Friday, January 31, 2014

Blog Challenge #31...I made it and 10 things I learned

Blog Challenge #31

Wow...what a month but I did it. I was able to complete all 31 posts. I was not able to post one each day but I reached my overall goal of 31 by catching up with more than one on several days throughout the month.  

So, what did I learn from this challenge? 
Here's a list. 

#1  Working full time, caring for a family and posting interesting, 
meaningful, rich content every day really is a challenge (its hard).

#2  I would love to do this for a living.

 #3  It is really hard to write about things that I am not that interested in.

#4   It is really easy to write about things I am interested in (duh).

  #5  While researching ideas to write about I end up getting 
side tracked and reading tons of other blogs. 

#6  There are tons of other really great, intelligent blogs out there.

#7  I am more creative and write better mid-day.

#8  Keeping a list of ideas is crucial. 
#9  Telling your family that you are doing a blog challenge is also crucial 
(so they give you the time and space you need).
#10  After doing a blog challenge I need a break 
and will be taking a couple of weeks off from blogging. 

See ya in a few weeks!

Happy Birthday to My Baby

Blog Challenge #29

Today is my youngest child's twenty-fourth birthday. 

Nuff Said! :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday - The Biggest Fan I Know

Blog Challenge #28

With Super Bowl Sunday just a few days away I thought I would post a picture of the world's biggest football fan. This is my sister-in-law. 

Like all football fans, she too has a favorite team...the Washington Redskins and this is a photograph of her when she was a Redskinette. Can you guess the year? 



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best Books Ever (So Far)

Blog Challenge #27
I love to get my People magazine every week. I like to follow the shenanigan's of the stars but the movie, TV and book reviews are great too. For this post (blog challenge #27) I am going to list 5 of my favorite books and why I have (or will) read them more than once. Enjoy!

Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medial School
by Melvin Conner, MD - 1987

I read this book when I was in nursing school and wondering if I had made the wrong choice. I wanted so desperately to go to medical school but didn't want to give up the parts of life that would not fit into such an education (like being a mom of three small children). In the end I made the right choice, at least for me. 

About this book...

Dr. Conner writes about his experience in medical school. At the time he started he was in his mid 30's and already a professor of anthropology and a researcher. Through the eyes of a more mature and experiences person, he writes about his personal experience as a medical student. He tells of how he was taught to detach from patients and, in the end, decides not to go into a residency program and returns to  anthropology.  

As I surveyed this strange, otherworldly scene my mind turned, for the thousandth time, to the long course of events that had led me from my professional office - where I had followed my thoughts and read and taught and talked quietly with students and colleagues, surrounded by old books – to this world of pain and urgency, of noise and barked orders, of injury, of healing, and all too frequently, of death.

The Testament
by John Grisham -  1999

The Testament
It is because of this book that I added a trip to the Pantanal to my bucket list and became obsessed with joining the Peace Corp. The later has passed but I am going to find out more about what is offered through Cross Cultural Solutions. 

About this book...

This is a really great story about a self-made billionaire, a litigator from Washington DC and a woman who gave her life to God and went to live and work with a tribe of Indians in Brazil. It is an adventure that follows the lives of those three and others that intertwine their lives. 

[she] lived in a hut or a lean-to, and slept on a bed she’d build herself, and cooked over a fire, and ate food she’d grown or trapped or killed, and taught Bible stories to the children and the Gospel to the adults, and knew nothing and certainly cared nothing for the events and worries and pressures of the world. She was very content. Her faith sustained her.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Turn Back Tuesday - Reposting Three of My Favorites

Blog Challenge #26
For today's blog post I am going to turn back time and re-post three of my personal favorite projects. These posts did not generate a lot of interest back then but I loved them so much I want to give them another change. Just click on the name and as always...Enjoy!

This post is full of ideas for a little girl's cowgirl party. 

Birthday Card Serving Tray
This was, by far, one of the best projects to use. Serving my hubby his birthday breakfast in bed on this tray was awesome. 

Mod Coffee Table
This table was one of my best finds. I actually bought it and finished it for my son but he moved to California and I found that it worked well in my living room. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

How to take a break from blogging (without losing readers)

Blog Challenge #25

It happens. There are times when you need to take a break from blogging. Whether your creative juices have stopped flowing, or writers block as taken up resident in your brain or you just need to take a vacation (from blogging or literally) you just need to step away from the keyboard. ‘

For me I recently found myself forced with feeling like posting something subpar was better than posting nothing at all (have definitely done both LOL). This is one reason I started the Ultimate Blog Challenge and so far it’s been a good experience. I am now wondering if I should take time from blogging to reset my blogging clock. I feel the need to regroup. Still not sure but for this reason I decided to research (and share) what I think is the best way to go about taking a break from blogging (without losing readers).

If you find yourself in this place I hope this information helps and if you’re not there at this time PIN this post for later. According to my research, every blogger struggles with this issue at some point. 

#1 Schedule Blog Posts In Advance

There are definitely pros and cons to this. On the one hand it guarantees fresh posts during your absence and makes your absence less noticeable.

The con is that you have to do a work like a maniac during the weeks leading up to your break. Also, this really only works for a short term absence like a vacation and is not great for a longer hiatus.

Tips for making the task of scheduling blog posts in advance easier:

Schedule "Summary Posts" - a round-up of your best links from previous posts. 

Republish old posts - the ones you wrote back in the early days of your blog when only a few people even knew you had a blog. Share those old posts and give your current readers the chance to see what they missed. Let your readers know you are posting some of your "oldies but goodies". 

#2 Ask for Guest Posts

Reach out to your blogger friends with the request for a "Guest Post". A fresh face on your blog will bring new eyes to both your blog and theirs. Plus, you can return the favor when you get back to the blogging which will generate even more attention to your blog.  

Besides asking other bloggers you could also ask your readers if they are interested in posting for you during your time away. This allows those who read your blog but don’t have their own blog the opportunity to try their hand at blogging.

#3 Come Clean

Tell them! If you don’t tell your readers that you are taking a break from blogging, they might get annoyed and tired of checking your blog for new content, and even stop looking for it after a while. Tell them you are taking a break…honesty is the best policy after all and the hype of return might just make your readers excited to come back. (see below “Tips for the Return”). Drop hints as to what they might expect when you return. 

Tips for the return 

Just like your favorite TV shows, time away gives you the opportunity to come back with fresh material. While away, reinvent yourself. Time away gives you the perfect opportunity to reinvent your blog. A change in direction, a new format, a bigger and better comeback. Take this time to prepare for an enhancement of what you have already started. Bigger might just be better in this case.


Structure you break by giving yourself a deadline and share this target date with your readers. Make sure you have given yourself the time you need so that your comeback date is doable. 

Now...if it's needed, Go Take That Break!