Friday, April 29, 2011

Giving You The Bidness

Today's Friday Funny:

Introducing "Giving You The Bidness",  over here.

*No. This is not part of a pyramid scheme and PayPal is not involved.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oh Yah. Bring It.

It's Bring The Funny? She Can Thursdays: where I'll be showcasing fantastically funny humor bloggers that I've been secretly, and guiltily, keeping to myself.

As I promised during blogoversary week, I'm going to be mature this New Blogging Year, and share them with you. Because it's the right thing to do. The world needs me to do this. Also? It weighed heavily upon my soul.

Bring the Funny? She Can Thursdays is thrilled and full of bloggy crushness to showcase {nicegirlnotes}.

I can't remember how I found her, but I do remember falling in laughterlove with the first post I read there. It was How To Dance in Polite Social Situations.  Cracked my a** up.

After that, I spent about an hour that flew by over at her site, on her Best Of page.

It doesn't hurt that she's adorable, too.

So, you may wonder, what makes {nicegirlnotes} so unique? Just another AMAZINGLY funny blogger, right?

Well, she is also CRAFTY. Not as in like a fox, but as in projects that are very cool.

Check out this How To Make A Portable Crayon Holder For The Sake Of All Mankind! yeah!

I've told you that she's funny, crafty, but {nicegirlnotes} also can tell a story in a way that will make you pee your pants. Like the one she tells in Culotte Hell.

I subscribe to her by email, because I don't want to miss a post. Posts like these that are just too wonderful:

When I was a kid, I had brief encounters with different “lessons.”  Piano lessons when I was 3 (ended because my teacher moved away), art lessons when I was 9 (ended because she refused to teach me how to draw stick figures OR because I hated it), exactly one guitar lesson (ended because he was rather creepy and my ever-trusting mom finally acquired a ‘stranger danger’ sensor), and I finally stuck with karate for a few years.  (Seriously?  Don’t challenge my nunchuck skills.) [READ MORE HERE]

You can follow this little cutie at {}

And, of course, she is just as awesome on twitter @NiceGirlNotes

Roo {NiceGirlNotes}

Oh dang, I have 777 followers on Twitter. NO ONE unfollow me. And no one new follow me. I've reached Twitter-Nirvana.
12 hours ago

You'll be lured in by the tutorials (the drawer doll house), but you'll become a full-on follower because of the humor (dancing lessons.)

I know, I find the best. No need to thank me, now, go and follow the funny, witty, smart {nicegirlnotes}.


You guys are awesome, thank you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What Does Your Blog Look Like To Others?

As if my life were not exciting enough, last week beat all.

I went and took my Starbucks money, and had a personalized blog assessment done by Eli/Rose Social Media.

It was

I have always wondered what my blog looks like, what impression it gives. And, for the cost of one of my trips to Starbucks [double tall breve latte], I found out - for the special introductory rate of $7 until May 1,  Eli/Rose Social offers a 25 point blog assessment. Talk about giving it away!

Eli/Rose, an idea whose time is now, is a business founded by Liz of a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog, and KLZ of Taming Insanity. These two brainy, social media savvy lady bloggers have the best idea in the blogosphere that I've seen: they offer many blogger/etsy/ and business services, but the coolest is their Personal Strategy package - for $15 they can guide those interested in taking their blog to the next level.

I received 3 pages of an analysis and detailed review of my blog that was so interesting. Their points were something I could implement right away, and, just as a sample: one idea they offered shaved 4 seconds off my blog loading time.

Important stuff when you want people to be able to visit you.

I was so pleased and impressed with what Liz and KLZ did for me, that I want to spread the word on Eli/Rose. I invited them here for a chat, and we discussed some basic questions, that I think will let you know just how worth it I feel their services are. [ through to the end, there is a GIVEAWAY involved!] Pay attention people, they have already worked with over 25 bloggers!

Welcome, KLZ and Liz!!

What services does Eli | Rose Social Media offer to bloggers?
Eli | Rose offers a wide array of blogger services. The cornerstone of our offerings is our 25+ point blog assessment and customized personal strategy session. We’re offering special pricing on both through May 1st.

I am not very tech-savvy, how will I be able to implement your recommendations?
Our blog assessment is put together in a simple checklist format. We’ll even provide links to any relevant tutorials you need.

Are you guys going to be mean?
No, no, not at all. We fully recognize that it can be hard to have someone review your work. But don’t worry. We’re not mean - we want to see your ideas grow. Growth does not come from meanness.

Besides your blogger services, what else can I find on your site?
In addition to our blogger services, our site offers regular tips and tricks for etsy shops and small businesses, as well as social media news and best practices.

If I get an assessment, will I instantly start raking in cash?
This, unfortunately, we cannot guarantee. What we can say is that others that have worked with us have seen substantial increases in everything from followers to pageviews.

Is my significant other going to be mad I spent money on this?
Again, no guarantees, but we doubt it. Our blogger services cost roughly the price of a trip to Starbucks with your family.

So, after I get my personal strategy and assessment, what else?
Keep following along. We’re planning to add blogging webinars to our bag of tricks in the near future. In the meantime, we’ve got some great post topics lined up on everything from blogging basics to innovative marketing ideas. 

I think I might know a couple people who’d be interested.
That’s awesome. We’ve got a referral program. If you love your blog assessment, refer 3 people who pay for a service and we’ll give you a free personal strategy session. And if you've already purchased a strategy session, you'll get a discount on a webinar of your choice.

**Great news! Eli | Rose Social Media is giving away one free blog assessment. Head over to Eli | Rose to enter this giveaway. Entrance is simple:

- Follow Eli | Rose Social Media via GFC or email
- Like Eli | Rose Social Media on Facebook
- Follow @EliRoseSocial on Twitter
- Tweet about the giveaway: I just entered for a chance to win a blog assessment from @elirosesocial !

Entries will be accepted through Monday, May 2nd. Winner selected via
COMMENTS CLOSED. Please go and visit and ENTER to win your free blog assessment! 

P.S. I was not compensated in any way for this review. I just love what these two are doing so much, that I begged them to do a review. Naah...not really, I just asked nicely.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Do Not Want To Get Out Of This Day

My mom puts streamers outside of our bedroom doors
It's a late Monday start. As Baby E said, "why does the week have to start with a Monday?"

It's Baby E Post day, and he wants to talk about his birthday last week. From the picture above, you can see that I hang streamers outside of their bedroom doors during the night, so that on their birthdays, they wake up to this as the first thing they see. I can't take the credit for this idea, I saw it in Family Fun Magazine years and years ago.

The kids love waking up to the streamers. They count on it.

Now, here we go, with Baby E 's birthday recap. Thank you so much for stopping by!!


It's me. This is a picture of me waking up on the morning of my birthday.

My favorite color is orange.

Orange. I love orange.

Well, for my birthday, I got this cool thing called a Fushigi. It's a hard clear ball.

It's really cool. Cuz you can make it look like it floats and stuff but it doesn't really. It's just like fake magic.
But it's still cool.

And nobody knows that it's fake magic.

Oh, yeah, and I also got a brand new DVD player. Me. And it's not one of those little kid ones. It's one of those big grown up ones. Like the ones where the screen can turn 360 degrees. And it has like a touch screen. It's a bar where you just touch. No pressing buttons.  Or anything.

And my brother got me a DVD for it. I love SpongeBob and he got me the best one. The Season Six Volume two one.

I also got some stuff for my Capsters. Capsters are bottlecap art. See, you get a background you cut out from a magazine and then you buy some charms, little plastic charms and then you glue them in the bottlecap with clear crystal glaze and you wait for them to dry.

Guess what? We had orange cake. With orange flavor frosting glaze. I love orange. And orange juice. And orange slices.

My favorite T shirt is orange.

And my favorite fleece is orange.

I got a bunch of cool books that I like. 

Oh, yeah, I need to talk to you guys about something. To your kids about something.

It's this cool thing called "moshi monsters."  It's really cool.

It's this online thing where you can pick a guy, pick a monster you want to be, and then you can walk around and play with friends and catch little things you call moshlings.  And, for my birthday, I got the Moshling guide so I know how I can get all the moshlings.

I want your kids to play it and not talk about it anymore.

Here's a picture of a monster you can be. My favorite is General Fuzuki, the warrior wombat.

You can have a house and it's free.There's a card game, too. A real one and one online. They're both the same practically, though. There's a cool map online so you can see where guys life and stuff and you can get money and stuff to buy cool things for your monster house. You can buy seeds to catch moshlings.

Supercool, but you need an email so you need to ask your parents before you can go on.

Bye. My mom is going to let me do my moshimonsters now.

Next week I will tell you about Easter and my favorite Easter basket surprise.

Oh, and thank you very much for saying Happy Birthday to me. Thank you.


Sunday, April 24, 2011


The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

We wish you and your family, a joyous and wondrous Easter. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

How To Win Friends and Influence People

It is truly humbling to be asked to write a Feature Post.

When Studio30Plus asked me to be a Featured Writer at their site, I sadly had to tell them that though I was so very flattered, I couldn't honestly say yes, since I was over 30. 

Way over 30.

They thought I was being funny.

It has since been explained to me that you only have to be OVER 30, not BE 30, to be a member of this online community of over 700 writers. 700 more people and blogs to discover, I love it. 

And so, the post I wrote for them today, about How To Win Friends and Influence People, is here, at Studio30Plus, on their front page.
Long story short: I am now a part of Studio30Plus -- even if I still hated how very, very  faaaaaaaaaaaaaaar down I had to scroll to enter my year of birth. I'm glad I joined, and am flattered and grateful to have been invited there.

Studio30Plus is going to be a lot fun, because they want to take over the universe. That sounds like fun. And look at all the cool stuff they do over there:

"Studio30 Plus, the brain child of Jerrod from The Yellow Factor and Jules from Mean Girl Garage, began one snowy, wintery day in January 2010. Looking for a place where bloggers over the age of 30 could meet up, exchange ideas, make some friends, and find new blogs to read, they put their minds together and formed this growing community.
It's the Studio's hope to one day take over the blog universe of 30 + bloggers with the enticement of Featured Bloggers, birthday celebrations, and forum questions. There is even an annual awards event, highlighting the best blogs the Studio has to offer. Awards such as Funniest Blog, Best Blog Name, Blog You Want To Make Out In A Dark Closet With, etc.  Pretty prestigious stuff.
This is a steadily growing community of fantastic writers and one day...the taking over the universe thing...that will happen.
If you aren't a member yet, we want you! If you are a member of Studio30 Plus... we are so glad you're here!"
You've got to join.  Please meet me over at S30P (coolkidtalk), read my post there, and then sign on as a member. I would love you to have the same fun as me over there.

It'll be a good day. 

Thank you for your kind support, you all are the best. Hope to see you here.

**COMMENTS CLOSED: please come visit at Studio30Plus. I'd love it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Listen To Your Mother This Mother's Day

What I want to say here today, could fill in five posts worth, but I will make it as unself indulgent as I can.

On February 12 of this year, I decided to do something I knew I had to do: I grabbed the brass ring and auditioned for the Listen To Your Mother Show in Madison, Wisconsin.

I knew I had to do it, so I didn't even question whether or not I was brave enough to try. It was the chance to  have the story of someone who was that important in my life, be matter whether or not I had the guts to stand in front of people and do it.  The story of the life of the woman, who was my grandmother, had to be told.

I am now very, very happy and thrilled to be part of the 2011 Listen To Your Mother Cast.

Listen to Your Mother is an amazing opportunity to hear and bear witness to the powerful stories of women, and their lives, and the people in their lives. Last year was LTYM's premiere, and if you can, watch that first show here. You will feel as if you're holding hands with every human who has ever had a part in raising a person. You will hear entertaining, wise, provoking, stunning, grief filled, love laden, ridiculously wonderful, and the entire spectrum that is sharing a life with someone else. You can watch that first show here.

This year’s show will take place on Mother’s Day (May 8th) at The Barrymore Theater in Madison. Thirteen women will show, through words, their presence, and those that have been present, in their lives.

Consider coming to The Barrymore this Mother’s Day. Bear witness and feel part of what it means to share lives on this planet. This Mother's Day, come and belong to something that is such a blessing: to feel united in our souls, by being able to hear and share the stories in our lives.

Make this Mother's Day a celebration of what it means to be and to have been, deeply embedded, in a life.

**Please click over, and leave a comment of encouragement here today, where I am the featured cast member of the 2011 Listen To Your Mother Show. It would mean so much to me. Thank you!


IMPORTANT: 10% of all proceeds benefit City of Joy (providing services and support for rape victims in The Republic of Congo) and YWCA’s Third Street program (affordable housing for Madison single mothers and their children).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wooohoooo! It's Crazy People Having A Good Time

It's been a busy week.

I'm still here, but REALLY HERE.

With my family.

Today is our oldest son's, DDG's*, birthday. He is 16.

Thursday was Baby E's day. He was 9.

The house is a beautiful shambles of torn giftwrap, barely hanging streamers, spilled orange soda, and piled up presents.

That's the visual bouquet.

The noise? Of three boys?

Sheer heaven.

We'll see you soon!
*DDG - Drop Dead Gorgeous (I can't take the credit for that, that's what Lady Di would call Prince William)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Zero To Funny In Two Minutes - Today's Friday Funny

Watch and Laugh Out Loud.

One of the best 2 minutes on TV -- today's  Friday Funny, Courtesy of The Mayor of Crazy Town, my first and my forever Canadian Bloggy Crush.

She is the best. She's been busy with life, and I miss her. Now, click and won't regret it.

Love you, T.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

T minus 13 Hours and Counting

 T minus is used to mark the beginning of  launch time.

Things that happen in t-plus time have to do with where you are in orbit around the Earth, and when rockets fire, and when a rocket hits q-max and stuff. Things that happen in t-minus time are prep things.*  The rocket isn't going anywhere, but you have to finish filling the tanks of liquid fuel, load the astronauts, do launch checks, and these have a schedule relative to the launch time.

*Prep Things:

Decorate the house
Make the cake
Wrap the Gifts
Sign the cards
Set the table
Pick up the party balloons
Hang streamers outside of his bedroom door
Shop for the Birthday Dinner
Try to get him to go to bed tonight

It is Baby E's birthday tomorrow, and he insists on his birthday beginning at sunrise.

Like I said, T minus 13 hours.
It would be so awesome if you stopped over tomorrow, THURSDAY, and left Baby E your birthday wishes.

Thank you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's Everywhere - Baby E Post

This week's Baby E post turned out to be such a sweet surprise of fun. Melt my heart and fill my eyes with hot tears fun.

There is a meme circulating that is truly original, and not a pain in the rectum with rules.Wombat Central (you'll love her) tagged me for this meme, and I am so grateful.

The meme is this: You ask your child to draw a picture of you. Wombat's take was HIGHlarious. Then post it on your blog.

Baby E's rendition of me, just left me verklempt. [Thank you, Wombat, for prompting such a magic moment]

"This is you, mama, because you're always laughing at what I say."

Oh, the heavens opened up and poured down upon me today. If this woman that is all head with an open laughing mouth will be his memory of me, then I have surpassed any ideals I had set for myself as a parent.

Never mind that my eyes aren't a hint of blue.
*you should all try this. How your children draw you is so much more than just a physical representation*
**and no smart ass remarks to take away the beauty of this meme. you know who you are**

Here's what you do:
  • Ask your child to draw a picture of you. It doesn’t matter how old they are…
  • Post the picture on your blog
  • Call it the ‘This is Me Meme’
  • Go here and add your cartoon likeness to the linky.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Best - Blessedness

Beethoven Lives Upstairs

A little background info. about me: I grew up with no music lessons, piano, dance, art, etc., or any enrichment otherwise.  This next posting is, to me, evidence of the surprising beauty that one gets gifted with in life. Just as there are many downs in our lives, there are also tremendous ups. Given my childhood environment, it is amazing to me--beyond my imagination amazing -- that I am able to post something such as this. Please, I hope you don't see it as bragging as much as it is -- for me-- awe coupled with sheer grateful disbelief, though it stares me right in the eyes. Yes, parts of my life have been very, very hard: but I have emerged with such blessings.

The sounds reach me upstairs, but I still can't believe it. My brain tries to talk me out of my reality, though I am hearing it through my own ears, in my own home. The sounds are real, but the stories in my soul tell me it can't be so.

As I lay half awake in my bed on an early Sunday morning, I hear our 14 year old son playing the piano that is in our front room. I know it is him, and that it has to be him, he is the only one who plays in our family. My eyes have seen him sit in front of the keys daily. Five years ago a friend of mine had to find a home for her old piano, which turned out to be here. Now, our son plays, and plays. All his favorites: Journey, ColdPlay, Linkin Park, Green Day. I've seen his fingers touch those keys so many times. 

But my life's stories tell me this can't be my life. I'm not to be in a life with a home that has a beautiful child playing a piano in it.  This is not my life. How does a woman like me, get blessed with a child, a life, like this? A musical child, a musical home, how does it happen? I've never dared to let my dreams get this impossible. Yet, here it is. The wish in me to have the greeting on our answering machine just be him playing is so strong, and I know I can't. We don't brag about our blessings, no matter how unbelievably bursting with pride and joy we are. I'd love to tell everyone, from the bagger at the store, to the stranger at the park,  "My son plays piano, I mean, he plays so beautifully!" I know I can't. I know society would not find that acceptable.

Instead, I find myself having to close my eyes, so I can hear every sweet second as clearly as I can, with tears of pride and disbelief springing to my eyes too quickly for me stop them. I don't move, I want him to keep playing. I don't want to walk downstairs just yet.

I might break the spell.


This is the first guest post I ever submitted. It ran early March, last year. It was to a wonderful blog called Four Perspectives Their  Guest Post page is here, if you feel you have something that would fit in with their beautiful collaborative blog. Good Luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Funny - and I Will Always Love This One

This, to me? Never gets old.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bring The Funny? She Can...

It's You Must Get To Know Thursdays: where I'll be showcasing fantastically funny humor bloggers that I've been secretly, and guiltily, keeping to myself.

As I promised during blogoversary week, I'm going to be mature this New Blogging Year, and share them with you. Because it's the right thing to do. The world needs me to do this. Also? It weighed heavily upon my soul.

Bring the Funny? She Can Thursdays is thrilled and full of bloggy crushness to showcase Partly Sunny.   She is today's You Must Get To Know.

Here's the thing about Partly Sunny: she makes me laugh and I like her.

I mean, I like the other amazing Funny Women that have been featured on Thursdays, too, of course...but something feels so familiar about Sunny--I just feel like I know her.

This, from Sunny's About page:  "I started this blog anonymously as "Sunny" or "PartlySunny" in April of 2009 because I blogged all day in my head anyway. "  I mean, you can't help but start laughing at her truthliness. (yes, my blog, I can make up my words.)

Sunny isn't always any one style, any one way. She'll drop things on you, that you don't see coming...which is the kind of thing that will always make me laugh. Like, this: from her "In Short" page:

"Snowboarding goes like this: Ow, my wrists, ow, my ass, ow, my wrists, ow, my ass. It's like a day in prison." 

Of course, she's wonderful on twitter @partlysunnyblog:

"My Google reader is a mess. It's like my form of hoarding."

Here's a peek at how great it is to follow her:

Sacrificial Lamb

If you're a skier, you know there are two cardinal rules of taking kids up the hill for the first time -- go when the weather is good and don't go when it's too crowded. Actually, if you've been a parent for more than about a year, you've usually figured out this general rule for most things (I say a year because until then, you're still clinging to a fantasy world where children fit into your previous lifestyle and can just be carted around like luggage).... [READ MORE HERE]

Please, please, you don't have to thank me. I know. I find THE BEST.

Enjoy! Happy Thursday!

Comments Closed Here because it would be SO extra special and nice if you go visit and leave some bloggy love to this week's crush: Partly Sunny

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Listen To Your Mother


On Sunday, Mother's Day, May 8, 2011, in Madison, Wisconsin,  at 3:00 PM at The Barrymore Theatre, I am going to be part of an incredible afternoon, as part of the cast in the Listen To Your Mother Show.

In 2010,  Mother's Day at The Barrymore Theatre last year, the first Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) launched a new motherhood movement, giving voice to authentic stories and voices of motherhood. In 2011this movement goes national, with local community productions in five cities:

LTYM features live readings by local writers on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood, in celebration of Mother's Day.

Born of the creative work of mothers who publish on-line, each production is directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities.

LTYM is thrilled to announce its national media sponsor: BlogHer, Inc. BlogHer is the largest community of women who blog: 25+ million unique visitors per month, and hosts the world’s largest conference for women in social media.

Native Madisonian, UW Madison Theater alum, and Stay-at-home-humorist Ann Imig created LTYM. She serves as director/producer/MC of the 2nd annual Madison production, as well as National Director overseeing all of the 2011 productions. Madison cast includes Suzy Grindrod, Jennifer Rosen Heinz, Ann Imig, Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Jessie Loeb, Laura McNeill, Amy Miles, Deb Nies, Staci Rieder, Sara Santiago, Alexandra Rosas Schultze, Erika Wagner-Martin, Sara Ward-Cassady, and an appearance by The Madison Youth Choirs.

Sunday May 8, 2011 3:00 PM The Barrymore Theatre
Tickets $12 (plus $1.50 service fee)/advance $15 day of show
Advanced tickets only online at or call & charge at (608) 241-8633
10% of all proceeds benefit City of Joy (providing services and support for rape victims in The Republic of Congo) and YWCA's Third Street program (affordable housing for Madison single mothers and their children.)

*I wish I had the words, and were eloquent enough, to convince you to attend a Listen To Your Mother Show, if you are blessed enough to have one of the five shows near you.

The stories, essays, and validation of all the types of mothering that we, male and female alike, do -
is nothing short of life affirming.

We are all important in someone's life, and to each other -- through the artwork of words, we can listen, share and know, and bear witness to who we are, and the life we live.

I hope you attend, and become part of the magic of a show like Listen To Your Mother.

For more information visit and @LTYMShow on Twitter

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Consider This Day Seized

Me and my blue ribbon from my scout's Pinewood Derby

Monday, and Baby E post day. As he announced it earlier, "I had a great life today." Here's his week's highlights, and thank you so much for being a good friend to him. xo


It's me and this is going to be about a lot of stuff that was great.

We had a crazy storm yesterday and there was hail so we put a bowl outside to collect some. My mom ran outside to do it and it was so funny because she was running and we could hear her say, "ow ow owow ow OW!" when she was getting hit by the hail.

It was so cool to see the tiny balls of ice. My dad heard the hail hit the windows and jumped up in his pajamas and ran to put his car in the garage so it wouldn't get hit.

That was funny to see him run outside in his pajamas.

I like to play these games.

I like to play hobo stick, without the running away part. I like to get a big scarf and put all the stuff I like in it and then my mom helps me tie it around an empty long gift wrapping tube and I like to walk around the house and go outside with it and play hobo stick.

It is not dumb.

I like to play  police escort. This is not dumb, either. I like it a alot. I like to escort anybody in my house around, and be their police escort. I walk next to them and make the sounds myself and escort them to where they are going.  I like this game. My mom likes it and calls for a police escort upstairs. When someone calls, I make the sound and go get them. My brothers say that it's dumb.

It is not a dumb game.

I like to play businessman. And my dad told me I look real. I wear my dad's computer holding bag on myself and carry it around the house with my hat on. I do look real.

I think I want to talk about stuff I learned so you will tell your kids.

I think that when someone talks to you in their underwear that you don't pay attention. When my brother talks to me in his underwear about my games being dumb in his underwear, I don't pay attention.

Friday was great. My mom started me in Tae Kwon Do classes in February, and I am doing good.  I got tested for my yellow belt on Friday and got it and my teacher, you call him Master, said I am doing really good. And I was testing right after school, and my dad came home early to watch!

He saw me break a board and do my form and say my tenets and everything was perfect and I got my belt put on by the Master and my dad saw it.

Everyone laughed when I saw my dad come in and I said, "that is a well committed dad!"

On Friday, after the testing, we went to celebrate my new belt with french fries from McDonald's.

I was saying to myself, "Consider this day seized!"


It's still raining and thundering here.

I want to play outside soon.

My mom forgot to tell you that I had a part in church and I read it really well.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blast From The Past - Finding Your Blogging Voice

Finding your blog's "voice" is a concept that I've struggled with. It means a commitment to what your readers can come to expect of you. It's why they come to you, what they hope to always find.

A focus or a voice is your blog persona, it's who you are on your site.

I think of the famous Pioneer Woman's blog. When I click on to her website, I am hoping to find the fantasy of what a cowboy life would be like. I click over  to read the humor and sweet charm I count on her delivering every day. I visit to see what a life different from mine would be like. I know she'll deliver with exquisite photos, short and sappy text, and always a bite of humor. I love the way she loves her children.  That is her focus: it's what keeps me loyal - and she is consistent with it.

Finding an area of focus, of style, isn't necessary, of course. But, I think it will increase your readership loyalty.  Readership will build through viral word of mouth. Your readers will come to know who you are, and will feel as if they truly would recognize you the instant they met you, in real life.  A reader can tell another blog reader, "I know you like beautiful photography, you should go here," or "You really enjoy homeschooling blogs, hop over here."  That's the handle of a focus, it's a grip that allows someone to identify who you are, and who would be attracted to your blog. It makes explaining who you are, possible.

I look back at my first week of blogging, and think of how I wanted to be all things. I have many, many interests, and I wanted to write on all of them. What I found, through all my assorted beginning postings, is how much easier it is to maintain a blog and commit to good content, if you have a focus of who you are, and what you want to sound like.

My first week's posts were: a book review, an exercise routine, the neighbor who was unkind, karate classes for boys, a homeschooling field trip to a pizza factory, and I topped the week off with a poem. I wanted to throw a recipe in there, too, but ran out of days. I still wanted to do more: I wanted to review a play that was in our town, a live music show I had gone to, and also to have a Wordless Wednesday with my son's artwork. I  wanted to do a weekly "fashion" post. And beauty products that I really loved, I wanted to highlight those. I wanted to do gardening tips, cooking tips, and homeschooling tips.  And, this was at the time of Vienna Sausage with Jake, the Bachelor, so I did a quick post on that, too. 

But it all felt so disjointed to me. I wanted to talk about all of these things, but the thought of so many subjects, made me feel scattered. I knew I had to limit and determine a focus. But, I didn't want to. But, not having my subjects limited was stressing me out, I felt it. Why did I feel this way? I wanted to blog about all those things. I wanted to be all things to all people. My thinking? Well, I find it interesting, others will, too, right? Well, then, why did it make me feel so anxious and like I had just had a Costco tub sized amount of coffee? I think I felt the lack of a focus at my website. What was I about?

Finding a focus can be determined by sitting down and analyzing your blog. Look at your tags: what type of posts do you have the most of? What type of posts do you enjoy writing the most? What types of posts show your passion? Are they cooking, photos, parenting, humor, your struggles, music, TV show reviews, current events, politics, Hollywood gossip, relationship tips, crafts? Do you write mostly on overcoming struggles? Are your posts on family life? Do you really enjoy writing fiction?

I enjoy writing about all things: I truly do. However, I recognized that first week, that my blog posts looked unfocused. I could tell that, and I could really feel that.

I sat down and looked at what I enjoyed writing about the most: it was my children, the adventures of a stay-at-home homeschooling mother to 3 boys in a small town. I enjoyed the humorous posts the most. My passion? I love to make people laugh. I also love to teach and help and share resources. I like to talk about a life lesson I learned the hard way, in hopes that sharing it may save someone some pain. It's also important to me to lighten someone's burden, and help them feel understood, and less lonely. I like to do what I would like to have done for me.  I always hope to post with a voice that is transparent, and sincere. And welcoming.

From that first month, I realized that I felt most settled and at peace with a focus that was primarily parent centered, humorous, and introspective. It's what came naturally. How did I know I was finally successful in getting my focus across? When I began receiving comments that began with "I can always count on coming here for a quick laugh," and "you always seem to understand me." Good things like that.

And, there it is: the beauty of your voice, your gift. Loyal readers, who return, to get what they expect. You can continue to write for just yourself, by all means, yes. For me, however, I needed to decide on a direction, and what felt most at home, for me. You don't have to give up all your other interests at all; you can continue to post the occasional lovestruck posts about your children, a difficult time if you're struggling, a travel week while you drive cross country, a childhood memory. All these side road meanderings are acceptable, but, I find, that even with posts like those, my "voice" continues to poke it's head in, through the words.

With the majority of my posts being about my family, my honesty about my life's struggles, the life lessons I've gone through, information that I've found and want to share, and some funny thrown in here and there, it has made blogging a much happier, more simple, experience for me.

It's also made me recognizable to my audience. They know my voice in a minute. 

I love that.
I like running these old posts. This blast from the past was an original post prepared for Lady Blogger's Society. I still agree with what I felt I needed to do, for me: to limit my subjects. I felt so out of breath with 30 different kinds of posts that first month.  Whew. 
Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Today? Do The Smirk

I love April Fools' Day. I wrote about our day last year, here.

Today?  I have the PERFECT, NO FAIL plan:

I'm doing The Smirk.

As in, this morning, when my husband pours his coffee-to-go into his travel mug, I'll say, "Enjoy your coffee..." ::smirk::

As in, when the kids come downstairs for breakfast, "Enjoy your oatmeal..."  ::smirk::

And when the lunches are packed I'll send them off with a paper bag in their hand, a peck on the cheek, and a whisper to the ear, "Enjoy your sandwich..."  ::smirk::

The town librarian who gets to see me first thing won't be left out, either,  "Here's the books I borrowed..." ::smirk::

The Smirk. To everyone and anyone that will cross my path today.

The best is yet to come: the ubercharming ultrafriendly sooooopernice welcoming gaggle of women at tonight's potluck, "Enjoy the coffee cake, ladies..." ::smirk::

I love today.


**Thanks to Mashable, for the inspiration for this post.


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