Looking Back at 2013… Most Popular Blog Posts

Looking Back at 2013
2013 was a HUGE year for my blog! By far I saw the biggest growth in readers, in my writing, and in my own spirit. I fell in love with the blogging community and I realized I do have a voice and a message worth sharing. The moments that humble me the most are when someone takes the time to tell me they enjoy my blog and they encourage me to keep at it! Many moms tell me they find my reviews to be a great resource for them and they thank me for taking the time to create them. So I will! I hope 2014 will be even better. I’m planning on it!

With that said, let’s look back at the most popular blog posts for the past year. This is your chance to see what you might have missed or revisit something that touched you. Thank you for reading! I deeply appreciate it.

1. It’s the Small Moments I Want To Remember!  One of the biggest reasons I dove into the world of photography was to learn who to better capture my children’s precious moments.  In this post I speak about why this subject is so close to my heart.

2. When I Do It All and All is Not Enough! Ok Moms! We’ve all been there.  We’ve worked ourselves weary to give our children a great day or to provide for all of their most important needs, yet they beg for more of you!  You commiserated with me and I felt uplifted.  Thank you!

3. Avoiding the Train Wrecks in Your Homeschool That Crack Your Marriage In August I spent an entire week talking about how homeschooling can impact your marriage and vice versa.  This post was most popular.  It seemed everyone wants to know how to avoid the bad stuff.  I shared my experiences in my post.

4. Marriage is Hard or 7 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Strong! Whoa this one stirred you all up!  I had a lot of people messaging me to tell me that if marriage is hard you’ve married the wrong person.  Uh… I disagree!  What a post!

5. Marriage is Hard Work, The Husband’s Perspective So it turns out my husband all agrees that marriage is hard work.  Though we both agree we find it very rewarding.  He took a turn at the blogging thing and gave you all his perspective.  People tend to really love the male point of view.

6.  Consistency and Consequences!  In September I spent a number of days blogging about my favorite book… The Christian Parenting Handbook: 50 Heart-Based Strategies for All the Stages of Your Child’s Life.  In this post I talked about how perfect consistency in parenting is unrealistic and totally overrated.  Some of you disagreed with me.  Whew!

7. Pray for the Persecuted Church.  Also in September I shared with you the story of Pastor Saeed Abedini who is an American citizen being held in the most horrific Iranian prison for the crime of being Christian.  My husband and I organized a prayer vigil at our state capitol.  I share with you Pastor Saeed’s story which sadly, is ongoing.  He still sits in prison, abandoned by his country.  This was the most popular post of the year by far.  Thank you for spreading the message!

There you have it!  A look back at the most popular posts of 2013!  I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.  Do click on the graphic at the top of the page to see what big things happened in the blogging lives of some of my favorite TOS Review Crew blogging friends!  Happy New Year!

Review & Giveaway: The Complete Blog Planner by Multitasking Mom


*Post contains affiliate links.

Not long ago I discovered and purchased a new organizational tool that has just completely revamped my daily homeschool/blogging/business running routine.  It is called The Complete Blog Planner was created by Stephanie from Multitaskin’ Mom.  My life is SO much more organized now.  If you have ever tried blogging, either for a hoppy for an income, then you know just how many nitty gritty details there are to keep track of.  It can become overwhelming at times.  Tracking, planning, social media, meeting deadlines, upgrading, improving, sharing, giveaways… the list is endless.  Plus, without set goals and a plan for the future of your blog, it can be easy to just let the whole thing fall by the wayside amongst all of the chaos of everyday life.  The Complete Blog Planner helps you get all of this under control, quickly and easily.


This planner is so comprehensive!  Stephanie has left no aspect of blogging out. You will find more than 30 different forms that will help you organize, save time, and best of all… keep everything in check!  Best of all, if you use these forms to their fullest, you will never forget an important detail… or waste your time hunting down something you forgot… ever again.

Here some of my favorites…


The Must Do Today Form.  I keep all of my forms tucked in a binder.  This one I keep right out top, out and open all day.  Not only does this page help me make sure my blog work gets done every day, but here I note down other to-dos about my photography business, homeschooling, and life in general.  This is my most used page.


The Bloggin’ Form.  This one helps me keep my blogging week straight.  There is plenty of room for jotting down extra notes, reminders, and remarks about your social media sharing.  PERFECT!


The Month Of Calendar Form. Oh my goodness!  I could NOT live without this!  I’ve done over 50 reviews on my blog since January.  It is VERY difficult to keep all of the dates straight.  This form has become my life-saver.  


The Let’s Get Social Form.  This form has really helped me become strategic with my daily social media goals.  As a result I’ve seen my blog traffic increase by almost 1/3.  WONDERFUL!


The Mind Map Form.  THIS is exactly how most of my blog posts are born.  I mind map my ideas until they are fleshed out enough to create a post.  It is SO nice to have a form ready for me whenever I need it.

Planner Discount

Ok, I just shared a fraction of what you will find in The Complete Blog Planner.  There are over 25 more forms I didn’t have the space to write about here.  Do I use EVERY form? No, not at all.  But I do use probably 15! There are forms to help you track your blog statistics, forms to help you organize your reviews, forms to help you with monetizing your blog.  The list goes on.  The variety and flexibility to make this work for you is great and the quality is even better.  I’d love to offer you a list of cons but there just aren’t any.  I tossed away all of the old planning sheets and forms I had create or gathered elsewhere.  THIS just WORKS! 

You can get your Complete Blog Planner for just $19.95.  Trust me, it’s worth EVERY penny!  But Stephanie was gracious enough to allow me to offer my readers a 20% discount code.  Just enter CrystalStar20 at checkout.


Multi Taskin’ Mom Stephanie also graciously offered to let me giveaway ONE copy of the Complete Blog Planner.  Check out the Rafflecopter below for details!  Happy Blogging!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends October 12st at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Winner will be selected by Rafflecopter.com and be notified by email. Winner have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Crystal Starr is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.  I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping or emailing their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.  The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.  By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone.  I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.


The Complete Blog Planner! I Think I’m Loving This!


*Contains Affiliate Links

Stephanie Eidson of The Multi Taskin’ Mom has created something that, in just days, in completely revolutionizing my blogging.  It’s a planner for bloggers.  It looks PHENOMENAL!  Seriously! I was so proud of this binder system I made and I was going to share it with all of you soon.  Yeah, this puts my piddly system to shame!  The instant I saw it I knew I’d be dumping my own creation for this.  I want to use it for a few weeks before I give you an in depth detailed review.  But know this… it is hugely comprehensive.  There are forms I hadn’t realized I needed!  There are forms that I might not use right now!  And there are forms I had tried to create on my own… but Stephanie did a much better job.

You will be able to plan your blog by the month, week, and day.  You’ll be able to organize guest bloggers, your guest blogging that you do yourself, your reviews and your giveaways.  You’ll be able to track your blog’s statistics, your blog’s income and expenses, and even everything you do on social media.  There are even pages designed to help you actually WRITE!  Because, you know, that is the whole point of the blog!

I’m sharing this with you quickly because I want you to know that this is available for a discount right now as she just introduced it.  From Sept. 1 – Sept. 10 ONLY the introductory price of this planner will be set at $12.95!! With your purchase you will get access to free updates and all sorts of free bonuses.  Plus you’ll be entered into a drawing to win some free stuff.  Remember, after Sept. 10 these deals disappear and the price goes up to the normal price of $19.95!   

The Complete Blog Planner