If you are a follower of my blog then you basically know my story. My husband went back to school back in 09 after the lay off so he could get retrained for a different career since there was no one hiring at the time, in his field. He had gotten a job in his new career field back in March, but the company was a very small company and they could not afford to pay him what they had anticipated, and that basically left him with out a job again. I am sure that if you follow my blog, you have noticed that I am doing more and more reviews for companies and products. I am still doing home health, I have also just started a home day care program that my husband is assisting with. I went and had our home certified and we are now state approved to do this. I am also seeking out more paid opportunities with my blog. I am doing everything I can think of so we can keep our heads above water. This year for Back To School, I worked very hard at getting reviews and wonderful giveaways out. If it were not for my blog, I would have gone to wait in line at the local church to get my daughter school clothes and supplies. Her dad is involved, but he does not pay child support. I was a sucker and when we went to set child support a couple of years ago, he promised me that he would help out if I needed it. He said that since he is also supporting his wife’s three kids, and that he could not afford to pay what the state was going to set him to pay. His wife’s kids are not his and their dad does not assist, but honestly I should not have taken that into consideration. Like many of my friends and family tell me, it is not my problem. But I am a sucker. If I had just done what I went to the Attorney General for, I know that when it comes to my daughter and her needs, I would be able to do more and not have to rely on my blog for clothes, shoes, school supplies and now gifts for Christmas. Needless to say, he has yet to hold up his end of the bargain he made with me two years ago. I have been getting lots of emails lately from people entering giveaways, telling me their stories and why they need to win and if I dont choose them, their kids wont have a present this year. I do sympathize, but when it comes to the giveaways, I only use the random.org generator. I dont pick and choose, that is not how it works. I used to enter giveaways daily just so I could get items for my kids after my husband was laid off. I was lucky enough to win gift cards to get my daughters school items for her first year of school. I then realized that if I really want to make it work, I could do my own blog. So that is what I did. I started Mommy Katie. I am just me, no one special, and I have had no special training when it comes to using the internet. I researched, on my own, and I taught myself how to build a blog. I did this for my family. Dont get me wrong, I love blogging and I would not change it. I learned that it was not going to happen over night. I had to really work at building this blog. My motivation was my family, what I could eventually achieve, and my goal is to continue to do my best and continue to blog and learn. I know that in 2009, for Christmas, my husband and I could not afford to get my kids presents. My parents bought the big gifts for my kids and I trolled the internet entering any giveaways I could find, and if it wasnt for my determination to win gifts that year, my kids would have only gotten the two presents from my parents. I was working on my blog at the time, but I did not have the following and I was still learning how to do it at the time. It wasnt until the summer of 2010, that I got my first review. I was beginning to think that it was not going to happen, but I was determined to make it happen. I got my first flood of followers, when I hosted a few giveaways from items that I provided. After that, I had opened a door that I do not wish to ever close. Last year was the first Christmas event for Mommy Katie, and it was a huge success. Our Christmas was huge. I was able to give all of my family gifts, my kids got what they asked Santa for, and I also made some money from some paid posts so we could pay for our trip to my parents house instead of relying on my family to help us pay for gas to get there. This year, Christmas will be just as great. My kids will be able to get their lists fulfilled. I will also be able to host Christmas at my own home this year, which will be a first. Now it is true that since we are planning a big Christmas dinner, we wont be able to afford a big Thanksgiving dinner. Last year we were given several turkeys and coupons to get sides as well, so we shared what we got and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the Ronald McDonald House. It was our way of giving back to them. This year, we did not get so lucky, I got so busy working on the Holiday Guide and doing other posts, plus my home health, the child care and my own family, that by the time I contacted the companies this year, I was too late. But I have gotten some items to assist with the Christmas dinner, which will really be the big meal this year, so I am very grateful for that. I am honestly grateful for all of my readers and all of the companies I work with, who are willing to send me great products to review, and even offer products for my readers in a giveaway as well. This year, due to all of the Medicaid issues, I have lost most of my patients because Medicaid will no longer pay me to take care of them and they cant afford to do it out of pocket. I wish I could do it for less, but I have to pay my own gas and my truck eats up gas, so driving all around town to take care of my patients for the money that they could afford to pay me would just cover my gas. So I am working harder at getting paid reviews, on getting more patients (which is not easy), building our day care, and making it all work! When I first started explaining the whole blogging thing to friends and family, they did not think it would work. They were in disbelief, but many who were doubters, now read my blog on a regular basis, and ask me if I had tried certain things or if I could do a review on certain things so they could see what I have to say. Our family is on a very tight budget, in fact there is not any room for any extras. With out my blog, we could not afford to do a Christmas dinner, we could not afford to get any gifts for anyone. We could not afford to get my kids new clothes, jackets, shoes, school items. But if we did not have the blog, I know that there are other ways to at least do what is needed. There are coat drives, food banks and clothing lofts at churches, but if I can do something to get what we need, then that leaves room for another family to get those items from these places. I know that before my husband had gotten laid off, I was still quite frugal, I did all of my holiday shopping on Black Friday. We put about $20 from each paycheck through out the year towards our Christmas fund. That way there was not any credit cards needed and we did not go over board. Just like last year, this year I will be doing the Black Friday, but it is all on gift cards that I have earned this year from my blog. I have been given gift cards for certain posts, and if I am required to get certain products, I will get those products and with the extras, I will be frugal and creative so I can have a few dollars to put towards my Christmas fund. So I have some gift cards with a $5 balance and they go on up. I am sure that the retailers are going to love me when I pull out all of my gift cards to pay with things, but that is money I earned and money I will use to get the wrapping paper, and odds and ends. I know that times are tough for many, and I understand that there are many families that are in the same boat as mine is, but I wont rig my giveaways. My readers all deserve a chance at winning, and that is what it is, chance. Everyone who enters, enters because they also would like to win, and many are on budgets and enter so they can win gifts for their loved ones. I understand that you wish you could do more, and I am very glad to have you here at Mommy Katie and I wish everyone luck with entering all
of the great giveaways, but I cant just give people prizes because times are tough, they are tough for many of us. This year, I wish everyone a very Happy Holiday, and I hope to continue to see all of my wonderful readers here at Mommy Katie for many years to come!!