditures. I’ll be the first one to tell that you need to be picky about expenses and premium services, premium plug-ins, etc. Let me tell you, it is absolutely worth it to invest in a scheduler like Tailwind.

Let me be honest. Writing is not going to be your main time burglar. The majority of your time will not be spent writing and editing. It will be promoting your posts! In fact, many six-figure bloggers will advise you should spend 20% of your time creating your post and 80% of your time promoting it. Pinterest is going to be your main driver of traffic and scheduling pins at peak times is going to maximize your exposure. Trying to do this manually is such a big headache.

With Tailwind you can also set your posts to pin regularly in a perpetual loop, thus saving you tons of time. You can set it to pin certain posts during a time period or your evergreen posts all year long. With Tailwind, in about a year, I went from 10,000 monthly viewers to 389,000.

Get your Tailwind for Pinterest link by clicking on “Get HTML”

The Focus isn’t on Evergreen Content

Seasonal posts are so fun to write and it is easy to get inspired into writing them, but the problem with seasonal posts is that they typically only drive traffic at a certain time of year. That’s why your main focus needs to be on evergreen content. Evergreen content is, simply put, non-seasonal posts. These posts can drive consistent traffic all year round.

I love seasonal posts, but it’s important to know that they probably won’t drive much traffic during most of the year. My Christmas posts, although super fun to put together, literally drive no traffic except for at Christmastime. You’re also going to have to promote again them every season. Obviously, this doesn’t mean can’t write them. It just means that your focus should be on things that bring traffic all year round.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Not Taking Time to Learn

Many blogs fail in the first few years. There are lots of reasons for this, but one overlooked reason is that some bloggers don’t invest enough into learning about the profession and industry. Blogging is a serious business. You don’t have to invest in an expensive blog course, although I think they do save you a lot of time and foot work. I think lots of new fledgling bloggers, cram with all the basics of starting a blog and then sit back and focus on content creation. I will tell you, you need to dedicate yourself to constant learning.

You will also find that like in any industry, the blogging world constantly evolves. Just about the time you have algorithms figured out, social media platforms will change them. For example, I finally felt like I had learned Pinterest algorithms. Then Pinterest announced, it would prioritize fresh pins and stale pins may not drive as much traffic. It is their way of keeping Pinterest feeds fresh for users. However, for bloggers like me, this means that I had to recreate fresh pins for all my old content. We are talking about 200 pins! Then Google also refreshed their search engine optimization (SEO). It’s not the first time this has happened in my two years of blogging. Both Facebook and Instagram have also changed their algorithms as well. There is a constant learning curve and you need to be willing to invest regular time into learning, improving, and evolving.

I dedicate about an hour a week for continuing education. Back when I was an insurance adjuster, I had to have CE to keep my state license. But the truth is, if you want to be good at what you do, if you want growth and improvement, you will have to invest time to learning continually. This isn’t something you learn once in the beginning and just stop. Prioritize time for goal-making, learning, and reading up on the blogging industry every week. It doesn’t have to be hours, but you do need to prioritize it, so it becomes a consistent habit.

You Don’t Refresh Old Posts

It is amazing to me how much I have evolved since I first began this blog over two years ago. I look at some of my early posts and they are almost embarrassing. The photography, the writing, the editing. Yikes. Those early posts weren’t monetized. The SEO was really poor. What’s the old saying? “You don’t know what you don’t know.” After two years of blogging, I can look back at those early posts and see all my mistakes and shortcomings. It happens to everyone. The key is to go back and refresh old posts.

Update the SEO. Play around with better blog post titles. Update photos and graphics. Create fresh pins for Pinterest. Add new information. Link to other, newer related posts. Add freebies like printables and digital downloads. Check for dead or missing links. Link to or promote products in your shop. Updating these things will help broaden your exposure, audience, and revenue. My advice is to try to set aside an hour or so a week to refreshing old posts.

You May Not Be Protecting Yourself

When I think that I had a blog for six months before putting in a privacy statement and disclosures, I could kick myself. These days people will sue over anything and everything. When something bad happens, they look for someone to blame. When someone’s identity is stolen, people will blame companies with access to their credit card information. If a product injures someone, people will look to blame the manufacture, the company that sold it, and the one who recommended or endorsed it. Liabilities are everywhere and the blogging world is no exception to it.

Even seemingly harmless posts, like where I shared about my son’s speech delay, need a disclosure that I’m not a medical doctor and that my advice in my post shouldn’t replace medical advice or treatment from a medical professional. I swear you’ve got to put a lot of disclosures in your blog and on your posts. If you’ve received a free product to review, you need to disclose it. The same goes for any links for which you may earn a commission.

There are lots of services online that allow you to tailor a privacy policy for your specific blog needs for a fee. It is absolutely worth doing this to protect your blog legally and protect you from personal liability.

Your Blog Is a Work in Progress

In case I didn’t mention it, I’m super excited for you. Blogging is hard work, but it’s also a very fun, rewarding job. Like any career, it takes a while to learn the ropes and it’s a never-ending journey. So don’t be hard on yourself if you have been making any of these mistakes. I’ve made every single one them, which is why I decided to share this with you today.

Before you leave, don’t forget to subscribe and PIN this post for later or share it with a friend who is also new to blogging. You may even be interested in reading some of my other blog-related posts such as What I’ve Learned in 4 Months of Blogging, My 100th Blog Post, and The Ugly Side of Blogging. In the comments below, I’d love for you to share your blog links. Tell me a little about your blog and why you started writing.

Thanks for reading, friend.

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15 Comforting Scriptures for Miscarriage

I know the pain of miscarriage, but the holy scriptures offer us comfort in our time of grief, confusion, and disappointment. Here are 15 comforting scriptures for miscarriage.

15 comforting scriptures for miscarriage

Nothing prepares you for losing a baby. I was totally unprepared for miscarriage when my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby. I spent so much time daydreaming of tiny toes and tender moments. I never considered that my pregnancy could end tragically. Pregnancy is, after all, such a natural process for a woman.

I did have my own fears though. You see, years before in my twenties, I had an ovarian tumor. The tumor caused me to have emergency surgery and I ended up losing one of my ovaries. As I aged into my middle thirties, I prepared myself for what I thought was inevitable. I anticipated that it would be very hard to get pregnant. I anticipated months of trying without any luck.

So when I got pregnant during the first month of trying, my husband and I were overjoyed. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so excited in my life. We started making plans immediately. I was in such disbelief, that I went to urgent care to confirm my pregnancy because my OBGYN couldn’t see me until week ten. The pregnancy bolted my faith. I felt so close to the Lord who was creating life inside me. It was the first time I really saw the ministry and God’s glory in motherhood.

Tragedy and Grief

I was so excited when we finally went to the doctor. I was going to hear my child’s heartbeat and see them in a sonogram. My husband stood by my side as the doctor searched across my belly. She pointed out the amniotic sac then grew quiet. My heart sank as I realized that something was wrong. There was no sound. No flutter.

She told me she thought maybe I had my period date wrong. The fetus is harder for the sonogram to detect when it’s younger than eight weeks. In fact, many times it can’t be detected until eight weeks. So she made us wait and come back in two weeks. Those two weeks were unimaginably hard. I sobbed into my husband’s chest as he awkwardly tried to comfort me. We both knew what this meant. At some point, our baby had stopped growing. Stopped living. I had to watch my pregnancy symptoms slowly fade. My breasts no longer hurt. The nausea went away completely.

We went back in two weeks and the doctor was able to confirm the heartbeat was gone. I held it together as the doctor explained that I could either have a D&C or miscarry naturally. I opted to miscarry naturally, It took an entire month before the cramping and bleeding started. I wept bitterly on my bed when I realized what was happening. After two days of contractions, the miscarriage was over, but my grief was just beginning.

Deeper In Grief

My husband and I decided to immediately get back on the horse and to our surprise, we got pregnant again the first month we started trying. Except for this time I experienced no joy. Only fear. My parents and husband assured me another miscarriage wasn’t likely and that I should enjoy the pregnancy. But several weeks into my first trimester I miscarried again.

Oh, friend. Those were dark days. The grief. The disappointment. Fear. It was the perfect opportunity for the enemy to attack me and that is exactly what he did. I heard some horrible thoughts in those moments. I was tempted to believe it was my fault. That something was inherently wrong with me. Even that I was unworthy of being a mother. Satan is, after all, the accuser (Rev 12:10), and he will absolutely try to kick you when you are down. He will lie to you. It is in his nature (John 8:44).

When I began to sink into deep depression, grief, and confusion, I turned to God’s holy word and it comforted me. So today, I’m sharing those verses with you today. Not long after my second miscarriage, I got pregnant with my oldest son, my rainbow baby. I’ll save that experience for another time. I still think of my two babies Gabriel and Daphne and I always will. Even though they are not with us, they are a part of my family and a part of my heart. If you are struggling with grief from miscarriage, please let me know in the comments and I’ll add you to my prayer list. You aren’t alone, mama. I know how you feel. Half of my children are in heaven. I hope these 15 comforting scriptures for miscarriage being help assuage your grief.

15 Comforting Scriptures for Miscarriage

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Psalm 71:20-23

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

isaiah 25:8

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

john 16:22
1 corinthians 15:26

You have recorded my troubles. You have kept a list of my tears. Aren’t they in your records?

Psalm 56:8

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

2 corinthians 7:10

For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.

Lamentations 3:31-33
15 comforting scriptures for miscarriage

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10

For You created my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

psalm 139:13-14
15 comforting scriptures for miscarriage

Therefore we do not lose heart. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

revelation 21:4

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

john 14:27

Before, I close, let me say that I understand your pain. Your baby will not be forgotten. As with all grief, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor is there any appropriate time frame to grieve. Regardless of what week you lost your baby, give yourself full permission to grieve. Also, don’t let anyone minimize your pain if you lost your child in early pregnancy. Let your sorrow wash over you while allowing the scriptures to comfort you. Meaningful grieving is the path to acceptance and healing.

Until then my thoughts and prayers are with you. If you’d like me to pray for you, you can leave a prayer request in the comments or you can message me privately if you prefer.


Halloween I Spy Printable

Are your kids bored this week? Download my free Halloween I Spy Printable for a for spooky Halloween activity that’s fun for all ages.

Halloween I Spy Printable

Hey Friends! We are in October and here in my house we are wondering how things will be different in 2020. This year, lots of things have looked differently. This year, we did all of our birthday parties on Zoom and we even had drive by parties. My husband and I have had to get pretty creative on how we can keep the kids entertained.

Personally, I’ve been creating lots of printables to keep my kids busy. Things that are low cost and certainly things that kill their boredom while social distancing. You see, I know many people have returned to relatively normal lives, but since we help my elderly parents, we are still strictly quarantining. I keep telling myself one day this will be all over!

So, I decided to create a fun Halloween I spy printable to add to our homeschooling activities. My kids love I spy games and they are so fun to do. But they are more than just fun, they are actually educational. So why are I spy games good for kids, you ask.

The Benefits of I Spy Games

It Builds Memory Skills

Memory games and I Spy games help your child fine-tune their photographic memory. When children search for the image in the maze of other pictures, they must use their visual memory to find the picture. Using I Spy activities really strengthens your child’s memory. This is essential for growing children. It can be really frustrating when children disobey us. But as a mom of two, I’ve learned that many times my kids don’t mean to disobey, they simply forget. Little ones still have budding brains and it has become really apparent to me as I’ve homeschooled that children really need memory training.

It Improves Focus

Children have to focus when they do an I spy game. Nearly all young children struggle with concentration and focus. That’s why training their minds to focus through games is so helpful. To them it is just play or a fun activity, but ultimately you are trying to get them used to focusing so it can carry over into school work and other life skills.

They Can Improve Counting Skills

Some I spy games, like the Halloween I Spy printable I’ve created for you, asks children to find the picture multiple times. This forces children to keep count. When you complete the I spy printable, have your child make tally marks as they find the picture.

It Enhances Visual Discrimination

I can recall when I started to teach my children colors. We did lots of color sorts. I’d give my child math counters of different colors and they would have to sort it into the coordinating colored bowl. Why? Because sorting helps your child not only decide what color it is, it helps them figure out what color it is not. The same is true for I spy. As your child sorts through the jumbled pictures, your child will have to hone in on the discrepancies, differences, and similarities between the pictures and ultimately decide if the picture is the same they are searching for or not. Your child will have to use visual discrimination to determine the differences.

How to Use The Halloween I Spy Printable

The printable is a US letter-sized document. I’ve made it into a PDF document you can download. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat or some other PDF viewing software. You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free here.

I’ve purposely made the pictures black and white. First, so that the images are harder to find. Secondly, so that your child can color them in when they find them. He or she can also put an “x” over the image if they’d rather not color. If it’s easier for your child they can also put little tally marks in the answer key if they want.

Thanks for reading today. I hope that you and your family have a safe and Halloween. Be sure to subscribe to the blog before you leave for giveaways, free printables and subscriber-only goodies!


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