This SLP Eats: Chicken Enchiladas

If there is one thing that an SLP loves more than speech therapy, it has to be food!  We use it in therapy.  We raid the teacher’s lounge when it’s there…mainly because we have a more flexible schedule than teachers.  I usually start thinking about my lunch destination around 9:30am each day.  So is it a wonder why I am bringing you my most favorite chicken enchilada recipe today?

It’s requirement in Texas to love Mexican food.  I know some that don’t care for it…but they are few and far between.  I, for one, love it!  I could eat tacos, enchiladas, queso, chips and guacamole all day.  I found this chicken enchilada recipe several years ago on Pinterest.  It’s delicious!  We usually have it on Christmas.  Yes, I make too much and we have leftovers for days.  But that’s ok!

This recipe from The Novice Chef Blog is DELCIOUS!  I like to cook my chicken in the crockpot while I am at work.  Then I can come home, shred the chicken, prep the enchiladas and cook!  I have also noticed it makes a difference on the tortillas. Good, soft tortillas make these melt in your mouth yummy.

So Why Is An SLP Blogging About Food?

Well, I debated with my self about adding this category to the blog.  I listen to so many podcasts about keeping your focus and staying true to your brand. But here’s the deal. No matter whether we are an SLP, mail carrier or stay at home, we all must eat! With busy schedules, we don’t have time to make ridiculous 5 course meals.

Plus, it’s my blog. I can post what I want. If I want to post about enchiladas, queso, tacos, and pizza, then I am going to do it! You will be able to find all my favorite recipes right here in “The Hungry SLP” category!

What’s for dinner tonight?

Speech Chick’s Favorite Winter Books for Kids

Today, I am bringing you my favorite kids’ books for winter. I love kids’ books. Probably more so than adult books.  I am not sure if it’s the illustrations or what, but I am a sucker for a pretty picture book.  Winter is great time to snuggle up with kids and read a great book about the cold weather.  If you live in the South like me, you appreciate books about snow…because we don’t see much of it!

So here we go!

Winter Book #1: SNOW

This is a newer book in my collection.  The illustrations are simply beautiful.  The story is simple so it lends itself to elaboration and inferencing.  “Snow” is the story of a day that snow was not in the forecast.  But one little boy holds out hope when just one snowflake falls.  It’s a very relatable story!  Seriously, you need to add this one to your wish list.

Winter Book #2: The Mitten

Really, what’s not to love about “The Mitten?”  The illustrations are gorgeous in Jan Brett’s version. I love books that use uncommon animals like a badger, snowshoe rabbit and a mole. This book has those uncommon animals that can provide discussion after the book is over. Where do those animals live? What do they eat? You could easily spend an afternoon on Google with kids! Give them each an animal to research!

Winter Book #3: The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow” is another great one for kids. I like that it teaches new vocabulary such as scarf, mittens and long underwear. The little girl has a problem that she repeats throughout the story. That scarf is stuck in the zipper! This provides a great opportunity to talk about how she could fix it. Talk with your kids about what you wear in the snow versus the beach.   Each page offers something that can be discussed. For instance, why are her mittens pinned to each arm? Her hat and scarf match but nothing else…why? Have fun with this book!

Winter Book #4: The Secrets of Winter

The Secrets of Winter” is an AWESOME book that you should put at the top of your list! What’s makes this book so cool is the hidden pictures you can only see with light behind the page. I use the flashlight on my phone, but you could use a small flashlight or hold the page up to the light. The book goes into how some animals deal with the cold winter months. I even learned about some animals’ hibernation routines that I did not know about! (I added a link to a fellow SLP and friend’s consultant page. I do not in any way get a kickback or monetary gain. I just wanted to share a great book and help out a friend!)

Picture of Shine-A-Light: Secrets of Winter

Winter Book #5: Snowy Day

The Snowy Day” is a classic. I don’t know of an SLP that doesn’t have this book in their library. If it’s great for therapy, it’s a great one to have in your home. What kid doesn’t love to trot through fresh snow, watching his feet make different prints? This one is definitely a fun read for a cold, winter day!

Playing in the snow is always a fun time. But it’s also nice to come in, sit by the fire with some hot chocolate and read a great book. I have given you 5 pretty spectacular books to share with your kiddos! What is your favorite book to read in the winter?

Logos, Design and the SLP

At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to make some changes to my logo.  When you are an SLP with no background in graphic design, that can cause a problem.  But I like to do things on my own.  That way when I get ready to update it, I can!  I don’t have to pay someone to do it.  If I need a letterhead or a watermark, I can do it!  In small business, you can’t always drop $200+ on logos and design work.  Besides logos, I needed blog templates and other social media graphics.

I had logo re-design on my list of things to do but I did not intend of checking it off this early in the year. If you read my blog post about my Instagram, you saw how big of an undertaking that is going to be. But in order to get your social media looking spiffy, you have to have a catchy social media logo!

Now let me give you a little background on my logo.  I love the color red.  But so does everyone other private practice.  Some form of a primary color makes it into everyone’s logo, which is fine!  Being different is kind of my “thing.”  I am a redhead.  Before my daughter came along, I was the only redhead in my family.  Like I said, being different is my thing.  So why not use pink, which is my second favorite color?  I chose the color palette of pink, purple and turquoise.

I like bright colors.  I wear these colors a lot!  These colors are different from every  other private practice’s colors.  Some might say I am being portrayed as “unprofessional.”  The last time I checked parents do not choose a therapist based on their logo colors.

I chose the fonts because I like playful, cute fonts. My eye gravitates to that. I also feel that it portrays a fun and energetic personality. That’s the feeling I want portrayed to the families that hire me. I want to match my personality to my logo. I want them to know they are getting an SLP that is fun, energetic and ready to go! I do my best to keep my sessions fun and engaging. Shouldn’t my logo represent that? I think so!

Now for the icons…I always get questions about the shoe. I wear Converse with my scrubs. I have roughly 20 pairs of Converse in assorted colors. I even have a pair of custom made ones that advertise Speech Chick Therapy! I am known for my Converse. Of course when I found the glittery pink shoe on TpT (Glitter Meets Glue Designs), I knew I had to use it! I have always used a shoe in my logo since the start of my practice. Why would I take it out now?

So how did I figure all this design stuff out?

I made a Branding board (it’s another secret board on my Pinterest account) and started pinning! As I got going, I started seeing articles about mood boards so… yep, I pinned an article or two about those. Then I read them and somewhat made my own. I read articles about the psychology of colors in marketing. (Guess what? Pink is seen as playful!) Once I found all the branding articles I could take, I started reading those. Which then lead to logo design…are your starting to see the rabbit hole I’ve been down? I pinned a few logo design articles and read over those.

As with my Instagram mission, I also took a couple of branding courses (that were free or extremely low cost) and signed up for some newsletters along the way. So below, I am going to provide the resources I found most helpful for branding, font pairings, colors and design.

Branding

You will learn that branding is not just a logo. It’s your logos, colors, fonts, writing persona, email newsletter format…everything that tells people about your business’ personality. There’s tons!! Literally tons of branding “specialists” out there! I used bits and pieces from probably 20 + branding sites. I also listened to Sam Bell from the “Brand It Girl” podcast. You can also find some great branding info from Jen over at ToastmeetsJam. Most of the blog posts that you come across will provide you a freebie if you sign up for their newsletter. I signed up for several. The freebies are usually helpful. Just be sure you will really the blogger you are giving your email to. Otherwise, you will end up with tons of emails all pitching courses and books. As you are looking through the pins, you will also come across articles about what not to do in your branding process.

Logo Design

I actually made my LOGOS through PicMonkey. (Yes, that’s plural…meaning more than 1). I don’t have photoshop and do not need it. Caroline over at Better Branding Course (PS-take her FREE 7 part email course) has a great tutorial for using Google Drawings! So if you are not familiar with PicMonkey or Canva, that might be a good route for you. You will find during your branding research, mood boards are a big player. So have an idea of colors and fonts that intrigue you. Like I said earlier, bright colors are my jam. So I picked pink, purple, and turquoise. This was my inspiration.

Blog Pixie was a big help in helping choose a color palette. I love that she provides a link toward the bottom of the post for an image color picker. I took my inspiration photo and plugged it in. As I ran my cursor over the colors, it gave the color codes you need for coding. The codes start with “#” with a combination of 6 letters and numbers. WRITE THESE DOWN!!! You will need them later down the road! Be sure to write what color each code belongs to. For instance, beside #5a38a1 I have written “dark purple.” That way as I am coding things, I know what color I am using. Yellow Bliss Road has a great post for font combos. For fonts, I would pin any fonts that catch your eye. Write the names and go to Dafont.com to download them to your computer. Most font masters recommend no more than 2 fonts in your logo. I chose 2 fonts to use in my logo and another font to use on my website. (Not ready to tackle the website just yet!)

Once that is all decided, now you get to design! The Virtual Savvy has a great video tutorial on how to make a logo with Canva. I could not get my fonts to upload to Canva, so that is my reason for using PicMonkey.

I actually used 3 articles to explain why I needed more than one logo! Basically, you need a primary logo-the main mama! This one goes on your website, business cards.etc. Then you have an alternate logo which is a different size with less detail. Think you’re done? Not quite! I use my social media logo as my watermark. Meaning any pictures I post have my little round symbol somewhere (sometimes, I forget it!)

Hello Big Idea

Charlotte O’Hara

Copper Kettle Co.

I am including my logos to show the differences.

Primary Logo:

Alternate Logo:

Social Media/Watermark:

I have absolutely no background in graphic design. I used tutorials and blog posts to help me troubleshoot everything! Don’t overthink your choices. If they make you happy and are pleasing to your eye, then go with it!!! I like my logo because it represents me! The shoe is me. I even used the app Rhonna Designs to make my character! The hair’s not as red as I’d like, but it will work! You can use that app on your phone. Then email it to yourself and upload to whatever program you are using to design!

You got this! So just do it! I’d love to see your designs so feel free to post them in the comments!

The Focused SLP, January and Instagram!

 I don’t make resolutions for the new year.  I make goals.  Things I want to accomplish as an SLP, mother, wife and overall person.  This year, I decided to devote a month to a particular social media outlet and learn everything I need to learn to make my business soar.  I researched books, scanned Pinterest for hours on end and read tons of blogs!  I even took a couple of courses and listened to some great podcasts.  In that month,  I will start putting all that knowledge into place.  At the end of the month, I will keep habits I can do and get rid of others I cannot keep up with.  Let’s face it, social media is tough!  It can run your life it you let it.  Small business owners like myself do not have time to spend all day on social media.  So I will discover what works and that is good enough for me.

So what’s my focus for January?!

I noticed my Instagram numbers were down a bit so I decided to start there.  I went from gaining 100 new followers a month to maybe 20.  I have not been good about engaging and interacting with others.  (Which I know I need to improve!)  I’m a small business owner-meaning I wear I all the hats!  Scheduling, billing, marketing, developing materials for Teachers Pay Teachers, and dealing with insurance are all things that start and end with me. I don’t have time to spend hours on social media!  I know there are more “multiple hat wearers” out there!  So, I am working to make my life easier and yours!  I will be sharing my “Instagram journey” this month.

Book Suggestion for the Focused SLP

I read samples of several books about Instagram.  That’s the beauty of the Kindle app  and Amazon. This book was the one I decided on. I don’t want all the technical crap. We get that enough in speech pathology journals. I just want something that speaks in plain language about marketing and Instagram. It’s easy to read and implement the ideas in it. I’ve read the first 8 chapters and I’ve really enjoyed this book. It’s great for the person that social media marketing is not their forte.

Instagram Marketing: The Guide Book for Using Photos on Instagram to Gain Millions of Followers Quickly and to Skyrocket your Business (Influencer and Social Media Marketing) by [Green, David J]

I don’t necessarily want to gain thousands of followers. I want to gain followers who are interested in the field of speech pathology, need therapy ideas, or looking for new activities to add to their sessions. I also want to gain parent followers who would benefit from small tips along the way to help their child.

Blogs

I seriously scoured Pinterest, researching everything on Instagram. I even added sections to my “Marketing: Instagram” board such as Editing, Profiles/Bios, Hashtags, Instagram Stories and Tools. (Did you know you could add sections to your boards?!!) Using the book above as well as these blog articles, I made a “to do” list for the month of January. It’s a list of approximately 20 tasks that I need to address or work on for just Instagram. At the time of this post, I have not gotten through all of the articles I pinned. By making my “to do” list, it kept me from being overwhelmed. I chose a task to accomplish for the day and read all of those blog posts in that category. One of the first tasks was my bio on Instagram. Man, did I learn a lot about those 4 little lines!!! Another hot topic is a content calendar. I have a editorial calendar for my blog (I don’t always follow it!) but not a social media calendar. So guess what I did? That’s right, I found a few blog posts and set up an Instagram calendar for January!

Hashtags are a big deal on Instagram. There’s apparently a science that goes with this concept. Concepts like “community hashtag” vs “branded hashtag” or large, medium and small hashtags…what the heck it all this mess?! I took Molly Marshall’s “Hashtag Camp” over a couple of days. It was 6 lessons that were no more than 10 minutes each. There was also a small workbook to help you through the lessons. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone looking to learn about hashtags and how to find good ones. I found that most speech therapy hashtags fall in the medium to small groups. Photo editing, captions and stories are other topics that I will be learning more about.  So, now you’re wandering what the heck you should do? Well, start with a “to do” list. What do you want to improve on? Be honest with yourself. Your business depends it! Now get on your Pinterest account, make an “Instagram Marketing” board and pin away. Take an hour to pin, read and do. I made mine a secret board. Pin articles that pertain to your list. Don’t pin photo editing stuff if you can do that well. Here are some blogs I found helpful:

Jaimie Myers

With Kids and Coffee

Molly Marshall Marketing (Hashtag Camp) and 2018 Instagram Strategy Guide

Ivory Mix & Linen and Lane (Content Planning!)

Kristin Brause (5 Day Instagram Email Challenge)

Podcast

I stumbled across a podcast the other day that is completely dedicated to Instagram! I really like Grammer School. It is a great podcast that is posted everyday! I love that Todd is open about the fact that he doesn’t know everything about Instagram. He even states he is learning as he goes. I love that! His podcasts are short-about 10 minutes-which makes them perfect for traveling SLPs to listen. I usually have about 10-15 minutes drive time between clients. I can listen to an episode then jot down my notes when I get a chance. I am definitely recommending you add this to your resources, if you are interested in growing your Instagram!

If you are a fellow SLP business owner (private practice, blogger, TpT author), I would love to have some company on this journey. I will be posting periodic updates on my Instagram. I also plan to write up a post at the end of the month to let you in on everything I learned this month!

What could you do better with your Instagram? 

Halloween’s Over! Now What Do I Do in Speech Therapy?!

Halloween fell on a Tuesday this year.  It kind of messed up my week.  My themes are each set for a whole week.  I don’t know about you, but I feel weird doing Halloween activities on November 1st in speech therapy.  Thus, making my week very “unsymmetrical.” (Did I seriously just use the word “thus”?!)  It’s too early for Thanksgiving so what’s an SLP to do?  I got you covered!

Fall Speech Therapy Activities

Fall Themes for Speech Therapy

You can do just about any fall theme during the week after Halloween!  I typically do several popular ones in September but you can easily fit them in after the spookiest day of the year.  So themes with leaves or scarecrows would be really fun…especially now that it is cold and the leaves are actually changing colors!  Pumpkins would be another great theme!

Football Theme

This is a theme that can stretch from September to February (Super Bowl Time!).  I don’t have a football theme on my calendar this year but I have done one in the past.  There are some really cute materials out there in TpT world too!  Speech Room Newsroom has a really cute describing activity that you will NEED!  I have her NBA packet and I love using it during my basketball theme.  Crazy Speech World has another packet great for language skills.  Ashley Rossi over at Sweet Southern Speech has an articulation packet  great for a football theme.  These are just a few resources to get you started with a football theme.(Need help getting your theme started? Look here for help!)

Food Theme

When is it a bad time to talk about food?!  Breakfast foods would be a really fun theme to do this time of year.  You could get your theme started with “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” or “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”  That would give you a good excuse to buy “Pancake Pileup!”  (Let’s be honest, SLPs don’t need a reason to buy a new game!)  So pull out your plastic food and your favorite food books!

Forest Animals

This is my current theme to finish out the week.  We have a squirrel/acorn theme going on today and Thursday. (Blog post coming soon!)  You could also do an owl theme.  I have several owl products in my TpT store that could easily be used this week!  A cute raccoon theme would be another fun theme that would be appropriate for this time of year.  Have fun with it!

So now that you have some ideas and product suggestions, get busy planning!