Ten Things I Believe

Recently I was obsessing over checking out some of my Twitter stats from the links that Gigi over at Kludgy Mom blogged about and found out that I lost some Twitter followers and 3 of them pertained to my most recent post and it got me wondering what in the hell that I did wrong (I’m still pondering this too). Was it because I tweeted to many times about it? Was it really an awful post? Was it just the point at which they decided that they didn’t want to follow me anymore? Who knows. To be honest I was bothered by it for a bit and then after chatting with Gigi and Maria from 1000 Reasons I’m a Bad Mom I felt better. Things like that happen all the time.

I decided that since there wasn’t a writing assignment for Back to School, Back to Blogging that I’d pick something from the Idea Bank.

There are many things in life that I believe and some you may agree with and some you may not. And hopefully I won’t lose more followers because if it!

10 things that believe…

1. I believe that my kids are the most important things in the world.
2. I believe that there is a higher power(s) but I don’t believe in the Christian God.
3. I believe that education is very important.
4. I believe that you can do anything you want.. anything. You just need to put your mind to it.
5. I believe in equality.
6. I believe in freedom of choice.
7. I believe in freewill.
8. I believe that hard work pays off.
9. I believe that love is important.
10. I believe Glee is awesome!

I’m sure that because of this I’ll lose followers. It’s possible that I may even gain some. But this is who I am and I’m being honest.

So, tell me. What do you believe? What makes us different or the same?

Love & Kisses to all of my Followers

Kludgy Mom

This weeks writing task for Back to School, Back to Blogging has been taunting me all week. I mean how do I do this? Who do I focus on? And what if I offend someone that I should have chosen but didn’t? Ugg…. decisions, decisions. So, here’s the task that I’m stressing about.
Writing Task: feature a few of your loyal followers in a post this week. Act as if you’re their media agent and you’re trying to get them a job. Sell them to your community – talk about how fabulous they are. Or maybe just say thank you to specific followers for their support.

Now, do you see my dilemma? All of my followers are important and special to me! Without them my blog would be nothing. Nothing. It’d be just be talking to myself… I do that enough because, duh… I have kids!

I thought about it for a bit and looked through all the people who follow my blog and all that jazz. I decided that I wanted to thank everyone. Because they have all taken the time to read my blog when often the only thing I post is something from a challenge or a meme.

I was looking at my blog yesterday for a really good post to share with Kris over at Pretty All True and realized that my blog sucked! Holy shit! How did this happen! It was totally not what I had intended! Nothing special or original there so I didn’t leave a post for her. And being all pitiful feeling and what not I tweeted about it and Ashley from Just Another Mom of 2 pointed out that’s how she got started and the challenges & meme’s are a good way to start when you’re trying to figure things out. I hadn’t thought about it that way and it made sense so after that I didn’t feel so bad. Besides with hard work it’ll get better, right?

Today I looked again and decided to focus on two followers in particular.

Barb from Second Chance Moon and I started blogging around the same time and became blogging buddies during the #31DBBB Challenge and since then I’ve followed her blog and she’s followed mine and I make sure that I read her blog on a regular basis. She has a great blog and is a wonderful writer! Go check it out… now!

Okay, next in line is my friend who has a name but I don’t know it because I’m silly like that at times I guess over at One Girl Ideas. She has a teen just like me. Enough said! No, really… she takes the time to actually visit my blog and I know this because she has mentioned me on her blog! Cool, huh!! She will send me tweets asking how things are going and things like that. Like a real friend! I love it.

Both of these ladies are new to blogging and are putting in a lot of time in effort in their blogs trying to grow & promote them. Take a few minutes to check out their blogs, leave a comment or two, and follow them. They are really great ladies!

Networking Tips – Review

Kludgy Mom

I’m not going to lie. This is hard. A lot harder than I had expected. There is so much to blogging if you want to make it successful and honestly it’s almost like a full time job. And I already have two full time job, one as a mom and two, my job that I go to daily that helps pay the bills.

My goal would be to not have the second one some day too. But that’s another story.

I was reading the top 10 networking tips for new bloggers that was for my size blog and should help me grow my blog. And that’s when I realized how much work it all actually is. I don’t think that I’m going to ever close that tab in my browser! That way I always have it open to refer to so I can make sure that I’m doing all I can to grow my blog. For now I think I need that kind of constant reminder.

Instead of picking just one item from the list and talking about how I put it to use I’d like to touch on each item briefly. It helps me solidify where I’m at and in a way makes me accountable to all of you for what I say I’m going to do.

1. Join and be active in several established blog networks.
This I have done and have been part of 2 or 3 of them for a while now. Blog Frog has to be my favorite my far though as there are so many communities to join, people to meet, and great information to be found. It’s been helpful to me when I was looking for a guest blogger too! I really would like to be more active though! In all of the networks. I need to figure out a good schedule for everything and stick to it!

2. Comment, comment, comment on blogs you love.
Done. I comment and I try to make sure that what I say in meaningful. Sometimes I get new visitors out of commenting and sometimes not. I keep at it though!

3. Participate in a Twitter hop.
This I haven’t done. I have taken part in a Twitter party & have found new blogs and new friends! I need to look into this more.

4. Search your favorite bloggers’ blogrolls
This has to be the easiest way to find great blogs to read! It also points out how interconnected we all our! This is something that I do often and especially on a new blog.

5. Get a badge
Funny thing… I just created one about a week or so ago! I also created a page with other people’s links & buttons to help keep things organized on the main page.

6. Develop a tribe
This is a great idea and I think that this just happens naturally. I’ve already found that a lot of the people that I follow & follow me have similar blogs. As in content, size, and feel of them. We’re all the same but different too!

7. Aim equal, not high with your networking
I have to admit that before they were mentioned in the post I had never heard of The Bloggess, Dooce, or The Pioneer Woman. Most of my networking started with the #31DBBB challenge and went from there.  I usually try to keep within my own realm! I have the best luck there.

8. Dedicate time each day to networking
I need to work on this. I usually have Tweetdeck open most of the day, but aside from that there isn’t much that I do especially when I’m at work. And on the weekends I’m usually busy and disconnected from it all. I think that 15 – 30 minutes total each day is the minimum that I’d like to put forward and will be including more than Twitter into my routine.

9. Don’t obsess over guest posting just yet
I admit. I did this. For a while it was all I was seeing on Twitter and on blogs! I put myself out there and I did it. I’ve had two guest bloggers and I love it! Maybe it’s something that I’d do once a month. This would add a bit for freshness to the blog and bring myself and my guest new readers.

10. Put yourself out there
This sounds like such a simple thing but it really isn’t. This is one of those things that takes a while to do. And admitting when you’re wrong… whew… that’s a hard pill for some to swallow! It’s a constant work in progress, but it will pay off I’m sure! For me, one of the hardest parts is just jumping in. I don’t want to sound like an idiot or something. I don’t want to say the wrong thing and be shunned. It’s something that I need to work on by just doing it. Right?

There is a lot that I have to work on and it will take me time and effort to do it. I’m willing to do it to! I know that someday my blog will be in a much better place, but right now I think it’s pretty good for having just started in May!

The Best Vacation We Ever Took

First of all I have to apologize for my homework being late. Yesterday was totally craptastic just read my post about it and you’ll totally agree. And because of that I had a lot to get off my chest so I did that instead of my homework. Sorry.

Week two for Back to School, Back to Blogging has given me some trouble. I was able to quickly do the reading and come up with my list of 10 ideas. Then I started reading the 500 + ideas and could not figure out what one I should write about! There were so many good ones! I finally decided to tell you about the best vacation my family and I took.

In the spring of 2009 my family and I took the vacation of a lifetime! We all went to Disney World, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom for a week. It was the first time that I had ever been there as well!
Now, some wouldn’t say that Disney is the vacation of a lifetime, some visit there on a regular basis, and then there are others who would agree with me and have never been there. And to those who haven’t been there it’s a damn expensive trip! But worth every last penny and I’d do it again.

Us & our ride for the week

Upon arrival in Orlando we gathered our luggage and quickly made our way to where our car was waiting to take us to the Sheraton Vistana Resort where we were staying for the week.

As you can see we had a limo for the entire week! We had the same car & driver while we were there to take us where ever we wanted.

View of the resort from our patio

The resort was huge and we had something close to an apartment with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, dining, kitchen, and laundry. Of course there was all the regular stuff there like a pool & activities, but we didn’t hang out there to much!

Our entire week was planned with various parks, dinner shows, and all the fun stuff that the Disney parks have to offer.

To say that I was just as excited as the kids is probably a very true statement! And for a few reasons I suppose. Like I said before I had never been there and neither had my kids and being able to share that with them was great. To see the awe & wonder, the excitement, their eyes and expressions on their face as we made our way to the Magic Kingdom for the first time was the best thing ever. It’s just so hard to describe it.

I wanted to see every inch of the park, meet all the characters, and ride all of the rides! I mean it was incredible and a once in a life time thing… I think that maybe the kids felt the same way! For my husband this wasn’t the first time that he’d been here. He and his family had been several times before this.

The first characters that we met while there were the wicked step-mother and sisters from Cinderella. The costumes, they way they looked, and the way that they acted was EXACTLY like in the movie! They were in full character too!

One of the best things that we did while there was taking a boat out on the lake around the Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle. The evening was cool, the sky was clear, and we had the absolute best view of the fireworks available. The boat floated around until it was close to the time the fireworks were to start and then parked in full view of the castle which was lit up with ever changing colors.

It was a fantastic week!  I’ll finish up with some highlight for fear that this could on for ever!

Dinner at Capones
Visted Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney Studios, and Downtown Disney
Went to see the Hoop De Do Review dinner show

Here are a few of the pics from our trip.

Some Great Plugins for Blogger!

This week started the Back to School, Back to Blogging challenge that is being hosted by Gigi over at Kludgy Mom and our reading and assignment was to find a plugin or widget and share what we’ve found about it.

Kludgy Mom

When I first started looking around I didn’t realize that there were so many choices for Blogger! There are a lot that are pretty useful ones depending on what you want to do with your blog and the information that you’re writing about. There are also some pretty silly/odd ones that I wouldn’t use. I don’t need glittery, flashy content on my blog. Although my 8 year old daughter would love it!

I decided to share a couple of the plugins/widgets that I use and one that I’m considering using. These are probably pretty well known to many, but for me they weren’t. And they’re ones that I like and use daily.

The first plugin that I love to use is Zemanta. This tool helps with finding images, it finds articles related to the post that you’re writing, it suggests labels, and they suggest your posts to others where appropriate. It was really easy to install and even easier to use! Also, you don’t have to worry about copyright issues when using the images that they suggest.

Disqus is the next plugin that I just found and started using. This came about because when someone comments on my blog posts I have yet to figure out how to comment back directly instead of 3 or 4 comments below. It’s hard to respond to each of the comments that people leave and because of this I went in search of something else to use and this is where Disqus came in. Now I can do exactly what I want and all I had to do was sign up and then click a couple of buttons to install. It was super easy! I was even able to import the comments already on my blog!

The last plugin/widget is one that I am pondering and it’s for using different fonts with your posts. Blogger doesn’t come with very many choices and I like more options even though I may not use them all the time. This site shows you how to add custom fonts to your blog, they recommend the Google API but there are 3 choices from which you can choose. It does appear that there are more steps to get this working, but nothing all that complicated from what I can tell. Hopefully this will do what I want!

Have you used any of these or have you found one similar that’s better? Share your thoughts with me!